Monday, August 5, 2013

The Korean War Proves Mind Determines Man

At the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War on 27 July 2013, bestselling author John Hollands, recalls South Korea's transformation

Hollands is reminding us in this excerpt that man is determined by the content of his mind.

(...) whilst I was fighting in Korea I often questioned the wisdom of what we were doing. South Korea was governed by a thoroughly corrupt regime headed by an evil tyrant, Syngman Rhee; and the whole country was backward with a terrible reputation for cruelty, especially in the way of executions of political prisoners and their attitude towards prisoners-of-war, or suspect refugees. The rule of thumb was, ‘if in doubt, shoot them’.

Many British soldiers wrote back to MPs (Michael Foot was a favourite) demanding to know why they were being made to fight for such dreadful people. When I returned to the UK no one wanted to know anything about the Korean War. They’d read reports by journalists such as James Cameron, so they knew what had been going on. We had saved one awful lot from another awful lot: so what? We would have been better off minding our own business despite the principles and the crusading spirit shown by the United Nations.

Well, here’s the crux of the matter: the thing that made me change my mind. In the 1990s I helped the BBC make a documentary programme, during the course of which we visited South Korea and looked around the demilitarised zone, Seoul, and the British war cemetery at Pusan. The difference I saw in South Korea was staggering.

It had been transformed. I could not believe my eyes. It was a stable democracy: progressive, industrious and affluent. Above all, three other things: happy, free and eternally grateful. I had been away for 30 years, yet in that time Korea had forged itself into one of the most respectful nations on earth.

It justified everything for us veterans and now, every time we meet a Korean, they treat us as no one ever does: as real heroes. (Source)
H/T @CharlesCrawford: Korea the finest sociological study in world history: almost lab experiment under controlled conditions, Free Market versus Socialism
John Hollands Website

John Hollands recalls the Battle of the Hook, the closest war in which the world has ever come to using nuclear weapons.

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Don't miss the Free Download or Read Online Sam Hollidays memoirs, "Up and Down Korea"