National Geographic : 1969 Mar
out onto the Sea of Japan, which Koreans call the East Sea. Japan lies only 120 miles south east (inset map, page 309). A fresh ocean breeze blew in. Below, clean white beaches welcomed crowds enjoying the August holiday season (pages 316-17). Kim and I joined them, stopping in a small restau rant for a favorite Korean snack-dried squid and beer. Others were enjoying the national dish, kimchi, made chiefly of fermented, highly spiced Chinese cabbage. Relative wealth, the relaxation of a hard working middle class taking time out from years of hardship and war, a feeling of well being-these impressions drifted through my mind as I strolled the beach near Pusan. I thought, too, that in the United States today 312 half the population is under 25-and thus half my countrymen have only the dimmest memory, if any at all, of the beachhead at Pusan in the dark days of the summer of 1950. Korea was divided at the 38th parallel after World War II. The nine million people of the industrialized North, occupied by the Russian Army, quickly fell under Communist domination. The South, with 19 million chiefly farmers and fishermen-was adminis tered by the United States Army until 1948, when the Republic of Korea was formed.* Syngman Rhee, who headed a provisional government in the United States, returned to Korea and was elected president. On June 25, 1950, the North Korean pre mier, Kim II Sung, sent armor and infantry *See "With the U. S. Army in Korea," by Lt. Gen. John R. Hodge, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, June 1947.