National Geographic : 1952 Sep
Far East's Turmoil Shakes the Globe National Geographic Society's New Map Reflects Events That Change This Ancient Land and Bring It Nearer the West Y OUR new 10-color supplement Map of the Far East is a backdrop for today's news. It shows places and names that are mentioned almost daily in your own news paper. In these lands on the other side of the globe, American history is being written as surely as it was at Plymouth Rock or Bunker Hill.* In the large Korea inset, on the right side of the map, there are names with a noticeably American ring. "Punch Bowl," "Heartbreak Ridge," and "Iron Triangle" are names given by American soldiers to places where they fought and died. Off Korea's southern shore lies Koje Island (Koje Do), 150 square miles of green hills and pleasant bays. Until the Korean war, Koje was occupied chiefly by peasant farmers, who raised rice and lived peacefully in mud walled mushroom-shaped huts. Koje was chosen as the site of a United Nations camp for war prisoners; in the spring of 1952 it suddenly sprang to world promi nence when the prisoners revolted and kid napped an American general. In June, 1952, more than 500 American Air Force, Navy, and Marine planes bombed North Korean hydroelectric plants along the Yalu and Songchon Rivers and at the Changjin Reservoir. This raid, mounted from South Korean bases and from four U. S. aircraft carriers, was the biggest mass air bombing since World War II. Its most im portant target was the Suiho Reservoir plant, which lies only 1,000 yards from the Man churian border and provides electric power for North Korean and Manchurian bases. A tiny village of thatched houses in west central Korea bears the name Panmunjom, which has been translated variously as "Gate way of the Rafts" and "Inn with the Wooden Door." Whatever its English meaning, Pan munjom, as scene of Korean truce parleys, has become almost as familiar to Americans as Appomattox or Versailles. "Far" East Is Near to U. S. Soldiers A red stripe across the map of Korea from Panmunjom to Pooejin-ni marks the battle line of UN and Communist troops as the truce talks dragged on. And many an American soldier who spent long months in those bleak and bloody hills will tell you that the distance from the West to the "Far" East was really no farther than he could shoot a rifle. The Red soldier on the other side of the battle line may be a Chinese "volunteer." His country, and some 450 million of his countrymen, came under the rule of a Com munist dictatorship in 1949-50. On the map a star at Peiping, in northeast China, marks the new Red capital. Conquerors are nothing new to Peiping. As early as the 12th century B.C., when it was the frontier capital of the feudal state of Yen, it was a prize for Tatar invaders. The Great Wall of China, built later to hold back the invaders, passes only 35 miles away. The wall failed in its mission, however, and when Marco Polo reached the city some 23 cen turies later, he found it occupied by a Mongol conqueror, Kublai Khan. City of the Great Khan Kublai rebuilt the city on a magnificent scale and modestly named it Khanbaligh "City of the Great Khan." So awed was Marco Polo by the Khan's vast gold and silver palace that he wrote: "No man on earth could design anything superior to it." Another group of conquerors, the Manchus, settled in Peiping (then called Peking "Northern Capital") in 1644. For the next 250 years this comparative handful of "for eigners" ruled over millions of Chinese. The Manchus, in turn, were overthrown by Chi nese Nationalists in 1911-12. Today Peiping's streets resound to march ing feet of Red troops and parading Com munist Youth groups. Its purple-walled "For bidden City," which housed China's mightiest emperors, is now a park and museum festooned with Communist propaganda posters. The new foreign invaders shuttle by plane between Peiping and Moscow and speak Russian. A star at Taipei, on the island of Formosa, indicates the present headquarters of the Chi nese Republic. More than 8,000,000 people are now crowded on this small island. Two million of these are recent immigrants, chiefly political refugees and Nationalist Chinese soldiers. A dotted red line in the Pacific Ocean east of Formosa encloses the Ryukyu Islands, placed under United States administration by the Japanese peace treaty of 1951. * Copies of the new Map of the Far East are dis tributed as a supplement to the September, 1952, issue of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE. Members may obtain additional copies of this map (and of all standard maps published by The Society) by writing to the National Geographic Society, Washington 6, D. C. Prices in United States and elsewhere, 50<' each on paper; $1 on fabric; Index, 25,. All remittances payable in U. S. funds. Postpaid.