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Kim Il Sung (right click, view image to see actual photo)

Kim Il Sung
AKA Kim Sung Chu

Born: 15-Apr-1912
In print, the North Koreans refer to dates using a calendar beginning with Kim Il Sung's birth.
Birthplace: Mangyondae, Korea
Died: 8-Jul-1994
Location of death: Pyongyang, North Korea
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Kumsusan Palace, Pyongyang, North Korea

Kim Il Sung led a guerrilla force against the Japanese in Manchuria during World War II, being defeated and driven to Siberia by 1941, where he was trained as a communist espionage agent by the Red army. Russia returned him to Korea in 1945 as head of the provisional government, and he became premier of the newly-formed Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 1948.

His obsession with reunification of all Korea led to his convincing Stalin to supply him with arms sufficient to invade South Korea in June, 1950. Initially successful, his armies were stopped by UN forces at the Pusan Perimeter, and totally crushed when the US trapped them with the invasion of Inchon. To prevent a Western power controlling part of its borders, China intervened, and drove the UN forces back. Kim survived the war which was vicious and brutal in the extreme and remained Premier until his death in 1994.

North Korea never admitted that China's intervention prevented total destruction of its military capacity, and today North Korea possesses nuclear weapons and is a constant menace to world peace.

The above is one of Mossman's "Ebb and Flow" illustrations, which primarily show small unit military operations during the Korean War from late November 1950 to early July 1951, a period in which battle lines did indeed ebb and flow in pronounced surges.

For US fighting forces in Korea, 1950 was a year of tragedy, brilliant triumph, entrapment, and defeat.

1951 had its full share of all these, but was most marked by our fighting forces' steady growth of competence, and a grim resolution.

Our major adversary, the Chinese army, had proven themselves in their Civil war, winning one of the most decisive victories in history at the Battle of Huai-Hai. They were well and courageously led at the small unit level, thoroughly disciplined, resolute and opportunistic. Using a support nightmare of miscellaneous armament, in spite of UN superiority in air and communications, they fought effectively. In Korea, belatedly, they earned the respect of the world, as well as our own armed forces.

And yet, man for man, we met them, fought them to a standstill, and South Korea is free today, because of the valor of men like those in these photos.

Today, as we stand down from Iraq and Afghanistan, we face the same decisions in Political Leadership and Military Intelligence that we failed to solve after WWII, thus leading to the tragedy of Korea.

In its coverage of combat operations, Mossman's book falls in the series between Roy E. Appleman: South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu and Walter G. Hermes: Truce Tent and Fighting Front. The photos themselves fully succeed in meeting the author's objective of displaying the gallantry, suffering, and achievements of individual American fighting men in combat.

As I grow old I feel great pride in remembering that they were my comrades in arms.

Causes of the Korean Tragedy ... Failure of Leadership, Intelligence and Preparation

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