When box-jawed U.S. Lieut. General John Hodge moved his occupation troops into Korea in 1945 his program was: clean up the Japs; set up a free government; get out. Hodge's Soviet opposite number, Colonel General Ivan Chistyakov, whose forces held Korea north of the 38th parallel, had different orders: set up a Communist police state; build up a powerful native army; then get out.

While Hodge struggled to form 200 backbiting parties into some kind of stable government, the Reds built up a loyal, well-trained army of at least 150,000, many of them Korean refugees who had served in the...

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