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Friend or Foe

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Anchor: For many years before the war, the country had been under Japanese colonial rule but Korea was one, united. Differences in ideology had been born after the country's division but there is essentially no physical difference between a North Korean and a South Korean. As you may imagine, this makes things especially difficult and dangerous for foreign combatants who can hardly tell the difference between friend and foe.

Marcel Joanisse: There were a lot of young Koreans who helped soldiers.
(Photo of two Korean children smiling in front of a military tent)

Arthur St-Pierre: And it was all young people—14- or 15-year-olds or even younger.
(Photo of a Korean child smiling in front of a military camp)

Robert Donald Dunham: We had Korean houseboy look after our tent all the while we were there pretty well. His family was down in Seoul. We all paid him a little bit every week. He'd take his money and go home and look after his family.
(Photo of a Korean child sitting on the hood of a military jeep with two soldiers during winter)

Yvan Paquin: I think they gave them, I don't know how many Wons… A couple of bucks a day. A buck a day for them was total euphoria, so they clamoured to work for us.

Arthur St-Pierre: They did our laundry...

Yvan Paquin: Dug holes in the back, carried in rations and brought jerry cans of water.

Marcel Joanisse: I had a Korean, but he was killed while he was with me, unfortunately. He was a young guy, about 15 or 16 years old. He was being fed by the Army, and he was the one who carried the roll of wire.

Yvan Paquin: We didn't overload them with work. We asked them to do what they could under the circumstances, and they did it well.
(Photo of four Koreans digging a ditch on the side of a road, under the supervision of a soldier)

Arthur St-Pierre: It was good for them, because they got food. It may not look like much, but food was already a lot.

Yvan Paquin: That's how a few illegals who worked against us might have slipped in. There were some plans we made that the enemy had been warned about, and we assumed it wasn't our guys who told them.

William Kane: When you'd see somebody who was old enough to be in the army or in something connected with the army, but he wasn't, you'd wonder why. You'd wonder why he wasn't engaged in something to support the effort? He immediately became a suspect, even if he was a refugee. The others, what they called "line crossers". These were the people who could do us harm. They crossed the lines as refugees and then they were in a position to send information to the other side.
(Footage of a Korean walking near a wharf, carrying a load attached to a wooden pole sitting on his shoulders)
(Footage of Korean teenagers wearing North American-style pants and shirts. On the side, two female teenagers wear kimonos)
(Footage of a Korean carrying a heavy load on his back)

Gerald Edward Gowing: If you're North Korean, South Korean, there's no difference in them. Some of the South Koreans, what we thought was South Koreans, were soldiers by, farmers by day, soldiers by night, but they were North Koreans. You're walking up the road. All of a sudden a guy bend over and ‘pfft'!
(Photo of Koreans walking in a rice paddy, carrying bags on their heads or shoulders)

Edward Patrick Taylor: The way I looked and the rest of us looked at it you couldn't very well trust any of them, because the enemy used to walk through the villages dressed the same as the people down the village or from the hillside and stuff like that, so you just had to be careful because you didn't know who was the enemy or who was the friend, see, is the whole thing.
(Footage of Koreans walking in a muddy river bed)
(Footage of Koreans standing near metal barrels in a village)


Did you know ...

Human waste was the most common fertilizer on the rice paddies in Korea.

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