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The Occupation of Korea

An American Soldier’s Experience

During the American Occupation of Korea (September 8, 1945 to August 15, 1948), the United States Army Military Government officially ruled over the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. The Soviet Union (now Russia) had administrative power over the northern half with a oundary line along the 38th parallel separating the two powers.

The Occupation of Korea

An American Soldier’s Experience

Donald L. Stopp

Copyright © 2018 by Donald L. Stopp

Papeback Edition ISBN-13: 978-0-88493-050-1

Library of Congress Control Number: 2018967788

Published by William R. Parks





Deployment, Arrival, and Assignment

Why was the United States occupying Korea?

The People of South Korea

Demonstrations in South Korea

The Russian Factor

Politics in South Korea


The Korean Experience: Pondering Its Effects

Influencing Field of Study at Duke University

Growing Interest in the Cold War


Containing Communist Expansion


Return Visit to South Korea


Donald had the gift of storytelling. I say “gift” because in addition to providing facts, he made them come alive. For example, when I encouraged him to write about his experiences on board the U.S.S. Marine Swallow bound for Seoul, Korea, I not only learned that the projected fourteen-day voyage became twenty-one due to a typhoon, but also how the soap in the bathroom flew from one sink to another and sometimes landed on the floor.

Donald was a natural-born storyteller. Yet, during his lifetime, few people came to this conclusion. Everyone liked his stories, even hung on every word. But whether friends, members of writing groups, or others, they judged his writing on famous literary works. However, Don was really a storyteller, so he simply put his life memoirs down on paper.

The catalyst for his memoir writing began while participating in a writing group he attended one winter in Florida. Its goal was to create literary figures, even giants. Not until Don’s death did I realize that he had been a personalized storyteller. However, many people including his mother and even professors at Duke University had long tried to make him into a literary figure, a master of the King’s English. If only someone had recognized Don as a storyteller instead of trying to make him into something he was not.

Although I had yet to come to this conclusion, I doggedly encouraged his writing. What spurred me on was that everyone, including those who aspired to be published writers, enjoyed his stories so much. The distinction between them and Don was unspoken. They wrote fictional stories; he wrote about his own experiences.

Despite my myopia regarding his writing ability, a few weeks before he died in a fatal automobile accident at the age of eighty-six, he asked me if the likes of it came to pass, would I have his Korean memoir published.

What Don wrote is not the recall of an average youth just out of high school with little appreciation of the world but of a mindset that belied his years. At 18, Don already viewed Communism as an insidious threat to Democracy, or as he put it, a choice between political prison and freedom. Moreover, he was literally immersed in the American Occupation of Korea.

On behalf of Donald L. Stopp, Posthumous

Jacklin B. Stopp, Ph.D. University of Michigan
B.S. Juilliard School of Music
M.M. with Distinction, Indiana University, Bloomington

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