The man on all sides of the WWII: Yang Kyoungjong
Soldiers fight for their country and to uphold patriotic ideals, for better or for worse. However, when they turn their back and fight for the other side, they are often branded as traitors. But in the case of Korean soldier Yang Kyoungjong, history once again proved that many things are not black and white. Yang may have been a soldier, but from the beginning, he was forced to defend the interest of the enemy. He fought under at least three different flags by the time World War II was over.
Fighting for Japan
Yang Kyoungjong was forced to enlist into the Japanese army when he was only eighteen years old. Not by choice either — he was left to obey. Korea was under Japanese rule during that time. He fought bravely under the Japanese flag for about a year. But then, he was captured and imprisoned by the Soviet Union.
Fighting for the Soviet Union
The Soviet Union army found themselves in the middle of a serious manpower shortage as they fought Nazi Germany in 1942. To address the situation, the Red Army forced thousands of prisoners to join their ranks and fight the Nazis. Yang found himself on the battlefield once again, this time fighting under the Soviet Flag. This stint did not last long, however. Yang was eventually captured by the Germans.
Fighting for Germany
In 1943, Yang was captured by Wehrmacht soldiers in eastern Ukraine during the Third Battle of Kharkov. As fate would have it, Yang was fighting for the German side by 1944. He was sent to then-occupied France to serve in a battalion of former Soviet prisoners of war on the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy near the Utah Beach.
Yang was eventually captured by paratroopers of the United States and sent to a prison camp in Britain and then in the US. At the end of WWII, he was released by the US Army and lived permanently in the United States until his death in 1992. His unbelievable story of survival caught worldwide attention.