Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vietnam History Part 5: Vietnam War

Actually I wanted to leave blog on Vietnam and start another topic in my blog; but Vietnam without Vietnam War is not complete, the war may be an ugly history, but we cannot forget the past and Vietnam War has important role in the history of mankind, the cold war era where the political decision of the two global giants(America & Russia), adversely affected the life of many people in the world.

The fear of Domino Theory that if the communist in Vietnam was not stopped, the communists will spread to other part of Asia, the non-communist countries like Australia, New Zealand, and other countries joined in. China joined in to support its close neighbor. It was the war of doctrine, and the war nobody want.

After the Vietnam War was over, South Vietnam reunify with North Vietnam; the nation who had suffered much from the wars, should have valued the value of peace and start to rebuild the nation. It was not the story, Vietnam invaded Cambodia, its neighbor and fellow communist country. Suddenly, the fear of Domino Theory arise again, is it the theory that went true?

Why Vietnam did not build up its nation, as what they are fighting for for so many years for the benefits of the people?

The ugly politic raised its head, be it communist or capitalist; neither work for people, it is just in their doctrine and theory; people do no want the doctrine, the reality is people want to live their life peacefully, not war......but politician did not listen. The independence, the liberation, the revolution, better life, better future; is just a is all politic and politician, and their power crazy heart, and life become worst after the war. Then start the outflow of refugee of boat people, many people leaving the country, the country which had won the war. Why?

Vietnam War is ugly war in history; the innocent lives of young soldiers, ordinary people, ......not worth a single cent in the smart politician's eyes. History proved that they are all wrong, Deng has one famous saying," No matter what color is the cat, as long it can caught rat, it is a good cat". Neither parties at Vietnam War was a good cat......because the people suffered, even after the war was over.......

The best judge for the politician is, is your people happy?.....people from both North and South Vietnam were suffering, but there was a difference; North Vietnam was fighting for liberation of their southern brothers; South Vietnam had nothing but the theoretical Domino Theory to stop the communist's advances. Finally, North Vietnam won, as they have the aspiration of Vietnamese to unify the motherland.

Another war within the country commenced after the end of Vietnam War, the war was even more ugly; the war was against its own people, and its neighbor......

The ugly war, the ugly politic, and sad history.......but we need to remember and not forget the history, and to avoid the history repeat again.... Do not believe totally what politician said, they are not god, and always have personal hidden agenda ; not for the people but for himself alone.....

The Battle of Dien Bien Phu

The Battle of Dien Bien Phu marked the end of French involvement in Indochina. The Viet Minh and their mercurial commander Vo Nguyen Giap handed the French a stunning military defeat, and on 7 May 1954, the French Union garrison surrendered. At the Geneva Conference the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh. Independence was granted to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Vietnam was temporarily partitioned at the 17th parallel, and under the terms of the Geneva Convention, civilians were to be given the opportunity to freely move between the two provisional states. Elections throughout the country were to be held, according to the Geneva accords, but were blocked by the South Vietnamese president, who feared a communist victory. Around one million northerners, mainly Catholics, fled south, fearing persecution by the communists, following an American propaganda campaign using slogans such as, "The Virgin Mary is heading south",and aided by a U.S. funded $93 million relocation program, which included ferrying refugees with the Seventh Fleet. It is estimated that as many as two million more would have left had they not been stopped by the Viet Minh.

In the north, the Viet Minh established a socialist state—the Democratic Republic of Vietnam—and engaged in a drastic land reform program in which an estimated eight thousand perceived "class enemies" were executed.

In the south a non-communist state was established under the Emperor Bao Dai, a former puppet of the French and the Japanese. Ngô Đình Diệm became his prime minister. In addition to the Catholics flowing south, up to 130,000 ‘Revolutionary Regroupees’, went north for "regroupment" expecting to return to the South within 2 years. The Viet Minh left roughly 5,000 to 10,000 cadres in South Vietnam as a "politico-military substructure within the object of its irredentism." The last French soldiers left Vietnam in April 1956. The PRC completed their withdrawal from North Vietnam at around the same time

Diem era, 1955–1963

The Geneva Accords, concluded between France and the Viet Minh in 1954, partitioned Vietnam pending national elections (under international supervision) to be held by 20 July 1956. Much as in Korea, the agreement stipulated that the two military zones were to be separated by a temporary demarcation line (known as the Demilitarized Zone or DMZ). In June 1955, Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem of the State of Vietnam (South Vietnam) announced that elections would not be held. South Vietnam had rejected the agreement from the beginning and was therefore not bound by it, he said. "How can we expect 'free elections' to be held in the Communist North?" Diem asked. President Dwight D. Eisenhower echoed senior U.S. experts when he wrote that, in 1954, "80 per cent of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh" over Emperor Bao Dai.

The Domino Theory, which argued that if one country fell to communist forces, then all of the surrounding countries would follow, was first proposed as policy by the Eisenhower administration. It was, and is still, commonly hypothesized that it applied to Vietnam. John F. Kennedy, then a U.S. senator, said in a speech to the American Friends of Vietnam: "Burma, Thailand, India, Japan, the Philippines and obviously Laos and Cambodia are among those whose security would be threatened if the Red Tide of Communism overflowed into Vietnam."

On 26 October 1955, Diem declared the new Republic of Vietnam, with himself as president.

In January 1959, the North's Central Committee issued a secret resolution authorizing an "armed struggle". This authorized the southern communists to begin large-scale operations against the South Vietnamese military. North Vietnam supplied troops and supplies in earnest, and the infiltration of men and weapons from the north began along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In May, South Vietnam enacted Law 10/59, which made political violence punishable by death and property confiscation. According to a November 1960 report by the head of the US military advisory team, Lieutenant General Lionel C. McGarr, a "significant part" of the population in the south supported the communists.

Diem was latter shot and killed in the 1963 coup supported by CIA.

The Vietnam War, 1959-1975
The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, was a Cold War military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from September 26, 1959 to April 30, 1975. The war was fought between the communist North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of South Vietnam, supported by the United States and other anti-communist nations.

The Viet Cong, a lightly armed South Vietnamese communist-controlled common front, largely fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in the region. The North Vietnamese Army engaged in a more conventional war, at times committing large units into battle. U.S. and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery and air-strikes.

The United States entered the war to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam as part of their wider strategy of containment. Military advisers arrived beginning in 1950. U.S. involvement escalated in the early 1960s, with U.S. troop levels tripling in 1961 and tripling again in 1962. U.S. combat units were deployed beginning in 1965. Operations spanned borders, with Laos and Cambodia heavily bombed. Involvement peaked in 1968 at the time of the Tet Offensive. After this, U.S. ground forces were withdrawn as part of a policy called Vietnamization. Despite the Paris Peace Accords, signed by all parties in January 1973, fighting continued.

The Case-Church Amendment, passed by the U.S. Congress in response to the anti-war movement, prohibited direct U.S. military involvement after August 15, 1973. U.S. military and economic aid continued until 1975. The capture of Saigon by North Vietnamese army in April 1975 marked the end of Vietnam War. North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year.

(source: ttp://

Danang - Da Nang was the landing point of both the French and the Americans during their stints in Vietnam. When the French established a garrison in Da Nang (then called Tourane), more soldiers died from disease than the associated fighting in establishing the garrison.

There is now a small cemetery dedicated to them.During the Vietnam War, Da Nang was the home to one fifth of all US servicemen based in Vietnam. This made Da Nang on of the heaviest defended cities in South Vietnam, yet it eventually fell to the North Vietnamese in 1975 with hardly a bullet fired. Da Nang, the place where U.S. boots first landed in 1965 to pump up the ground war against the communists. The biggest military complex in central Vietnam, where ships pulled into port unloading troops and ammo, while bombers roared into the sky on missions over Hanoi.

Da Nang Air Base (1958–1975) was a Republic of Vietnam Air Force (VNAF) facility. The United States used it as a major base during the Vietnam War (1959–1975), stationing Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine units there. The APO for Da Nang Air Base was APO San Francisco. Both the US and Vietnamese Air Force used the air base there. It was headquarters for the Third Marine Amphibious Force, the Force Logistics Command and had a MACV compound. During the war the area in and around DaNang was heavily militarized and was the center of operations for the I Corps military region..

Nearby was China Beach, the legendary rest and relaxation paradise, where war-weary GIs got a chance to recuperate and party on the white sandy beaches.

The final U.S. ground combat operations in Vietnam ceased on 13 August 1972, when a residual force of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade stood down in Đà Nẵng. B Battery 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment fired the final U.S. artillery round and the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment finished their final patrols. This residual force was known as "Operation Gimlet".

Video uploaded: The arrival of American ground troops in the province of Da Nang in 1965 to counter heavy guerilla activity.

Video uploaded: The landing at Danang

The battle of Hue in 1968 under Tet Offensive

The Massacre at Huế (Thảm sát tại Huế Tết Mậu Thân) is the name given to describe the summary executions and mass killings conducted by the Viet Cong and North Vietnam during their capture, occupation and later withdrawal from the city of Huế during the Tet Offensive, considered one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.

The Battle for Hue, Tet 1968 was the attack on the old Imperial capital of Hue by forces of the North Vietnamese Army and South Vietnamese insurgents of the National Liberation Front during the Tet Offensive. The Communist forces hoped a popular uprising by the “oppressed” people in South Vietnam would lead to a general uprising and overthrow of the “puppet” regime supported by the United States. The city of Hue was the only city to be completely occupied by the communist forces during the massive offensive, and was the scene of violent and close-quarter fighting that waged for nearly a month, from January 31st to February 25th, 1968. The general uprising never occurred, and in fact the communist’s disappointment led to atrocities when they massacred hundreds of “collaborators” after they took control. The fighting to retake control of the city and oust the NVA and VC devastated the city and ImperialPalace, symbolizing the tragic and confused nature of the war.

The battle of Hue was very different from any of the battles waged in the Vietnam War to that point. The NVA and NLF came out to directly confront their opponents in a conventional slug-fest that they hoped would presage a general uprising, and lead to the downfall of the Saigon “puppet regime”. Fought in an urban landscape, the battle quickly devolved into a Stalingrad-like affair that ground-down the Communist forces. The Communist atrocities that followed from the round-up and arrests of thousands of “collaborators” were matched by the nearly wholesale destruction of the once-beautiful city and symbol of Vietnamese nationalism. Neither side came away from this fight as winners, especially the unfortunate civilians who called Hue their home.(

"What happened in Hue, physically, can be described with a few quick statistics. A Communist force which eventually reached 12,000 invaded the city the night of the new moon marking the new lunar year, January 30, 1968. It stayed for 26 days and then was driven out by military action. In the wake of this Tet offensive, 5,800 Hue civilians were dead or missing (estimate). It is now known that most of them are dead. The bodies of most have since been found in single and mass graves throughout Thua Thien Province which surrounds this cultural capital of Vietnam."

The Viet Cong attacked the South on the most sacred days (Tet, Vietnamese New Year) of Vietnamese culture breaking the "Tet ceasefire agreement".

Note: Background Music:
Hat Tren Nhung Xac Nguoi (Singing above The Dead Bodies) Written by the best Vietnamese songwriter, musician Trinh Cong Son who was a native of Hue. He wrote this song in 1968 to commemorate the victims of the Hue Massacre and to raise awareness of the brutality of war.

On April 30, 1975, the city came under the control of the Vietnamese People's Army. In the U.S., this event is commonly called the “Fall of Saigon,” while the communist Socialist Republic of Vietnam call it the “Liberation of Saigon.” The fall of Saigon marked the end of the Vietnam War.

The fall of Saigon

Related websites:
2. The fall of Saigon,
3. Massacre at Hue,
4. The Vietnam War, wikipedia
5. The National Vietnam War Museum,
6. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall USA,
7. Vietnam Veterans Memorial National Memoria, National Mall and Memorial Parks

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