Abbreviated history of communism's brutal expansion throughout the world during the 20th century. For the audience to fully understand the plight of the Vietnamese people, they must understand the concept, origin, rise and worldwide expansion of communism preceding the Vietnam War.
Abbreviated history of Vietnam to 1954. Americans for the most part do not know the true heritage or the culture of Vietnam. Through the media and Hollywood they have a distorted view. People like John Kerry stating that “all the Vietnamese want to do is grow rice” are far from the truth and condescending. We will present the rich and diverse history of Vietnam emphasizing the culture, democratic ideals, and their continual struggle for independence that has existed for more than 1,000 years.
The contrasting economic and political progression between North Vietnam and South Vietnam from 1954 to 1964 including the Geneva Conference and the SEATO Treaty. In 1954 a million or more North Vietnamese fled to the South. The Communists closed their borders and then repeatedly committed brutal purges of their own people resulting in widespread famines. Meanwhile the South began to prosper. Under President Diem, the economy of the South began doing so well that they started to export rice and other products throughout the world. In the late 1950s, the North, with the intention of conquering the South, silently infiltrated the South with communist agents intent on undermining the economy and terrorizing the people. President Diem, repeatedly refused to allow American troops into Vietnam, only wanting American military aid and advisers. After President Diem was assassinated, American ground troops entered the war.
1965 to 1969 – Entry of American Ground Troops into the War including the start of America's Vietnamization Program. American troops led the fight against North Vietnam’s invasion. South Vietnamese troops were armed by the US but only with World War II-issue weapons, while the VC and NVA were equipped with modern weapons by the USSR and China. Also, examined are the effects on troop and civilian morale of a military strategy that only allowed fighting a defensive war against the communist invaders. Being unable to carry the fight into North Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia resulted in a prolonged war that turned into a US occupation, giving the Communists opportunities to infiltrate South Vietnam's military, government, and media. These agents were devastating to the South Vietnamese people. For example, the enemy often knew about military plans before the start of combat operations resulting in failures and unnecessary casualties.
1970 to 1975 – South Vietnam assumes lead in war as American withdraws troops and aid. Paris Peace Accords and broken promises lead to South Vietnam’s defeat. As America pulled back from the war, the full burden fell to South Vietnam as they had to fight not only North Vietnam but also their Chinese and Soviet allies. Highlighted is the 1972 major NVA invasion that resulted in a great South Vietnamese victory. Due to North Vietnam committing nearly all of its military resources to this invasion, the North was left virtually defenseless. This could have been the end of the war if it was followed up by an attack on the North. The tragedy of the Paris Peace Accords and broken promises are also examined.
Post 1975 South Vietnamese life in the aftermath of the war. While South Vietnamese lives were devastated by defeat and the loss of their country, in New York’s Central Park, more than 50,000 people celebrated the communist victory. The media downplayed or ignored the great tragedy of the millions of refugees, the re-education camps and the executions taking place in Vietnam. Through firsthand accounts, the audience will learn of the drastic changes in the South Vietnamese schools, economy and everyday life after the war.
US Media portrayal of the War and South Vietnamese. The reporting of the US Media is closely examined for it's biases and inaccuracies that greatly affected the outcome of the war and the perception of the Vietnamese people. People like John Kerry stating that “all the Vietnamese want to do is grow rice” are far from the truth and condescending.
Today's Vietnamese American Community. We will highlight the successes of the Vietnamese in the USA and showcase their love for America and respect for the Americans who fought with them in the war.
Other highlighted topics:
The other main players. There were more than just three main players in the Vietnam War -- the US, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam. North Vietnam invaded the Republic of Vietnam with consistent help from China, the Soviet Union and other Communist Bloc nations. In the end, it was South Vietnam against the Communist Bloc. South Vietnam lost its support due to the US Congress cutting off all aid, in violation of the Paris Agreement and US Presidents' written promises. On April 30, 1975, it was a Soviet T-54 tank that crushed the gate of South Vietnam’s Independence Palace.
Winning the war. In 1968 & 1972, with American support, South Vietnamese soldiers were able to defeat massive invasions by the North. It was only when the US cut off the material support that it had promised in the 1973 Paris Agreements that the ARVN, out of resources, crumbled against Soviet tanks, Chinese machine guns and heavy artillery, and other Soviet/Chinese resources.
The ARVN inaccurately portrayed by the Western media. The South Vietnamese troops were depicted as incompetent or cowardly, when in fact the ARVN suffered more than 250,000 deaths, 1.2 million wounded, and tens of thousands missing in action. After all US troop had left in 1972, the South, alone, continued to fight against Communist invasion for three more years, until it ran out of ammunition, supplies, and air support in 1975.
The Communist plot. Ho Chi Minh (HCM) and his Vietnamese Communist Party instigated the Second Indochina War and later the invasion of South Vietnam. On March 1946, six months AFTER Vietnam had declared independence from France, HCM went to France, signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau, allowing the French to return to Vietnam and giving the Communists an interval to purge the real Nationalists from their ranks. Bringing back the French provided a motive for the Vietnam War later.
Ho Chi Minh--Stalin’s agent. HCM was not a Vietnamese nationalist, but a communist agent from Moscow. New revelations from the KGB archive show
that he spent at least 10 years being trained under Stalin. On his deathbed, according to Hanoi documents, he asked his nurse to sing a Chinese folk song,
and his last statement was “I’m going to meet my ancestors, Karl Marx and Lenin.”
Geneva Treaty of 1954: A mistaken idea of democratic elections. South Vietnam did not sign the Geneva Treaty in 1954 which divided Vietnam and called for an election in 1956 to reunify the country, and had no obligation to abide by it. Further, in the North, HCM had instituted a terror campaign (Land Reform) which killed hundreds of thousands of people and established a totalitarian regime. This is not a valid foundation for free, fair, and democratic elections, even under “International Supervision.”
North Vietnam’s strategy was terror. North Vietnam indiscriminately shelled civilian homes, used women and children as human shields, placed bombs in restaurants, churches, and even schools, and assassinated South Vietnamese civic and political leaders, including village teachers and mayors. The most obvious evidence of this terrorist strategy was the mass execution of between
5,000 and 50,000 of South Vietnamese civilians in the city of Hue during the North’s short occupation in the Tet Offensive, 1968. During Hanoi’s 1972 Spring Offensive, the NVA shelled and machine-gunned fleeing refugees on Highway I south of the DMZ, killing over one hundred thousand, and branding the highway as “The Avenue of Horror.”
A terrorist was executed. The image of General Loan shooting a “prisoner” on the street during the Tet Offensive was a gross distortion of the truth. The photographer, Eddie Adams, regretted having taken the photo. This was not an ordinary civilian or even a VC POW. He was an Illegal Combatant who just prior to his capture, had murdered half a dozen civilians, including a young mother and her children.