Two Hour Video

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A Two Hour Video - Episode 11

This is the beginning of a rough suggested episode 11. Your suggestions are welcome.

NARRATOR: Less than two weeks after the fall of Saigon, the anti-war movement held a “Victory Celebration” in Central Park (May 9, 1970). They were not celebrating the end of the Vietnam War, but the victory of the Communists over the Republic of Vietnam and their own role in what they saw as the defeat of the U.S. and its allies. The Communists did not live up to the moral expectations of the former protestors, so they downplayed the reports coming out of both Vietnam and Cambodia concerning executions and mass murders in both those countries.

Though it is understandable what this War is called the Vietnam War, it is more properly labelled 'The Second Indochina War" (The First being the War between the French and the Viet Minh). To the communists, it had always been a "theater" war, which included Laos and Cambodia, going back to the early 1930's when the Indochina Communist Party was founded. Limiting it, from the U.S. perspective, to a war in and about Vietnam was self-defeating, especially when your opponents did not follow the same rules.

Besides local scores being settled in Vietnam, as elided over by Burns, the resistors and Hoi Chanh's that were summarily executed probably were in the range of 1000,000. Even the dead were not spared, as cemeteries were bulldozed by the victors. In Cambodia, the enemies of the state meriting capital punishment included those wearing eyeglasses on the assumption that the glasses were a symbol of literacy that needed to be exterminated. In the U.S., Gareth Porter was denying the genocide right up through In the ten years after the war, more people died (not from natural causes) in Indochina than had been killed in the war itself.

When the invading North Vietnamese Army came into Saigon they expected to find a populace suffering from starvation and exploitation. Instead they found a comparatively rich and free society. Freedom was evident in the quantifies and varieties of books available in the market, most of which were immediately burned.

The death of the Republic of [South] Vietnam is best viewed in the writings of the “liberators:” When sent south to “bring ‘the light’ to the southern compatriots who [we had been told] had lived in darkness and misery under the oppression of the Americans and their puppets… we went from one shock to another.” First accommodated in the Thien Loi Hotel in Cao Lanh, he could not believe his own eyes: “This was the first time we knew what it was to be in a real hotel, with its [porcelain] wash basin and flushing toilet bowl—a total novelty because in the whole city of Vinh and the whole province of Nghe An, in fact in the whole of North Vietnam at the time, we had nothing but open air septic holes as we needed the ‘human feces’ to fertilize our fields and increase production in accordance with the state initiative launched by General Nguyen Chi Thanh…” “I started to doubt the concept of ‘liberation of the South,’” he concluded. “Then followed the currency exchange campaigns, the offensive against the capitalists, the confiscation of many compatriots’ homes, then the waves after waves of people leaving Vietnam, including student teachers at our university also seeking their freedom abroad. The real meaning of the ‘southern liberation’ started sinking into me and I began to feel ashamed of all the years that I had lived in the blind illusions of a person who, after all, had been seen as an intellectual in society.” Dr. Le Hien Duong, former Chancellor of Dong Thap University [in the South] (There is other similar literature.)

Use some South Vietnamese Music with translated subtitles.

Within six months, the Provisional Government was put out to pasture by its Northern sponsors and an influx of carpetbaggers came in to divest the Southerners of the trinkets they had accumulated. Takeover of “abandoned” property.

A boat full of Vietnamese refugees from Guam repatriated themselves and were immediately arrested.

As the complete disregard for human rights became evident, even some hard core American supporters of the Hanoi regime grew cold feet. Joan Baez took out a full page ad xxxxxxxxxxxx but very few of her former colleagues joined her.

Rural New Economic Zones, human mine detectors,

The Communist Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia was a continuation of their aggression/annexation, rather than a punishment of border infractions. By 19.. There were more Vietnamese living in Cambodia and Laos than there were Cambodians and Lao's. The Lao government was completely controlled by ther Vietnamese advisor. In Cambodia, the Vietnamese puppet, Hang Sen, ruled with an iron fist.

In the U.S., Vietnam veterans that had ETSed from the military had gone back to their homes and were minding their own business and raising families. Meanwhile, Hollywood was glorifying the protestors and caricaturing the Vietnam veterans as deranged killers.

Carter gave amnesty to the draft dodgers. Kerry was reissued his awards.

Veterans going to schools hid their service, while academic departments and municipal governments were taken over by the leftists.

Book publishing supporting “orthodox “views. “Revisionism”

Viet Kieu successful in US, Other sides of the story coming out "Ap Bac," "BG Loan", "Pham Xuan Anh"

POW-MIA Bobby Garwood, Flag, Senate Hearings

Boat People, Chinese being forced out.

Novelist Bao Ninh When it was first published 15 years ago, Ninh's novel, The Sorrow of War, was a revelation. Vietnam had seen its share of war memoirs, but no novelist had dared to write about the brutality of the war, and the lasting damage it inflicted on a generation of Vietnamese. Ninh's main character, a thinly disguised portrait of the author as a young man, enlists in the army at age 17, leaving behind his childhood sweetheart. She takes a train with him to the front, and when a bomb throws him from the car she is gang-raped by his fellow soldiers. A decade after the fighting is over, he passes his days in drunkenness and depression - permanently damaged by the war.

Second Thoughts Movement

McNamara's Follies


Fall of Soviet Union


Expanding Corruption and Human Rights Abuses In SRV

Publication of FRUS

Opening of archives, Hanoi Control of NLF, Chinese, Cuban, even North Korean involvement.

(song in Vietnamese) ANH LA AI (Who are you) By Viet Khang May I ask, who are you? Why arrest me? What have I done wrong? May I ask, who are you? Why beat me without the slightest mercy? May I ask, who are you? To keep me from protesting For love of this country, whose people have endured far too much! May I ask, where are you? Forbidding me from opposing a Chinese invasion May I ask, where are you? Why scold me in the language of my people? Where is your nationalism? Why consciously take orders from China? You will leave a mark to last a thousand years Your hands will be stained with the blood of our people I cannot sit still While Vietnam collapses And my people sink Into a thousand years of eternal darkness I cannot sit still My children and the next generation deserve a future Where will our roots be When Vietnam is no longer in this world?

Mai Khoi (the Lady Gaga of Vietnam) Re-Education Camps and other songs.

Time Line


30 Apr 75

Saigon surrenders.

Apr-Aug 75 Per UC Berkeley demographer, Jacqueline Desbarats' article "Repression in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Executions and Population Relocation," research show an extremely strong probability that at least 65,000 Vietnamese perished as victims of political executions in the eight years after Saigon fell. Desbarats and associate Karl Jackson only counted executions eyewitnessed by refugees in the USA and France to project the rate of killings for the population remaining in Vietnam, and so discarded about two-thirds of the political death reports received, so their figures are likely very conservative. Their death count did not include victims of starvation, disease, exhaustion, suicide or "accident" (injuries sustained in clearing minefields, for example). Nor did they count Vietnamese who inexplicably "disappeared." 2 Jun 75

Official Communist Party newspaper "Saigon Gai Phong" declares that the Southerners must pay their "blood debt" to the revolution. 1975-1985 Within Viet Nam, postwar economic and social problems were severe, and reconstruction proceeded slowly. Efforts to collectivize agriculture and nationalize business aroused hostility in the south. Disappointing harvests and the absorption of resources by the military further retarded Viet Nam's recovery.

1975-1985 A massive exodus from Vietnam began with the change in government; eventually, 2 million people tried to escape. Many braved typhoon-lashed seas only to languish for years in detention camps throughout Southeast Asia. Hong Kong took in many Vietnamese refugees in the 1970s and 1980s. By the mid-1980s, Asia and the rest of the world was suffering from what was dubbed "compassion fatigue" and Hong Kong started trying to force Vietnamese to repatriate, efforts that produced regular riots in the camps.

1976 The first Vietnamese "boat people" come ashore on the northern beaches of Australia after travelling 4,800 km in leaky fishing boats. Over the next decade, tens of thousands of Vietnamese will flee Vietnam as boat people.

1976 South Vietnam and North Vietnam are united in a new Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

9 Sep 76 Chinese leader Mao Zedong dies.

1976 In China, the Deng-era's Four Modernizations program stressed a need for improvement in agriculture, industry, science and defense. Part of this was introducing the responsibility system for family farm plots, where government got some of what the family produced but the family kept rest.

20 Sep 77 Viet Nam admitted to United Nations.

1978 Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Dong declared that a million people who had "collaborated with the enemy" (about 7% of the South Vietnamese population) had been returned to civilian life from reeducation camps and jail.


Border tension with the Communist government in Cambodia escalated rapidly after the fall of Saigon, and tension remained high throughout the Pol Pot regime's forced relocation and mass murders of their population.

21 Dec 78 The Vietnamese PAVN forces invade Cambodia and install a pro-Vietnamese government. They will remain for 12 years, with the last Vietnamese troops leaving Cambodia in 1990.

CHINA INVADES VIETNAM 17 Feb 79 China launches invasion of Viet Nam; Chinese suffer approximately 50,000 casualties.

5 Mar 79

Chinese forces withdraw from Viet Nam under a United Nations-brokered agreement. Note: With the Chinese withdrawal from Viet Nam, General Vo Nguyen Giap has defeated the Japanese, the French, the Americans, the Cambodians, and the Chinese. Now somewhat out of favor with the government, he has recently been in charge of family planning. Birth control is treated as another form of warfare.

SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM STUMBLES ALONG mid-1980s Vietnam maintains about 140,000 Vietnamese troops in Cambodia and another 50,000 troops in Laos.

As in other communist countries, corruption hinders reforms.


Doi Moi, "New Openness", declared. Free market economy begins. Greater personal freedom. 1991

Cold War ends with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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