A Look Back at the Vietnam War 35 Years after fall of Saigon

#2
Excellent shots which I have forwarded to two Ex US forces men I know.
One was Engineers and was involved in a siege, was Besieged for several months, when his unit was on Cambodian Border and the other guy an ex WW II Vet, who was busy building Airfields in Nam.

john
 
#4
Some brilliant pictures there, thanks for the post. The UK did well to stay clear of that mess but I can’t help but think that perhaps Helmand bears a spooky resemblance to some aspects of that conflict.
 
#5
An incredible series of photos there. Thanks for the opportunity to see them.
 
#7
By coincidence, I am currently reading Michael McClears "10,000 day War", and I am at a loss to understand why the US ever got involved in this debacle.

According to McClear, the Kennedy government had ample opportunity to avoid escalation of the situation, as did Lyndon Johnson after him.... it's just that they appear to have simply chosen not to.

It all started in 1946 after the Japanese withdrawal at the end of WW2, and was first fought for independence from French colonialism, and a unified nationalistic Vietnam. Why the Americans got involved at all is really tenuous, but once they were in, they just couldn't seem to find the organisation to pull out.......

What is really really amazing though, is the amount of lying the US government did to the public to avoid the issues the war was raising, and the opposite views held by the CIA, State Department, and Defence Department........ as early as 1962, the CIA were saying the war could never be won.... so why go on for another 13 years ?

At the moment, my sympathies lay with the Viet Cong..... at least they had a legitimate reason for fighting.

I'm no expert on this at all, but from what I know of Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan now, I suspect that the US involvement is just as muddled and secretive. I just hope it doesn't take as long for the combatants to bring it to a conclusion, and avoid unnecessary deaths.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
Made hugely worse by LBJ's 'bombing pause', ignoring MacArthur's dictum that there is no substitute for victory. And indeed his othe rone, 'Never get involved in a land war in Asia'.
 
#9
legs-o-lead said:
By coincidence, I am currently reading Michael McClears "10,000 day War", and I am at a loss to understand why the US ever got involved in this debacle.
I've always been at a loss to understand how the UK managed to stay clear of it all and not get dragged into it somehow.

At the moment, my sympathies lay with the Viet Cong..... at least they had a legitimate reason for fighting.

The "Viet Cong" aren't the freedom fighter type figures that perhaps they would of liked to of appeared. I had always thought that they were made up of Southern Vietnamese who wanted to unite with the red North when actually, the vast majority of them were supposedly from the North, especially after the massive losses of the Tet offensive.

Either way, anyone who takes such a keen interest in executing and "educating" civilians don't get my sympathies.quote]
 
#10
Legs
"Why the Americans got involved at all is really tenuous"

I have read so much on Indo China, that our colonial cousins where terrified that Britain was trying to rebuild the Old Empire.
Brit troops occupied Vietnam prior to handing over to the Frogs, General Gracie's Division ? and I do believe that Truman was determined that UK must not be allowed to kick off a new Empire.
Did he not want Hong Kong handed over to the Fiendish Chinese General Cash my Cheque.

john
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#11
legs-o-lead said:
By coincidence, I am currently reading Michael McClears "10,000 day War", and I am at a loss to understand why the US ever got involved in this debacle.
An honest perspective.....I'm guessing you aren't old enough to have been watching the TV news bulletins from the time......with a very young Martin Bell reporting from Saigon during the Tet offensive in 1968. It was his third major war.

As part of the Open University's module D214 ' America in the 20th C ' the course material included an interview with Robert McNamara, the Secretary for Defense under first Kennedy,then Johnson.

It is well worth hearing what he has to say. LINKY

According to Bob McNamara anyway , with 20/20 hindsight then yes, the U.S made bad decisions......but that, at the time, they believed ABSOLUTELY in the 'domino theory' ....that losing Vietnam might mean losing a host of other countries to Communism such as Malaysia, Indonesia and possibly even India ( and if you think there is no chance of anything remotely Marxist taking root in India just visit Kerala :) )

The chilling moment for me comes when he says ( and I suspect he is absolutely right) that we , the West, came 'within a hair's breadth of nuclear conflict with Soviet Union on not one but SEVERAL occasions in the 60's and early 70's .....the Arab-Israeli War of '67 being just one.......


Since the Vietnam war ended, it is hard to find anyone who WASN'T violently anti-war at the time....well, look at the pictures.......McNamara also makes the unfortunate point that a hell of a lot of Americans were right behind their Government throughout the ten years of the US involvement.....

The Cold War, as played out anything but cold in non-European theatres, doesn't make any sense seen from 35 years later......
 
#12
"domino theory"

The left attempted to take where I live twice in the 70's, 73 & 76.
Two very nasty uprisings put down with Maximum Force by Military Gov of the day.
The students of that era are now having round 3 over here as we speak.
And if you think the Lib con is out of this world then here we have out and out commies financed by the former richest man in the country.

john
 
#13
jonwilly said:
"domino theory"

The left attempted to take where I live twice in the 70's, 73 & 76.
Two very nasty uprisings put down with Maximum Force by Military Gov of the day.
The students of that era are now having round 3 over here as we speak.
And if you think the Lib con is out of this world then here we have out and out commies financed by the former richest man in the country.

john
Oh well, in that case I suppose the Viet Cong drew regular wages from the Bush family. At least that would explain why young George was so eager to spend the war in the States.

Of course it doesn't offer any motive as to why an ultra capitalist would finance communists but no doubt things will eventually become as clear to us as they obviously are to you.
 
#14
Sarcasm is wasted.
If you want to or are even vaguely interested try the Asian Press and Websites.
The BBC is not giving Honest reports, it's all talk about the oppressed farmers by the Ruling Elite.
I don't doubt that some maybe one BBC reporter can speak some Thai, but if you want to understand what is in local newspapers then you need to speak to folk who have lived here for over 40 years and who daily read the local press and can also understand the patois.

john
just a child by local terms, but the info is there and if you'd been polite I would have shown you exactly where.
Bye
 
#15
If you ignore the Aussie prick, please highlight to all on arrse what ails Thailand. Some of these pictures catch you in the throat.
 
#16
jonwilly said:
Legs
"Why the Americans got involved at all is really tenuous"

I have read so much on Indo China, that our colonial cousins where terrified that Britain was trying to rebuild the Old Empire.
Brit troops occupied Vietnam prior to handing over to the Frogs, General Gracie's Division ? and I do believe that Truman was determined that UK must not be allowed to kick off a new Empire.
Did he not want Hong Kong handed over to the Fiendish Chinese General Cash my Cheque.

john
Roosevelt's principle war aim was to recover from the depression using British and French money to get the US arms factories working overtime. Which is why he encouraged them to go to war over Poland, promising support he never had any intention -- or political ability as a President -- to deliver.

Having started a US economic recovery, it was imperative that the Old Empires be destroyed in order to do away with the barriers of imperial preference which restricted American exports to British and French overseas possessions.

And he got what he wanted. That was the price for Lend-Lease, after Britain had been stripped to the bone of every last dollar first to keep it fighting. A financial sacrifice which was never asked of the Russians before they got American aid.

In addition there was a real hatred of Roosevelt for the French.

It was for both economic and personal reasons that Roosevelt encouraged the Japanese to attack the French colonial administration in Indo China in March '45. False intelligence was planted to suggest to the Japs that the Americans were going to launch a massive invasion of Vietnam, aided by the resident French forces.

As the French were being slaughtered, the Americans held the ring to make sure they received no help at all. British aircraft trying to drop arms to the French were shot down by US fighters. And, of course, the Vietnamese who wanted to throw the French out were helped by the Americans.

Which turned out to be another US intelligence cock up. Roosevelt died, and so did Harry Hopkins, the resident Soviet agent of influence in the White House. Truman discovered that Ho Chi Minh was actually -- shock, horror -- a communist and suddenly the Yanks wanted the French back South East Asia to deal with the commies.

Then came the end of the war and the Americans continued to supply the UK with vitally necessary lend-lease assistance for a whole one hundred and ninety two hours after the last shot of the war was fired.

And that, basically was world war II.

There was Churchill, who got screwed by Roosevelt.

There was Roosevelt, who got screwed by Stalin.

And there was De Gaulle, who finished up screwing everybody.
 
#17
To happier days , here is a black and white of british troops in transit at Da Nang in 64, was not a long stay but maybe this answers some questions.
 

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#18
Be a perfect time for the Pattani fedayeen to pay a visit to Bangkok and shoot some yellow shirts, shoot some red shirts, kill some cops and army, shoot some expats and sexpats. Open their second front.
 
#19
wow you sound like a real authority on thai politics,spent a couple of hours in a bar in hat yai have you?? :p
 
#20
At the moment, my sympathies lay with the Viet Cong..... at least they had a legitimate reason for fighting.

The "Viet Cong" aren't the freedom fighter type figures that perhaps they would of liked to of appeared. I had always thought that they were made up of Southern Vietnamese who wanted to unite with the red North when actually, the vast majority of them were supposedly from the North, especially after the massive losses of the Tet offensive.

Either way, anyone who takes such a keen interest in executing and "educating" civilians don't get my sympathies.quote][/quote]

I've just read the bit of the book covering Operation Phoenix and the atrocities perpetrated against the civilian population under the guise of social reform in the countryside. Christ....... my only thought now is that of a total lack of control of covert ground operations by the military/government, and side-lining of the South Vietnamese by the Americans.

In the overall confusion that seems to reign at this time, it is no wonder that the average GI simpy refused to fight.... why risk his life for an unknown cause, in a country that didn't want his help ? No wonder so many of them ended up nuts :( .

Another frightening statisitc is the number of officers who were killed or wounded by their own commands. 83 confirmed murders, over 430 suspected ones, and (I might be wrong here), only 8 convictions. Looked at overall, the figures are insignificant, but as an indicator of the loss of command and control, they speak volumes.

And, no, I am not old enough to have understood the news reports, as I was only 8 years old when Saigon fell, but I can honestly say the sound of a Huey makes my spine tingle and I have no idea why that is, unless it is from a sub-conscious memory ?

I really pity the civilian population more than anyone else.
 

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