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Dispatches: 35th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon

Originally published by Vietnam magazine. Published Online: July 30, 2010 
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3 Responses to “Dispatches: 35th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon”


  1. 1
    Richard Adams says:

    The 'victory' was no real victory for the 1 million civilian (including communists) disillusioned by what transpired from a ruthless communist government that terrorised the newly unified nation. Thousands of southerners accused of doing business or serving in the southern army were herded into 'reeducation camps' for countless years where most would die. A nation united in communism, the workers party, that saw land taken over by the State. The consquence of which was to see millions to starve to death. The Vietnames have nothing the cellebrate from takeover by the socialist northern thugs that stripped bare all the lavish hotel fitting in the south after that tank broke dwon the Independance Palace gates. Vietnam only came out of its quagmire on the fall of the Berlin wall. Only when the commo government liberalised its dogma and its hold on the populace in 1990 did the country progress to where it is today. From 1975 to 1989 the country can backwards. Don't pamper to their BS.

  2. 2
    Sol Binzer says:

    Story on anniversary of the fall of Saigon was interesting. Will be looking forward to film from the Vietnam War as programs progress in particular those from 1965-66 when I was adviser in Pleiku.
    Sol Binzer, former Captain, US Army, USMACV, Operations Adviser, Pleiku Sector Advisory Team, Pleiku, RVN, 1965-66.
    Lexington, Kentucky.

  3. 3
    John says:

    You should know that all “facts” (not opinions) point to us winning the Vietnam War. The popular notion that we lost the war is a myth. The more you tell a lie the more it becomes the truth. We have been beating ourselves up with guilt for over 30 years based upon deception, lies and myths.

    The Democratic and Republican administrations along with Congress during those years prevented the US military to fight the war as it should have. Our troops had these ludicrous “rules of engagement” and the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) had none. Militarily, our men were severely restrained. However they still accomplished all objectives and forced North Vietnam to admit defeat and sign the peace agreement.

    At that time our government was afraid if we were too aggressive that China would send troops against us, as in Korea. A little research would have proven this was not going to occur. China admitted this to be true after the war. The memories of us decimating them in the Korean War were still fresh in their minds.

    North Vietnam knew they could not defeat the US. They developed one of the world’s largest propaganda organizations (Dich Van) to defeat us psychologically. They successfully divided us by pitting the US population (especially naive college students) against our politicians and soldiers. The news media played into their hands without researching facts or sources. The public was “suckered” by the repeated disinformation from North Vietnam along with Communist and other dubious sources from within our nation. For some reason our government was not able or prepared to adequately counter this form of warfare.

    By their own estimates we killed 1.2 million of their soldiers-far more than we estimated. Can you imagine the length of their war memorial wall? It became obvious that men were going to war and never returning and families not notified. It was later shown that the NVA had a tremendous desertion problem and men doing all possible not to be drafted. The young men had a saying, “Born in the North to die in the South”.

    There was increasing unrest within North Vietnam because they had no access to the factual progress of the war. As in all Communist governments, they had no freedom of speech or press and they still do not.

    CBS “60 Minutes” verified during and after the war, the North Vietnamese government secretly hid the badly wounded soldiers from their families and the public because of the enormous casualty rate. I do not know how long this disturbing policy was in effect.

    Throughout the war the North Vietnamese government had a detailed and systematic plan to execute and murder South Vietnamese citizens they deemed as threats. Also, Ho Chi Minh was absolutely vicious to the people in the North. R.J. Rummell estimates that from 1957 to 1975 the North Vietnamese government executed around 50,000 North Vietnamese civilians (most were executed by 1960). Source: R.J. Rummell (1997). "Vietnam Democide: Estimates, Sources & Calculations".

    North Vietnam’s brutality did not stop at the war’s end. An estimated 95,000 South Vietnamese civilians died in the communist “re-education” camps, another 500,000 were involved in forced labor projects, which killed 48,000 civilians. Another 100,000 were executed. Finally, 400,000 people died while trying to flee Vietnam. This does not include the unknown fate of thousands of indigent people enslaved for laborious work on the Ho Chi Minh trail throughout the war.

    In 1972 Nixon finally gave permission to the air force to conduct military bombing their way. This should have been done years earlier.

    In a matter of days the effect was so devastating that there literally were no more targets left to destroy in NV. All SAM sites destroyed and their entire missile supply depleted. The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) did not dare make any movements. The civilians in Hanoi believed they were defeated, began hanging and waving white flags at U.S. planes. The NV politicians were so frightened that they quickly contacted the U.S. and signed the peace treaty.

    North Vietnam signed the peace treaty January 27, 1973. The last American troops left South Vietnam March 29, 1973. Two years later North Vietnam violated the peace treaty, invaded and defeated South Vietnam in 1975. This had nothing to do with us. The USA was long gone by then.

    Regarding the embassy evacuation; this occurred in 1975, more than two years after all of our troops were gone. The embassy scene was “the perception of defeat”. Perceptions do not make truth. The U.S. only had an embassy in South Vietnam (SV) after the war like any other country. It was staffed with the normal “handful” of Marines. The news media falsely connected this scene to the loss of the war. This event occurred more than two years after all of our military was gone and had nothing to do with the war that we had won.

    Yes, panicked South Vietnamese wanted to leave, knowing the fate that may await them. Actually, the NVA were under orders to halt all further advance into Saigon until the evacuation was complete. They had not forgotten the military might of the U.S. that nearly destroyed them during the war. They also knew our naval force was close and that the carrier alone had enough power to defeat them.

    Our mistake was that we left South Vietnam after we overwhelmingly defeated North Vietnam. We stayed in Germany, Japan and South Korea. We left South Vietnam because of public sentiment based upon pseudo information. Which of these countries are better off? Which of these governments and countries would you now choose to live in?

    There are a few books written well after the war, but I believe “Unheralded Victory” by Mark W. Woodruff is easiest to learn what really happened in Vietnam. This eye opening book was written in 1999. The book's data and sources come from American and Vietnamese well after the conflict to erase emotions and patriotism. Alibris.com has used ones available for very little cost.

    My guess is that once you read this book, you will be in awe of the veterans accomplishments, despite having to endure all the restrictions and ill-placed public negativity.

    In general, our nation and veterans have nothing to be ashamed of regarding our participation in the Vietnam War.



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