What You Never Learned in School About the Vietnam War


vietnam war

The Vietnam War

Part 1 “Deja Vu”

Directed by Ken Burns and Lyn Novick (2017)

Film Review

Last night Maori TV started a ten-part series on the Vietnam War. The first episode covers the brutal French occupation of Vietnam (1858-1961) and the rise of Ho Chi Minh and General Giap, considered one of greatest military strategists of the 20th century. It was quite alarming to realize that so much I’ve been taught about Vietnam is pure disinformation.

Among other shocking facts I learned about this shameful chapter in US history:

  • The OSS (Office of Strategic Services – precursor to the CIA) dropped a secret team into Vietnam in 1941 to meet with Ho Chi Minh (who was fighting for independence from the French) and provide his men with arms and military equipment.
  • Immediately after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Ho Chi Minh and his followers overpowered French officials to declare independence, with the support of the OSS.
  • As a senator John F Kennedy unconditionally supported Vietnamese independence and self-determination. He later reverse himself as president.
  • Ho Chi Minh repeatedly wrote to Truman requesting US support after French troops re-invaded Vietnam in 1946. The CIA intercepted the letters and never gave them to the President.
  • The line dividing North and South Vietnam, drawn at a 1954 Geneva peace conference, was purely arbitrary. The Vietcong American troops were fighting was actually a South Vietnamese resistance movement against South Vietnamese dictator Ngo Dinh Diem.

This first episode is aptly named “Deja Vu” – this wouldn’t be the last time OSS/CIA- backed “freedom fighters” would go on to bite the US government in the butt.

12 thoughts on “What You Never Learned in School About the Vietnam War

  1. Hi Doc. Ho tried to meet with President Woodrow Wilson in 1918 at Versailles. Wilson had broadly advocated self-determination and Ho was seeking his support for eventual independence of Indo-China from the French. Wilson wouldn’t see him. He was only a cook in a French restaurant. Eventually he did get a hearing – with the Comintern in Moscow.

    Best from Florida.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Dr. Bramhall. For my second novel, I immersed myself in the Vietnam War in order to develop my antagonist, an American nun whose life is shattered by the Vietnam War. The book that most brought home the atrocities of that war was “Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam” by Nick Turse (Picador, 2013). I believe that America still suffers from the wounds of that war.


  3. Pingback: Hawk or Dove? JFK on the Vietnam War | The Most Revolutionary Act

  4. Pingback: The Sanitized Version of the 1968 Global Revolt | The Most Revolutionary Act

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