Military Review

Vietnam War: and the boys are bloody in the eyes

The filming and editing of the new 17-hour documentary “The War in Vietnam, filmed by Americans Ken Burns and Lynn Novik, took more than ten years. The tape included an amazing amount of rare archival films and photographic materials, most of which will be new, even for those who are already well acquainted with this subject.

Vietnam War: and the boys are bloody in the eyes

This new documentary is strikingly different from most previous ones in that the North Vietnamese is finally put on a par stories with the Americans. This contrasts sharply with such high-profile Hollywood films as Apocalypse Now (1979) and All-Metal Sheath (1987), where the emphasis is clearly on Americans. During the war, the United States lost 58 318 people, but over thirty years of struggle, three million Vietnamese troops and civilians were killed.

The film does not begin with the beginning of direct US military intervention in 1960, but with events after the end of the Second World War. The French sought to restore power in Indochina (as the region was called, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and other adjacent countries) after the defeat of the Japanese, who took direct control of Vietnam in 1945 after the fall of the Vichy regime in Saigon itself.

Indochina was under French colonial rule from 1883, and now they wanted to return to pre-war status, starting in Vietnam. The Viet Ming communist forces, located in the North, led by Ho Chi Minh, fought the Japanese and believed that the West would maintain independence from colonial rule.

The United States was hostile to the attempts of the French to restore their colonial position in Vietnam, but were inactive. In September 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared that Vietnam was now an independent country and that colonial rule had ceased. Nevertheless, the French and British troops quickly agreed on joint actions in the interests of the French.

For the next nine years, there will be a bloody civil war between the French in the south and the Viet Mints in the north of the country. Like many colonial powers, the French believed that their military superiority would be an important factor in maintaining power and defeating the rebels.

In the spring of 1954, the French forces are smiling confidently at the battle of Dien Bienfu and do not know that they are being lured into an obvious trap, where they will be surrounded and cut off. After a two-month siege, the remnants of the French troops surrender, being completely demoralized.

A devastating defeat at Dien-Bien-Fu would be a key factor in the resignation of the French government and would be the pretext for the growing independence movement of Algeria, a bloody struggle that the French will take over the next few years.

The 1954 Geneva Accords marked the official end of France’s participation in the Indochina war. Vietnam was divided into two states: the North under Ho Chi Minh and the South under the technical rule of the old emperor, based in Saigon.

The understanding was that after a short period free elections would be held in South Vietnam, and everyone is waiting for Ho Chi Minh to win these elections and reunite the country. However, the puppet regime of Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Ziema, who used a rigged referendum to get power in 1955, immediately canceled the elections, and Ngo Dinh Ziem became the first president of South Vietnam.

In fact, the French were replaced by ruthless and corrupt agents of the US administration, who now wanted to use Vietnam to prevent the Domino effect: a process where one country after another in the region takes the socialist path of development.

The regime of Ngo Dinh Siena was brutal in carrying out repression not only against the Communists, but also against anyone who could be a threat, including Buddhists. Images of Buddhist monks, illuminating themselves in protest, were known throughout the world.

By 1963, the United States was morally tired of Ngo Din S'em, who had become useless to them. According to one version, the Americans supported the military coup of November 1. A few hours later, the arrested puppet president was shot dead by the military.

The United States, often sacrificing its own people, deeper and deeper into sending more and more troops to Vietnam to fight the North Vietnamese insurgency led by the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam created in 1960, the United States began by sending several so-called "advisers" to support the South Vietnamese forces However, in the end, the Americans sent thousands and thousands of new soldiers every month.

It is impossible to defeat the enemy in battle without obvious winning and understood goals.

One interviewee in the documentary describes a long bloody battle to take the hill, and many American soldiers are killed, but then they all quickly leave there. He notes that he suspects that since then no American has set foot on this hill.

The military project was widely viewed as targeting poor people, while the rich could always find ways to avoid it. One of the characters in the film talks about how, after he was called, he first met with Afro - and Hispanics and soon realized that they all had two similarities: they belonged to the working class, and they were poor.

The war was photographed and filmed by journalists, and then shown on television every night. No war has ever been covered in the media like this one. Most of the frames that we have seen are painful and sometimes incomprehensible for the cruelty of what is happening. It is not surprising that in future conflicts such enormous efforts will be made to limit and control media coverage; This was one of the lessons that the armed forces were able to draw from the Vietnam War.

Over time, the war provoked huge opposition movements within American universities (and around the world), as well as in the black ghettos of the main cities of America, from where the main part of draftees were called up for military service. Millions of previously indifferent to many people were politicized.

One of the vivid scenes of the film shows that veterans of the Vietnam War in the United States are marching in an organized manner in Washington against the war and approach the White House, fenced off by order of Nixon, to stop their further advancement. Soldiers begin to throw medals for the fence. One soldier indicates that he has some of the most honorable awards that can be given in an armed conflict, but calling the names of his dead comrades and saying that these medals mean nothing to them now, he also throws them behind the fence.

The anti-war movement is becoming an important factor in expressing wider dissatisfaction with the system, which is beginning to appear in the US and internationally.

Time and again, the US government deliberately kept things from the general public and even from Congress. Mass bombings were conducted illegally, both in Vietnam and in Cambodia.

When Nixon discovered that many of the secrets about the war were to appear in the press in the form of published excerpts from a leaked copy of the so-called “Pentagon papers”, a secret Ministry of Defense analysis of the entire history of the conflict, the president tried to send a special command to destroy part of the documents. The Nixon audio recording included in the film is still shocking, despite the fact that it will happen shortly after the 17 break on June 1972, at the DNC offices at the Watergate Hotel in Washington.

The film emphasizes that high-ranking politicians, including all presidents, from Kennedy to Johnson and Nixon, knew that they could not win the war, and the task was simply to find a way out with honor Commanders recognized that the ground war was hopeless and came down to the demand of an increasing number of bombings, killing soldiers and civilians. Some even demanded the use of thermonuclear weapons. They all hoped that the enormous losses of the North Vietnamese would force them to negotiate a truce. But the forces of North Vietnam went to complete victory, no matter what.

Finally, Nixon was forced to withdraw all American troops. He promised Saigon that the United States would act if the North invaded the South. When this happened in 1975, the US did nothing except rush the evacuation of its employees from the country.

The documentary has a strong climax from contemporary interviews with those who were involved in the war on both sides.

The mother of a young man who went to war in Vietnam describes her fear when she hears the sound of a car that looms and stops, in case representatives of the army come to tell her that her son is dead. Another person who has returned to the United States, who has completed his life, describes how he sat in his chair with a gun in his hand, trying to decide which way to beat his brains out because he could not live with what had happened. A North Vietnamese veteran describes how he could accept the death of his brother.

One area that the documentary does not pay enough attention to is the impact that the defeat of the United States subsequently had on America. For years, America struggled to accept the fact that they were defeated, and everyone knew it.

The documentary is trying to suggest that, in retrospect, both sides could see that the war was a “terrible tragedy” and a “huge waste” for which both must take responsibility. This is not true. The blame for the brutal conflict lies solely with the imperialists, first France and then the United States.

In 1980, the US tried to rewrite history so that the Vietnam War was not considered a defeat.

Many in the film express the hope that the lessons have been learned. But, unfortunately, not all the lessons were learned and not the ones that were necessary. What the US military has learned has come down to the fact that in future conflicts it would be better to lie and hide from the public what is happening and why, be it in Kuwait, Iraq or Afghanistan.

However, the fiasco of the war in Iraq and the quagmire of Afghanistan can once again take people to the streets to protest and challenge the system. In this sense, the story told by this beautiful documentary is more relevant today than ever.
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  1. Uncle lee
    Uncle lee 12 January 2018 06: 43 New
    that in future conflicts it would be better to lie and hide from the public
    why should the people know that in a war they kill not only enemies, but also enemies!
  2. kvs207
    kvs207 12 January 2018 08: 18 New
    Everything is correct, but in places, a very clumsy translation.
  3. mishastich
    mishastich 12 January 2018 08: 39 New
    Where to look? And what is it called?
  4. MoJloT
    MoJloT 12 January 2018 09: 29 New
    From the point of view of the losses of 60000/3000000, it is certainly difficult to call a defeat, rather than a complete extermination.
    1. igordok
      igordok 12 January 2018 17: 57 New
      And the dead South Vietnamese to whose losses are attributed?
      Interesting photos of the evacuation from Saigon.-

      Outfit of soldiers of South Vietnam. Afraid of retribution.
  5. Mikhail3
    Mikhail3 12 January 2018 09: 36 New
    However, the fiasco of the war in Iraq and the quagmire of Afghanistan can again take people to the streets to protest and challenge the system.

    No longer. Do not withdraw. It is all over. As one of the authors rightly noted here (Khramchikhin seems to be ... not sure) the USA is a country of very idealistic people. Surprisingly, this is true. It was.
    The fact is that the USA is a Masonic country. It is impossible to occupy an arbitrarily important position in it without being in any sort of bed. This is not advertised as before, but it is. And the Masonic oath, by the way, obliges the person who gives it to strive ... for the happiness and prosperity of all mankind! Moreover, a person with a normal, healthy psyche always strives for something more than the pursuit of pleasures.
    On the other hand, the path chosen by the Masons is enrichment. First of all, this is the desire to enrich each and every member of the box. How to reconcile these two messages? The American way was chosen - if all countries are remade according to the model of the USA, this very happiness and prosperity will come in the world. And away we go ...
    Vietnam suddenly showed the Americans two things. Firstly, the person whom they bring up in their project is defeated. He is cowardly, fleeing, unable to fight for his ideals like the "wild" Vietnamese. And secondly - their project is not at all a dream of mankind. If people can, then they reject this project with contempt and disgust. Frantic social Darwinism, which gave birth to bankers, abhors the rest of the world.
    All world events after Vietnam are American convulsive attempts to prove, first of all to themselves, that they dreamed about the results of the Vietnam War. The broken idealism of power, as always, gave birth to terrible monsters. Because the authorities robbed, killed, committed monstrous atrocities for the sake of a dream. How to recognize now that a dream is a bluff? What is this, “hail on a hill” - ordinary atrocious criminals, greedy and cruel creatures ?! Impossible! Oh ...
    1. Orionvit
      Orionvit 13 January 2018 17: 31 New
      can take people to the streets to protest and challenge the system.
      Ha ha Well deduced, so what? Maidans, this is just a bloody crowd for slaughter. The paradigm shift of the state, ideology and, ultimately, power is a very long and painful process. Which requires huge human and financial resources. And if it’s normal with human resources (though the quality is sometimes not very good), then all finances, sorry in the hands of the world banking system, with which they will not part.
  6. Dwarfking
    Dwarfking 12 January 2018 10: 48 New
    Quote: mishastich
    Where to look? And what is it called?

    Unfortunately, I managed to find only with subtitles. Full translation was not found
  7. Dzmicer
    Dzmicer 12 January 2018 12: 06 New

    The fact that modern Russian youth for the most part in this conflict is on the side of the "imperialists" is funny)
    1. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 12 January 2018 13: 07 New
      From the same opera: smile

      A patriotic song ... if you listen only to the refrain. And if you listen carefully, it suddenly turns out that the song is not telling about the greatness of the United States at all, but about the fate of a backwater guy who went to the army in order not to go to jail, went through Vietnam, came back - and nobody needed him.
      Come back home to the refinery
      Hiring man says, "Son if it was up to me"
      Went down to see my VA man
      He said, "Son, don't you understand now"

      And in the end, he did go to prison for 10 years - next to the refinery, which he tried to get after leaving.
      In short,
      One came back and he
      Pray to fate
      But nobody needs me anymore
      And most importantly - yourself.
      1. sxfRipper
        sxfRipper 14 January 2018 16: 35 New
        Deer Hunter, Rambo .... Missing on the battlefield .... It's all about the same.
    2. 97110
      97110 12 January 2018 14: 06 New
      Quote: Dzmicer
      The fact that modern Russian youth for the most part in this conflict is on the side of the "imperialists" is funny)

      Refer to at least something. Or are the data obtained by the “direct knowledge method”? I can refer to the opinion of my sons (16 and 36 years old - modern Russian youth?), Who sincerely consider the "imperialists" the eternal enemies of Russia and today are the main and deadly threat to us - ordinary Russians, citizens of the Russian Federation. I remember that I shuddered from the threat to my demobilization when the PRC attacked Vietnam. But the Vietnamese offended the Chinese somehow very quickly, and my demobilization was not injured.
      1. Igor V
        Igor V 12 January 2018 21: 27 New
        I confirm, mine think the same.
  8. Kosya Queen
    Kosya Queen 13 January 2018 00: 04 New
    It seems that the article was translated from a foreign language with the help of a translator program, or we are reading a printed version of the story of a sentimental robot.) But in general, the correct sketch.
  9. Ham
    Ham 13 January 2018 07: 02 New
    we stepped on the same rake in Afghanistan and now in Syria ...
  10. Morozov
    Morozov 16 January 2018 14: 42 New

    The first Indochina war did not serve as a lesson for the Pentagon ...