(7) Whenever possible to buy commodities for those who live far from the market. The initial objective of the NLF was to gain the support of the peasants living in the rural areas. Primary. The official Vietnamese history gives the group's name as the Liberation Army of South Vietnam or the National Liberation Front for South Vietnam (NLFSV; Mặt trận Dân tộc Giải phóng miền Nam Việt Nam. [82] Without consulting the PRG, North Vietnamese leaders decided to rapidly dissolve the PRG at a party meeting in August 1975. [56] After Thanh's death in July, Giáp was assigned to implement this plan, now known as the Tet Offensive. Osborne, Milton. It meant a lot of bad things I didn't want to think about, based on stories I wasn't sure were true. The moment-to-moment, step-by-step decision-making preys on your mind. [6] This was considered the beginning of the "armed struggle" in communist accounts. Because it was their backyard. [11] Within a few months, the Viet Cong had been driven into remote swamps. The killings began without warning... Stanley saw "some old women and some little children - fifteen or twenty of them - in a group around a temple where some incense was burning. Tet was a great loss for the NLF forces. In an attempt to prevent this they moved the peasants into new villages in areas under the control of the South Vietnamese army. The Viet Minh had become the government of Democratic Republic of Vietnam since the Vietnamese 1946 general election, and military forces of the communists regrouped there. Some continued to chant, "No VC." CIA. In 1965, General William Westmoreland developed the aggressive strategy of 'search and destroy'. [6] Other front names used by the Viet Cong in the 1950s implied that members were fighting for religious causes, for example, "Executive Committee of the Fatherland Front", which suggested affiliation with the Hòa Hảo sect, or "Vietnam-Cambodia Buddhist Association". Innocent civilians were often killed by mistake. Still more time is required to breed more fleas... the military enemy suffers the dog's disadvantages: too much to defend; too small and agile an enemy to come to grips with. ", The war was mostly a matter of enduring weeks of expectant waiting and, at random intervals, of conducting vicious manhunts through jungles and swamps where snipers harassed us constantly and booby traps cut us down one by one... At times, the comradeship that was the war's only redeeeming quality caused some of the worst crimes - acts of retribution for friends who had been killed. The tactics they employed have been described by Robert Taber, who fought with the guerrillas in Cuba, as the war of the flea: "The flea bites, hops, and bites again, nimbly avoiding the foot that would crush him. Radio Hanoi called it the "National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam" in a January 1961 broadcast announcing the group's formation. These took the form of sharpened bamboo staves and fragmentation mines. The Viet Cong was a network of communist agents and subversives, supplied and controlled by North Vietnam but active within South Vietnam. These tunnels led out of the villages into the jungle. It also continues to provide more information on the U.S. propaganda efforts with numerous examples from that side as well. It happened slowly and gradually so no one noticed when it happened. For the next thousand years Vietnam struggled to gain its independence from its much larger neighbour. At the victory parade, Tạng noticed that the units formerly dominated by southerners were missing, replaced by northerners years earlier. I found I could not be tortured to death. B. Elections on reunification were scheduled for July 1956. There was also a U.S. presidential election in 1964. They had the advantage of knowing every ditch and dyke, every tree and blade of rice and piece of cover, like it was their own backyard. Many declassified primary source documents and declassified or unclassified histories making use of primary sources have not been available until this century, decades after Tet. [23] In early 1958, Lê Duẩn met with the leaders of "Inter-zone V" (northern South Vietnam) and ordered the establishment of patrols and safe areas to provide logistical support for activity in the Mekong Delta and in urban areas. Secondary. . . Original archival material from libraries, including manuscripts, typescripts, and ephemera, as well as video clips, are included. North Vietnam established the National Liberation Front on December 20, 1960, to foment insurgency in the South. They all dressed alike." They tried to force me to confess that I was a member of the Vietcong. Modeling Activity: Since this lesson asks students to look closely at primary sources to make observations and inferences about the Vietnam War, … [57] The U.S. and South Vietnamese expected that an announced seven-day truce would be observed during Vietnam's main holiday. [64] "We did not base ourselves on scientific calculation or a careful weighing of all factors, but...on an illusion based on our subjective desires", Trà concluded. "[6] Thọ, a lawyer and the NLF's "neutralist" chairman, was an isolated figure among cadres and soldiers. The archive was formed by Vietnam veterans in 1989 with a mission to “collect and preserve the documentary record of the Vietnam War.” The center holds annual guest lectures as well as regular conferences and other events. Without a direct order, the first platoon also began rounding up the villagers... Sledge remembered thinking that "if there were VC around, they had plenty of time to leave before we came in. Subscribe to our Spartacus Newsletter and keep up to date with the latest articles. They also contained caverns where they stored their printing presses, surgical instruments and the equipment for making booby traps and land mines. I saw a boy of about 15, wearing nothing but ragged black shorts, crouching and firing an AK-47 at the troops behind us. At first they were not in a position to take on the South Vietnamese Army and instead concentrated on what became known as 'soft targets'. The effect is sometimes paralysis." [27] The fiery declarations of 1959 were followed by a lull while Hanoi focused on events in Laos (1960–61). While Beijing urged a fight to the finish, Moscow suggested a negotiated settlement. Primary Sources Vietnamis a small country to the south of China ('Vietnamese' means "non-Chinese people of the south"). [62] In an influential broadcast on February 27, newsman Walter Cronkite stated that the war was a "stalemate" and could be ended only by negotiation. However, in the process, 700 US aircraft, valued at $900 million had been shot down. He argued that the opposition forces in South Vietnam should concentrate on organising support rather than carrying out acts of terrorism against Diem's government. I was determined to say nothing. University Publications of America, Inc., Bethesda, MD, with fully indexed guide edited and compiled by Robert E Lester. The gun played a real big part in that. The South Vietnamese Army and American Advisers. "[74] The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 led to intense Sino-Soviet tension and to the withdrawal of Chinese forces from North Vietnam. The level of violence in the South jumped dramatically in the fall of 1961, from 50 guerrilla attacks in September to 150 in October. One chap got a chest wound, we had to go into the bush. [6] Seventeen civilians were killed by machine gun fire at a bar in Châu Đốc in July and in September a district chief was killed with his entire family on a main highway in broad daylight. A. As one marine reported, every step created tension. A US army survey of weapons in 1964 discovered that 90% of weapons taken from the NLF had previously belonged to the ARVN and the US army. After 17 months observing pacification efforts in Vietnam as a state department official, I laid eyes upon an unmistakable enemy for the first time on New Year's Day in 1967. [71], The Viet Cong created an urban front in 1968 called the Alliance of National, Democratic, and Peace Forces. The most popular aspect of the NLF programme was the promise to take the land from the rich and to distribute it amongst the peasants. For the communist independence movement before the Geneva Accords, see, "Vietcong" redirects here. He was still lying on his stomach in the gully when he felt the bayonets in his back. "[72] In June 1969, the alliance merged with the NLF to form a "Provisional Revolutionary Government." [nb 2] In 1969, the Viet Cong created the "Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam" (Chính Phủ Cách Mạng Lâm Thời Cộng Hòa Miền Nam Việt Nam, abbreviated PRG. A stockade was built around the village and these were then patrolled by armed guards. [39] The "special war" and "strategic hamlets" policies allowed Saigon to push back in 1962, but in 1963 the Viet Cong regained the military initiative. All members were issued with a series of 'directives'. By doing so they increased the peasants hostility towards the Americans and made it more difficult for them to support the South Vietnamese government against the communists. But he, too, was thrown out. It is a contraction of Việt Nam Cộng-sản, (Vietnamese communist), or alternatively Việt gian cộng sản ("Communist Traitor to Vietnam"). If he's unlucky, he will be turned into a blind, deaf, emasculated, legless shell.". After the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, the PRG moved into government offices there. When I first got back I spent time in the penitentiary in California. [40] After this meeting, the communist side geared up for a maximum military effort and the troop strength of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) increased from 174,000 at the end of 1963 to 300,000 in 1964. The next major battle, at Buôn Ma Thuột in March, was a communist walkover. It is a contraction of Việt Nam Cộng-sản (Vietnamese communist), or alternatively Việt gian cộng sản ("Communist Traitor to Vietnam"). Names [edit | edit source]. I did away with him myself. This would have been a good moment to ask myself if they were wrong, and if we had a good enough reason to be in their backyard to be fired at. I can't. Bibliography Primary Sources; Bibliography Secondary Sources ; The Viet Cong. I had to destroy villages, kill everybody there and then leave communist arms there. Primary Source: Statement by John Kerry of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (1971) ... We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs and search and destroy missions, as well as by Viet Cong terrorism – and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on the Viet Cong. Primary Sources ... Two Viet Cong prisoners were interrogated on an airplane flying toward Saigon. [6] Front groups were favored by the Viet Cong to such an extent that its real leadership remained shadowy until long after the war was over, prompting the expression "the faceless Viet Cong". Citation: … [84] They said some statements issued by communist leaders in the 1980s and 1990s suggested that southern communist forces were influenced by Hanoi. It is only when all the rural areas are under their control and they are convinced that they outnumber the opposition, that the guerrillas come out into the open and take part in conventional warfare. Feb 27, 2017 - Explore Ari L.'s board "Vietnam War Primary Sources" on Pinterest. No doubt (I thought later) that was why they had the nerve to pop up in the midst of a reinforced battalion and fire away with American troops on all sides. It therefore concentrated on attacking small patrols or poorly guarded government positions. Here he tells of his experiences during and after the Tet Offensive of 1968: “During the Tet offensive of 1968, we attacked the Bien Hoa Airport. The most feared mine was the Bouncing Betty. It will specifically address propaganda used by the United States of America, North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and the anti-war propaganda prevalent during t This page specifically analyzes the propaganda created by South Vietnam, and more specifically a program developed to convince … I already had a gun aimed right at my head. (1) Not to do what is likely to damage the land and crops or spoil the houses and belongings of the people. [84] According to the memoirs of Trần Văn Trà, the Viet Cong's top commander and PRG defense minister, he followed orders issued by the "Military Commission of the Party Central Committee" in Hanoi, which in turn implemented resolutions of the Politburo. It was like a stew, full of meat and flesh and red tissue and white bone. Under the terms of the Accords, military personnel were order… I was very impressed, not only by their tactics but by their performance. Major reversals in 1966 and 1967, as well as the growing American presence in Vietnam, inspired Hanoi to consult its allies and reassess strategy in April 1967. Some of Calley's men thought it was breakfast time as they walked in; a few families were gathered in front of their homes cooking rice over a small fire. Thus the NLF, who were based in the thick forests of South Vietnam, began by taking control of the villages in the rural areas. The US Army employed several strategies which turned out to be ineffective in stopping the advance of the enemy in Vietnam. My will would give before my heart stopped. A map of North and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War showing major air bases and the communists' supply routes, including the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Viet Cong were suspected of hiding inside the homes of elderly people, who would not normally be suspected by U.S. troops. Arguing that a free election was impossible under the conditions that existed in communist-held territory, Diệm announced in July 1955 that the scheduled election on reunification would not be held. [71] The bureaucracy of the Republic of Vietnam was uprooted and authority over the South was assigned to the PAVN. These materials were then used to make booby traps. Others simply said, "No. In an effort to discover information about the NLF, the peasants were sometimes tortured. Two thirds of the peasants owned no land at all and were therefore forced to work for the rich landlords. [34] About 40,000 communist soldiers infiltrated the South in 1961–63. The NLF put forward a ten-point programme. We began slowly with each death and every casualty until there were so many deaths and so many wounded, we started to treat death and loss of limbs with callousness, and it happens because the human mind can't hold that much suffering and survive . A normal person can handle society. An oil pipeline was built from North Vietnam to Viet Cong headquarters in Lộc Ninh, about 75 miles northwest of Saigon. Our army had to be restructured afterward. No. A very plentiful source of information form 1981 and was close enough to the event so that I can call it a primary source written from the viewpoint of an American a little bit after the Vietnam War. [58] In January and February 1968, some 80,000 Viet Cong struck more than 100 towns with orders to "crack the sky" and "shake the Earth. Example: Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Personal narratives, North Vietnamese-correspondence-biography Gale Primary Sources is a universal research experience that combines Gale's acclaimed digital archives in a single cross-search interface. Young said, to do that, so he stayed silent and let the pain shine. The second immediately answered all the questions. Most of the funeral speeches were made by the Communist guerrillas. By mid-1962, there were 12,000 U.S. military advisors in Vietnam. For the video game, see, The flag of the Viet Cong, adopted in 1960, is a variation on the. [35] The Viet Cong grew rapidly; an estimated 300,000 members were enrolled in "liberation associations" (affiliated groups) by early 1962. [68], Aside from some districts in the Mekong Delta, the Viet Cong failed to create a governing apparatus in South Vietnam following Tet, according to an assessment of captured documents by the U.S. Just a mess. When searching catalogs and databases for primary source materials, try using keywords and subject headings similar to the ones below, adding terms denoting primary sources.-sources . He does not think he screamed when the Vietnamese twisted and bent his shattered leg. [6] Today's Vietnamese media most frequently refers to the group as the "Liberation Army of South Vietnam" (Quân Giải phóng Miền Nam Việt Nam) .[10]. Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai negotiated the terms of the ceasefire with France and then imposed them on the Viet Minh. Sources Agent Orange was a powerful herbicide used by U.S. military forces during the Vietnam War to eliminate forest cover and crops for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. This involved the spraying of chemicals from the air in an attempt to destroy the NLF hiding places. After Diem had gained power in South Vietnam, he forced the peasants to pay for the land they had been given. Subjects: Primary Sources Tags: history , primary sources , war Trible Library provides links to other websites to aid in research and is not responsible for the content or privacy policy of those sites. Even if the troops found the entrance to the tunnels, they could not go into the tunnels as they were often too small for the much larger American soldiers. South Vietnam's Diem Administration. The US soldiers found this difficult. One thing was clear: these were local boys. The Bell UH-1 Iroquois nicknamed "Huey" was used extensively in counter-guerilla operations both as a troop carrier and a gunship. The year following the cancelled elections saw a large increase in the number of people leaving their homes to form armed groups in the forests of Vietnam. He also encouraged the different armed groups to join together and form a more powerful and effective resistance organisation. The NLF was merged with the Vietnamese Fatherland Front in February 1977. B. beating. In 1969 alone, Operation Ranch Hand destroyed 1,034,300 hectares of forest. In economic terms, the bombing hurt the economy of the United States more than North Vietnam. Carter thought: "You can tell when someone enjoys their work." A Viet Cong is a man, woman, or child a tough fighter, with words or weapons, for what he is taught to call the "liberation" of South Vietnam-the Republic of Vietnam. A. Virtual Vietnam Archive. In 1959, an estimated 1,200 of Diem's government officials were murdered. National Liberation Front (NFL) (Vietcong). This powerful platform greatly enhances the research experience for students and researchers by broadening their discovery of primary source documents through the use of multiple search options and research tools. I remember telling the guys that I would never be captured but I changed my mind. Nguyen Tuong Lai was a Viet Cong guerrilla. [81] Between the beginning of 1974 and April 1975, with now-excellent roads and no fear of air interdiction, the communists delivered nearly 365,000 tons of war matériel to battlefields, 2.6 times the total for the previous 13 years. A GI said, "Hey, I got me another one." The term Việt Cộng appeared in Saigon newspapers beginning in 1956. [6] A series of uprisings beginning in the Mekong Delta province of Bến Tre in January 1960 created "liberated zones", models of Viet Cong-style government. [47] Rice procured at gunpoint sustained the Viet Cong. This powerful platform greatly enhances the research experience for students and researchers by broadening their discovery of primary source documents through the use of multiple search options and research tools. If US patrols arrived in the village unexpectedly, the NLF would hide in these underground caverns. And I felt so sorry for him. Ho Chi Minh was initially against this strategy. ... A 2007 journal article about the Viet Cong with a formal writing style, bibliography at the end, and lots of analysis and interpretation. A person is a vicious animal. [50] Notable Viet Cong atrocities include the massacre of over 3,000 unarmed civilians at Huế, 48 killed in the bombing of My Canh floating restaurant in Saigon in June 1965[51] and a massacre of 252 Montagnards in the village of Đắk Sơn in December 1967 using flamethrowers. Based on some 800 documents captured in battle and on interviews with 100 ex-Viet Cong, much of the primary source material is reproduced, and all of it is interpreted in the light of the author's broad knowledge of Vietnam and its people. Beginning in February 1970, Lê Duẩn's prominence in the official media increased, suggesting that he was again top leader and had regained the upper hand in his longstanding rivalry with Trường Chinh. The original caption for this photograph reads: Napalm bombs explode on Viet Cong structures south of Saigon in the Republic of Vietnam. ", As well as taking over the running of villages, the NLF would send out patrols into government controlled areas. Their homes had been wrecked, their chickens killed, their rice confiscated - and if they weren't pro-Vietcong before we got there, they sure as hell were by the time we left. [43] The U.S. would have 200,000 soldiers in South Vietnam by the end of the year.[44]. A landmark party meeting was held in December 1963, shortly after a military coup in Saigon in which Diệm was assassinated. The aim is to wear down gradually the much larger and stronger enemy. Primary. These groups were called cells. [57] Viet Cong entered the cities concealed among civilians returning home for Tết. A. (2) Not to insist on buying or borrowing what the people are not willing to sell or lend. Two Viet Cong prisoners were interrogated on an airplane flying toward Saigon. In Vietnam a Communist government has set out deliberately to conquer a sovereign people in a neighbouring state. [nb 3] Although the NLF was not officially abolished until 1977, the Viet Cong no longer used the name after PRG was created. They yanked his leg and hit him with the butt of a weapon on the head and in the back. These guns are my life, they really are. I thought they were torturing another prisoner. As one marine captain explained: "You never knew who was the enemy and who was the friend. 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