The Vietnam War and the People of the United States
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for daily POR ESTO! of Mérida, México.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
“Two of the world’s greatest revolutionaries –Jose Marti and Ho Chi Minh– lived for some time in the United States.
Both had deep knowledge of US history and culture. Both saw the dark side of that nation, but also acknowledged great revolutionary potential in the democratic ideals of the United States. The Vietnamese Ho Chi Minh wrote about the Ku Klux Klan and lynching, while, in the 19th Century, Cuban Jose Martí warned against the evidence of the coming advent of imperialism in North America.”
The quotation is from “Vietnam and Other American Fantasies,” a book by Bruce H. Franklin (b.1934), the multiple award-winning scholar and writer on historical cultural topics.
Franklin’s book attempts to demolish the fantasies, myths, and lies that most people in the United States believe about the relatively recent Vietnam War. It uncovers the truth about what was really an imperialist war against the people of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
That war was rejected by the heroic struggle of tens of millions of people in the US. The dominant narrative today in the United States claim there was a democratic nation called South Vietnam, and another evil one called North Vietnam that was part of a communist imperial dictatorship. North Vietnam wished to invade South Vietnam.
The United States, being the leader of the free world and the defender of democracy on Earth, had to go to South Vietnam in 1965 to defend it and got bogged down in a quagmire. “We could not win the war because we fought with one hand tied behind our back, because of some university students mobilized by veteran left-leaning professors and the actress Jane Fonda.”
In his book, Franklin explains that Vietnam was a single country, not two countries. The US war against Vietnam began in 1945, not in 1965. The anti-war movement was initiated by US soldiers and sailors who were its vanguard, and in the endydct k made it impossible for Washington to continue the war in 1945.
Between 1945 and 1975 the Vietnamese revolution led the global struggle against colonialism that brought independence to half the world’s population. During those three decades, the US struggled to preserve colonialism and became the leader of neo-colonialism, the ultimate form of imperialism in the world.
Franklin recalls the true story of the day when Japan surrendered: August 14, 1945, recalling his experiences that day, when he was eleven years old. He was riding in a van full of children in joyful celebration in the streets of the Brooklyn neighborhood where he then lived. “We believed in a future of peace and prosperity, quite different from that of a nation always at war, as we live in now.”
That day in August was the beginning of the revolution in Vietnam, when the Vietnamese people rose and, in less than three weeks, defeated the Japanese and the French and established the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
On September 2, Ho Chi Minh read out the declaration of independence to half a million Vietnamese in Hanoi, the former capital of a new nation that had been fighting for independence for over 2,000 years.
Suddenly, two fighter planes appeared above the crowd. When the Vietnamese recognized US insignia on the planes, they shouted for joy. They believed that the Americans were their friends and allies, and that they were the champions of freedom and independence from colonialism.
Washington, however, conspired with Paris to launch an invasion against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam whose goal was to restore French colonial rule. The United States would provide arms and financing. This, Franklin points out, was the true beginning of the war against Vietnam and marks the beginning of the US people’s movement against that war.
The British troops who had been sent to Saigon to disarm the remaining Japanese forces, instead gave weapons to the Japanese who had been recently disarmed by the Vietnamese. Soon the Japanese joined the British together with the remnants of the French colonial forces to wage war against the newly-declared independent nation of Vietnam.
When Washington later decided to replace France in the war against Vietnam, fierce opposition from US citizens prevented it, and for that reason, direct US military involvement had to be initially disguised.
Bruce H. Franklin recalls that, although it was the struggle of the Vietnamese which defeated the United States, the anti-war movement, especially in the armed forces, ultimately forced Washington to sign a peace treaty that included, word by word, each demand of the victorious Vietnamese liberation forces.