A Report, from the Asia Education Foundation’s LINKING LATITUDES CONFERENCEHanoi – Vietnam – 11-16 April, 2004Ian GraySomerville House VIETNAM – BEYOND THE WAR This ‘report’ also contains images, information and some inquiry questions that teachers may find useful to use with students.
That is, instead of just describing workshops and lectures attended, this is a report, that asks you to occasionally speculate and inquire. DESCRIBED MAINLY BY IMAGES This report is also a little interactive… eg skip ‘background to Vietnam War’ and jump straight to first image of the ‘Tourist’ Pathway, OR See what other pathways are available
So … you’ve not chosen the Tourist Pathway…Ok More choices… Other Pathways Through These Slides • ‘Vietnam’War • Vietnam since 1975 • Education in Vietnam today (including school visits) • At the Conference – notes from a few lectures and workshops • MAIN PATHWAY = see the lot
Background to the ‘Vietnam War’ • Vietnam - a place where a war occurred. • In 1965 100,000 American troops fought to defend South Vietnam from communist North Vietnam. The north-south divide is a story for another day, but parts of it and the French role in Vietnam appear in this inquiry report. • 29 April 1965 PM Menzies announced Australia would have a combat role in the Vietnam War
Background to the ‘Vietnam War’ • It was feared that like dominoes falling South Vietnam would become communist and then Indonesia, PNG and ..gulp…Australia. It was the era of the Cold War. Australia continued to increase its troop commitment. • In 1966 and again in 1969 the majority of Australians voted to support the Liberal-National Party’s policy of keeping Australian troops in Vietnam. • By 1968 a half a million American soldiers, sailors and airmen were involved.
Dominoe Theory • Source: Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday, 24 November 1966, p. 5
Background to the ‘Vietnam War’ • By 1970 many Australians had joined anti-war demonstrations. • By December 1971 Australian combat troops had left Vietnam, and in December 1972 PM Whitlam announced all remaining training teams would be withdrawn and conscription abolished. • In January 1973 a cease-fire was negotiated - American ground troops were withdrawn but naval and air force units remained. • May 1975 pro-communist forces swept the South Vietnamese government from power. The last film footage out of Vietnam showed American helicopters evacuating their supporters from the roof of the American Embassy.
Background to the ‘Vietnam War’ • In 1975 a new united communist Vietnam began • In April 2004 Vietnam continued to be a communist country. This background raises some KEY QUESTIONS: • Why did the USA and Australia become involved in what we call the Vietnam war and the Vietnamese call the American war? • What long term impact did the 1965-1975 ‘Vietnam war’ have on Vietnam? • Who was Ho Chi Minh? • Who are ‘the Vietnamese’? • Geographically • Ethnically • In terms of their EDUCATION • As seen through a case study of Hanoi in April 2004 • What is Vietnam’s current trade relationship with Australia?
Key Questions • Traditionally in Australian History classrooms teachers have begun with the first question: Why did the USA and Australia become involved in what we call the Vietnam war? • However to more fully understand the war and the future in Vietnam it may be more appropriate to begin with: Who are ‘the Vietnamese’? • Geographically • Ethnically • In terms of their EDUCATION • As seen through a case study of Hanoi in April 2004 Yes OR No..continue with traditional Vietnam War story
Who are ‘the Vietnamese’ – Geographically? • Can you locate Vietnam on a blank map of the world? • How many cities in Vietnam can you name? • Many Vietnamese Australians will find these questions too easy. • After 1975 many Vietnamese who had supported the USA in Vietnam fled the country when the USA was defeated. Australia welcomed these refugees who had fought on ‘our’ side during the war.
Who are ‘the Vietnamese’ – Geographically? http://www.vietnamair.com.vn/
All thinking tourists need a map and a little background information:Who are ‘the Vietnamese’ – Geographically? Vietnam shares borders with China, Laos and Cambodia. Myanmar,(Burma), Thailand and Malaysia are not far away. The capital of Vietnam is Hanoi. Hanoi is an 8 hour flight from Brisbane. http://www.vietnamtourism.com/e_pages/vietnam/introduction/general/vig.frm.htm
According to the 2004 Lonely Planet Guide – which every second tourist in Vietnam seems to have: • Full country name: Socialist Republic of VietnamArea: 329,566 sq km- about the size of Victoria • Population: 81.62 million • Capital City: Hanoi (pop 3.5 million) • People: 84% ethnic Vietnamese, 2% ethnic Chinese, also Khmers, Chams (a remnant of the once-great Indianised Champa Kingdom) and members of over 50 ethnolinguistic groups (also known as Montagnards, 'highlanders' in French) • Language: Vietnamese, Russian, French, Chinese, English • Religion: Buddhism is the principal religion but there are also sizeable Taoist, Confucian, Hoa Hao, Caodaists, Muslim and Christian minorities • Government: Communist stateHead of State: (2004)President Tran Duc LuongHead of Government: (2004)Prime Minister Phan Van Khai Ref:http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/south_east_asia/vietnam/ • Click to keep going OR continue Vietnam since 1975
Who are the Vietnamese? • Very good motorcyclists! Crossing the street was an adventure, but the bikes usually don’t exceed about 35kph and they go around you as you cross the street. There are at least 3.5 million people in Hanoi… what must it have been like when the bombs fell during the American war?
Who are the Vietnamese? “During the US bombardments of North Vietnam from March 1965 to October 1968 the authorities evacuated 75 % of Hanoi's population. After the end of the bombardments the city again grew rapidly. Today the population of Hanoi is more than 3 million.” http://www.hanoitravel.com/
Hanoi • Motorcyclists! Crossing the street is an adventure but don’t be there in rush hour or the pollution will affect you. Motorcyclists don’t wear helmets but do wear scarves, masks around their mouths. • People sit on little stools everywhere and evening meals are often in the street • People rather than trucks often transport goods.
Hanoi – buy your fruit on the street • Note mask.
Hanoi – carrying baskets • What are the advantages of using these? • What do you use instead?
Hanoi – tourists do stand out • But then so do the low hanging electrical wires in the streets • How might the people of Hanoi have coped with war time black-outs? • Click to keep going OR continue Vietnam since 1975
And there would have been blackouts? Taken outside the military museum – plaque reads: “USA bombs used during the war in Vietnam”
Helmets of captured American pilots Are the Vietnamese proud of their military achievements? Yes… and the display of these helmets in a military museum alone reveals this, but 60% of the population has been born since the war.
Vietnam’s population is youthful – not ageing Young Vietnamese learn of the achievements of their parents
Many of those achievements are amazing • How does a poor, non-industrialised society wage a successful war against international superpowers like the French (defeated in 1954) and the Americans (defeated 1975)? • Even if their army was large it was poorly equipped and it needed to be fed. Just getting food to the troops must have been difficult.
Many of those achievements are amazing How do you think they did it?? • What weapons did they use? • Without much mechanised equipment or helicopters, how did they overcome the supply line problem, and get food and equipment to the troops? • Think about it before going to the next slide.
Many of those achievements are amazing • The bicycle was often the answer. • Long range guns were dismantled and carried on bicycles or backs through almost impassable mountain tracks.
Many of those achievements are amazing Young women assisted the war effort and their contributions continue to be celebrated as this photo in the Hanoi Military Museum indicates
Simple but effective weapons and traps Stand in the booby trap and your leg would be trapped by fish-hook type barbs Go to next ‘tourist photo’
The Viet-Cong dug tunnels– a 1967 photograph from USA National Archiveshttp://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/lessons/vietnam_photographs/vietnam_photos.html
And tanks To read plaque see next slide
Tank Plaque T54Tank One of the tanks of the 263rd armoured brigade which led the infiltration troop unit of the 2nd corps that seized the Saigon Presidential Palace on April 30th, 1975
But today how much does the average 15 year old in Australia know about the war? • How many think that the USA won the war?? • If these misconceptions are about – why might these misconceptions have occurred?
USA Cavalrymen use helicopters for evacuation of wounded http://www.vietnampix.com/fire5g.htmand this is NOT from a movie
Perhaps it was assumed that helicopters against bicycles was not a fair fight and that the USA had to win…??
April 1975 Helicopters evacuate the USA Embassy http://www.digitaljournalist.org/issue0005/images/7-4.jpg I remembered this image from 1975 – the young Vietnamese soldiers did not.
Vietnamese desperate to enter the USA Embassy Saigon on April 29-30 1975A USA Marines website: http://www.fallofsaigon.org/frmain.htm
Soon after April 1975 Saigon became… • Ho-Chi-Minh City • Very quickly the new communist government changed the name of Saigon. • Today locals and trendy tourists call it HCMC
Forgiveness • Outside the Military Museum in Hanoi Coca-Cola is on sale. • There was no sense of animosity towards Australians, or Americans for that matter. (Listen to the former Australian Ambassador for one explanation of why this is so.) • In victory the Vietnamese are changing attitudes faster than we did after our victory over Japan in 1945 – and we changed the Japanese government. • Click to keep going OR continue with Vietnam Since 1975
Ho Chi Minh • Clearly the leader who had defeated the USA would be honoured, but Ho Chi Minh did not live to see victory. • He died in 1969. That’s him on the wall of the staff room at Tran Phu High School in April 2004. • Continue with school visit OR • Learn about Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh • Born in central Vietnam to a Mandarin family • 1917 he was in Paris and in early 20s visited China and Russia • He was an educated man, fiercely nationalistic but also influenced by Marxism • He adapted Marxism to Vietnamese circumstances, eg unlike Lenin and Mao he did not enforce the aethieism of Marxism and many Catholic churches as well as Confucian shrines and Buddhist temples continued to exist under his leadership. • In the 1940s the Japanese refused to allow the Vietnamese to grow rice because they wanted jute grown. Jute was used to make sand bags. Millions starved. Ho led the resistance. • In August 1945 as the Japanese were being defeated the ‘August revolution’ occurred as Vietnamese in several areas seized control. • On 2 September 1945 Ho proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, but under the Potsdam Agreement the French were allowed to return to Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh • Ho staged guerilla war against the French • The battle of Dien-Bien-Phu in 1954 was incredible. • Dien-Bien-Phu was a French fortress stretching some kilometres. • The Vietnamese soldiers tug tunnels into it and used bicycles to carry artillery • Organised by General Giap they were invincible, the French surrendered and said they would take one year to fully withdraw. During this time the country was temporarily divided and many Catholics who had often supported the French headed south. • Under an international agreement (Geneva Agreement), there was to be a national election in 1956 but it was never held. The USA feared Ho and the Communists would be elected.
Ho Chi Minh In Vietnam several people reminded me that Ho could have lived in this ‘Presidential Palace’ built by the French for their Governor in 1902.
Instead Ho had this modest, but beautifully timbered ‘stilt’ house built nearby – very Queensland - Why might he have done this?
Ho Chi Minh If elections had been held in 1954 he may very well have been elected. Today he continues to be celebrated. His body is preserved in this mausoleum (against his wishes to be cremated).
Some museum representations of Ho’s contributions seemed quite strange This is from the post-modern Ho-Chi Minh museum, which also included very large representations of fruit. Continue with Uncle Ho or firstfind out a little about the ethnic diversity of Vietnam that he helped to unify OR straight on
Vietnamese are close to the soil • WHILE INDUSTRIAL ESTATES ARE SPRINGING UP EVERYWHERE most people in North Vietnam are still farmers
ETHNIC MINORITIES Museum of Ethnology • Main ethnic group = kin or Viet • Khmer = 1mill /80 mill and live in South • Australian bridge in Mekong area greatly appreciated but in some places roads are not used • Khmer lack knowledge of Viet language, market economy and consumer demand + schools are fewer in this area
Ede House: Vietnam Museum of Ethnology - Hanoi • The Museum of Ethnology is a fascinating place where you can climb in and out of traditional houses. The academic who lobbied for it and organised its building was doing so in 1968. In the middle of the American war he was trying to ensure the preservation of traditional Vietnamese cultures. • This Ede Long House, is of a style that has begun to disappear rapidly since the 1980s. It housed communal families from the Central Highlands. The family name was always that of the mother. Property decisions were made by the most senior female. After marriage a son resided in his wife’s house. The smoke from the fires inside was a little suffocating.
Bahnar communal HouseVietnam Museum of Ethnology - Hanoi Central Highlands • Until recently built only for men but now women visit on special occasions • Built high so you could find it in the jungle said a guide…hmmm…oh and as a symbol of power… now that I can believe. (That’s high-rise everywhere isn’t it?)