From October 1944 to May 1945, Hanoi and the surrounding area suffered a horrific famine that resulted in the starvation deaths of nearly two million people, out of a population of about ten million. There were many reasons for the famine, the first and foremost was war! Remember, the Japanese invaded and occupied Viet Nam beginning in 1941. The Americans were bombing Japanese occupiers as well as crucial infrastructure, like roads. This "collateral" damage affected the transportation of rice from the south of Viet Nam where the majority of rice, a daily staple, was grown. Another famine factor was the ongoing exploitation of natural resources. Fertile food-producing land used for generations was seized by the French for more exportable, non eatable, high profit-producing crops. Understandably, the deadly deficiencies further provoked peasant revolts against both the Japanese and the French colonial society. Hungry people are desperate people! Hunger rules the world!
In 1945, there were two groups who were involved in clandestine activities with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Indochina. One represented Western Oil interests - the GBT or the Gordon Group. The other group was the Viet Minh (a popular movement of Catholics, Buddhists, small businessmen, communists and farmers).1 "By 1945, the American OSS, dedicated to supporting guerrilla warfare and resistance organization, and the Office of War Information (OWI), which disseminated US propaganda, were developing independent contacts inside northern Indochina. As a result, the OSS increasingly endorsed the one truly effective resistance movement: Ho Chi Minh's Viet Minh coalition."2
On August 17, 1945, Ho Chi Minh appealed to the people to rise up in revolution for their independence. It had been under French control and was one undivided country which had been exploited by the French for decades. The Viet Minh took control of Hanoi that same day.
Ho Chi Minh feared that China and France would cut a deal to remove him, destroy the Viet Minh and return Viet Nam to the French. However, the OSS had a statement from Chiang Kai-shek, dated August 24, 1945 indicating that China had no interest in getting "mired" in Indochina. Chiang had expressed this attitude to Roosevelt in Cairo in November 1943. It was his contention that the Vietnamese were not Chinese, could not be assimilated into Chinese society and that China had no territorial interest in Indochina. Perhaps China merely intended to deal with France regarding their interests without even considering the viability of the Vietnamese independence movement.3
Saigon fell on August 25, 1945. Then on August 28, 1945 the Viet Minh announced the formation of the provisional government of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam.
Independence Day for Viet Nam was scheduled for September 2, 1945. The atmosphere in Hanoi, after decades of foreign subjection, was festive. Residents were cleaning storefronts and hanging red garlands of flowers. Streamers proclaimed "Liberty for Viet Nam" and "Independence." The allies, especially Americans, were welcome. British troops arrived about the ninth of September. The Vietnamese anticipated a new government headed by the person who had struggled for their independence for so long - Ho Chi Minh of the Viet Minh. The people wanted change and independence from all foreign domination. Ninety percent of the inhabitants of Viet Nam lived off the land and they had been subjected to an evil system of feudalism which reduced them to mere slaves.4
The French, resistant to losing their foreign treasure trove, created an environment of fear among the French civilian community in Hanoi by telling them they were in "mortal danger" from the "Vietnamese Communists." They labeled the Viet Minh "Communist" to discredit them. Ho's provisional government had assured the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) hierarchy that violence against the French "would be avoided at all costs." The Viet Minh, despite "French provocations" had given no indication for alarm. The French appeared to be attempting to turn the tables and condemn the Vietnamese for the poor "oppressed French."5 In addition, the French parachuted agents into strategic locations in an effort to occupy all public offices and buildings in an attempt to reestablish control.
America, once an ally, would shortly withdraw support from Ho Chi Minh due to his Communist affiliation. However, American analysts could not determine any correlation between Ho Chi Minh and Moscow. Ho Chi Minh did not appear to be following any instructions or policies from Moscow. There was communist influence in the Viet Minh - such as the right arm salute. They had borrowed posters and banners from Western leftist art. The Viet Minh also embraced American influence by incorporating policies and techniques of a democratic government. According to Arthur Hale of the U.S. Information Agency in 1945, the Viet Minh leadership used communist methods to appeal and arouse the masses to support the establishment of an independent democracy (declassified in 1972).6
The French stereotyped the revolutionaries as "ungrateful." Quite justifiably, the Vietnamese failed to recognize reasons why they should be grateful for decades of French-inflicted misery. The French did contribute some things: more jails than schools, more prison camps than hospitals, more army barracks than houses, fine schools for a few privileged Vietnamese - to serve the French colonial needs. Ho Chi Minh wanted to look to the future, not replay the injustices of the past. His aim was to rid Viet Nam of all foreign control: "French, Japanese, Chinese, or whatever." He felt that the Vietnamese had a right to govern themselves. "Ho wanted American technical experts to help establish those few industries that Viet Nam was capable of supporting." He was also concerned about the residual affects of the malnutrition suffered by the "calamitous famine of 1944."7
Despite the fact that Ho Chi Minh looked to the future he defined some of the French abuses inflicted on the Vietnamese in his speech on September 2, 1945. He was introduced to the huge crowd as the "liberator and savior of the nation." He said that for more than eighty years the French colonialists had violated and oppressed the citizens. He accused them of the following: imposing inhuman laws, dividing the country into three distinct political regimes to destroy national unity,8 killed our patriots, drowned their uprisings in "rivers of blood," silenced public opinion, "fostered political obscurantism," weakened the race by encouraging the use of opium and alcohol, devastated and exploited the land, robbed the people of their rice fields, mines, forests and raw materials, "monopolized the issuance of banknotes and export trade," invented hundreds of unjustifiable taxes to reduce the peasantry and small businessman to a state of extreme poverty and mercilessly exploited the workers.9 Worldwide, tyrants use the same tactics.
In addition, Ho accused the "Japanese fascists" of violating Indochina's territory by "establishing new bases for their fight against the Allies." The complicit French basically handed the country over to the Japanese which added to the suffering of the citizens. Viet Nam ceased to be a French colony in the autumn of 1940 and became occupied by the Japanese. Ho declared: "the French have fled, the Japanese have capitulated, Emperor Bao Dai has abdicated. Our people have broken the chains which for nearly a century have fettered them and have won independence for our nation. For these reasons, we, members of the Provisional Government, representing the whole of the Vietnamese people, declare that from now on we break off all relations of a colonial character with France; we repeal all international obligations that France has so far subscribed to on our behalf; and we abolish all the special rights the French have unlawfully acquired in our territory. We are convinced that the Allied nations which at Tehran and San Francisco acknowledged the principles of self determination and equality of nations, will not refuse to acknowledge the independence of Viet Nam. For these reasons, we, members of the Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, solemnly declare to the world that Viet Nam has the right to be a free and independent country - and in fact it is so already. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their spiritual and material forces, to sacrifice their lives and property, in order to safeguard their right to liberty and independence."10
When Ho Chi Minh proclaimed that Viet Nam was finally free there was a small assembly of agents from the OSS in the crowd of four hundred thousand Vietnamese who had gathered to hear Ho's address. The OSS hierarchy had urged him to create an independent Viet Nam. These agents had worked closely with him and other Vietnamese insurgents prior to the end of World War II. Ho and his group had rescued downed American pilots and gathered intelligence on the Japanese for the American OSS.
Ho Chi Minh idealistically thought that his country was free. He was not aware that Harry S. Truman, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin had already decided the post-war fate of Southeast Asia, "with or without their consent," at the nefarious Potsdam Conference, held at Potsdam, Germany, from July 17 to August 2, 1945. Never mind that the indigenous peoples had lived there for hundreds of years and assumed that their land belonged to them.11 The country was to be divided into two sections with the northern half under the control of China, not Chiang Kai-shek, and the southern half under the British. China was Viet Nam's ancient enemy. Ho Chi Minh, in 1945, understood how difficult it would be for his nation to escape domination by China or for that matter, the Soviet Union if used as a counterforce. He had hoped that the U.S. would play a peaceful, stabilizing role in his country's development.12 Ho Chi Minh had written numerous letters to U.S. officials years before World War II requesting help - they went unanswered.
On September 23, the Saigon population rebelled against the foreigners and surrounded them in the center of the city without access to supplies. In October, the fighting French managed to re-establish control. This was followed by months of negotiations and international political maneuvers which gave Indochina back to France. The Viet Minh negotiation strategy of independence failed despite Ho Chi Minh's trip to France. In March, 1946, Ho stood before a crowd in Hanoi, and sadly proclaimed, "I swear, I have not sold you out!"13
During the pandemic turbulence in Saigon, the first American, Office of Strategic Services (OSS) officer Lt. Col. A. Peter Dewey, was killed on September 26, 1945 by Viet Minh gorillas who mistook him for a French officer. Prior to his death, Dewey "had filed a report on the deepening crisis in Viet Nam, stating his opinion that the U.S. 'ought to clear out of Southeast Asia.'"14 Apparently, no one took his report seriously. The poor man was out of the Power Elite loop!
Truman disbanded the OSS on October 1, 1945. On January 22, 1946, Truman issued a directive creating a new Central Intelligence Group (CIG) to be jointly staffed and funded by the Departments of State, War and Navy.
"Actually the U.S. involvement in what later became known as the Viet Nam War began on the very day of the Japanese surrender, September 2, 1945."15 On that day, the representative of the Emperor of Japan signed the surrender papers laid before him by General Douglas MacArthur on the deck of the battleship Missouri in Tokyo.
Before their disbandment in 1945, OSS units organized huge shipments of arms to Syngman Rhee in Korea and Ho Chi Minh in Viet Nam. Both of these countries had been devastated by the Japanese during the war. Those arms shipments went to the two countries where two devastating "Cold War" conflicts were imminent. Those wars were deliberately "Cold War style" - no military objective and no victorious conclusion. Other foreign interventions ensued using the same no-win, civilian-consuming blueprint.16
President Roosevelt, whose early family finances were greatly enhanced by China trade, thought that Indochina (Laos, Cambodia, and Viet Nam) should be turned over to a trusteeship rather than returned to France. Roosevelt had discussed this proposal with the Allies at the Cairo, Teheran, and Yalta Conferences and received the endorsement of Chiang Kai-shek and Joseph Stalin; Prime Minister Churchill demurred. However, Chiang Kai-shek did not want control over Indochina or responsibility for a trusteeship. This may have led to his waning support from the U.S. or whoever makes those "national security" decisions on behalf of American taxpayers. Apparently, Roosevelt, who thought that Britain "would take land anywhere in the world even if it were only a rock or a sandbar," offended Churchill's super imperialistic tendencies for which he never forgot or forgave Roosevelt. The British Empire, freely changing boundaries and merging peoples in conquered or controlled nations, had benefited greatly from the Far East (since 1600) with their monarchy-established British East India Company.17
Roosevelt unexpectedly died at age 63 on April 12, 1945, less than two months after the Yalta conference. There are claims that he was poisoned. Truman, his vice president, assumed the otherwise prestigious role of taking orders from the Power Elite.
Plans had been made for an American land invasion into Japan in the late fall of 1945 using the island of Okinawa as a launching site when it became available. Air raids against Okinawa started in October 1944. The invasion preparations included sufficient equipment to supply 500,000 men. Japanese resistance on Okinawa ended on June 22, 1945. Supplies and equipment began to be stacked up, fifteen to twenty feet high, all over the island. Japan surrendered earlier than expected which curtailed the massive invasion. Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty was at Naha Harbor, Okinawa when U.S. Navy Transport vessels began to show up. He relates that the war materials were loaded onto those ships. He asked the Harbormaster "if all of that new material was being returned to the States." According to Prouty, the Harbormaster responded: "Hell No! They ain't never goin' to see it again. One half of this stuff, enough to equip and support at least 150,000 men, is going to Korea and the other half is going to Indochina.'"18
"In 1945, none of us had any idea that the first battles of the Cold War were going to be fought by U.S. Military units in those two regions beginning in 1950 and 1965, yet that is precisely what had been planned and it is precisely what happened. Who made that decision back in 1943-1945?"19
That military material was loaded during September 1945 and shipped to Haiphong the port of Hanoi, the capital of Viet Nam. There were sufficient arms to supply any army for battle. "Once in Haiphong Harbor this enormous shipment of arms was transferred under the direction of U.S. Army Major General Gallagher, who was supporting the OSS and his associate Ho Chi Minh. Gallagher had come from China to mop up the remnants of the defeated Japanese army. Ho's military commander Colonel Giap quickly moved this equipment into hiding until the day when it would be needed. By 1954, that time had come."20
Deanna Spingola has been a quilt designer and is the author of two books. She has traveled extensively teaching and lecturing on her unique methods. She has always been an avid reader of non-fiction works designed to educate rather than entertain. She is active in family history research and lectures on that topic. Currently she is the director of the local Family History Center. She has a great interest in politics and the direction of current government policies, particularly as they relate to the Constitution. Deanna's Web Site
PERFECTIBILISTS: The 18th Century Bavarian Order of the Illuminati, by Terry Melanson
The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship, by Paul & Phillip Collins
Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism, by Abbe Barruel
Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith, by James H. Billington
America's Secret Establishment: An Introduction to the Order of Skull & Bones, by Antony C. Sutton