Revisiting Vietnam American RadioWorks
  Vietnam Scrapbook

Art Hilgart
Kalamazoo, Michigan, US

The NPR celebration of our invasion of Viet Nam is weakened by the acceptance of the mendacious terminology used by the war's perpetrators and apologists.

The Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, with its capital in Hanoi, was founded by Vietnamese nationalists in 1945. The "Republic of Viet Nam" with its capital in Saigon, was a wholly American creation of 1956. Rather than have the national elections called for by the 1954 Geneva agreements, we chose to create and recognize a rival claimant to all of Viet Nam. At no time did the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam truncate itself to a "North Vietnam", and our "Republic of Viet Nam" claimed rule of all of Viet Namó its constitution insisted that this claim was irrevocable. The 1954 Geneva agreements that followed the defeat of the American-funded French effort to re-colonize Viet Nam specifically ruled out a political division of the country and merely called for temporary separation of the French and Vietnamese armies.

All of this information was published widely in responsible sources but was ignored by media reaching the broad public. The reason was almost certainly the wish to give the American invasion of Viet Nam the appearance of a response to someone else's invasion. Therefore we invented an invader, "North Vietnam" and a victim of invasion, "South Vietnam".

Our thirty years war on Viet Nam has been over for a quarter of a century. Isn't it about time for us to start getting it right?


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