38thAnniversary of Black April

Hoi B. Tran

In his book titled “No MoreViet ” published in 1985 President Richard M. Nixoncommented:

“No eventin American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It wasmisreported then, and it is misremembered now. Rarely have so many people beenso wrong about so much. Never have the consequences of their misunderstandingbeen so tragic.”

I know there are people who want to forget, to put a closure on thiscontroversial subject, the Viet Nam WarI am also aware there’ve beenthousands of books, studies and documentaries written about the Viet Nam WarBut one thing I amsure you’ll agree with me that it is rather rare for the general public to havean opportunity to hear about this very same subject from a NationalistVietnamese veteranToday,on the 38th Commemoration of Black April, this old NationalistVietnamese veteran is sharing with you his first hand account of what happenedin the long Viet Nam War from 1945 to 1975.

At this stage of my life, I am 78, I have no political agenda to pursueIn fact, I may becleared for take off anytime for my last flight West and, therefore, my onlyambition is to voice the truth in an attempt to debunk as much as possible allthe lies, all the distortions and biased reporting about the Viet Nam War.

Below are some questions requiring honest answers:

1- Was Ho Chi a nationalist patriot who ousted the French &restored

independence for VN as portrayed by some Western writers andhistorians?

2- Who startedthe war in Viet Nam and was it immoral that the should not

gotten involved?

3- Were the USArmed Forces defeated by the N. Vietnamese Communists?

What were the causes that led to the demise of the RepublicSouth VN

5- Were peoplein South VN happy with the North Vietnameseliberators after

their so-calledliberation of the South in April 1975?

Here is the first one:

I was born in Ha, North VN in the mid-thirties, 1935 to be exactJust three months prior to my 10thbirthday the Japanese forces in Indochina staged a surprise attack and overthrew the French ColonistsThe following daythe Japanese envoy granted Viet Nam her independence within Japan’s Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity SphereBy and large, mostVietnamese were excited and happy although it was not exactly the kind ofindependence they had hoped for but at least the French colonists were oustedFor in the past,many patriotic groups had struggled to expel the French but all failedWhile theVietnamese were enjoying their superficial independence, the dropped two atomic bombs on HiroshimaNagasaki in early August 1945 forcing Japan to surrender unconditionally on Aug 14, 1945The capitulation of Japan created an anarchy state in VN. Hopromptly exploited the situation & used his armed propaganda brigadesembedded in Ha to seize powerOn August 28, 1945, Ho formally declared the country to bethe Democratic Republic of VN, an independent nation & proclaimed himselfPresident & Minister of Foreign Affairs concurrentlyThe following week, Ho had his cadresconvened a meeting at the Square to introduce his government & citethe Declaration of Independence he plagiarized from the I was a 10 year-old Vanguard Youth Troop and I was present with mygroup to sing patriotic songs in this historic event.

Shortly afterbecoming President of the Democratic Republic of VN, Ho showed his true coloras a loyal servant of the communists and a traitor. He followed communist’sdoctrine overzealouslyBetween 1953 to 1956, he launched the inhumane Land ReformCampaign that viciously slaughtered at least from 60,000 to 150,000 landownersthat they labeled as wicked landlords and about 50,000 to 100,000 wereimprisonedWithhis death squads, Ho began to viciously liquidate his compatriot politicalopponents if these people were pure nationalists or non-communistOn March 6, 1946, HCMcompromised and signed an agreement to allow French forces to return to VN forfive years and, in return, France would recognize his government. wily move was very unpopular with nationalistVietnamese patriots at the time and Ho was viewed as a traitor to the cause ofthe August revolution.

But thehoneymoon between Ho Chi and the French did notlast longInNov 1946, a French ship bombarded Phong, a coastal city in North VNThis incident and many subsequent clashes between French and forces led to the battle in the Northwest of Ha in1953 garrison was set up by French Gen. Navarre in an attempt to lure forces into a set piece battle so they could destroythem with air power and artilleryBut Navarre did not know that Ho Chi received substantial logistical supplies from communistChina including military advisors andtechniciansItwas later revealed that forces had moreartillery than the French and they even had the deadly rocket launchers, theStalin Organs from the Soviet UnionObviously, they outgunned the French andnumerically outnumbered the French defenders by five to oneOn May 7, 1954 fell into the hands of the communist attackersThe fall of forced the French to sign an agreement in GenevaJuly 21, 1954 that divided VN into two countries atthe 17th parallelNorth VN remainedunder Ho Chi as the Democratic Republic of VietNam and south of the 17th parallel was a separate non-communistcountry under the government of Emperor Dai.

If Ho Chi had been a true nationalist patriot, he should havecontented with the independence that Viet Nam inherited bloodlessly at the departureof the JapaneseHemust have known that he was very lucky to be at the right place at the righttime to, all of a sudden, have become president of the Democratic Republic ofVNUnder thecircumstances, Ho should have concentrated all his efforts and committed allavailable resources into rebuilding the war-ravaged country and reviving thedying economy in North VNHe should have fulfilled the attractiveslogan he always used in the past to mobilize millions Vietnamese patriots whowere willing to fight & die for: Independence-Freedom-Happiness.

In principle,the Geneva Accords of July 1954 had afforded VN her independence with twopolitical regimes similar to GermanyKoreaWhat most Vietnamese had been longing for had been achieved, theyno longer had to live under French colonial ruleIf Ho had not been too greedy wantingto gobble up the RVN by force, both countries, the DRV and the RVN would havebeen peaceful and prosperousThere would have been… no warBut it was unfortunate for theVietnamese people on both sides to have such an evil man like Ho Chi And with military supports from communist China and the Soviet Union, Ho determined to attack and invade South VNTo stop communist expansion in Indochina at the time, the and the free world jumped in to help South Viet Nam did not invade South VN as propagated by the North Vietnamesecommunist propaganda machine. On the contrary, it was HCM & the communiststhat caused the long 30-year war in Viet Nam from 1945 to 1975.

Now, secondquestion:

Was the war inVN immoral and the should not have gotten involved?

Regardless ofwhat people think and say, my personal opinion has always been; the U.Sinvolvement in the war in VN was justand nobleIt was just because we, the US of A would not get involved in any conflictoverseas if we had no direct or indirect national interest in it, economically,politically or militarily. History shows the was very hesitant and careful prior togetting involved in WW1 and WW2. When the Soviet Union and Chinese communists directlysupported the North Koreans to invade the RepublicSouth KoreaJune 25, 1950 did not intervene until the UnitedNations condemned the invasion as a violation of the agreement between the and the Soviet Union to divide Korea at the 38th parallel duringWW2. After the end of the Korean War in 1953, the two giant communistcountries, the Soviet Union and thePeople’s Republic of China, were so eager to export communism toother nations especially in third world nations in SEA to inciteanti-capitalism and stir up revolt under a very nice and attractive slogan “liberationwar”And thePeople’s Republic of China switched their support to HCM in North Viet Nam to fight the French at

In Nov 1956,when attending a party at the Polish Embassy in Moscow, Premier Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union shouted to the West “We will bury youIn Latin AmericaJan 1, 1959 Fidel Castro turned into a first communist country in the Western Hemisphere. While in Viet Nam, the North Vietnamese communists underHo Chi began to escalate their terrorist activitiesand war effort in South Viet Nam with support from the Soviet Union and the Chinese communists. On October 14, 1962 U.Sreconnaissance plane discovered nuclear missile sites being built on the island by the Soviet Union. With a series of provocative acts andthreatening movements by the Communists at the time, it’d be very difficult forthe U.S to ignore aggressive communist expansion. So it was Just and Noble for the (and the Free World) to come and help South Viet Nam, a small nation being invaded by thecommunist bloc.

Now the 3rdquestion:

Were the USArmed Forces defeated by the N. Vietnamese Communists?

My answer is aresounding NOThefollowing facts are very difficult to deny.

1- Anyone with aminimum understanding of the Viet Nam war would agree that through politicalnegotiation, our negotiators along with delegates from the RepublicSouth Viet NamNorth Viet and the Provisional RevolutionGovernment signed a Peace Accords in ParisFranceJanuary 27, 1973 to end the conflict politically.

2- In compliancewith the Peace Accords, the last combat unit left South Viet NamMar 29, 1973, two months after the Accords wassigned.

3- After U.Scombat troops had completely left the theater, the Armed Forces of the Republicof (South) Viet Nam continued to fight the well-supplied,better-equipped North Vietnamese invaders for a little over two years followingthe Peace AccordsButeverything has a limit, because of the lack of logistical supports, theRepublic of (South) Viet Nam collapse on April 30, 1975How could the bold-faced communists of North Viet Nam brag about defeating the U.S militarilywhen there was not a single U.S soldier on the battlefield in Viet Nam

The 4thquestion:

What were thecauses that led to the demise of the Republic of (South) Viet Nam

With the benefitof hindsight substantiated by a myriad of declassified secret documents,everyone interested in this subject could find at least four major reasons thatpaved the way for the catastrophe of April 1975 in the Republic of (South) VN.

1- PresidentJohnson’s limited war policy and his desultory strategy coupled with hismicromanagement of the war through the Rules of Engagement (ROE) in Viet Nam detrimentally affected the outcome ofthe war and the destiny of South Viet NamIn March 1967, South Viet Nam Premier Nguyen had a second meeting with U.S. President Lyndon B.Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara in In this meeting Premier asked Pres. Johnson to equip theVietnamese Armed Forces properly, provide adequate logistical support & hewould lead an invasion of North Viet Nam with 100% South Vietnamese forces. Thiswould compel North Viet Nam leaders to retreat their forces from theSouth to defend their territory. But Premier proposal was flatly denied.

2- Freedom anddemocracy was also a double-edged sword that really hurt our cause. Forexample; the tyrannical regime of North Viet Nam aligned well with Red China and the Soviet Union. They did not have a horde of hostile,biased war reporters to sully their military, they had no freedom of assemblyfor their citizens to gather in large number to organize antiwar or to protestagainst their governmentThey did not have celebrity like Jane Fonda or former governmentofficial like Ramsey Clark to smear them while praising the enemySuperficially, theyhad no antiwar movements in Hanoi, not in PekingMoscow. Under the eyes of the world, they appeared to have a justcause and a united rear base supporting them.

3- Red China andthe Soviet Union, two major allies who generouslyprovided military & economic support to Ho Chi in North Viet Nam, dealt with Ho very cleverly anddiplomatically in public while officials treated their South Vietnameseally like their pawn. It was no secret that U.S officials from the U.S Embassyin SaigonWashington, more than often treated theirVietnamese counterparts with an imperious and arrogant attitude. The undiplomaticbehavior of the U.S officials unknowingly provided Ho Chi Minh’spropaganda machine convincing reason to call the Republic of (South) Viet Nam a puppet government of the AmericanImperialist and that they must fight the American to liberate the South andsave our fatherland.

4- Because ofincreasing political turmoil and antiwar movements in America, the U.S forced the Republic of (South) Viet Nam to sign a flawed & deadly PeaceAccords on January 27, 1973 to end the war in Viet Nam. Less than 5 months after the signing ofthis flawed Accords, U.S Congress passed the Case-Church Amendment forbiddingany further U.S military involvement in Southeast Asia. This was a green lightfor the communists to proceed with their invasion plan. In September 1974, U.SCongress cut military aid to the Republic of (South) Viet Nam to the bone. The South Vietnamese ArmedForces were fighting with fuel and ammunition on quotas while Red China and theSoviet Union quadrupled their logistical supports totheir ally North Viet Nam. The balance of power was too lopsidedin favor of the North Vietnamese communist invaders.

In an articletitled “Heroic Allies”, Harry F. Noyes III,an USAF officer and Viet Nam veteran posed this question: “Would Americans do any better under theconditions that faced the South Vietnamese in 1975? Would units fight well with broken vehicles and communications, a crippled medicalsystem, inadequate fuel and ammunition, and little or no air support — againsta powerful, well-supplied and confident foeYouare the judge.

And now the lastone:

Were people in South Viet Nam happy with the North Vietnameseliberators after the so-called liberation of the South in April 1975?

At long last,the whole world has seen evidence that the communist invaders from North Viet Nam were very cunning and cleverThey knew how toshield the cruel bloodbath from the curiosity and scrutiny of the worldA network ofhard-labor death camps were established and camouflaged under a nice andcivilized name: Re-education CampsThese camps were places where thecommunist liberators could exact their most fiendish revenge against those ofthe former regime they labeled “lackeys of American Imperialists owing a blooddebt to the Vietnamese people Another inhumaneinvention the liberators from North Viet Nam created following their invasion of theSouth was nicely called: “New Economic Zone TheseNew Economic Zones were hastily set up in some virgin jungles barely tolerableliving conditions with serious threat of malaria disease in an attempt topunish family members of the military or government civil servants of theformer regime.

I havepersonally met many former officers of the ARVN who were incarcerated in thesehorrible re-education camps by the communist liberatorsOne of them was my classmate in OfficerCandidateSchool flight training with the USAF in 1958This Vietnamese AirForce friend of mine was locked up in a metal container under the sun where thetemperature could easily reach 110 degrees only because he refused to sign aconfession describing the war crimes the prison wardens claimed my friendcommitted with the U.S imperialists against the people of Viet Nam. According to various reports on humanrights corroborated by these former re-education camps inmates, the NorthVietnamese liberators brutally forced inmates to perform hard labor butprovided them minimum amount of food and no medical care. Many inmates starvedto death and others were left to die painfully and slowly from diseasesIn addition to dohard labor, all inmates were forced to undergo political indoctrinationclasses.

While militaryofficers, bureaucrats, politicians, religious and labor leaders, intellectualsand lawyers were imprisoned in re-education camps, their family members weredenied food ration card, education and job opportunity and were forced to moveto New Economic ZonesThere they were subjected to harsh physical labor, including landreclamation and agriculture work, because all the New Economic Zones weresupposed to be self-sufficientIn reality the New Economic Zones werenot prepared for the huge influx of urbanites & the living conditions wereexceptionally harsh. The camps had very poor infrastructure, no tools, no seedsfor crops, no pumps or farm equipment including minimal or no health services.Unprepared and unskilled at making a living in the harsh rural environment, alarge number of urbanites fled Viet Nam in what became known as the exodus ofthe boat people.

There are twoliving stories that truly exemplify the kind of freedom & democracy in South Viet Nam under the regime of the North VietnameseliberatorsThefirst one is from Truong Tang, the founder of theNational Liberation Front and a loyal collaborator of the Vietnamese communistinvaders. Following the so-called liberation of the South in April 1975, Mr.Truong became Minister of Justice of the Provisional Revolutionary Government.But after having lived with his communist comrades, Truong escaped the countryhe contributed so much to create.

In his memoirpublished in the U.S in 1985 titled “AViet Cong Memoir – An Inside Account of the Viet Nam War and itsAftermath”,he dedicated the book asfollows: “To my mother and fatherAnd to my betrayedcomrades, who believed they were sacrificing themselves for a humane liberationof their people”Accordingto the author, two of his brothers were victims of the re-education systemThrough connection& persistent efforts, he was able to get his younger brother out after fourmonths but his elder brother was still being incarcerated somewhere in a moresecure camp in North Viet Nam at the time he wrote his memoir in 1985In the lastparagraph of the foreword of his book, the disillusioned high-ranking member ofthe National Liberation Front has this to say: “The West knows, I think, extraordinarily little about the Viet Cong,its plan, its difficulties, especially its inner conflictsThe circumstances of war and the greatcare taken to conceal its workings combined to mask the revolution in secrecyBut the Viet Congwas no monolith, the motives of its members often clashed, violentlyAnd many of us whocomposed its political core have felt that its goals were, in the end,subvertedThehuman motives, the internal struggle, the bitter resolution, these are thethings I have attempted to record here.

The second storyis from Bui Tin, a more familiar and popular name in America in the early 1990sCol. Bui Tin joined the communistparty since 1945 when he was 18 because his father was a close friend with HoChi He was an Army officer in the battle in 1954 and in the subsequent years Col. Bui became a warreporter & then Deputy Editor of the official party daily newspaper DanWhen South Viet Nam fell on April 30th 1975, Bui Tinwas present at the IndependencePalace

After the illegal invasion of South Viet Nam under the deceptive patriotic slogan Liberation of the South, Bui Tin had theopportunity to see and witness the real living condition of the people in South Viet Nam with his own eyes and became disillusionedBui Tin defected in1989 and lived in ParisFranceSince his defection he revealed some of the mythsabout the great Uncle Ho and critically denounced the communist regime he oncenaively, blindly and conscientiously servedThis is what he said about Ho Chi in Lubbock, Texas:“The tale about Ho Chi being a great thinkerwith a simple life, full of virtues, taking pains to improve himself throughcontinuous learning and practice, casting away all his personal pleasures oflife in the interests of the nation, has recently reached a comic level, forthe Hanoi authorities have tried to convince their own State-controlledBuddhist Association to canonize Ho Chi as a`Buddha`. But the truth is coming out more and more every day with the passingof time. In complete contradiction with the image of Ho Chi as a man dedicated to the welfare of his people, accepting the sacrifice of alifetime of celibacy, it is now well-known that Ho Chi got married in Hong Kong, lived together for some time with Nguyen ,had numerous mistresses at various places where he passed through, hadoffspring out of wedlock, and, worse still, he completely ignored his formerwedded wife, Tang Tuyet ,who went to great pains and tried in vain to contact her husband after he hadbecome President of the country.”

In his book titled “From Enemy to Friend” Col. Bui has this to say about South Viet Nam after the so-called liberation by the North: “I was a witness to what happened in theSouth after April 1975I lived in Saigon for 4consecutive years, going to Hanoi onlyoccasionally. My mission was to organize the Southern Edition of Dan and to gather information for this newspaper while based in the South. TheSouthern population had just had time to reassure itself that there would be nobloodbath or people’s courts set up at every street corner when a series ofchilling measures was suddenly launched. The officers and government workers ofthe old regime, members of old political parties, and many others were orderedto report for “rehabilitation or reeducation”, which turned out to beimprisonment for an indefinite period!

On the 33rd anniversary of thefall of South Viet Nam known as Black April, Bui Tin openly said: “Today I am ready to raise my voice and letall of the people hear clearly: Our nation Vietnam was not liberated afterApril 30th 1975, nor was it unified. On April 30th the Communist Party won, butall of the people lost, to be ruled from that point on by a one-partydictatorship.

TheCommunist Party then implemented a policy of dominant occupation in the South,arresting millions of people and seizing property, discarding the South VNNational Liberation Front, and brought about the tragic scene of millions ofboat people fleeing the country. Is this liberation? Is this unification?

After April 30th, 1975, theCommunist Party monopolized authority, not allowing freedom of assembly, thepress, or elections. Is this what is called national liberation? Is thisfreedom?

In conclusion, Iam sure the legacy of the Viet Nam war will be indelible in the mind ofmany Vietnamese and AmericansThe pros and cons, right or wrong ofthat war will always be debatable depending on whom you talk toHowever, if youtalk to this old, retired Vietnamese veteran, you can rest assured I have nohidden agenda or personal ambition to stretch the truthIn fact, my only dream is to honestlyvoice the truth to set the record straight before taking off on my last flightwestAnd tome, the honest truth has always been:

– Unlike someWestern scholars, historians & writers who were either naïve or ignorant toportray Ho Chi as a nationalist, a patriot, aVietnamese George Washington, an Asian Tito when in reality Ho was a vicious,wicked & dishonest individualIt was Ho who dragged Viet Nam into the long 30-year war from the Northto the South.

UnitedStateAmerica never invaded Viet Nam. American Armed Forces were in Viet Nam to help the South Vietnamese in theirlegitimate self-defense against the North Vietnamese communist invaders. TheU.S intervention was not immoral as the liberal mainstream news media, the left-leaningelements and the draft dodger cowards of the sixtiesin America trying to smear.

– The shamelesslie widely bragged by the propaganda machine of North Viet Nam that they haddefeated the American Imperialist military in the Viet Nam War to liberateSouth Viet Nam must be rectified. This is absolutely necessary in order toremove the unjust stain smeared on the annals of the U.S. Armed Forces by thecommunists and the leftist, liberal news media in the 1960s and 1970s.

Hoi B. Tran

April 30th, 2013

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