A brief look at the Vietnam War

What happened during the Vietnam war?

After the French colonial administration were outed in 1954, North Vietnam wished to merge the north and the south and create a single Soviet state, much like those of China and the USSR (Soviet Union). What ensured was one of the saddest and darkest conflicts after WW2, which included a much more global response than what was maybe initially anticipated. With the intervention and inclusion of nearly 40 countries, it ensured that this war became one of global significance which saw an estimate 2.5 million deaths over 10 years of conflict.

A Little History and Perspective

After World War II, France wanted to restore its former domination on their colonies of which Indochina (which included Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia), was by far one of their most significant.

Indochina was what India represented for the British, however, in their attempt to recolonise, they met strong resistance from the locals.

For centuries, the Vietnamese had suffered under Chinese, Mongolian and Japanese rule, and the French were just another invading force which they took the opportunity to expel, on the back of the french’s focus in Europe over WW2.

Nationalist Soviet inspired guerrilla groups such as Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh, fought the French which led to the 1946, 8-year Indochina War. After a convince defeat at the hands of the Viet Minh at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in May 1954, the French conceded the war and pulled out of Vietnam.

A post war Geneva agreement divided Vietnam into two territories; the communist North Vietnam, and the capitalist South Vietnam. On agreement, within two years they were supposed to be reunited through general elections but with the foreboding that Ho Chi Minh would win and all of Vietnam would turn to communism, the United States ‘intervened’ with funding, armaments, and training to South Vietnam’s government and military. After escalating tensions, the USA formally entered the war in 1965 after the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, (also known as the U.S.S. Maddox incident). This was one of the fiercest chapters of the more globally fought Cold War, with the United States fighting at all costs to stop communist expansion in Southeast Asia.

Attractions and monuments

Fast forward to 2022, and the Vietnam of today is a beautiful country embracing diversity and tourism. If you want to explore this history while you travel, then consider the following Vietnam War era living monuments and attractions:

CU CHI TUNNELS

On the Vietnam War tunnels tour, you will discover tunnels, hiding places and death traps used by Viet Cong soldiers in their war against American soldiers.

HOA LO PRISON

This prison, now a museum, was built by the French government in the late 19th century to house Vietnamese political prisoners, especially those who supported Vietnam’s independence from Indochina.

Many of its political prisoners were tortured or executed by guillotine, but some of the survivors, years later, were leaders of communism in Vietnam.

HO CHI MINH CITY

An explosion of french colonial architecture infuses this city whose culture reflects it’s more historical past of Chinese and Mongolian rule. Named Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh which literally translates to ‘Named after Ho Chi Minh, where Ho Chi Minh means ‘the bringer of light’.

General Minh was the founder of the Viet Minh, a communist-dominated independence movement, who he established to first fight the Japanese, and then the French, securing independence for Vietnam in 1954.

WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM

You can enjoy permanent thematic exhibits and several other special collections that educate the viewer on the all aspects of the war.

REUNIFICATION PALACE

Found in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, this government building, also known as the Independence Palace (previous name) has served as the residence and office of Vietnamese Presidents, including that of General Minh in 1975.

It was designated as a historical monument for having stood sentinel over decades of significant political and social changes in Ho Chi Minh City and reflects the history of a city at war for much of its modern life.

HUE IMPERIAL CITADEL

An intensely cultural location, this was the last capital of Vietnam. Located on the Perfume River, it has a treasure trove of imperial architectural treasures such as monuments, palaces and temples.

VIETNAM MILITARY HISTORY MUSEUM IN HANOI

A sobering but interesting visit to a museum which reflects a snapshot in time, of conflict and war. Featuring a large array of weaponry including tanks, helicopters, military vehicles and even an airplane or two, this museum is a testament to a period in history where  heavy artillery was counted with jungle warfare and highlights the different battles Vietnam won and lost on their pathway to independence.

This installation represents the major armed conflicts that have marked the history of Vietnam’s struggle for independence and freedom against many foreign invading troops.

Trips to get you here

Rice paddies and floating markets, vibrant cities and spell binding emerald bays on this 12-day cultural immersion into Vietnam

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Immerse yourself in real South East Asian culture while on this one month odyssey through the hearts of incredible Thailand and Vietnam.

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