View the H-Diplo Discussion Logs by month
View the Prior Message in H-Diplo's November 2004 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
View the Next Message in H-Diplo's November 2004 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
Visit the H-Diplo home page.
David Horowitz suggests that the triumph of communism led to a bloodbath in Vietnam. Vietnam declared its independence with the cessation of Japanese and Allied warfare in the Pacific. That occurred on August 15, 1945. All Vietnamese, communist and noncommunist, desired independence from the French, who had colonized them and imposed their language and culture. From the late 19th century until the middle of the 20th century, the French practiced a mercantile capitalism which benefited a tiny French and Vietnamese elite who. Their only interest was to exploit Indochina's land and resources for themselves. I would argue that Western attempts to resist the victory of the communists in Vietnam and Indochina resulted in millions of deaths, including several million Indochinese who died in the French Indochina War of 1946-1954, and the Vietnamese-American conflict of 1961-1975. If we include the victims of the Khymer Rouge genocide, a logical result of Western warfare in Indochina over thirty years, then the "bloodbath" visited on the region might be over five million fatalities. This does not include an accounting of the maimed and wounded and the psychiatric casualties of the war, including hundreds of thousands or more American soldiers. Clearly the Vietnam Wars had disastrous effects on Indochina and on the United States as well. American intervention in Indochina had much to do with the expansion a pervasive drug culture in the U.S., in addition to the scars that are apparent in American public memory. If one were to engage in counterfactual history, I think the better choice for everyone, Indochinese, American and French, would have been for the U.S. to have prevented the reoccupation of Indochina by the French in the fall of 1945. Harry Truman should have recognized Ho Chi Minh as the sovereign head of state of an independent and united republic of Vietnam. Of course, things always turn out better in counterfactual history. Orrin Schwab