Déjà Vu (1858-1961)  26279


  • 00:00:55 Karl Marlantes: “Coming home from Vietnam was as close to traumatic as the war itself. For years noone talked about Vietnam … like living in a house with an alcoholic father (Shhh! we don’t talk about that) … It’s only been very recently that the baby boomers have started to say ‘What happened?’
  • 00:01:50 Montage of footage in reverse, with quotes from:
    • Kissinger: “What we need now in this country is to heal the wounds”
    • Nixon: “The killing in this tragic war must stop”
    • LBJ: “General Westmoreland’s strategy is producing results”
    • McNamara: “No matter how you measure it, we better off than we thought we would be at this time”
    • Question to JFK: “You’ve been less than candid …”
    • Truman: “If aggression is successful in South Korea you can expect it to spread”
  • 00:03:50 Footage of Vietnam War memorial. Max Cleland: quotes Frank’s Man’s Search for Meaning: “to live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in suffering”: “For those of us who suffered … that’s been our quest ever since”
  • 00:04:20 Narration:
    • Began in secrecy. Ended 30 years later with whole world watching.
    • Begun in good faith by good people out of fateful misunderstandings. Prolonged because easier to muddle through than admit. 5 US Presidents. 58,000 US dead. 250,000 South Vietnamese. 1,000,000 North Vietnamese and Vietcong. 2,000,000 civilians North and South. 10s of thousands in Laos and Cambodia.
    • For some, civil war. For some climactic chapter in century struggle for independence.
    • For US involved or watching news: decade of agony.
    • Everything called into question: Value of honour and gallantry. Qualities of cruelty and mercy. Candour of US government. What it means to be a patriot.
    • Those who lived through it never erased memory or stopped arguing about what happened … and whether it was all worth it.
  • 00:07:30 Bao Ninh: Forty years since. Even Vietnamese veterans avoid talking about it. “Who won and who lost is not a questions. In war noone wins or loses. These is only destruction. Only those who never fought like to argue about who wins or loses.”
  • 00:08:40 French invasion from 1858, starting from Danang. French Governor General in Hanoi. French on plantation estates. Cities like Saigon looking like home. Most did not even bother to learn language. Puppet emperors and Vietnamese mandarins. Vietnamese put to work on roads, canals, railways, bridges.
  • 00:10:30 Repercussions for those who fought against French. Tran Ngoc Toan (S Vietnam): Always looked (from school on) at the French as the enemy.
  • Lam Quang Thi: Vietnamese as inferior. No “égalité.
  • 1967 – 00:11:30 John Musgrave: pure hatred for Vietnamese, and “so scared of them”. “The scareder I got the more I hated them”. “I felt I was hanging on to my honour with my fingernails the whole time I was there.
  • 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Nguyen Ai Quac, ‘Nguyen the Patriot’, inspired by Woodrow Wilson’s dictum, seeking independence for Vietnam. No sign his message ever reached Wilson. Finally settled on name ‘The Most Enlightened One’ (Ho Chi Minh).
  • 00:14:00 Duong van Mai on Ho Chi Minh sacrificing life and family for his country.
  • Expelled from school. Left Vietnam in 1911 for 30 years. Cook’s helper on liner, and time in New York and Boston, inc pastry chef. Shovelled snow in London. Tinted glass in Paris. Became Communist. Time in Moscow and Soviet agent, criticised for being nationalist first and patriot second. Establishing Indo-Chinese Communist country. Always thinking one thought: of Vietnam.
  • 1940 – 00:16:00 WWII. Japan permitting collaborationist French to continue overseeing colony. Japanese as end to white rule? Ho Chi Minh saw them as aliens, only interested in exploiting country, inc for food. Time come to unify to defeat Japanese and French.
  • 1941 – Ho Chi Minh returned. Limestone cave in mountain named for Karl Marx, and stream named for Lenin. Founding Vietnam Indepedence League: Viet Minh. Not seen internally as a Communist organisation.
  • Vo Nguyen Giap, former teacher of French elite. Inspired by Napoleon, Lawrence of Arabia, Mao Zedong. Theory of guerilla tactics in war. Army that would be “everywhere and nowhere”. Way of fighting: weak against the strong. Don’t fight unless sure you can win. Surprise. Choosing own battle.
  • 1966 – 00:19:30 Mike Heaney. Understrength platoon ambushed by VC. Prayer: “if you need any more guys from my platoon, take me …”
  • 1945 – 00:21:00 US government looking for allies behind the lines. Contacted by Ho Chi Minh. OSS (wartime precursor of CIA) team parachuted in. Donald Gregg: Doctor on team saving Ho Chi Minh, who was ill. Supplied Viet Minh with arms, surprised how quickly they mastered them. Ho Chi Minh praising US. Bui Diem: Considering US as a “kind of free man, liberating people” like in Europe.
  • Famine in North of country, while Japanese storage full of rice. Government not clear how to solve famine. Ho Chi Minh knew, and broke into Japanese store houses. Hailed as saviours.
  • 00:24:00 August 6 1945 – Hiroshima and Nagasaki. HCM call to rise and take country before French could reestablish regime. Declaration of independence in Hanoi by HCM. Used Thomas Jefferson: “all men are created equal … inalienable rights … life, liberty, pursuit of happiness”. Calculated but understandable hopes for American Support, based on FDR’s promises. Although Harry Truman inherited different world, inc collapse of USSR and takeover of Eastern Europe, with hoped-for expanionism. De Gaulle fear of falling into Russian orbit.
  • George Wickes in Vietnam: very few knew where it was located. Split between nationalist Chinese holding North and British in the South. French and Viet Minh already fighting in Saigon. Close to Civil War. Lt Col Dewey 28 y.o.  commander of OSS. Brokered talks between Viet Minh and French, infuriating British General Douglas Gracey, who wanted French control reestablished ASAP. Dewey: “US should clear out of SE Asia”. Viet Minh roadblock mistook Dewey for Frenchman and killed him. HCM wrote to USA lamenting mistake and his death.
  • 1968 – 00:31:00 Vincent Okamoto on going to African-American mother’s house with Padré to tell of her son’s death. Father had a letter a week old; son killed on day of writing letter.
  • Fall of 1945 – 00:32:00 French arriving to take over from British. Reoccupation of whole country. HCM hoping not to have war, hoping for US support: pointed to them never having had empire, and asking for them not to be blinded by Communism. HCM letters never given to Truman by CIA. HCM return to Paris to seek fulfilment of promise for autonomy. Giap purge of rival nationalist parties and reactionist saboteurs. Lam Quiang Thi: thought Viet Minh not fighting for Vietnamese, but for Communism.
  • 1946 – Fighting in Hanoi between Viet Minh and French. French win; Ho and Giap returning to mountains in North. Radio address calls for nationwide guerilla war. Those who have swords will use them, those who don’t to use spades or sticks. Nguyen Ngoc: memories of a happy time.
  • Families torn apart by their convictions. Civil war down to family level.
  • 00:36:30 French regulars, European mercenaries, colonial troops from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, fighting with army of Cambodians, Laotians, anti-Communist Vietnamese.
  • Pacification: building dykes, schools and roads. Controlled only during the day. VM guerilla attacks and bombings. French often revenging themselves on the nearest village. Le Cong Huan: Shooting water buffalo used to farm.
  • Communists as ruthless as French. Better to kill innocent than let guilty go.
  • 1967 – 00:40:30 Roger Harris. Mother: “I talk to God every day, and you’re special, you’re coming back.” Everybody’s mother thinks that they’re special. “I’m putting pieces of special people in bags.”
  • August 29 1949 – 00:41:40 USSR getting atom bomb. Hal Kushner: Manichean good v evil. Mao Zedong seizing China. Insurrections in British Burma and Malaya. Mao recognising HCM’s insurgency and provision of equipment and training. Also USSR similarly. Truman blamed for losing China and not containing Communism, approved $23m for French in Vietnam: end to neutrality.
  • June 1950 – 00:43:40 Start of Korean War (invasion of S Korea by N Korea). US and allies pushed invaders back North. In Vietnam, Viet Minh becoming modern fighting force. Secret dispatch of vehicles to Vietnam by US. No US in Vietnam spoke any Vietnamese, but now officially involved.
  • Support for French war in Vietnam rises to $336m.
  • Autumn 1951 – 00:46:00 JFK as part of Congressional visit to Saigon. Kennedy time with Seymour Topping, reporter, who gave different view to the official French one: French losing. JFK told constituents that US needed to appear as opposed to injustice and inequality as it did to communism.
  • 1952 – 00:47:00 Election of Eisenhower, partly because of tougher stance on Communism. 30% of bill for French fight in Vietnam. Would rise to 80% in 2 years. Richard Nixon broadcast explaining why it’s so vitally important in relation to Indochina, Thailand, Malaya (rubber and tin) etc. Footage of Nixon on (or close to) battlefield.
  • Henri Navarre: 7th French commander. Victory near. French population horrified by brutality and use of napalm.
  • 00:49:10 Returning French troops stoned at Marseille. Parisian leftists: “La sale guerre”.
  • 1968 – 00:49:40 Ron Ferrizzi: protests in US. “I saw somebody who looked like my dad hitting somebody who looked like me.” … “Whose side would I be on?”
  • July 1953 – 00:50:00 End of Korean war. French willingness to begin peace talks. HCM agreed to meet. But both sides still seeking to improve position on battlefield.
  • Navarre hoped to lure Viet Minh into decisive battle at Dien Bien Phu. Confidence of victory. Giap: seeks to wipe out whole enemy force. Quarter of a million civilian porters moved everything needed on foot through the jungle. Artillery dug in and extremely well camouflaged. March 13 1954: bombardment begins. Airstrip destroyed. Besieged troops resupplied by airdrop. French commander commits suicide. French President begged Eisenhower for help. Eisenhower refused to help without Congress and Allied support.
  • 00:53:50 JFK (D-MASS): independence must be granted and people must support the struggle. Eisenhower convinced that victory not possible. Aircraft secretly sent to help at Dien Bien Phu, unmarked and flown by civilian contractors.  Leslie Gelb/Eisenhower: fear of domino effect.
  • Surrender of French forces after 54 days of siege. 8000 casualties. Giap lost 3x that, but had won victory. Half of country freed. Nguyen Thoi Bung: Victory instilled belief in ability to win.
  • 00:56:45 Senate minorty leader LBJ: “We have been caught bluffing by our enemies.” Today Indochina … tomorrow Asia … Western Alliance in flames? Donald Gregg: saw as defeat for free world related to China. Total misreading of pivotal event.
  • 00:57:30 Peace talks in Geneva. 9 countries for 2 months. Giap needed more support from China and USSR. China exhausted, and USSR looking to lessen tensions. HCM agrees to partition, negotiated settlement. 17th parallel. DMZ, until an election held (which everyone knew HCM would win).
  • 1969 – 01:00:00 Karl Marlantes: middle of a shit sandwich. “We’re not the top species on the planet because we’re nice.” Military turning people into machines: “just finishing school.”
  • 300 days for civilians who wanted to relocate. 900,000 refugees to south, including half of all Catholics. Many on US ships. Hoped to encourage building of legitimate government in south.
  • Ngo Dinh Diem: Roman Catholic and a Confucian in largely Buddhist country. Celibate bachelor who had once planned to be a priest. Gelb: US “victim of Diem”. Diem also spent years abroad seeking support for his Viet nationalism. Hatred for Communists. Aloof, autocratic, mistrustful beyond family. Shrewd, resourceful, skilled at exploiting weaknesses of opponents. Daunting task in creating new country. Diem detested by French. Provinces under sway of religious sects with own forces. Cadre resistance fighters who had stayed behind. Binh Xuyen: French-backed crime syndicate in Saigon. CIA split on Diem. “Messiah without a message”. April 27 1955: end of US support for Diem. Diem all-out assault on Binh Xuyen. Eisenhower felt he had to stick with Diem. French accounce complete withdrawal. Diem popular because seemed to embody Nationalist cause in South. Diem calls referendum in South. CIA warn him not to meddle too much with the returns. Diem claims 98.2% victory. October 26 1955: Diem names himself new president of Republic of Viet Nam. Promised referendum not held. Gelb: “Our ally, or rather, our master … we couldn’t afford for him to lose.”
  • 01:07:15 Diem visit to Eisenhower, greeted by Eisenhower at airport. Diem seeking further support. JFK: “South Vietnam is our offspring. We cannot abandon it.”
  • South Vietnam had never been a country. USA of New Deal and Marshall Plan convinced they could build one. US civilians always outnumbered by military advisors. Founding of ARVN: Army of Republic of Vietnam. Some ARVN officers think US methods unsuited to expected guerilla war. US advisors veterans of Korea, expected conventional invasion from the North.
  • Ho Chi Minh focus on rebuilding country in North. Brutal land reforms modelled on China. Cautious about drawing USA in further by too much action in the South, but revolutionaries in South struggling under Diem. Attacks on S Vietnam officials. Le Quan Cong: “We didn’t have guns so we used machetes to kill the tyrants.”
  • New leaders in Hanoi: HCM sharing power with people less patient. Ignorance of US about new leaders. Le Duan: helped found Indochinese Communist Party, and imprisoned for 9 years by French: becomes First Secretary. Understands the people of South and carries their will to North.
  • 01:13:40 Bands of Viet Minh start to slip back into S Vietnam via what would become known as HCM Trail.
  • 1959: Killing of 2 Americans (first in war).
  • 01:15:00 JFK “We must prove again … whether this nation conceived as it is with its  freedom of choice, its breadth of opportunity, its range of alternatives can compete with the single-minded advance of the Communist system. JFK election victory.
  • Forming of new organisation to replace Viet Minh, dedicated to overthrow of Diem. Le Duan orchestrating all from Hanoi. “National Liberation Front”: NLF. Armed wing called “People’s Liberation Armed Forces”, disparaged as “Communist Traitors to the Vietnamese Nation” = Viet Cong. Huy Duc: leaders said “we are willing to sacrifice to the last person” – people didn’t understand that meant their sacrifice.
  • January 20 1961 01:17:45 JFK: “we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to ensure the survival and the success of liberty.”
  • 1969 “for me I’d always thought of courage as charging enemy bunkers or standing up under  fire. But just to walk, day after day from village to village … just to get up in the morning and look out at the land … will my corpse be there or there … just to walk felt incredibly brave. I would sometimes look at my legs as I walked and thought: “how am I doing this?”” [END TITLES]



    Come On-a My House
    • music by Ross Bagdasarian, William Saroyan
    • words by Ross Bagdasarian, William Saroyan
    A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall
    • music by Bob Dylan
    • words by Bob Dylan
    Total items: 2

    Topics covered by this tv

    1. ..trotzdem Ja zum Leben sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager (book) • 00:04:00 • quoted by Max Cleland: "to live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in suffering"
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                [0] => Peter Coyote*Narrator|Karl Marlantes*Marines, 1969|Max Cleland*Army|Bao Ninh*North Vietnamese Army|Tran Ngoc Toan*South Vietnamese Marines|Lam Quang Thi*South Vietnamese Army|John Musgrave*Marines, 1967|Duong Van Mai*Hanoi|Mike Heaney*Army, 1966|Donald Gregg*CIA|Bui Diem*South Vietnamese Diplomat|Dong Si Nguyen*Viet Minh|George Wickes*O.S.S.|Vincent Okamoto*Army, 1968|Nguyen Ngoc*Viet Minh|Le Cong Huan*Viet Minh|Tran Ngoc 'Harry' Hue*South Vietnamese Army|Roger Harris*Marines, 1967|Hal Kushner*Danville, VA|Ron Ferrizzi*Army, 1968|Leslie Gelb*Pentagon|Nguyen Thoi Bung*Viet Minh|Nguyen Van Tong*Viet Minh|Le Quan Cong*Viet Minh|Huy Duc*North Vietnam|
        [creative] => Array
                [0] => Ken Burns*director|Lynn Novick*director|Geoffrey C. Ward*writer|Tricia Reidy*editor|Trent Reznor*original music|Atticus Ross*original music|Yo-Yo Ma*additional original music|Silk Road Ensemble*additional original music|Buddy Squires*cinematography

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