Notes on
Ho Chi Minh, A Life by William J. Duiker
For The U.S. War Against Asia
by William P. Meyers

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Page 7

Source: Ho Chi Minh, A Life by William J. Duiker. Hyperion, New York, ©2000, first edition. Numbers in brackets indicate page numbers for this edition.

The escalating U.S. support for the regime in South Vietnam led the government of North Vietnam to okay attacks on U.S. troops in the autumn of 1964. The first successful attack occurred on October 31, 1964 at the Bien Hoa U.S. air base; 4 American soldiers were killed and 30 were wounded. A successful attack on South Vietnamese soldiers in December at Binh Gia led to overconfidence that the U.S. would negotiate a withdrawal. Instead, when the Viet Cong attacked a Special Forces camp at Pleiku, killing 8 and wounding a hundred other Americans, President Lyndon Johnson ordered an air strike on North Vietnam. [542-543]

In March 1965 Johnson ordered two Marine Corps battalions to Da Nang, marking a change from the U.S. mainly giving training and advice, to a full combat role. [543]

By the end of 1965 over 200,000 U.S. troops were in South Vietnam. The PAVN (People's Army of Vietnam), under General Thanh, sought to engage U.S. troops selectively to demonstrate Vietnamese fighting capability. Le Duan supported this approach; Vo Nguyen Giap argued against it. Ho Chi Minh was old and physically weak, certainly not in charge, but supported troops from the North engaging American troops in the south. [548]

Ho Chi Minh turned seventy-five years old in May 1965. His role was increasingly ceremonial and advisory. In the north food production suffered because so many men went to fight in the south. Only aid from China prevented mass starvation. "U.S. air raids left many cities in ruins, including the old provincial capital of Vinh." [WPM: air raids on urban areas are war crimes][553]

"More than 1 million Vietnamese were estimated to have died in the northern and southern parts of the country in the course of the war." [554]

Ho Chi Minh died on September 2, 1969 at 9:45 A.M. [561]

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