- Hits: 1194
Ken Burns Vietnam War Documentary
Segment One: (1945-1959)
Fails to mention that Ho Chi Minh was a Comintern (Soviet) agent for nearly 20 years, not a nationalist as portrayed in the documentary. If he was a true nationalist, he would have worked with the other anti-French nationalists (VNQDD, Dai Viet, Catholic, Cao Dai, etc.) instead of betraying them to the French Surete to be imprisoned or killed. He also murdered many anti-French nationalists and Vietnamese patriots because they would not adopt the measures and policy objectives of the Viet Minh. If Ho was a “nationalist first and communist second,” so were Stalin, Mussolini (was a communist before he formed the fascist movement), and Mao – all were socialists first and nationalists second. Even Hitler was a socialist, if not a communist. Also, if Ho was a nationalist, why was he an officer in the PLA and why was he sent to Thailand by the Comintern to build the communist party there? No, Ho was a communist first period!
The portrayal of Ho as someone who admired the US and our policies is a false one. Ho was in dire straits at the end of WWII and he was desperate for any help he could receive. The Chinese Nationalists controlled China in 1945 and Mao’s base was in northwest China (Yennan), far from Vietnam. The idea that some sort of deal could be made with Ho to turn him into a Tito is not supported by any evidence, only supposition. Ho curried favor with the Americans simply because the Nationalist Chinese were not providing his communist guerrillas with any assistance after 1942 and he was willing to do just about anything to get US money and military equipment, using the gullible (and pro-communist) elements in the OSS to achieve it. The largest anti-Japanese guerrilla force in Vietnam during WWII was the one controlled by the Chinese Nationalists, not Ho’s small force. This all changed when the Nationalist left Vietnam in early 1946. Once Mao took over China in 1949, the French colonial control of Vietnam was doomed.
No mention is made of the fact that only ONE US pilot shot down over Vietnam in WWII was rescued by Ho’s organization. The rest were rescued by Chinese Nationalist/Vietnamese forces. The reason for such poor results is Ho had very few guerrilla fighters in the field when the OSS visited him. He was simply making an empty promise when he told them he would rescue downed American flyers.
Segment Two (1959-1963)
This was a total hit job in President Diem. No mention that he spent large sums of money to build new and repair old Buddhist temples that had been neglected by the French. The old false claim that he filled government posts with Catholics is also false. 80 percent of the officers in the ARVN were not Catholics and only a handful of province chiefs were, and those were in provinces that had large Catholic populations. Using John Paul Vann and Sheehan to criticize Diem and the ARVN is not balanced by contrary evidence. Diem was viewed by most rural South Vietnamese positively because he was a true Vietnamese nationalist. Diem resented the heavy handed threats from the Americans about how he should run his country. The Buddhists were largely supportive of Diem but one sect, infiltrated by communists, caused all the trouble in the cities. Many US journalists fell for the false premise that all Diem needed to do was turn South Vietnam into a Jeffersonian democracy and the war would be won. They failed to understand that for any counter-insurgency to succeed, it was essential to isolate the battle space so the insurgents were denied base areas and supplies. Diem constantly warned the Americans of this, but they did not want to hear it. Too many Americans in the early days of the war were imbued with the idea that if only Diem would take a page from F. D. Roosevert’s and institute political reforms more suited for the US or Europe, the communists would lose their base. It was a major strategic failure to adopt the idea that if you “won the hearts and minds” of the rural South Vietnamese peasants, they would warmly embrace the Saigon government and turn their backs on the communists. This was proven to be false when the local VC played no role in the final defeat of the GVN – the GVN was defeated by a large, conventionally armed PAVN, not local guerrillas. All the elections held, the newspapers and tv stations published, all the schools and hospitals built and all the RD cadres efforts were for naught. People like Brown, Halberstam and Sheehan have a lot to answer for – none of them knew the first thing about Vietnam, could not speak the language, and hanged out with frustrated American staffers and café politicians in Saigon where they regurgitated the poisonous gossip they heard. They and the devious lunatics in the State Department (Hilsman and Harriman) did more to damage the war effort than anyone else because of their intense hatred of Diem and their failure to see that all of the alternatives to him were far worse. They owe the American and Vietnamese a huge apology.
No mention of the North Vietnamese decision in 1959 to overthrow the South Vietnamese government by force and to begin large scale infiltration via Laos and Cambodia, in violation of the 1962 Geneva Accords on the Neutrality of Laos and Cambodia. There is no mention either of their decision to build a large, conventional Army using massive supplies of arms from China and the Soviet Union.
Probably the most appalling narrative throughout this series so far is the idea that it was an American war and the Americans were behind every move. No balance given to the South Vietnamese side, and the only South Vietnamese interviewed or making comments are all communist sympathizers or apologists for them. Very selective Pro-Hanoi comments by the Burns team.
- Hits: 1402
- Hits: 2858
Texas Tech's Vietnam Center & Archive, in collaboration with the Texas Tech Institute for Peace & Conflict sponsored the 2017 Conference entitled 1967: The Search for Peace on April 27-29, 2017
The following are links to presentation papers and other material provided by our members.
Dr. Roger Canfield
Col. Andrew Finlayson
Mr. Stephen Sherman
Prof. Robert F. Turner
- Hits: 2880
The Ken Burns PBS Documentary on the Viet Nam War
The purpose of this section is to track articles, opeds, commentary and criticism of the Ken Burns documentary on Viet Nam. Preliminary indications are that it will perpetuate some of the myths regarding the 2nd Indochina War. We hope to offset those with critiques of every episode and in-depth analysis of the good, the bad and the questionable.
- New Ken Burns' 'Vietnam War' documentary tackles divisive era
- Ken Burns Insists Vietnam Docu-Series His Most Ambitious Project To Date
- Ken Burns Is Finally Making A Documentary On The Vietnam War
- PBS Takes a Long, Hard Look at ‘The Vietnam War’
- Dark Sounds: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Score Ken Burns’s ‘Vietnam War’
- Ken Burns Positions ‘The Vietnam War’ Documentary In New Donald Trump Era – TCA
- Ken Burns returns to PBS with 'Vietnam War'
- Ken Burns, Trent Reznor teaming up for Vietnam documentary
- Ken Burns blends alchemy and archive in “The Vietnam War”
- Vietnam Redux, Again: Ken Burns & Lynn Novick’s Epic PBS Series
- Filmmaker Ken Burns to visit Ann Arbor for preview of Vietnam War documentary
- PBS International Presents The Vietnam War, Scores Sales
- PBS Announces Broadcast Premiere for THE VIETNAM WAR
- Ken Burns coming to Ann Arbor to preview epic Vietnam series
- Ken Burns' new Vietnam War documentary series to shed light on today's "disunity"
- "Nobody's Right" Latest Ken Burns documentary to explore all sides of Vietnam War
- 'Vietnam War' town hall to become WUCF special
- Divisions That We Suffer From Today Began With Vietnam, Says Ken Burn
- Twin Cities PBS seeks Vietnam War stories for digital story wall
- Vietnam War veterans documentary airs on WGCU for Memorial Day weekend
- Ken Burns shares what he learned making his latest documentary, "The Vietnam War"
- Filmmaker Ken Burns on the torment of the Vietnam War
- Filmmaker Ken Burns turns eye to Vietnam War
- Ken Burns' 'Vietnam War' series to be featured at AHA! Festival in Cleveland
- 18-hour documentary series on the Vietnam War will premiere this summer
- Watch: Exclusive Interview With Filmmaker Lynn Novick From "The Vietnam War" Coming to PBS
- Rare footage, interviews highlight new Ken Burns doc
- Ken Burns returns to take on Vietnam — 'a war we have consciously ignored'
- Film Notes: Ken Burns' Team Creates 'The Vietnam War' for PBS, With a Screening in Hanover
- Ken Burns: Student of History—or Left-Wing Gasbag?
- Vietnam: The War That Killed Trust
- The Vietnam Debt
- Are PBS and Ken Burns about to Rewrite History Again?
- Burning History: Ossifying the False Narrative
- Review of the Ken Burns PBS Series
- Review: Ken Burns's 'Vietnam War' Will Break Your Heart and Win Your Mind
- Roush Review: Ken Burns' Powerful Doc 'The Vietnam War'
- War is hell, and sometimes a mistake. Ken Burns tells the 'Vietnam' story
- "The Vietnam War': Inside Ken Burns' 18-Hour Doc on the Era-Defining Conflict
- Ken Burns's 'Vietnam' revisits a barbaric war and asks, what went wrong?
- Be skeptical of Ken Burns' documentary: The Vietnam War
- Skeptical of Burns' 'Vietnam,' Part 2
- Vietnam Episode 2: There's an iceberg ahead, but the ship speeds up
- Ken Burns' Vietname: Episode 1. Very Good, But 2 Omissions
- Missing from Ken Burns' 'Vietnam": The patriotism and pride of those who fought
- Infamous North Vietnamese Propaganda Makes Appearance in Ken Burns Series
- The tragedy of the PBS-Ken Burns version of the Vietnam War
- The Vietnam Documentary And Military Lessons
- The Documentary "The Vietnam War": Artistic License as History
- Why Ken Burns' "Vietnam" on PBS Matters
- Facts 'The Vietnam War' left out
- Reivew Of Ken Burn's Vietnam PBS Series
- Veterans angry, disappointed following PBS' Vietnam War documentary
- Ken Burns, JFK and the unopened door
- Justifying Betrayal of Vietnam Emerges as the Raison d'etre of Ken Burns' Film on the War
- The Vietnam War Documentary: Doom and Despair
- The Bad War
- The Ken Burns Version
- Reluctance to confront the past sows seeds of future division
- Opinion: Vietnam TV series veered leftward, siding with Communist winners and anti-war movement
- South Carolina veterans react sharply to Ken Burns Vietnam documentary
- Veterans angry, disappointed following PBS' Vietnam War documentary
- Vietnam War.. Another point of view
- Mission Failure: The Burns & Novick "The Vietnam War" Misses its Target | A Review (Part 1)
- A Failure to Discern: Burns & Novick's "The Vietnam War" is Bad Hisotry | A Review (Part II)*
- PBS Propaganda: Will Ken Burns' Twisted Version of Vietnam War Endure?
- A Warped Mirror
- Oliver North: PBS and Ken BUrns get Vietnam — and Richard Nixon — wrong, again
- 'Beyond shameful': Don't fall for this deceitful Vietnam flick
- The Ken Burns Version, Cont'd
- PBS 'Vietnam' slap in face of all who served
- Another view of the Vietnam War
- What Ken Burns' Vietnam War docu-series on PBS gets wrong
- Honors and Errors: The Burns-Novick Vietnam War Documentary
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These are the conferences that members have conducted.
These are conferences that members have participated in promoting our efforts to correct the record.