Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam

Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam

Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam

Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam

Synopsis

While most historians of the Vietnam War focus on the origins of U.S. involvement and the Americanization of the conflict, Lien-Hang T. Nguyen examines the international context in which North Vietnamese leaders pursued the war and American intervention ended. This riveting narrative takes the reader from the marshy swamps of the Mekong Delta to the bomb-saturated Red River Delta, from the corridors of power in Hanoi and Saigon to the Nixon White House, and from the peace negotiations in Paris to high-level meetings in Beijing and Moscow, all to reveal that peace never had a chance in Vietnam.
Hanoi's War renders transparent the internal workings of America's most elusive enemy during the Cold War and shows that the war fought during the peace negotiations was bloodier and much more wide ranging than it had been previously. Using never-before-seen archival materials from the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as materials from other archives around the world, Nguyen explores the politics of war-making and peace-making not only from the North Vietnamese perspective but also from that of South Vietnam, the Soviet Union, China, and the United States, presenting a uniquely international portrait.

Excerpt

Before the bombs fell, Hanoi was relatively quiet. Although the war had disrupted the frenetic pace of life in North Vietnam’s largest city, the late fall and early winter of 1972 seemed even more desolate than seasons past. Between one-quarter and one-half of the population had been evacuated since early December, leaving empty such places as the bustling Dong Xuan market nestled in the maze of the Old Quarter and the tree-lined boulevard surrounding West Lake that had once provided a romantic backdrop for strolling young lovers. Mua phun, the steady light rains of the winter months, enveloped Hanoi, shrouding the city in a damp cloak of despair.

Four years had passed since the start of negotiations, yet the war’s end seemed nowhere in sight. The dim prospect for peace sank the morale of war weary North Vietnamese to new depths in the latter half of 1972. In retrospect, it was the lull before the storm. At 7:15 P.M. on 18 December, an emergency warning rang out over the city’s loudspeakers announcing the imminent arrival of U.S. bombers. Hanoi’s remaining residents had twenty-five minutes to relocate to their bomb shelters before B-52s filled the night sky. For twelve consecutive days and nights, with a brief pause on Christmas Day, the United States dropped nearly 36,000 tons of bombs over North Vietnam, while communist forces shot down more than two . . .

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