23 July 1945

23 July 1945

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23 July 1945




Allied aircraft attack targets at Kure, Shikoku, Kyushu and on the Inland Sea

War at Sea

German submarine U-760 surrendered at El Ferrol

Today in World War II History—July 23, 1940 & 1945

Members of USS Barb’s demolition squad, Pearl Harbor, August 1945. These men went ashore at Karafuto, Japan, and planted an explosive charge that wrecked a train. This raid is represented by the train symbol in the middle bottom of the battle flag. (US Navy photo: NH 103570)

80 Years Ago—July 23, 1940: British Home Guard is officially established (formerly Local Defence Volunteers) with 1.3 million civilian volunteers to protect the home front.

Battle flag of the USS Barb in the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum at Pearl Harbor (Photo: Sarah Sundin, Nov. 2016)

75 Years Ago—July 23, 1945: Marshal Philippe Pétain goes on trial in Paris for collaborating with the Nazis his death sentence will be commuted due to his age.

Submarine USS Barb lands 8 raiders on Karafuto (between Japan & mainland Asia), who blow up a train and escape.

Today in World War II History—July 23, 1940 & 1945

Members of USS Barb’s demolition squad, Pearl Harbor, August 1945. These men went ashore at Karafuto, Japan, and planted an explosive charge that wrecked a train. This raid is represented by the train symbol in the middle bottom of the battle flag. (US Navy photo: NH 103570)

80 Years Ago—July 23, 1940: British Home Guard is officially established (formerly Local Defence Volunteers) with 1.3 million civilian volunteers to protect the home front.

Battle flag of the USS Barb in the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum at Pearl Harbor (Photo: Sarah Sundin, Nov. 2016)

75 Years Ago—July 23, 1945: Marshal Philippe Pétain goes on trial in Paris for collaborating with the Nazis his death sentence will be commuted due to his age.

Submarine USS Barb lands 8 raiders on Karafuto (between Japan & mainland Asia), who blow up a train and escape.

Just history.

Hooper: You were on the Indianapolis?

Quint: Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, Chief. We was comin’ back from the island of Tinian to Leyte… just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in twelve minutes…. Noon the fifth day, Mr. Hooper, a Lockheed Ventura saw us, he swung in low and he saw us. He’s a young pilot, a lot younger than Mr. Hooper, anyway he saw us and come in low. And three hours later a big fat PBY comes down and start to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened? Waitin’ for my turn. I’ll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went in the water, three hundred and sixteen men come out, the sharks took the rest.

USS Indianapolis. We all remember the scene from the movie Jaws. Gruff Captain Quint, young Marine biologist Hooper and Police Chief Brodie sit in the cabin of the small boat, drinking and comparing scars… as they wait in the dark for the Great White to surface, Quint tells the story of how a shark nearly took him. Sounds incredible, but the story is true, except for the date.
On July 15th, 1945 with the surrender of the Nazis and the war in Europe being over, America had turned their attention to the continued conflict with Japan. At Mare Island that morning 46 year old Captain Charles McVay of the USS Indianapolis had, in a secret meeting with Admiral William R Purnell and Captain William S Parsons received his orders regarding a mission that he was to command. Three days previously he had been given the order to muster his crew of 1196 men, some veterans, some new, some somewhere in between. The mission was to sail out on the Pacific with a package of unknown description, which he was to pick up at San Francisco, Hunters Point Navy yard. His destination would be revealed at some point during the crossing.

Just four months previously, the Indianapolis had suffered a kamikaze attack off Okinawa which had left nine dead and twenty nine injured. The ship was seriously damaged and following some quick temporary repairs had limped home for a proper refit. Now some of the crew were transferring off, stating she was unlucky. When the crew were mustered, on 16th July Indianapolis set sail for the pick-up at Hunters, where they loaded a large wooden crate approximately five feet by five feet by fifteen feet, into the forward hangar, and two crew carried between them a heavy black canister up the gang-plank, and from there out on the Pacific. McVay had commented on biological warfare not being used, to the man assigned to take charge of the crate, Captain Nolan, who after seeing it padlocked down onto the deck, and stated he would be keeping the key, and received no reply. Captain Nolan and his assistant Major Furman were in sole charge of the crate and the canister, guarded around the clock by 39 armed marines.

At 5am the Indianapolis prepared to set sail. At 6.30 as she entered the outer harbour, she stopped. Nobody knew why, but shortly afterwards a marine launch pulled up and a message was delivered to Captain McVay instructing him on Presidential order that the cargo was to be delivered without exception to its destination. Without knowing it, the crate contained the parts of “little boy”, the canister $300 million worth of Uranium-235, half of the available fissible amount in the USA at the time. The destination: Japan. The brief pause had been for the test taking place 1300 miles away in New Mexico. Once its success was confirmed, the go-ahead was given to commence. Should the nuclear test have failed, Indianapolis would have been ordered to return to her berth. McVay was not aware at the time, but Nolan and Furman were actually members of the small unit who worked with Robert Oppenheimer and his team, developing and building the components for the Atom bomb which was destined to drop on Hiroshima less than 3 weeks later. As the ship steamed out into open water, President Truman and Winston Churchill were preparing to issue the Potsdam declaration to Japan.
The destination of the cargo to Tinian was received as the ship ploughed its way through the Pacific. And the journey was relatively without incident. They reached their destination on schedule and the cargo was offloaded. Following a six hour break, Captain McVay was informed that his crew were to receive scheduled training at Leyte and set sail for Guam where he would pick up his directions for Leyte. Once there, the ship and her crew would be prepared to join the Pacific invasion which was under preparation. Commands via coded messages had been relayed by wire to all concerned, to expect the arrival of the Indianapolis. Except something went wrong.

The message to notify Rear–Admiral McCormick, under Vice-Admiral Oldendorf to whom McVay was to report at Leyte on board the USS Idaho, was mis-read by the decoding wireless operator. He made a simple mistake, he mis-read the name for who the message was intended, and did not bother to finish the rest of the message. The other officers in their various stations were aware of the planned movements of the Indianapolis, but not the dates she was expected. The Idaho did not get the message at all, and so was not expecting her arrival in Leyte.

After reaching Guam, his stopping point before the 1300 mile trek to Leyte, McVay was given his routing orders, these included the ruling that due to the possible threat of enemy vessels, his course was to zig-zag, which was thought by the men at the top to make it harder to hit, in practice it made little difference, McVay requested an escort. He was denied, as it wasn’t considered necessary. The last intelligence suggested that there had been no confirmed enemy sightings for the previous week. What McVay wasn’t told, as in the decryption of the German Enigma code, which led to the decision of the military top brass in England to withhold information of the proposed Luftwaffe bombing of Coventry, as to make preparations would reveal to the enemy that their code had been cracked forcing them to change it, was that the Japanese code PURPLE had also been cracked. And that one US ship had already been lost on a convoy three days previously with the loss of over 100 lives.

An unaccompanied, unexpected USS Indianapolis left Guam on the 27th July, without the protection of sonar detection – it wasn’t fitted as the escorts usually carried this equipment and so it wasn’t thought required – and aimed for the standard Peddie route, travelling at a standard rate of knots in an effort to protect the engines following their break-neck voyage from San Francisco. What he was also unaware of was that somewhere in the distance, 36 year old Lieutenant-Commander Mochitsura Hashimoto, on board his submarine I-58, was watching, waiting and desperate to secure a kill before the war ended. Having yet to successfully take an enemy target, Hashimoto knew Japanese defeat was imminent.

On July 29th after a stop at Apra, which had resulted in the somewhat successful notification to Rear Admiral McCormick that the Indianapolis was expected at Leyte, which he chose in the first instance to disregard as he had not received the first communication sent two days earlier, he believed that the information was incorrect, and a notification that successfully reached Vice-Admiral Oldendorf about her expected arrival, but not when, Indianapolis was reaching the final stages of her voyage. That night, due to poor visibility, as per his instructions, McVay gave the order to stop zig-zagging, and went to bed at 11pm.

At 12.04 am the call came out on board the I-58 that a possible enemy ship had been sighted roughly three miles away. Excited, as he used his supplied chart to try and work out what kind of ship he was up against, Hashimoto gave the order to steer slowly and stealthily toward the target and had six torpedoes loaded and ready to fire. His Kamikaze Kaiten pilot loaded himself ready and his second made ready. After spending a minute using his sonar to calculate the rough speed of the ship using the revolutions of the engines, Hashimoto gave the order to fire the torpedoes. In three second intervals, six missiles shot out of the submarine, at a speed of 48 knots, each loaded with 1210lbs of explosive. The snuck through the water at a depth of 16 feet leaving a visible wake. By now the Indianapolis was less than a mile away.
At 12.05 two torpedoes hit the Indianapolis, lifting her clean out of the water, spinning her southwards and setting her back down, still moving at a speed of 17 knots. The Ship had most of her bow missing and had been sheared almost in two. 3600 gallons of stored high-octane aviation fuel had ignited and a fire raged as it gushed out of the ruptured tank. One torpedo had hit the boiler room which provided the steam for engine room number one, powering the forward engine, and blown the powder room which contained the powder magazines for the eight inch guns on board.

With all but one of the propellers out of action and tons of seawater being taken on board, Indianapolis was listing heavily. As it become obvious that she could not be saved, and that they were now alone in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with no emergency radio, the order was given to abandon ship. There were few survivors from the forward section of the ship, most had been vaporised as the first torpedo hit. Those further back were slightly more fortunate, although some blinded by aviation fuel, burned and bleeding. Bodies littered the remains of the ship. Just 8 minutes after she was hit, the order was given to abandon ship. Many of the surviving crew had already mustered on the deck and stood by the rail watching horrified as they rose further out of the water. The engine powered lifeboats had either been blown apart or upended, rendering them immovable, and the men were reduced to grabbing the available cork and canvas life-rafts that were stacked around them. These life-rafts were big enough to hold 25 men, and should carry provisions for each man to last a few days, including water. Unfortunately only 12 of these rafts made it off the ship, and in their haste to depart Hunters Point, they had not been stocked with necessary provisions.

USS Indianapolis Memorial

As the survivors grabbed life vests, which as luck would have it, had been over-supplied, meaning there were more than twice as many as needed, they jumped off the port rails into the sea 80 feet below in darkness. On the far side of the ship, those men simply stepped off the starboard rail into the water with which it was level and swam away. Many of the men were forced to swim through the oil slick which had pooled around the stricken vessel. It stuck to them like thick black treacle, coating their skin, getting in their mouths and up their noses and then began to burn.

Radio room number one had been put out of action, all the wires and antennae destroyed. But radio room two was still viable. Unfortunately the equipment in this room was for receiving messages, not transmission. After watching Chief Radio Electrician L. T Woods for a minute or two, young radio technician Jack Woods understood that by flicking a switch on the incoming transmitter, they were able to transmit a series of signals, using Morse code. They worked rapidly, hoping someone at the other end was receiving their S.O.S. call, giving their co-ordinates.

Unknown to them, three of these messages were received. One was given to a sailor on security detail for Commodore Jacob Jacobson, at Tacloban, Leyte. He read it and delivered it urgently, waking Jacobson up to read it to him by torchlight. Jacobson asked if a confirmation had been sent, and a reply received. Young confirmed that they had sent a request to confirm the details from the Indianapolis, but no response had been received. Jacobson laid back down and instructed Young to wake him again when they heard back from the ship. The second message was received 12 miles away from Tacloban in Tolosa, and given to an officer who read it and immediately despatched two navy tugs to go to the co-ordinates. Commodore Gillette in command of Tolosa heard of the decision as he played bridge on a nearby island and order the return of the tugs, now seven hours out, as he hadn’t given the order. Another 14 hours would have seen them arrive on scene and rescue could have begun. The third message was received by a landing craft on Leyte harbour, after eight minutes a duplicate message was received. It was forwarded through standard channels and subsequently ignored.

300 men were estimated to have been killed in the initial impact of the torpedoes. 900 men went into the water. As they watched their ship sink, in just twelve minutes, in the darkness, praying for help to arrive, the I-58 in the distance did a cursory check to confirm the hit. They found nothing. After an hour they gave up and moved on. As the sun came up, and the survivors were able to see more, many of them realised they were not alone. Effort were made to regroup as others were met. Many men were suffering horrific injuries, some were weak, and later drowned. The first day, Monday was spent organising themselves into bigger groups, and watching the passing debris for anything useful, food, flares, water, life-jackets.

As darkness fell again, they were somewhat comforted in the knowledge that the next day they had been due to arrive at Leyte. When they failed to appear, they were certain a rescue party would be sent. They were unaware of the confusion on the island as to the date or accuracy of the Indianapolis’ arrival at all. As they drifted off to sleep, against the rocking of the ocean, and the bumps of their companion’s legs in the water, they were also unaware that these weren’t limbs banging against limbs, but the inquisitive nudges of the sharks that were moving in.

On the first day, they had feasted on the dead bodies as they sunk under the water. Or picked off the single survivors, isolated from the larger groups now forming. But on the second day, they moved on to the main congregated survivors. As Tuesday turned into Wednesday, those on Leyte moved the marker for Indianapolis from the expected slot to the arrived list. Her departure marker likewise had been moved at her starting point. Nobody checked whether she had actually arrived, but for one man who went around the berths each day marking the ships as they arrived from his list. Noticing the absence of Indianapolis, she was recorded as overdue. Nothing was reported. Those aware, presuming her arrival had been delayed by other orders.
Wednesday drifted into Thursday and the survivors decreased in number hourly. Many succumbing to their injuries and drowning, some gone mad from the heat, the lack of water, the terror. Now surrounded by a flotsam of half eaten bodies and chewed limbs, many started to hallucinate, turned violent, turned on each other. Several chose to commit suicide, taking off their lifejackets and swimming out a way before calmly stopping and allowing the ocean and the predators to take them. Through the day they waited, watching as the sharks swam through lunging at the tattered remains of what were once men. Many of the survivors were missing limbs, already victims to the endless circling mass of hundreds of sharks.

As Thursday drifted into Friday, Indianapolis had still not been acknowledged as missing. Patrol bomber Lieutenant Chuck Gwinn, flying a Lockheed Ventura PV-1 over his routine patch between Peliliu Island and the Japanese Mainland flew over what he initially thought to be a small oil slick left behind by some unknown ship. He got a little excited thinking there could be an enemy submarine in the area and began preparations to ready his bombs. Suddenly the slick grew bigger and he noticed something else in the water. He flew around and in lower and was astonished to see a small group of men, caked in oil, clinging to the remains of a life raft. He gave the order to abort the bombing and did several circles of the group. Dipping his wings to acknowledge he had seen them, away in the distance he began to pick out more of these groups. It suddenly occurred to him that there must have been a substantial wreck, for the numbers of men he was seeing. As Japanese submarines carried less than 100 men, this could in no way be enemy survivors. But he hadn’t been detailed of any American ship being damaged or sunk in the area. Nobody had.

Gwinn gave his co-ordinates and outlined a possible shipwreck with many survivors. He circled and dropped everything the plane carried. As he watched and circled, he saw that the men were encircled by hundreds of sharks. For as long as he was able he watched horrified as the sharks picked off the men. One attack saw thirty sharks take around 60 men from a raft in one violent frenzied raid. Gwinn’s signal and message back at his base confirmed that some disaster had happened and rescue would be needed. A squadron of Catalinas – able to land on water – were fuelled and ready to be despatched. Gwinn’s superior officer telephoned and requested one be sent immediately to relieve Gwinn who was getting low on fuel, the duty officer, having not had official word of any catastrophe denied the request. Lieutenant Attebury, not having had time to notify Admiral Murray in Guam, in whose jurisdiction the wreck was, sent word and readied his Ventura, with a crew of four and set off. It was now midday on Friday 2nd August, five days after the Indianapolis had sunk.

Attebury, once up in the air received another message from Gwinn, requesting naval support for a rescue of an approximate 150 survivors. He wasn’t able to pass on the message, but he figured seeing as he was only an hour away, it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter, as the message was picked up by Peleliu and on its receipt the Navy went into over-drive. The biggest rescue mission of the US Navy was underway.

The first person to receive the notification was Captain Granum, whose superior officer Commodore Gillette had received one of the SOS calls five days before as the Indianapolis sank, and chose to recall the tug boats that had been sent to search for and rescue the survivors. Granum, now concerned, called down to Gibson at Tacloban, who had two days earlier ignored the non-arrival of the ship when it was already one day overdue. The other person to receive word was Vice Admiral Murray on Guam. He immediately sent two ships. An amphibious navy plane on a routine flight went over the rescue area, and saw the life-rafts and Gwinn’s plane in the distance. He requested to put down and pick up survivors. His request was denied. He flew over the spot and dropped everything he had that could help.
As Attebury reached the disaster area, he sent Gwinn back to base. Whilst circling, he heard the voice of Lieutenant Marks over his radio. Marks had been one of the Catalina crew that Attebury had requested to assist. He had taken it upon himself to fly out with the emergency plane. After hearing what the situation was during his flight, he had contact with a destroyer in the area, who asked Marks about his mission. Captain Graham Claytor aboard the USS Cecil J. Doyle was only 200 miles away but had received no word about the rescue mission. Operating without further command, Claytor turned his ship around and headed for the survivors. It would take him 10 hours at full speed to reach the mission.

Finally CINCPAC in Manila radioed all ships to break radio silence and report their positions. Three turned out to be missing from Leyte, Indianapolis was one of them. Gillette, McCormick and Granum nervously messaged between themselves, requesting correlating information on her movements. Once confirmed, they took a deep breath and launched all available resources. Marks meanwhile had put the Catalina down, in what can only be described as a rough landing, which damaged some of the seams. He then began the process of loading the survivors on board. Once full, he wrapped further men in parachutes and lashed them to the wings of the plane, and as darkness fell, with no further room, sat back and prepared to wait the night out.
Other survivors, had managed to fight their way to some of the inflatables which had been dropped by the passing planes. 300 survivors were still adrift. At just before midnight, the Cecil J. Doyle arrived, closely followed by the Bassett, the Ralph Talbot and by dawn the Madison and the Dufilho were also in the area. The vessels spent the majority of the next day searching, with the aid of reconnaissance planes, for firstly survivors, and once all possibilities had ended, began the grim task of collecting what remains they could for identification, before giving them burial at sea. The survivors were transported by boat to hospital, where the long recovery process for many of them began. Burns, kidney malfunctions, broken or missing limbs, malnutrition. For some, complete mental breakdown. Telegrams were sent out notifying families, but a media blackout was placed on the incident, until after the Japanese surrender some days later.

Captain Charles McVay survived the Indianapolis sinking and the following days forgotten about at sea. But he never forgot the crew members he lost. Following his recuperation, McVay was made a scape-goat, despite witness accounts of his conduct, the poor visibility which enabled his decision to stop zig-zagging, as per naval directives, including testimony from Hashimoto who was flown in especially to give his evidence at McVay’s court-martial. Hashimoto stated that zig-zagging would not have made a difference to his ability to torpedo the Indianapolis that night. This was backed up by an expert who cited that the benefits of such a manoeuvre were actually negligible. In the first court-martial of an officer as a result of an act of war, McVay was found guilty. His career was over, the sinking and the aftermath were officially his fault. Of 1196 men on board, with 300 estimated killed on impact, 321 survivors were picked out of the water five days later. Four more of these would die in the next few days.

Mention was not given to the catalogue of errors committed by those in charge who failed to highlight the ship’s non-arrival at Leyte, the SOS messages being disregarded, and the initial lack of official rescue efforts when the disaster became known. Those involved received letters of admonishment and other restrictions. Charles McVay was publicly held up to be responsible. Relatives of the dead now had someone to blame. Hate letters arrived daily for him, he kept each and every one that his wife was unable to intercept. Each and every one served to remind him that he had failed his men. In November 1968, aged 70, after losing his wife to cancer, and his grandson a few years earlier, and following a new, perhaps knee-jerk marriage in response, Charles McVay laid down on the front step of his lodge in a quiet town in Connecticut, and with his beloved dog to witness his final moments, shot himself in the head.

He was found with his head reclining on the step, his hands by his side and his toes facing down the path, giving all the appearance of a man floating in the sea.

Countdown to Hiroshima, for July 30, 1945: Eisenhower Protests Use of A-Bomb Against Japan

For the past several days here, and for more to come, I am counting down the days to the atomic bombing of Japan (August 6 and August 9, 1945), marking events from the same day in 1945. I've written hundreds of article and three books on the subject: Hiroshima in America (with Robert Jay Lifton), Atomic Cover-Up (on the decades-long suppression of shocking film shot in the atomic cities by the U.S. military) and Hollywood Bomb (the wild story of how an MGM 1947 drama was censored by the military and Truman himself).

July 30, 1945:
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, commander of U.S. troops in Europe, has visited President Truman in Germany, and would recall what happened in his memoir (Mandate for Change): "Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act.

"During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of 'face'. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude. "

In a Newsweek interview, Ike would add: ". the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing."

-- Stimson, now back at the Pentagon, cabled Truman, that he had drafted a statement for the president that would follow the first use of the new weapon--and Truman must urgently review it because the bomb could be used as early as August 1. Stimson sent one of his aides to Germany with two copies of the statement. The Top Secret, six-page typed statement opened: "____ hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on ______ and destroyed its usefulness to the enemy. That bomb has more power than 20,000 tons of TNT. It is an atomic bomb. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe." Later, as we will see, the claim that Hiroshima was merely "a military base" was added to the draft.

--After scientists sifted more data from the July 16 Trinity test of the first weapon, Gen. Leslie R. Groves, military head of the Manhattan Project provided Gen. George Marshall, our top commander, with more detail on the destructive power of atomic weapons. Amazingly, despite the new evidence, Groves recommended that troops could move into the "immediate explosion area" within a half hour" (and, indeed, in future bomb tests soldiers would march under the mushroom clouds and receive harmful doses of radiation). Groves also provided the schedule for the delivery of the weapons: By the end of November more than ten weapons would be available, in the event the war had continued.

--Groves faced a new problem, however. Gen. "Tooey" Spaatz on Guam urgently cabled that sources suggested that there was an Allied prisoner of war camp in Nagasaki just a mile north of the center of the city. Should it remain on the target list?" Groves, who had already dropped Kyoto from the list after Stimson had protested, refused to shift. In another cable Spaatz revealed that there were no POW camps in Hiroshima, or so they believed. This firmed up Groves's position that Hiroshima should "be given top priority," weather permitting. As it turned out, POWs died in both cities from the bombing.

--Truman's diary today had no mention of the bomb but he did write: "If Stalin should suddenly cash in it would end the original Big Three. First Roosevelt by death, then Churchill by political failure and then Stalin. I am wondering what would happen to Russia and central Europe if Joe suddenly passed out. If some demagogue on horse back gained control of the efficient Russian military machine he could play havoc with European peace for a while."

Messages to America: The Letters of Ho Chi Minh

Born in 1890 in Vietnam under French colonialism to a committed nationalist father, Ho Chi Minh would grow up to lead not one, but two successful wars of independence to liberate his country. In his formative years, Ho traveled widely as a sailor and lived in Paris, Harlem, and Boston, where he worked as a cook, baker, and did menial jobs. In his travels, he made contact with other colonized people, communists and nationalists, and saw the Vietnamese under France as part of an international system of empire.

Returning to Vietnam to expel the French colonizers and emancipate his homeland, Ho Chi Minh looked to the United States, once a colony of the British, as a model—the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence is clearly modeled on the United States Declaration—but also as a potential ally. Ho wrote numerous times to American audiences, presidents and the American people, reaching out for support. But American elites, seeing France expelled and wary of independence movements "infecting" their own colonies, decided to punish Vietnam and engaged in a decades long war of almost unthinkable violence.

During this time, while Ho Chi Minh was demonized in the United States, he continued to push the United States to respect Vietnam's sovereignty. He passed away in 1969 at the age of 79, not living to see the eventual Vietnamese victory in 1975. In 1976, Vietnam's capital city, Saigon, was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in his honor.

September 2, 1945

"All men are created equal they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

This immortal statement was made in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America in 1776. In a broader sense, this means: All the peoples on the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live, to be happy and free.

The Declaration of The French Revolution made in 1791 on the Rights of Man and the Citizen also states: "All men are born free and with equal rights, and must always remain free and have equal rights."

Those are undeniable truths.

Nevertheless, for more than eighty years, the French imperialists, abusing the standard of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, have violated our Fatherland and oppressed our fellow citizens. The have acted contrary to the ideals of humanity and justice.

In the field of politics, they have deprived our people of every democratic liberty.

They have enforced inhuman laws they have set up three distinct political regimes in the North, the Center, and the South of Viet-Nam in order to wreck our national unity and prevent our people from being united.

They have built more prisons than schools. They have mercilessly slain our patriots they have drowned our uprisings in rivers of blood.

They have fettered public opinion they have practiced obscurantism against our people.

To weaken our race they have forced us to use opium and alcohol.

In the field of economics, they have fleeced us to the backbone, impoverished our people and devastated our land.

They have robbed us of our rice fields, our mines, our forests, our raw materials. They have monopolized the issuing of bank notes and the export trade.

They have invented numerous unjustifiable taxes and reduced people, especially our peasantry, to a state of extreme poverty.

They have hampered the prospering of our national bourgeoisie, they have mercilessly exploited our workers.

In the autumn of 1940, when the Japanese fascists violated Indochina's territory to establish new bases in their fight against the Allies, the French imperialists went down on their bended knees and handed over our country to them.

Thus, from that date, our people were subjected to the double yoke of the French and the Japanese. Their sufferings and miseries increased. The result was that, from the end of last year to the beginning of this year, from Quang Tri Province to the North of Viet-Nam, more than two million of our fellow citizens died from starvation. 9 March 1945, the French troops were disarmed by the Japanese. The French colonialists either fled or surrendered, showing that not only were they incapable of "protecting" us, but that, in the span five years, they had twice sold our country to the Japanese.

On several occasions before 9 March, the Viet Minh League urged the French to ally themselves with it against the Japanese. Instead of agreeing to this proposal, the French colonialists so intensified their terrorist activities against the Viet Minh members that before fleeing they massacred a great number of our political prisoners detained at Yen Bay and Cao Bang.

Notwithstanding all this, our fellow citizens have always manifested toward the French a tolerant and humane attitude. Even after the Japanese Putsch of March, 1945, the Viet Minh League helped many Frenchmen to cross the frontier, rescued some of them from Japanese jails, and protected French lives and property.

From the autumn of 1940, our country had in fact ceased to be a French colony and had become a Japanese possession.

After the Japanese had surrendered to the Allies, our whole people rose to regain our national sovereignty and to found the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam.

The truth is that we have wrested our independence from the Japanese and not from the French.

The French have fled, the Japanese have capitulated, Emperor Bao Dai has abdicated. Our people have broken the chains which for nearly a century have fettered them and have won independence for the Fatherland. Our people at the same time have overthrown the monarchic regime that has reigned supreme for dozens of centuries. In its place has been established the present Democratic Republic.

For these reasons, we, members of the Provisional Government, representing the whole Vietnamese people, declare that from now on we break off all relations of a colonial character with France we repeal all the international obligation that France has so far subscribed to on behalf of Viet-Nam, and we abolish all the special rights the French have unlawfully acquired in our Fatherland.

The whole Vietnamese people, animated by a common purpose, are determined to fight to the bitter end against any attempt by the French colonialists to reconquer their country.

We are convinced that the Allied nations, which at Teheran and San Francisco have acknowledged the principles of self-determination and equality of nations, will not refuse to acknowledge the independence of Viet-Nam.

A people who have courageously opposed French domination for more than eighty years, a people who have fought side by side with the Allies against the fascists during these last years, such a people must be free and independent.

For these reasons, we, members of the Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam, solemnly declare to the world that Viet-Nam has the right to be a free and independent country and in fact it is so already. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their independence and liberty

Hanoi October 17, 1945

Establishment of advisory commission for the far east is heartily welcome by Vietnamese people in principle. Taking into consideration primo the strategical and economical importance of Vietnam Secundo the earnest desire which Vietnam deeply feels and has unanimous manifested to cooperate with the other democracies in the establishment and consolidation of world peace and prosperity we wish to call the attention of the Allied Nations on the following points:

First Absence of Vietnam and presence of France in the advisory commission leads to the conclusion that France is to represent the Vietnamese people at the commission. Such representation in groundless either de jour or de facto. De Jure no allegiance exists any more between France and Vietnam: Baodai abolished treaties of 1884 and 1863, Baodai voluntarily abdicated to hand over government to democratic republican government, Provisional government rectorated[sic] abolishment of treaties of 1884 and 1863. De Facto since March ninth France having handed over governing rule to Japan has broken all the administrative links with Vietnam, since August 18, 1945, provisional government has been a de facto independent government in every respect, recent incidents in Saigon instigated by the French roused unanimous disapproval leading to fight for independence.

Second France is not entitled because she had ignominiously sold Indo China to Japan and betrayed the allies. Third Vietnam is qualified by Atlantic Charter and subsequently peace agreement and by her goodwill and her unflinching stand for democracy to be represented at the Advisory Commission. We are convinced that Vietnam at Commission will be able to bring effective contribution to solution of pending problems in Far East whereas her absence would bring forth unstability[sic] and temporary character to solutions otherwise reached. Therefore we express earnest request to take part in advisory commission for Far East. We should be very grateful to your excellency and Premier Attlee Premier Stalin Generalissimo Tchang Kai Shek for the conveyance of our Desiderata to the United Nations.

Hanoi October 17, 1945

There follows summary of letter dated at Hanoi September 29 addressed to President of US by Ho Chi Minh who signed as "President of Provincial Govt of Republic of Viet-Nam" letter was delivered to US General Gallagher head of Chinese Combat Command Liaison Group with Chinese forces in North Indochina and forwarded to Embassy through US Army channels:

Saigon radio September 27 reported killing of US Colonel Peter Dewey in course of French instigated clash between Viet-Namese nationalists and French aggressors in Cochin China. As Saigon is in hands of Franco–British forces report cannot be investigated now but we hope sincerely it is not true. But if correct incident may have been due to confusion in darkness or other unfortunate circumstances or may have been provoked by French or British. No matter what the case news moves us deeply and we will do utmost to search out culprits and punish them severely. Measures are being taken to prevent further such incidents. We assure you we are as profoundly affected by death of any American resident in this country as by that of dearest relatives.

We ask only of your representatives in this country to give us advance notice of movements of your nationals and to be more cautious in "trespassing" fighting areas. This will avoid accidents and aid in welcoming demonstrations. (Sent to Dept repeated to Paris)

I assure you of admiration and friendship we feel toward American people and its representatives here. That such friendly feelings have been exhibited not only to Americans themselves but also to impostors in American uniform is proof that US stand for international justice and peace is appreciated by entire Viet-Namese nation and "governing spheres".

I convey to you Mr. President and to American people expression of our great respect and admiration.

October 22, 1945

The Minister of Foreign Affairs

EXCELLENCY, The situation in South Vietnam has reached its critical stage, and calls for immediate interference on the part of the United Nations. I wish by the present letter to bring your Excellency some more light on the case of Vietnam which has come for the last three weeks into the international limelight.

First of all, I beg to forward to your Government a few documentary data, among which our Declaration of Independence, the Imperial Rescript of Ex-Emperor BAO DAI on the occasion of his abdication, the declaration of our Government concerning its general foreign policy and a note defining our position towards the South Vietnam incident.

As those documents will show your Excellency, the Vietnamese people has known during the last few years an evolution which naturally brings the Vietnamese nation to its present situation. After 80 years of French oppression and unsuccessful though obstinate Vietnamese resistance, we at last saw France defeated in Europe, then her betrayal of the Allies successively on behalf of Germany and of Japan. Though the odds were at that time against the Allies, the Vietnamese, leaving aside all differences in political opinion, united in the Vietminh League and started on a ruthless fight against the Japanese. Meanwhile, the Atlantic Charter was concluded, defining the war aims of the Allies and laying the foundation of peace-work. The noble principles of international justice and equality of status laid down in that charter strongly appealed to the Vietnamese and contributed in making of the Vietminh resistance in the war zone a nation-wide anti-Japanese movement which found a powerful echo in the democratic aspirations of the people. The Atlantic Charter was looked upon as the foundation of a future Vietnam. A nation-building program was drafted which was later found in keeping with San Francisco Charter and which has been fully carried out these last years: continuous fight against the Japanese bringing about the recovery of national independence on August 19th, voluntary abdication of Ex-Emperor Baodai, establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, assistance given to the Allies Nations in the disarmament of the Japanese, appointment of a provisional Government whose mission was to carry out the Atlantic Charter and San Francisco Charters and have them carried out by other nations.

As a matter of fact, the carrying out of the Atlantic and San Francisco Charters implies the eradication of imperialism and all forms of colonial oppression. This was unfortunately contrary to the interests of some Frenchmen, and France, to whom the colonialists have long concealed the truth on Indochina, instead of entering into peaceable negotiations, resorted to an aggressive invasion, with all the means at the command of a modern nation. Moreover, having persuaded the British that the Vietnamese are wishing for a return of the French rule, they obtained, first from the British command in Southeast Asia, then from London, a tacit recognition of their sovereignty and administrative responsibility as far as South Vietnam is concerned. The British gave to understand tht they had agreed to this on the ground that the reestablishment of French administration and, consequently, of Franco–Vietnamese collaboration would help them to speed up the demobilization and the disarmament of the Japanese. But subsequent events will prove the fallacy of the argument. The whole Vietnamese nation rose up as one man against French aggression. The first street-sniping which was launched by the French in the small hours of September 23rd soon developed into real and organized warfare in which losses are heavy on both sides. The bringing in of French important reinforcements on board of the most powerful of their remaining warships will extend the war zone further. As murderous fighting is still going on in Indonesia, and as savage acts on the part of Frenchmen are reported every day, we may expect the flaring up of a general conflagration in the Far-East.

As it is, the situation in South Vietnam calls for immediate interference. The establishment of the Consultative Commission for the Far-East has been enthusiastically welcomed here as the first effective step towards an equitable settlement of the pending problems. The people of Vietnam, which only asks for full independence and for the respect of truth and justice, puts before your Excellency our following desiderata:

1o – the South Vietnam incident should be discussed at the first meeting of the Consultative Commission for the Far-East
2o – Vietnamese delegates should be admitted to state the views of the Vietnamese Government 3o – An Inquiry Commission should be sent to South Vietnam
4o – the full independence of Vietnam should be recognized by the United Nations.
I avail myself of this opportunity to send your Excellency my best wishes.

Respectfully President HO CHI MINH

November 1, 1945

President HochiMinh of Provisional Government of Viet-Nam
Democratic Republic
to His Excellency James Byrnes
Secretary of State Department of the United States of America
Washington, D.C.

On behalf of the Vietnam cultural Association, I beg to express the desire of this Association to send to the United States of America a delegation of about fifty Vietnam youths with a view to establishing friendly cultural relations with the American youth on the one hand, and carrying on further studies in Engineering, Agriculture as well as other lines of specialisation on the other.

The desire which I am conveying to your Excellency has been expressed to me by all the Vietnam Engineers, Lawyers, Professors, as well as other representatives of our intelligentsia whom I have come across.

They have been all these years keenly interested in things American and earnestly desirous to get into touch with the American people whose fine stand for the noble ideals of international Justice and Humanity, and whose modern technical achievements have so strongly appealed to them.

I sincerely wish that this plan would be favored by your approbation and assistance and avail myself of this opportunity to express to your Excellency my best wishes.

President Ho-CHI-MINH
(signed) HochiMinh

November 23, 1945

Below is given substance of identical communications addressed by Ho-Chi-Minh to President Truman and to Director General of UNRRA communications' were given to General Gallagher and forwarded to Embassy through US Army channels (Embassy's 1952, Nov 9 to Dept repeated to Paris):

I wish to invite attention of your Excellency for strictly humanitarian reasons to the following matter. Two million Vietnamese died of starvation during winter of 1944 and spring 1945 because of starvation policy of French who seized and stored until it rotted all available rice (Sent Dept repeated Paris). Three-fourths of cultivated land was flooded in summer 1945, which was followed by a severe drouth of normal harvest five-sixths was lost. The presence of Chinese occupational army increases number of persons who must be fed with stocks not already sufficient. Also transport of rice from Cochinchina is made impossible by conflict provoked by French. Many people are starving and casualties increase every day. Everything possible has been done under these circumstances by Provisional Government of Vietnam Republic. Unless great world powers and international relief organizations bring us immediate assistance we face imminent catastrophe. I earnestly appeal to Your Excellency, therefore, for any available assistance. I request your Excellency to accept my heartfelt and anticipated thanks in name of my people.

November 26, 1945

HochiMinh President Provincial Government Vietnam Republic to His Excellency the Secretary of State Department
Washington D.C.

On occasion of inauguration Washington Conference for the Far East we regret absence of Vietnamese delegation. Once again, we deny France every right to speak on behalf of Vietnamese people. France under cover of British–Indian and Japanese troops having perpetrated an aggression on Vietnamese Republic in order to impose her domination has deliberately violated all principles proclaimed in Atlantic and San Francisco Charters. Vietnamese fighting for more than a month despite bloody opposition of Anglo–Indian French and Japanese Troops has proclaimed their will to live free and independent under democratic construction. The Vietnamese people expresses sincere hope that all free nations in world comma carrying out high ideal of generosity and humanity expressed in President Truman's speech [Probably President Truman's October 21, 1945 Navy Day address on foreign policy -hiaw] , recognize independence of Vietnam republic and put a stop to merderous conflict in South Vietnam Stop Respectfully HochiMinh

January 18, 1946

There follows substance of letter dated Jan 18, 1946 addressed to President Truman by Ho Chi-Minh just received by Embassy through US Army channels: he extends congratulations to President on occasion of opening of first Assembly of United Nations in London, and on efforts of American Govt to maintain peace and security throughout world.

Since peace is indivisible and Far East is receiving particular consideration by appointment of General Marshall as Special Representative in China, he believes it his duty to inform President of developments in Indochina and consequences for world security of French aggression.

In 1941 Vietnam rose up to oppose Japanese Fascism and sided with Allies. After Japan surrendered a provisional government was set up to eradicate Fascism in Vietnam and restore order. Supported by whole nation, it carried out a democratic program, and restored order and discipline. Under difficult circumstances general elections for national Congress were held on Jan 6, 1946. Ninety percent of the nine million electors voted. French colonialists on contrary surrendered to Japan in Sept 1941 and for four years cooperation with Japanese against the Allies and in oppression of Vietnam. By second surrender March 9, 1945, five months before Japanese defeat, French lost all right and control in Indochina.

French attacked population of Saigon on Sept 23, 1945 while Vietnam Democratic Republic was endeavoring to carry out reconstruction program. It was followed by systematic destruction and murderous warfare. Each day brings new reports of looting, violence, assassination of civilians, and indiscriminate bombing of non-strategical places by military planes. It is French intention to invade entire country and reestablish their domination.

After "offer of interference (intervention?)" made by Mr. John Carter Vincent, people of Vietnam enthusiastically welcomed President Truman's address of October 28, 1945 in which he set forth the principles of self-determination and equality of status laid down in Atlantic and San Francisco Charters. Since then, French have greatly increased their fighting forces with result that millions will suffer, thousands will die and invaluable properties will be destroyed unless United States intervenes to stop bloodshed and unlawful aggression.

On behalf of people and Govt of Indochina, he requests President's intervention for an immediate solution of Vietnamese issue. People of Vietnam earnestly hope that the great American Republic will help them achieve full independence and support them in their reconstruction work.

Thus, with assistance of China and United States, in capital and technique, Vietnam Republic will be able to contribute her share to building up world peace and prosperity.

Another letter was received addressed to General Marshall which is identical with one addressed to President, except that opening paragraph extends Ho Chi-Minh's congratulations to General Marshall on his appointment to China and expressed conviction that an understanding of real situation in Vietnam can make some small contribution to task in China which confronts him.

February 16, 1946

The letter was never answered and was not declassified until 1972

I avail myself of this opportunity to thank you and the people of the United States for the interest shown by your representantives at the United Nations Organization in favour of the dependent peoples.

Our VIETNAM people, as early as 1941, stood by the Allies' side and fought against the Japanese and their associates, the French colonialists.

From 1941 to 1945 we fought bitterly, sustained by the patriotism, of our fellow-countrymen and by the promises made by the Allies at YALTA, SAN FRANCISCO and POTSDAM.

When the Japanese were defeated in August 1945, the whole Vietnam territory was united under a Provisional Republican Government, which immediately set out to work. In five months, peace and order were restored, a democratic republic was established on legal bases, and adequate help was given to the Allies in the carrying out of their disarmament mission.

But the French Colonialists, who betrayed in wartime both the Allies and the Vietnamese, have come back, and are waging on us a murderous and pitiless war in order reestablish their domination. Their invasion has extended to South Vietnam and is menacing us in North Vietnam. It would take volumes to give even an abbreviated report of the crisis and assassinations they are committing everyday in this fighting area.

This aggression is contrary to all principles of international law and the pledge made by the Allies during World War II. It is a challenge to the noble attitude shown before, during, and after the war by the United States Government and People. It violently contrasts with the firm stand you have taken in your twelve point declaration, and with the idealistic loftiness and generosity expressed by your delegates to the United Nations Assembly, MM. BYRNES, STETTINIUS, AND J.F. DULLES.

The French aggression on a peace-loving people is a direct menace to world security. It implies the complicity, or at least the connivance of the Great Democracies. The United Nations ought to keep their words. They ought to interfere to stop this unjust war, and to show that they mean to carry out in peacetime the principles for which they fought in wartime.

Our Vietnamese people, after so many years of spoliation and devastation, is just beginning its building-up work. It needs security and freedom, first to achieve internal prosperity and welfare, and later to bring its small contribution to world-reconstruction.

These security and freedom can only be guaranteed by our independence from any colonial power, and our free cooperation with all other powers. It is with this firm conviction that we request of the United Sates as guardians and champions of World Justice to take a decisive step in support of our independence.

What we ask has been graciously granted to the Philippines. Like the Philippines our goal is full independence and full cooperation with the UNITED STATES. We will do our best to make this independence and cooperation profitable to the whole world.

While this does not have an author, we strongly suspect it is written by Ho Chi Minh. —HIAW

I.– In 1940, the French in Indochina betrayed the Allies. They deliberately opened the doors of Indochina to the Japanese troops, signed with the latter a military, political and economic pact. The Nippo–French cooperation policy, promoted and carried out with conviction and industry by JEAN DECOUX, former Governor-General of Indochina, was directed against the democratic movements inside Indochino and the Allied Nations outside. In fact the French put at the disposal of the Japanese forces the strategic bases, the economic and financial resources of Indochina. The technical services, especially the Indochinese Intelligence Service supplied the Japanese with precious informations. The French airfields of GIALA, TAYSONNHAT and others were handed over to the Japanese air forces, new metalled tracts were created with the collaboration of French technicians at TRAICUT, SONIA, PHUTHO, BACGIANG, PHANHOA, PHUCTHO, PHUCYEN, VINHYEN. French colonialis launched violent propaganda campaigns against the Allies, and personal instructions were given by Governor-General Decoux to the I.P.P. (Information, Press, Propaganda Service) to that effect. The French administration requisitioned considerable stocks of rice, thus starving a population of 20 million inhabitants among whom 2,000,000 died of famine and hardships, in the course of five months (from January to May 1945), all this to feed the Japanese army in their Western and Southern operations.

In the meanwhile, the Vietnamese nationalist parties made repeated appeals to the French for a joint action against the Japanese. These appeals were ignored by the French Government.

On March 9, 1945, the French surrendered to the Japanese, after a sham fight which did not last a couple of days. Stocks of arms, ammunitions, fortifications, airfields, millions of liters of oil were handed over to the Japanese. This extraordinary carelessness denoted, if not complicity, at least an obvious goodwill on the part of the French. Thus, twice in the course of five years, the French have willingly helped the fascists in their fight against the democracies. Twice the French have willingly handed over to the Japanese capital strategic, economical and technical advantages, for the prosecution of the Pacific Battle.

II.– In August 1945, the Japanese surrendered to the Allies. The popular forces of Vietnam which, since 1940, had made incessant attacks on the Japanese forces, and which had, in 1944, succeeded in creating a "Free Zone" in Northern Indochina, went down to conquer the capital-city and the governing rule. The population, fired with democratic aspirations and spirit, enthusiastically welcomed them and manifested their desire to maintain their unity for the grandeur of the Fatherland once lost and now found again. On September 2, 1945, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was solemnly proclaimed. Twice, first through Emperor Bao-Dai of the NGUYEN Dynasty, then, through the solemn proclamation of the new Government on Independence Day, the new State abrogated all the treaties formerly forced upon us by the French victors. The new Republic of Vietnam, thus legally instituted, is in the reconstruction of the world a factor of peace and progress. She is entitled for her safeguard to refer to the most sacred principles of SAN FRANCISCO and ATLANTIC Charters. She is based upon and draws her strength from, the first of SUN YAT SEN's Three Principles and the second, fourth, sixth points of President TRUMAN's twelve-point declaration.

III.– But, on September 23, 1945, the French troops attacked Saigon, starting an invasion which is now in its fifth month. That invasion is menacing North Vietnam and French troops have begun to filter through our Chinese frontier. That aggression, carried on by an experienced and numerous army, fully equipped with the most recent inventions of modern warfare, has brought about the destruction of our towns and villages, the assassination of our civilian population, the starving of a great part of our country. Untold atrocities have been committed, not as reprisals upon our guerrillas troops, but on women and children and unarmed old people. These atrocities are beyond imagination and beyond words, and remind one of the darkest ages: assault on the sanitary formations, on Red Cross personnel, bombing and machine-gunning of villages, raping of women, looting and indiscriminate pillaging of Vietnam and Chinese houses, etc. Yet despite the maltreatments of the civilian population, we have, for 5 long months, opposed a stubborn resistance, fought in the worst conditions, without food, medicine and without clothings. And we shall carry on, sustained by our faith in international honour, and in our final victory.

IV.– In the free zone of our national territory, especially in the area under Chinese control, North of the 16th parallel, our civilians have set out to work. The results of these five months of building-up work are most favourable and give rise to the brightest hopes.

First of all, democracy has been established on solid foundations. On January 6 last, general elections were organized with the greatest success. In a few days 400 representatives of the entire country will hold the first session of the Constituent National Assembly. A new administrative organization has replaced the old mandarinate system. The most unpopular taxes have been abolished. The anti-illiteracy campaign organized along efficient lines, has yielded unexpectedly optimistic results. The primary and secondary schools as well as the University have been reopened to more and more numerous students. Peace and order are restored and smoothly maintained.

In the economic field, the situation is bettering every day. All the vexatory measures imposed by colonial planned economy have been abrogated. Commerce, production, and the transformation and consummation of raw materials, once subjected to very strict regulations, are now operated on an entirely free basis. The shortage of rice, though still critical, has been relieved by the intensive production of other foodstuffs and the price of rice has been reduced some 40% of its 1945 figures. Cereals, matches, salt, tobacco, once monopolized by speculators, are now offered on the normal markets at prices within reach of the common man. All public services have resumed their prewar activities, and the Vietnamese staff under their Vietnamese Directors, are working with industry and efficacy. The communications have been reestablished, the dam system not only mended but still fortified.

All this program was carried out while in the South, the French aggression has intensified every day. The Vietnam people, despite the difficulties of the present, and the heavy heritage of five years of correspondents and members of the Allies Missions who have come to the country can bear witness to the new life in regenerated Vietnam, to our capacity to self-government, our desire to live free and independent, and our faith in the ATLANTIC and SAN FRANCISCO Charters.

For those reasons, we think it our duty to send this note to the Great Powers — which had led the anti-fascist crusade to final victory and which had taken up the reconstruction of the world with a view to definitely outlawing war, oppression and exploitation on the one hand, misery, fear and injustice on the other. We request of these great powers:

a) To take all proper steps to stop by an urgent interference, the bloodshed that is taking place in South Vietnam, and to arrive at an urgent and fair settling of the Indochinese issue. We are confident in their mediation that may be given to us in this Pacific World a status worthy of a people that had fought and suffered for the democratic ideals. So doing, they will give a solid foundation to peace and security in this part of the world, and fulfill the hopes that the oppressed peoples had placed in them. While waiting with confidence for a positive measure from the Governments of WASHINGTON, MOSCOW, LONDON, and CHUNGKING, we have determined to fight to our last drop of blood against the reestablishment of French imperialism.

b) To bring the Indochinese issue before the United Nations' Organization. We only ask full independence, independence that is so far a fact, and that will enable us to cooperate with the other nations in the building-up of a better world and lasting peace. Such aspirations are but legitimate and the cause of world peace must be defended. Hanoi, February 18, 1946.

President Ho Chi Minh Vietnam Democratic Republic Hanoi
To the President of the United States of America Washington DC
On behalf of Vietnam government and people I beg to inform you that in course with conversations between Vietnam government and French representatives the latter require the succession of Cochinchina and the return of French troops in Hanoi STOP meanwhile French population and troops are making active preparations for a coup de main in Hanoi and for military aggression STOP I therefore earnestly appeal to you personally and to the American people to interfere urgently in support of our independence and help making the negotiations more in keeping with the principles of the Atlantic and San Francisco charters
Ho Chi Minh

Paris, September 12, 1946.
To: The Ambassador
From: George M. Abbott

In accordance with your request, I called last night on Ho Chi-minh and had a conversation lasting an hour.

Ho Chi-minh first discussed his contacts with Americans dating back to his guerrilla warfare against the Japanese when the OSS and Army officers were parachuted into his jungle headquarters and culminating with his talk with you. He emphasized his admiration for the United States and the respect and affection for President Roosevelt which is found even in the remote villages of his country. He referred particularly toward the Philippines and pointed out that it was only natural that his people, seeing and independent Philippines on one side and India about to gain its freedom on the other, should expect France to understand that similar measures for Indochina are inevitable.

He then took up the question of his supposed Communist connections which he, of course, denied. Ho Chi-minh pointed out that there are no Communist ministers in his government and that the Viet-Nam constitution opens with a guarantee of personal liberties and the so-called rights of man and also guarantees the right to personal property. He admits that there are Communists in Annam but claims that the Communist Party as such dissolved itself several months ago.

The President then outlined his relations with France in general and the developments during the Fontainebleau Conference in particular. He pointed out that all of the various provisions of the preliminary agreement of March 6, 1946, had been fulfilled except the provisions regarding a referendum in Cochinchina. The Viet-Nam has its own government, its parliament, its army, and controls its finances. Regarding Cochinchina, however, the French have been unwilling to set a date fro the referendum or to agree to the proposal that a joint Viet-Nam–French commission should be named to arrange for and supervise the referendum. At the same time the French authorities in Indochina have not respected the truce in Cochinchina and have continued military operations against resistance elements loyal to the Viet-Nam.

Ho Chi-minh realizes that the present French Government is a provisional one and that until a French constitution was adopted, the outlines of the French Union established, and a permanent government chosen, it was difficult for French officials to sign any permanent treaty or agreement with the Viet-Nam. For that reason he was quite willing to adjourn the Fontainebleau Conference until January or thereabouts.

With regards to the modus vivendi which should have been signed September 10, 1946, Ho Chi-minh said that agreements had been reached regarding French economic and cultural rights in the Viet-Nam, a customs union for Indochina, and a common currency, although there had been some difficulty over the drafting since he refused to allow the phrase "Indochinese Federation" since it does not yet exist. The French, however, have not accepted the Viet-Nam demand that "democratic liberties" be restored in Cochinchna. Ho Chi-minh explained that by this he meant freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the release of political prisoners. The Viet-Nam also insists that they be permitted to send a delegation to Cochinchina to make sure that the French live up to these provisions and to cooperate with the French in bringing about the end of guerrilla warfare. He admitted that there are many unsavory elements within the resistance movement in Cochinchina, but argued that if his representatives could go through the country and talk to local leaders it would be possible to distinguish between bandits and patriots, and the former could then be liquidated by either his or the French forces.

Ho Chi-minh stated that he still hoped to reach an agreement with the French before his departure on September 14, but that in any case he must return on that date since he had already been too long away from his country.

Ho Chi-minh spoke at various times of the aid which he hoped to get from the United States, but was vague except as regards economic aid. With regard to the latter, he explained that the riches of his country were largely undeveloped, that he felt that Indochina offered a fertile field for American capital and enterprise. He had resisted and would continue to resist the French desire for a continuation of their former policy of economic monopoly. He was willing to give the French priority in such matters as advisers, concessions, and purchases of machinery and equipment, but if the French were not in a position to meet his country's needs he would insist on the right to approach other friendly countries. He hinted that the policy might apply to military and naval matters as well and mentioned the naval base at Cam Ranh bay.

As I left, Ho Chi-minh stated that he hoped that through his contacts with the Embassy the American public would be informed of the true situation in Indochina.(Emphasis by History Is A Weapon) George M. Abbott

This telegram must be closely paraphrased before being communicated to anyone. (SECRET) Chungking via Navy
Dated November 8, 1945
Rec'd 9:15 p.m., 9th
Secretary of State,
1948, November 8, 6 p.m.

There follows substance of letter addressed to President Truman by Ho-Chi-Minh who signs as "President of Provisinal Government of Republic of Viet-Nam": Letter was given to General Gallagher and forwarded to Embassy through U.S. Army Channels: (Embassy's 1820 October 16 to Department repeated to Paris). I wish to give following information concerning situation of Viet-Nam:

I wish to give following information concerning situation of Viet-Nam:

(1) When Japanese came to Indo-China from September 1940 to September 1941 France, by protocol July 1941 and secret military pact December 8, 1941, gave up sovereignty and took position opposed to Allies. On Japanese drive March 9, 1945 French either fled or surrendered to Japanese contrary to pledges contained in protective treaties March 1874 and June 1884, thus breaking all legal and administrative ties with people of Indo-China. Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam was set up August 19, 1945 after independence of entire country was wrested from Japanese. After Japanese surrender, while Viet-Nam Provisional Government in capacity of an independent Government was carrying out a building-up program in conformity with Atlantic and San Francisco Charters, French, ignoring deliberately all peace treaties concluded by United Nations at end of World War II, attacked us treacherously in Naigon, September 23, and are planning a war of aggression against Viet-Nam. (Sent to Department repeated to Paris.)

(2) People of Viet-Nam are willing to cooperate with United Nations in erection of lasting world peace and, having suffered so severely under direct domination of French and much more from bargain made by French with Japan in 1941, are determined never to permit French to return to Indo China. If French troops coming either from China where they fled during Japanese occupation of Indo-China or from other places put foot on any part of Viet-Namese territory the people of Viet-Nam are determined to fight them under any circumstances.

(3) If, therefore, disorder, bloodshed or general conflagration due to causes mentioned above in paragraph (2) break out in Far Eastern Asia entire responsibility must be imputed to French. (End substance letter).

Identical message from Ho-Chi-Minh addressed to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek has also been received by same army channels. Embassy will not deliver message to Gimo unless so directed by Department.

On the occasion of the New Year, I would like to convey to the American people cordial wishes for peace and happiness.

The Vietnamese and American peoples should have lived in peace and friendship. But the U.S. Government has brazenly sent over 400,000 troops along with thousands of aircraft and hundreds of Warships to wage aggression on Vietnam. Night and day it has used napalm bombs, toxic gas, fragmentation bombs and other modern weapons to massacre our people, not sparing even old persons, women and children, it has burnt down or destroyed villages and towns and perpetrated extremely savage crimes. Of late, U.S. aircraft have repeatedly bombed Hanoi, our beloved capital.

It is because of the criminal war unleashed by the U.S. Government that hundreds of thousands of young Americans have been drafted and sent to a useless death for from then homeland, on the Vietnamese battlefield. In hundreds of thousands of American families, parents have lost their sons, and wives their husbands.

Nevertheless, the U.S. Government has continually clamoured about "peace negotiations' in an attempt to deceive the American and world peoples. In fact, it is daily expanding the war. The U.S. Government wrongy believes that with brutal force it could compel our people to surrender. But the Vietnamese people will never submit. We love peace, but it must be genuine peace in independence and freedom. For independence and freedom, the Vietnamese people are determined to fight the U.S. aggressors through to complete victory, whatever the hardships and sacrifices may be.

Who has caused these sufferings and mournings to the Vietnamese and American people? It is the U.S. rulers. The American people have realized this truth. More and more Americans are valiantly standing up in a vigorous struggle, demanding that the American Government respect the Constitution and the honour of the United States, stop the war of aggression in Vietnam and bring home all U.S. troops. I warmly welcome your just struggle and thank you for your support to the Vietnamese people's patriotic fight. I sincerely wish the American people many big successes in their struggle for peace, democracy and happiness.

February 8, 1967

Letter from President Johnson to Ho Chi Minh, President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam

I am writing to you in the hope that the conflict in Vietnam can be brought to an end. That conflict has already taken a heavy toll-in lives lost, in wounds inflicted, in property destroyed, and in simple human misery. If we fail to find a just and peaceful solution, history will judge us harshly.

Therefore, I believe that we both have a heavy obligation to seek earnestly the path to peace. It is in response to that obligation that I am writing directly to you.

We have tried over the past several years, in a variety of ways and through a number of channels, to convey to you and your colleagues our desire to achieve a peaceful settlement. For whatever reasons, these efforts have not achieved any results. . . .

In the past two weeks, I have noted public statements by representatives of your government suggesting that you would be prepared to enter into direct bilateral talks with representatives of the U.S. Government, provided that we ceased "unconditionally" and permanently our bombing operations against your country and all military actions against it. In the last day, serious and responsible parties have assured us indirectly that this is in fact your proposal.

Let me frankly state that I see two great difficulties with this proposal. In view of your public position, such action on our part would inevitably produce worldwide speculation that discussions were under way and would impair the privacy and secrecy of those discussions. Secondly, there would inevitably be grave concern on our part whether your government would make use of such action by us to improve its military position.

With these problems in mind, I am prepared to move even further towards an ending of hostilities than your Government has proposed in either public statements or through private diplomatic channels. I am prepared to order a cessation of bombing against your country and the stopping of further augmentation of U.S. forces in South Viet-Nam as soon as I am assured that infiltration into South Viet-Nam by land and by sea has stopped. These acts of restraint on both sides would, I believe, make it possible for us to conduct serious and private discussions leading toward an early peace.

I make this proposal to you now with a specific sense of urgency arising from the imminent New Year holidays in Viet-Nam. If you are able to accept this proposal I see no reason why it could not take effect at the end of the New Year, or Tet, holidays. The proposal I have made would be greatly strengthened if your military authorities and those of the Government of South Viet-Nam could promptly negotiate an extension of the Tet truce.

As to the site of the bilateral discussions I propose, there are several possibilities. We could, for example, have our representatives meet in Moscow where contacts have already occurred. They could meet in some other country such as Burma. You may have other arrangements or sites in mind, and I would try to meet your suggestions.

The important thing is to end a conflict that has brought burdens to both our peoples, and above all to the people of South Viet-Nam. If you have any thoughts about the actions I propose , it would be most important that I receive them as soon as possible.

February 15, 1967


Excellency, on February 10, 1967, I received your message. Here is my response.

Viet-Nam is situated thousands of miles from the United States. The Vietnamese people have never done any harm to the United States. But, contrary to the commitments made by its representative at the Geneva Conference of 1954, the United States Government has constantly intervened in Viet-Nam, it has launched and intensified the war of aggression in South Viet-Nam for the purpose of prolonging the division of Viet-Nam and of transforming South Viet-Nam into an American neo-colony and an American military base. For more than two years now, the American Government, with its military aviation and its navy, has been waging war against the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam, an independent and sovereign country.

The United States Government has committed war crimes, crimes against peace and against humanity. In South Viet-Nam a half-million American soldiers and soldiers from the satellite countries have resorted to the most inhumane arms and the most barbarous methods of warfare, such as napalm, chemicals, and poison gases in order to massacre our fellow countrymen, destroy the crops, and wipe out the villages. In North Viet-Nam thousands of American planes have rained down hundreds of thousands of tons of bombs, destroying cities, villages, mills, roads, bridges, dikes, dams and even churches, pagodas, hospitals, and schools. In your message you appear to deplore the suffering and the destruction in Viet-Nam. Permit me to ask you: Who perpetrated these monstrous crimes? It was the American soldiers and the soldiers of the satellite countries. The United States Government is entirely responsible for the extremely grave situation in Viet-Nam.

The U.S. war of aggression against the Vietnamese people constitutes a challenge to the countries of the socialist camp, a threat to the national independence movement, and a serious danger to peace in Asia and the world.

The Vietnamese people deeply love independence, liberty, and peace. But in the face of the American aggression they have risen up as one man, without fearing the sacrifices and the privations. They are determined to continue their resistance until they have won real independence and liberty and true peace. Our just cause enjoys the approval and the powerful support of peoples throughout the world and of large segments of the American people.

The United States Government provoked the war of aggression in Viet-Nam. It must cease that aggression, it is the only road leading to the re-establishment of peace. The United States Government must halt definitively and unconditionally the bombings and all other acts of war against the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam, withdraw from South Viet-Nam all American troops and all troops from the satellite countries, recognize the National Front of the Liberation of South Viet-Nam and let the Vietnamese people settle their problems themselves. Such is the basic content of the four-point position of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam, such is the statement of the essential principles and essential arrangements of the Geneva agreements of 1954 on Viet-Nam. It is the basis for a correct political solution of the Vietnamese problem. In your message you suggested direct talks between the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam and the United States. If the United States Government really wants talks, it must first halt unconditionally the bombings and all other acts of war against the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam. It is only after the unconditional halting of the American bombings and of all other American acts of war against the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam that the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam and the United States could begin talks and discuss questions affecting the two parties.

The Vietnamese people will never give way to force, it will never accept conversation under the clear threat of bombs.

Our cause is absolutely just. It is desirable that the Government of the United States act in conformity to reason.

I realize that it is difficult to communicate meaningfully across the gulf of four years of war. But precisely because of this gulf, I wanted to take this opportunity to reaffirm in all solemnity my desire to work for a just peace. I deeply believe that the war in Vietnam has gone on too long and delay in bringing it to an end can benefit no one—least of all the people of Vietnam. My speech on May 14 laid out a proposal which I believe is fair to all parties. Other proposals have been made which attempt to give the people of South Vietnam an opportunity to choose their own future. These proposals take into account the reasonable conditions of all sides. But we stand ready to discuss other programs as well, specifically the 10-point program of the NLF.

As I have said repeatedly, there is nothing to be gained by waiting. Delay can only increase the dangers and multiply the suffering.

The time has come to move forward at the conference table toward an early resolution of this tragic war. You will find us forthcoming and open-minded in a common effort to bring the blessings of peace to the brave people of Vietnam. Let history record that at this critical juncture, both sides turned their face toward peace rather than toward conflict and war.

[His Excellency Ho Chi Minh, President, Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Hanoi]

To His Excellency Richard Milhous Nixon President of the United States Washington

I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your letter.

The war of aggression of the United States against our people, violating our fundamental national rights, still continues in South Vietnam. The United States continues to intensify military operations, the B-52 bombings and the use of toxic chemical products multiply the crimes against the Vietnamese people. The longer the war goes on, the more it accumulates the mourning and burdens of the American people. I am extremely indignant at the losses and destructions caused by the American troops to our people and our country. I am also deeply touched at the rising toll of death of young Americans who have fallen in Vietnam by reason of the policy of American governing circles.

Our Vietnamese people are deeply devoted to peace, a real peace with independence and real freedom. They are determined to fight to the end, without fearing the sacrifices and difficulties in order to defend their country and their sacred national rights. The overall solution in 10 points of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam and of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam is a logical and reasonable basis for the settlement of the Vietnamese problem. It has earned the sympathy and support of the peoples of the world.

In your letter you have expressed the desire to act for a just peace. For this the United States must cease the war of aggression and withdraw their troops from South Vietnam, respect the right of the population of the South and of the Vietnamese nation to dispose of themselves, without foreign influence. This is the correct manner of solving the Vietnamese problem in conformity with the national rights of the Vietnamese people, the interests of the United States and the hopes for peace of the peoples of the world. This is the path that will allow the United States to get out of the war with honor.

With good will on both sides we might arrive at common efforts in view of finding a correct solution of the Vietnamese problem.


Which presidents have delivered the best stock returns? So far Democrats are dominating.

According to Siegel, author of the 1994 investment classic Stocks For The Long Run, Wall Street’s obsession with politics is mostly misplaced: “Bull markets and bear markets come and go, and it’s more to do with business cycles than presidents.” In some ways the current environment has characteristics of the existential threat faced by George W. Bush post-2001 (replace terrorism with pandemic), the civil unrest that plagued the Johnson and Nixon administrations and Ronald Reagan’s trade war with Japan in the 1980s.

In an effort to more closely examine the relationship between the actions of a president and the direction of stocks, Forbes has analyzed their stock market performances, including dividends, dating back to Harry Truman. Using data from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), we’ve also noted for each president the number of expansions and recessions that began during their tenures. In some cases like the presidency of Bill Clinton, who was in office during one of the most impressive periods of economic prosperity (and bull markets) in history, you won't see an expansion listed. That’s because credit is awarded to the president who was in office during its inception, which in this case was George H.W. Bush. We also included the ratio of gross federal debt to GDP for the final year of each presidency.

The winner among presidents for the best cumulative stock market return is William J. Clinton, with nearly 210%. The worst: George W. Bush, with -40%. Uncertainty has been the biggest disrupter of markets by far. In September 1955, for example, stocks dove 6.5% in a single day when Eisenhower suffered a sudden heart attack after a golf outing. When Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963 the immediate fall off was 3%. In both instances stocks promptly recovered. Market gyrations aside, investors can take comfort in the fact that in the long run, buy and hold worked best. A $1,000 investment in an index of large U.S. stocks in January 1945, would have compounded at an annual total return of 11% and would have been worth $2.3 million by the end of 2019.

Coming out of the Second World War, war-time production leveled off and job losses ensued. As a result, Truman faced a recession and bear market early in his term. “There were excesses in the economy from so many people returning from war and jobs not being available—it was almost inevitable we were going to hit a recession,” says James Stack, president of InvesTech Research and Stack Financial Management. The economy bounced back quickly as consumer and business confidence returned, but Truman then faced another recession (albeit brief) in 1949 after his Fair Deal economic reforms which raised the minimum wage and tried to guarantee equal employment rights.


While the vastly popular President Eisenhower helped obtain a truce in the Korean War and worked to ease Cold War tensions, America still experienced its share of anxiety during his tenure thanks to Red Scare tactics. “Many people say how great and unexciting the Eisenhower years were, but I beg to differ,” says Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist of CFRA. “America was petrified. Duck and cover was our favorite theme song,” he adds, noting that the Soviet Union acquired the hydrogen bomb during this period and Americans were dealing with McCarthyism and the Wisconsin Senator’s hearings at the same time. Eisenhower faced three recessions during his two terms in office—one in the beginning, middle and end of his tenure. The recessions of 1953 and 1958 were in large part tied to more restrictive monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, while another recession started in 1960—after the Fed had doubled interest rates since 1958.


President John F. Kennedy was elected in a close-run affair, campaigning under the slogans like “Getting America Moving Again” and “A Time For Greatness.” The economy remained sluggish and unemployment remained high at 6.8% when he took office. The one bear market under his term “was triggered by nothing other than Kennedy getting in a pissing match with U.S. Steel over prices,” says Stovall. “Wall Street didn’t like the government dictating what private companies could do.” Toward the end of his term, JFK launched a bold domestic program, including income and corporate tax cuts, to spur economic growth before his tragic assassination on November 22, 1963.


President Johnson was sworn in aboard Air Force One before flying back to Washington on the day of Kennedy’s assassination, and the Texan quickly moved to pass JFK’s tax cuts and Civil Rights legislation. Amid rising inflation and interest rates and rising civil unrest associated with the Civil Rights movement, stocks entered a bear market in 1966. A recession was avoided after the Federal Reserve panicked and reduced interest rates. A second bear market hit in 1968, just as Vietnam War protests were heating up. “There was a valuation and speculation problem on Wall Street that was similar to the late 1990s,” says Stack referring to the so-called go-go era when glamour stocks including IBM, Texas Instruments, Gulf & Western, Polaroid and Xerox led the charge. While Johnson didn’t preside over a formal recession, “he did end up creating problems for the next administration because of the ‘guns and butter’ philosophy of paying for the Vietnam War,” along with Great Society social programs, says Stovall.


Monetary tightening at the end of Johnson's tenure resulted in a mild recession from 1969 to 1970, after President Nixon took office. The U.S. economy was plagued by stagflation—high inflation, slow economic growth and high unemployment. In 1970, a year before taking the U.S. completely off the gold standard, Nixon, by executive order, imposed a freeze on wages and prices in an effort to battle inflation. “It was a very non-Republican thing to do. It backfired and unraveled shortly after,” Siegel notes. In 1973, the Arab oil embargo led to skyrocketing oil prices, and the Watergate scandal imperiled Nixon’s presidency. A stock market crash cleaved the value of the S&P 500 nearly in half between January 1973 and October 1974, accompanied by double-digit inflation and a 16-month recession that began in the fall of 1973.


President Ford presided over the last two years of Nixon’s second-term, inheriting many of the economic problems of his predecessor. Stagflation continued into Ford’s tenure, but the stock market rebounded in 1975. “It was a very short term in office and not very notable from a historical perspective to investors,” says Stack.


In terms of the economy and the stock market, the peanut farmer and former governor from the state of Georgia didn’t have an easy time in office. Inflation continued to plague the U.S. economy and by 1979 it had reached double-digit levels. “It was a very stressful time for investors and the Federal Reserve,” says Stack, adding that 1980 was the “wildest year in monetary history.” A recession hit in January, but was over by July 1980 after the Fed reversed course and brought interest rates down somewhat. One year later, however, a deeper recession hit shortly after Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker—in an attempt to fight the inflation of the 1970s— “put his foot on the brake by raising interest rates dramatically,” says Stovall. Carter’s term in office was also marked by an energy crisis following the Iranian Revolution that deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in February 1979, and led to revolutionaries seizing the U.S. embassy in Tehran in November and holding hostages until the end of Carter’s presidency. Inflation raged and gold prices spiked to new highs of above $800 per ounce. In November 1980, former actor and California governor Reagan won the presidential election in a landslide.


During Reagan’s first term, the U.S. fell into another recession—one of the longest in the post-war period, but that downturn was long enough that it “broke the back of inflation,” Stack says. The harsh medicine to fight inflation was higher rates that eventually took the U.S. Treasury yield above 16% in August 1981. Stocks bottomed one year later, and the U.S. emerged from recession in November 1982. When the economy rebounded, it was a “big surprise on and off Wall Street that inflation did not rear its ugly head,” Stack adds. Much of the credit goes to Fed Chairman Volcker, who maintained a tight monetary policy by raising rates. “It was a period of triumph. Communism was in decline, and everyone looked to the West as a free market champion,” Siegel says. “There was a huge feeling of being on top.”


Under President Bush, the 41st president, the U.S. economy fell into another recession in 1990, a month before Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Oil prices skyrocketed, causing markets to tumble. The Fed had been raising rates to counter inflation once again, Stack says. The economy slowed toward the end of Bush’s term, accompanied by a large commercial real estate bust. Soon after, Bill Clinton’s campaign guru, James Carville, would coin the adage: “It’s the economy stupid.”


While Clinton ran his campaign with the promise of reinvigorating the economy, he “inherited ideal economic conditions” for a stock market boom in the 1990s with inflation falling to less than 3%, Stack says. Clinton pushed a tax hike through Congress early in his first term, and the Fed hiked the federal funds rate from 3.25% in January 1994 to 5% in February 1995. Economic growth cooled, and inflation remained in check. “By putting a cap on inflation pressures, it really allowed for the possibility of the first decade-long expansion in Wall Street history,” Stack says. (Though the expansion technically began under his predecessor's watch.) The explosion in technology, including the birth of companies like Amazon and Google, helped boost the stock market to record highs, creating a massive bubble. Fed chair Alan Greenspan warned about “irrational exuberance on Wall Street” in 1996, several years before the internet stock bubble popped, but the Fed didn’t respond fast enough. The bubble and subsequent collapse of the Nasdaq led to a bear market in 2000.

Missouri Digital Newspaper Project

The State Historical Society of Missouri is pleased to present a growing collection of digitized historic newspapers. These images are freely available to the public and are keyword-searchable.

Focused on merging meaningful historic content with innovative modern technology, the State Historical Society of Missouri employs the highest national digitization standards: newspapers in our collection are digitized to National Digital Newspaper Program specifications. Many of Missouri’s digital newspapers are also available through the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America site, which ultimately aims to include newspaper pages from all states and U.S. territories in its collection.

If you are interested in learning more or participating in the Missouri Digital Newspaper Project, please see the section Become a Project Partner below.

Become a Project Partner

The Missouri Digital Newspaper Program was created to coordinate the digitization of historic Missouri newspapers. Our goal is to provide a freely searchable database of historic Missouri newspapers from every county. By partnering in the Missouri Digital Newspaper Project, the State Historical Society of Missouri will provide:

  • Project management
  • Newspaper or microfilm analysis
  • Vendor coordination for digitization and data creation
  • Quality control of data and images
  • Integration of content into the Missouri Digital Newspaper site

Please contact Patsy Luebbert if you are interested in partnering in the Missouri Digital Newspaper Project.

Project Partner List

  • Barry-Lawrence Regional Library
  • Cameron Public Library
  • Carter County Library
  • Caruthersville Public Library
  • Curtis Laws Wilson Library – Unviersity of Missouri Science & Technology
  • Gentry County Librry
  • Henry County Library
  • Hickory County Library
  • Lincoln University
  • Macon Public Library
  • Marion County Library District – Palmyra
  • Mercantile Library – University of Missouri-St. Louis
  • Missouri History Museum
  • Missouri State Library
  • Palmyra Library District
  • Scenic Regional Library
  • Shelbina Carnegie Public Library
  • St. Charles City-County Library
  • St. Joseph Public Library
  • St. Louis Public Library
  • William Jewell College Curry Library/William E. Partee Center

Project Acknowledgements

The Missouri Digital Newspaper Project has been made possible through the support of the following organizations:

23 July 1945 - History

September 1939 - A First Line Territorial division in the UK.
June 1942- Organised as a mixed Division.
September 1943 - Reorganised as an Infantry Division.

United Kingdom: 3.9.39 - 17.6.44
At Sea: 17.6.44 - 24.6.44
NW Europe: 24.6.44 - 31.8.45

25 June - 2 July: The Odon
4 July - 18 July: Caen
18 July - 23 July: Bourguebus Ridge
30 July - 9 August: Mont Pincon
17 September - 27 September: The Nederrijn

8 February - 10 March: The Rhineland
23 March - 1 April: The Rhine

128 Infantry Bde
3.9.39 - 6.6.42

1/4 Hampshires
2/4 Hampshires
5 Hampshires

129 Infantry Bde
3.9.39 - 31.8.45

4 Somerset Light Inf
4 Wiltshires
5 Wiltshires

130 Infantry Bde
3.9.39 - 31.8.45

7 Hampshires
4 Dorset
5 Dorset

25 Tank Bde
1.6.42 - 2.9.42

51 RTR
11 RTR
142 RAC
151 RAC

34 Tank Bde
3.9.42 - 10.9.43

147 RAC
153 RAC
151 RAC

214 Infantry Bde

5.9.43 - 31.8.45

7 Wiltshires (until 11.9.42)
7 Somerset Light Inf (from 12.9.42)
9 Somerset Light Inf (until 30.9.43)
1 Worcesters (from 30.9.43)

43 Recce Regt: 1.1.44 - 31.8.45

204 Fd Coy: 3.9.39 - 31.8.45
260 Fd Coy: 3.9.39 - 31.8.45
553 Fd Coy: 3.9.39 - 31.8.45

207 Fd Pk Coy: 3.9.39 - 31.8.45

13 Br Pl: 1.10.43 - 31.8.45


43 Div: 3.9.-39 - 31.8.45

94 Fd Regt: 3.9.39 - 31.8.45
112 Fd Regt: 3.9.39 - 31.8.45
141 Fd Regt: 3.9.39 - 8.6.42
179 Fd Regt: 9.6.42 - 31.8.45

59 ATK Regt: 3.9.39 - 31.8.45

110 LAA Regt: 23.3.42 - 31.8.45

1/8 Middlesex: 18.11.41 - 1.10.42
8 Middlesex: 28.2.44 - 31.8.45

48 Bn: 20.11.41 - 7.1.42
43 Bn: 8.1.42 - 5.6.42
43 Regt: 6.6.42 - 31.12.43

8 Middlesex: 1.10.43 - 28.2.44


Maj-Gen Hon. A.N.Floyer-Acland

Brig G.E.M.Whittuck (Acting)

Brig S.B.Rawlins (Acting)

Anon. The Wyvern in North West Europe : being a short history of the 43rd Wessex Division, 24 June 1944-8 May 1945 (Germany : 43rd Wessex Division 1945)

How the Fourth of July Was Celebrated (and Protested) in 1968

By July 4, 1968, America was exposed to the brutal reality of Vietnam’s Tet Offensive and My Lai Massacre. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated riots broke out across the country. Young Americans snubbed tradition and authority. Despite the gains made earlier in the decade in the Civil Rights Movement, racial unrest bubbled in urban centers. For many Americans, this Fourth of July wasn’t marked by Sousa marches and patriotism, but rather a skeptical view of the government’s actions, domestically and abroad, let alone of traditional American values and celebrations. The air simmered with escalating violence, impatient protestors, hardened social classes and new social movements.

As summer started that year, a Gallup poll found that 36 percent of Americans believed the country had a “sick society.” An earlier poll in the spring found that they were closely divided on the issue of the Vietnam War, which by the end of 1967, had seen 11,363 servicemen lose their lives. In that poll, 48 percent believed the war was a mistake and 40 percent believed it wasn’t. By the end of the summer, the number of dissenters increased to 53 percent, while 35 percent held to their convictions that the war was justified.

The New York Times headlines documenting the events of July 4, 1968 illustrate a glance into a world frustrated with the Vietnam war, politics and the state of American society.

That issue of the Times provides a veritable snapshot of how Americans squared the narrative of celebrating independence with the tumult happening in the nation. These dispatches present an America divided, all-too-familiar to today’s readers:

In California, a crowd of 5,000 filled Berkeley’s Telegraph Ave., soft drinks and ice cream in hand. Flowers were distributed and children played with firecrackers while the Young Socialist Alliance hosted a peaceful rally and spoke about the Vietnam war and the new French government.

New York City was relatively quiet, as many New Yorkers spent their vacation elsewhere. Aside from small observances, New York had no official city celebration, leaving the streets “deserted.” Even the beach was gloomy with the “sun peaking out from the clouds only sporadically and grudgingly.”

In Washington, 150 protestors came to the capital to “dramatize the plight of the poor” and continue the mission set out by the Poor People’s Campaign – a six week political demonstration on the National Mall created to redress employment and housing issues of America’s diverse impoverished population. The Campaign’s protest camp, “Resurrection City,” had been dismantled for just over a week, yet the demonstrators were not finished. Twenty-three of the Campaigners broke through a police line blocking the demonstrations, sat down to eat watermelons and were quickly arrested. Later, across from the White House, 35 Quaker protestors quietly demonstrated in solidarity with the Campaign in Lafayette Park.

In San Antonio, Texas, President Lyndon Baines Johnson chastised protestors in Minnesota who, a day earlier, disrupted a planned speech by presidential candidate George Wallace. “Americans of every viewpoint must be deeply concerned over the intolerance that prevented Mr. Wallace from speaking,” the president said. “It is from our diversity, our tolerance of diversity, our reasoning together from the many different convictions we hold that the chief strength of our people derives.”

Over in Philadelphia, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, delivered the city’s annual Fourth of July speech before 20,000 at the famed Independence Hall. Humphrey was also vying for the nomination to replace Johnson on the Democratic ticket, and in a preview of the unrest to come later that summer at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, several dozen in attendance held signs saying “Stop Hubert.” Supporters of Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy, Humphrey’s rival for the nomination and an anti-war advocate, were joined by compatriots across the street who chanted, “End the war now!”

As the protestors shouted, Humphrey pointed to the building behind him and proclaimed, “The document signed here 192 years ago declared that the inalienable rights we sought – of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – were the rights of that ‘humanity which is above nations.’’ As if responding directly to the McCarthy supporters, explaining his support for the war, he continued, “Now, only eight years before our 200th birthday, I declare this nation’s dedication to securing those rights not only for ourselves, but for that humanity which is above nations.”

Internationally, anti-war protesters used the Fourth as an opportunity to express their displeasure. In Melbourne, about 2,000 Australians smashed the windows of the U.S. Consulate. They painted the building’s steps red and tore down the American flag. In Brisbane, 10,000 people lined the streets to watch an anti-war parade. In Stockholm, Sweden 2,000 people marched in their own anti-war parade.

Independence Day traditions, though, were not totally shunned.

In Denmark, where celebrating the Fourth of July has become an annual event, more than 8,000 revelers gathered, even though the main speaker, Premier Hilmar Baunsgaard, exclaimed that the Danish government did not agree with U.S. policy in Vietnam. “Even the strongest critics of the United States must recognize that America must remain on the world scene,” he equivocated.

West Berlin celebrated with a parade that brought 10,000 Americans and Germans together, and the U.S. embassy in Moscow hosted its traditional celebration, complete with hot dogs and ice cream.

In many parts of the States, too, festivities were classically joyous where annual rites were kept untouched by the residual effects of 1968.

As highlighted in the Times, Gowrie, Iowa, a small-town of 1,100 people, celebrated with 5,000 neighbors from other communities, enjoying a celebration reminiscent of what John Adams said he would have wanted. A parade, a fried chicken dinner, baseball games, square dancing and fireworks ensued.

“We do love our country, it’s been good to us. We know things are wrong with it, but we still feel we can right these wrongs through the ballot box and not through all this carrying on burning and rioting,” said Mrs. Mark Vernon, a local of Gowrie, to the Times.

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