Claim: Vietnamese general Vo Nguyen Giap's memoirs pinned U.S. military failure in Vietnam on anti-war reporting in the American media.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, April 2008]
Something all of you should think about is what General Vo Nguyen Giap, the Commander in Chief of the North Vietnamese Army had to say about John Kerry in his 1985 memoir "How We Won The War". He said that the North Vietnamese were planning a negotiated surrender after the 68 TET offensive. They watched the US news and heard how distorted our press reported it and the war protesters rioting in the streets of America. He said "We were delighted. We went from a planned surrender to a policy of needing to persevere for one more hour, day, week month, eventually the protesters in America would help us to achieve a victory we knew we could not win on the battlefield." He also said "If it were not for organizations like John Kerry's Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Hanoi would have surrendered to the US."
[Collected via e-mail, November 2007]
Giap's memoirs... (Gen. Giap was a very famous and knowledgeable General in the North Vietnamese Army.)
General Giap has published his memoirs and confirmed what most Americans knew. The Vietnam war was not lost in Vietnam — it was lost at home. The exact same slippery slope, sponsored by the Dems and the US media, is currently well underway. It exposes the enormous power of a biased media (the Dems could never do it alone) to cut out the heart and will of the American public.
General Giap was a brilliant, highly respected leader of the North Vietnam military. The following quote is from his memoirs currently found in the Vietnam war memorial in Hanoi:
"What we still don't understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing of Hanoi. You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed us a little harder, just for another day or two, we were ready to surrender! It was the same at the battles of TET. You defeated us! We knew it, and we thought you knew it. But we were elated to notice your media was definitely helping us. They were causing more disruption in America than we could in the battlefields. We were ready to surrender. You had won!"
A truism worthy of note: Do not fear the enemy, for they can take only your life. Fear the media far more, for they will destroy your honour.
Origins: More than thirty-five years after U.S. military involvement in Vietnam ended, debate continues unabated over the purpose, meaning, and results of that war. One particularly contentious subject in such debates is the question of whether the U.S. failed to achieve its objectives in Vietnam because it was defeated by a foe whose resourcefulness and tenacity it had underestimated, or whether American forces were undone not by enemy soldiers on the battlefield but were hamstrung by a swelling chorus of anti-war reporting in the news media
Definitively resolving this sort of historical question is problematic, as such examinations of hypotheticals rarely yield objective evidence. But what if a leading military figure on the other side of the conflict weighed in on the matter? Surely that would be a form of expert, informed opinion difficult to dismiss or ignore.
That's the concept behind the claim that General Vo Nguyen Giap, the chief Vietminh military leader in the war against
Most forms of this claim state that General Giap made his pronouncement about the effectiveness of American anti-war activism during the Vietnam War era either in his 1976 book How We Won the War or in an unspecified 1985 memoir. But Ed Moise, a professor of history at Clemson University specializing in modern China and Vietnam, noted in a review of the former book that no such statement appeared within:
Several variants of this rumor appeared in 2004. In these, Giap is supposed to have credited either the American anti-war movement in general, or John Kerry's organization (Vietnam Veterans Against the War) in particular, for persuading the Communist leaders to change their minds and not give up on the war. Giap is sometimes said to have made this statement in How We Won the War, sometimes in an unnamed 1985 memoir. All versions of the rumor are false. Neither in How We Won the War, nor in any other book (the 1985 memoir is entirely imaginary), has Giap mentioned Kerry or Vietnam Veterans Against the War, or said that the Communist leaders had ever considered giving up on the war.
It's possible that the apparently apocryphal General Giap statement is based upon a misattribution of somewhat similar sentiments expressed by other political or military figures involved in the Vietnam War. For example, in 1995 the Wall Street Journal published an interview with Bui Tin, a former colonel who served on the general staff of the North Vietnamese army, that included the following exchange:
A: By fighting a long war which would break their will to help South Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh said, "We don't need to win military victories, we only need to hit them until they give up and get out."
Q: Was the American antiwar movement important to Hanoi's victory?
A: It was essential to our strategy. Support for the war from our rear was completely secure while the American rear was vulnerable. Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at
Q: Did the Politburo pay attention to these visits?
A: Those people represented the conscience of America. The conscience of America was part of its war-making capability, and we were turning that power in our favor. America lost because of its democracy; through dissent and protest it lost the ability to mobilize a will to win.
Q: What else?
A: We had the impression that American commanders had their hands tied by political factors. Your generals could never deploy a maximum force for greatest military effect.
Vo Nguyen Giap passed away in Hanoi, at a reported age of 102, in October 2013.
Last updated: 4 October 2013
Gregory, Joseph R. "Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, Who Ousted U.S. from Vietnam, Is Dead." The New York Times. 4 October 2013. Lewis, Greg. "A Quarter Century of Disinformation." The Washington Dispatch. 2 March 2004. The Wall Street Journal. "How North Vietnam Won the War." 3 August 1995 (p. A8).