Sunday, July 31, 2016

Republic of Vietnam Civil Development and Welfare Posters - 1960s-70s - VNCH



Republic of Vietnam Community Defense and Local Development Plan poster, 1971, Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces.
 
              A group of five original posters pertaining to civil development and welfare programs organized by the Republic of Vietnam were recently donated to The Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces in Westminster, California. RVNHS is affiliated with the museum, and in this post we would like to share some information on these recently donated pieces. Each of the posters bears English text, which denotes them as having been used for raising international awareness. The following is an overview of the programs these posters represented.
 
Republic of Vietnam Veterans and War Widows Assistance Programs poster, 1970s, Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces.
 
Republic of Vietnam Veterans medal, 1967-1975, RVNHS Archive.
 
            The Republic of Vietnam Veterans and War Widows Assistance Programs were a collection of different agencies and charities dedicated to the welfare of former soldiers and the widows and orphans of the fallen. Many of the organizations that aided these individuals were non-governmental bodies, such as religious groups or Red Cross societies, but the Republic of Vietnam military also provided aid in addition to serving as the conduit for that delivered from outside organizations. On September 1, 1967, a medal was comissioned in two classes to be awarded to those individuals who undertook exceptional effort to provide aid to veterans and the families of fallen servicemen and women. The emblem of the medal - a helmet with anchor, wings, crossed rifle and shovel, and laurels - became the symbol for the assistance programs.
 
Republic of Vietnam People's Self Defense Force poster, 1970s,
Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces.
 
video
Video clip of Republic of Vietnam People's Self Defense Force female personnel receiving firearms training, August 10, 1968, Associated Press.
 
            The People's Self Defense Force (Nhân dân Tự Vệ) or NDTV was established in June of 1968. The force was created as a means to arm civilians for self defense against enemy attacks in the wake of the Tet Offensive. People's Self Defense Force units were created throughout the Republic of Vietnam in both rural villages and large cities. The members of the these groups comprised those who were of age, but not currently in military service. A large number of women served in the force as armed combatants alongside male counterparts.
 
Chiêu Hồi Program poster, 1970s,
Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces.
 
A Chiêu Hồi center, 1960s.

                  The Chiêu Hồi Program was a campaign started by The Republic of Vietnam to encourage defections from Communist operatives to the side of the republic. It began on a small scale in the early years of the republic, but became a major program by the late 1960s. It was staffed by Republic of Vietnam military personnel assigned to the program, as well as civilian staff and volunteers. The campaign consisted of leaflets, posters, and other material encouraging defection being distributed in areas of enemy activity. Those enemy personnel who took up the offer were then taken to centers where they were gradually integrated into the republic. Many defectors chose to serve in the ranks of the military of The Republic of Vietnam while others took on roles of intelligence operatives for the republic, or returned to civilian life. In total, upwards of 100,000 enemy personnel defected to the republic through the program.
 
Land to the Tiller Program poster, 1970s,
Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces.
 
        The "Land to the Tiller" campaign was a land reform program instituted by Republic of Vietnam President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu on Farmer's Day, March 26, 1970. The program aimed to allow larger numbers of rural agricultural workers to own their own land. Under the program, individual land ownership (in most instances) was limited to no more than fifteen hectares. Large landowners who relinquished ownership of tracks of land were compensated, and the new parcel owners were given assistance for developing farms. The primary goal of the program was two-fold. It was hoped to both raise the quality of life for landless agricultural workers and lead to greater agricultural output (many of the lands given to the farmers were idle without being used for agricultural work, thus the name of the program "land to the tiller.") With the end of the republic in 1975, the lands given to the agricultural workers were nearly all confiscated by the Communist authorities.
 
 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Republic of Vietnam 2nd Infantry Division 1969 History Book - Sư đoàn 2 Bộ binh QLVNCH



Republic of Vietnam 2nd Infantry Division History Book, printed by
the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Saigon, February 1, 1969, RVNHS Archive.
 
         A recent acquisition to the archive, this 1969 dated history of the 2nd Infantry Division was published by the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces in Saigon. The text provides a detailed early history of the division and its units. It also offers a contemporary late 1960s insight into the daily activities and challenges of not only the 2nd Infantry Division, but many other Republic of Vietnam military units as well. The book includes both Vietnamese and English text.
 
Opening pages of Republic of Vietnam 2nd Infantry Division History Book, printed by
the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Saigon, February 1, 1969, RVNHS Archive.
 
           The division was originally formed on February 1, 1955, at My Tho. It was first designed the 32nd Infantry Division. Other texts note the name change to the 2nd Infantry Division as taking place in November of 1956, but in this text the date is given as January 1, 1959, which according to veterans is the correct date. It also coincides with this book being published on the tenth anniverasy of the division's designation as the second. The division's operational areas changed at times, but in  1969 the division was responsible for the defense of Quang Tin and Quang Ngai provinces along the coast. At the time of the text's publication, the division included the 4th, 5th, and 6th Infantry Regiments.
 
Vietnamese and English language pages for the history of the 2nd Infantry Division,
Republic of Vietnam 2nd Infantry Division History Book,
printed by the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Saigon, February 1, 1969, RVNHS Archive.
 
          The book includes overviews of the division's activities ranging from combat operations to aid for the civilian population. Specific details of some of the psychological warfare operations from the previous year (1968) are included, which show the great extent to which these activities played a prominent role in the division's life. From January to November of  1968, alone, the division distributed 112,300,000 leaflets, 689,850 magazines and newspapers, and 76, 298 medical kits to the civilian population. Additionally, 521 movies and entertainment shows were offered to soldiers and civilians on behalf of the division.
 
Photo of one of the entertainment show's presented by the division,
Republic of Vietnam 2nd Infantry Division History Book, printed by
the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Saigon, February 1, 1969, RVNHS Archive.
 
Medical aid provided by nurses and Women's Army Corps members attached to the 2nd Infantry Division, Republic of Vietnam 2nd Infantry Division History Book, printed by
the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Saigon, February 1, 1969, RVNHS Archive.
 
            The period after the 1969 publication of this text continued to see the division engage in ongoing combat and civil operations through 1975. This primary text offers a rare glimpse into the early history of the division and its status in the late 1960s, after having been operational for fourteen years. In this post, RVNHS would like to share some of the information from this book in honor of the men and women who served in the Republic of Vietnam's 2nd Infantry Division.
 
Displays of enemy weapons captured by the 2nd Infantry Division,
Republic of Vietnam 2nd Infantry Division History Book, printed by
the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Saigon, February 1, 1969, RVNHS Archive.
 
President Nguyen Van Thieu and General Nguyen Van Toan (commander of the 2nd Infantry Division at the time of the book's publication) during a divisional award ceremony
(note the divisional citations being placed on the division's flag),
Republic of Vietnam 2nd Infantry Division History Book, printed by
the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Saigon, February 1, 1969, RVNHS Archive.