Saigon was the capital city of South Vietnam and is perhaps the most well known of the Vietnam cities. It was renamed along with buildings following the Reunification of Vietnam. In Vietnam they refer to the French War of 1945 and the American war. According to the propaganda, America invaded Vietnam. If you speak to South Vietnamese or the young people who have been exposed to the internet , they speak of a war of Ideology; capitalism against communism or socialism. A trip to the War museum reflects the propaganda…..pictures of protests in other countries, terrible things the USA did …nothing about the South Vietnam army,North Vietnam army or the Vietcong, but on the top floor was a display of photographs by foreign war correspondents. These show a more even reflection of the events. A trip to the prison shows exactly how cruel both sides of the Vietnam army were to each other.
A national postal and communications system was introduced. Education using the alphabet was substituted for the Chinese writing style. Asian decoration and symbolic traditional were incorporated into buildings, hence the Cobra pattern on the Post Office.
Many of the photos we saw of the end of the Vietnam war were shown in the context of the places we saw today; building where many people were evacuated from and where the tank crashed through the gates.
The gates of the President’s Palace were knocked down by the tank. An original French style building had been destroyed in an early attack on the President. The 1968 building reflects a simpler architecture. This was based on the Chinese Feng Shui with symbols for truth and prosperity. Within the building beautiful lacquer paintings adorned the walls. Furniture reflected both Asian and European tastes.
Among the Offices in the Presidential building, now renamed the Reunification Palace, were rooms to where the conflict was discussed.Below the ground floor was a bunker should it be needed. There were four areas of defence. Each area expected the attack to come through the neighbouring countries. The President at the beginning of the conflict left a week before the fall of Saigon. He was replaced by a President who resigned after one week. His successor was in office for 36 hours when he ended the war by surrendering. He decided it was in the interest of Saigon and the Vietnamese people as a whole. South Vietnamese officers were jailed in re-education prisons. Some escaped to other countries as the Boat people.