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The Life and Times of Glenn Hammond Curtiss - Aviation History

By the mid-19th century, France was ready to build an empire in Southeast Asia. With superior weapons, French forces attacked the port city of Danang in 1858, seized Saigon the following year, and secured control over the whole of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia by 1884. They divided Vietnam into three parts (Cochin China, Annam, Tonkin) and renamed their colonial acquisitions French Indochina. The French exploited Vietnam for rice and rubber, formed an alliance with the Vietnamese royalty to rule more effectively, and suppressed resistance movements. Amid the foreign takeover, Vietnamese life remained rooted in the extended family, village life, reverence for the land, and Confucian and Buddhist beliefs and practices, in the main. The population grew from about 10 million in 1884 to 24 million in 1945, when the Vietnamese began their thirty-year struggle for national independence.

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Curtiss traveled up to Hammondsport, but returned to New York on September 29th with an airplane that had just a four-cylinder engine. The next day, Curtiss’s underpowered plane made a short and unimpressive flight in a strong wind. That same day, did impress New Yorkers with a two-mile flight around Governor’s Island, at the southern tip of Manhattan. That afternoon, he also took off from Governor’s Island, flew past the Statue of Liberty, banked sharply, and returned to base.

President Kennedy discussing Laos at a press conference March 23, 1961

For the Vietnamese, the war front was their home front. Tran Thi Gung, a southerner who joined the NLF in 1963 at the age of seventeen, after her father had been killed by the Diem government, told the historian Christian Appy in an interview some forty-five years later:

Actress Jane Fonda visited North Vietnam in 1972, making her infamous with American war supporters


History of Civil Aviation Essay - 2625 Words

On June 30, 1966, Pfc. James Johnson, Pvt. David Samas, and Pvt. Dennis Mora (Fort Hood Three) held a press conference to announce their refusal of orders to board a plane at the Oakland Army Terminal for deployment to South Vietnam

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In the most serious incident, 20 to 30 demonstrators slipped through lines of U.S. marshals and military policeman and into a small vestibule inside the office of the Pentagon’s Mall entrance. Once inside they encountered heavily armed troops. The troops, carrying rifles with sheathed bayonets, used gun butts to force some outside and carried others out bodily. Blood was spotted on the floor. Outside, the big crowd surged forward and began throwing what they had at hand – picket signs, magazines, leaflets, sticks and at least one rock which crashed through a Pentagon press room window…. Throughout the afternoon there were sporadic encounters between small groups and the troops. Several demonstrators were clubbed when they pressed too close to troop lines or refused to move out of forbidden sectors.

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As a way to show that Hanoi wanted reconciliation above all else, Cora Weiss and the Viet-My coordinated one last prisoner release in September 1972. This time, Hanoi stipulated that prisoners must return to the United States via commercial airline; hence they would be able to hold a press conference upon their return before being debriefed by the U.S. military. Hanoi and Weiss made it clear that any intervention on the part of the U.S. government could imperil the future release of additional POWs before the end of the war. Anticipating U.S. interference, they announced a false itinerary of their return trip to the United States. As expected, the U.S. military met the plane that the three POWs were supposed to be on in Laos with the intent of forcing the three men to fly the rest of the way back to the United States via military aircraft. All the while the POWs were actually escorted by Weiss on another day via a different route. Weiss wrote a press release stating that the intervention was evidence of Nixon’s disregard for POWs’ safe return and his attempt to conceal the truth from the American people.

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Demonstrations, despite difficulties, were of great value to the antiwar movement. They fostered camaraderie, stimulated learning, encouraged activism, made a public statement, and gave people a sense of being part of something important and larger than themselves. They also fostered hope that the wheels of democracy would turn in favor of the protesters, that citizen advocacy would compel a recalcitrant Congress to put an end to the war. That hope was the source of much frustration as neither protest in the streets nor lobbying on Capitol Hill seemed to affect the administration’s relentless escalation of the war for three years running.