As I learn more about the history of the Ho Chi Minh Trail begins to take shape with a far sharper outline than my previous blurred knowledge of what led to the American War and the necessity of the trail.
From my lessons so far I understand that by 1954 politics were, to say the least, unstable. Ho Chi Minh’s Communist Party was officially in power having given the French a decisive drubbing at Dien Bien Phu and unceremoniously booted them out. Uncle Ho, as he was affectionately referred to, swept to power in the first national election in a jolly long time. Ho’s communists were less than sympathetic to the nations catholic who they saw as friends of the French and American’s, people for whom the Communist Party felt no allegiance and very little sympathy.
Originally a series of trails dating back centuries as trade routes through one of SE Asia’s most inhospitable regions a network or trails crisscrossed through jungle, across mountains and through Valleys. The route soon became essential to the military operation of the Communists and by 1964 it was estimated that over 200 tons per day and up to 9000 men per year were reaching the south along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The route, or series of routes, led not only through Vietnam but also through Lao. It was tough, inhospitable and many who set out along it never reached their destinations.
- Pu Luong Nature Reserve
- Phong Nha Cave
- Vinh Moc tunnel & DMZ