Jane Fonda protests war in Vietnam
Jane Fonda protests war in Vietnam

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous
than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Strength and Love


THE 1960s...

"It was a decade of illusion, in which eager spirits were led by continued prosperity to believe and propagate many Utopian notions: that poverty could be abolished, cruelty and violence legislated out of existance, every freedom infinitely extended and voraciously enjoyed, and some kind of democratic and egalitarian paradise established on earth. The vast and unconsidered expansion of higher education was both a product and accelerator of these illusory forces, pouring on to the scene countless armies of your graduates, who shared these fantastic hopes and set about elbowing aside the obscurantist and authoritarian elders who alone, it was argued, prevented their realization."
Paul Johnson



Hotel Especen; Hanoi-Vietnam :: 7 APR 95, 1911 hours:

The following public domain information is a transcript from the US Congress House Committee on Internal Security, Travel to Hostile Areas, HR 16742, 19-25 September, 1972, page 7671.

[Radio Hanoi attributes talk on DRV visit to Jane Fonda; from Hanoi in English to American servicemen involved in the Indochina War, 1 PM GMT, 22 August 1972

Text: Here's Jane Fonda telling her impressions at the end of her visit to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam;
(follows recorded female voice with American accent);]

This is Jane Fonda. During my two week visit in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, I've had the opportunity to visit a great many places and speak to a large number of people from all walks of life--workers, peasants, students, artists and dancers, historians, journalists, film actresses, soldiers, militia girls, members of the women's union, writers.

I visited the (Dam Xuac) agricultural coop, where the silk worms are also raised and thread is made. I visited a textile factory, a kindergarten in Hanoi. The beautiful Temple of Literature was where I saw traditional dances and heard songs of resistance. I also saw unforgettable ballet about the guerrillas training bees in the south to attack enemy soldiers. The bees were danced by women, and they did their job well.

In the shadow of the Temple of Literature I saw Vietnamese actors and actresses perform the second act of Arthur Miller's play All My Sons, and this was very moving to me--the fact that artists here are translating and performing American plays while US imperialists are bombing their country.

I cherish the memory of the blushing militia girls on the roof of their factory, encouraging one of their sisters as she sang a song praising the blue sky of Vietnam--these women, who are so gentle and poetic, whose voices are so beautiful, but who, when American planes are bombing their city, become such good fighters.

I cherish the way a farmer evacuated from Hanoi, without hesitation, offered me, an American, their best individual bomb shelter while US bombs fell near by. The daughter and I, in fact, shared the shelter wrapped in each others arms, cheek against cheek. It was on the road back from Nam Dinh, where I had witnessed the systematic destruction of civilian targets-schools, hospitals, pagodas, the factories, houses, and the dike system.

As I left the United States two weeks ago, Nixon was again telling the American people that he was winding down the war, but in the rubble-strewn streets of Nam Dinh, his words echoed with sinister (words indistinct) of a true killer. And like the young Vietnamese woman I held in my arms clinging to me tightly--and I pressed my cheek against hers--I thought, this is a war against Vietnam perhaps, but the tragedy is America's.

One thing that I have learned beyond a shadow of a doubt since I've been in this country is that Nixon will never be able to break the spirit of these people; he'll never be able to turn Vietnam, north and south, into a neo-colony of the United States by bombing, by invading, by attacking in any way. One has only to go into the countryside and listen to the peasants describe the lives they led before the revolution to understand why every bomb that is dropped only strengthens their determination to resist.

I've spoken to many peasants who talked about the days when their parents had to sell themselves to landlords as virtually slaves, when there were very few schools and much illiteracy, inadequate medical care, when they were not masters of their own lives.

But now, despite the bombs, despite the crimes being created--being committed against them by Richard Nixon, these people own their own land, build their own schools--the children learning, literacy--illiteracy is being wiped out, there is no more prostitution as there was during the time when this was a French colony. In other words, the people have taken power into their own hands, and they are controlling their own lives.

And after 4,000 years of struggling against nature and foreign invaders--and the last 25 years, prior to the revolution, of struggling against French colonialism--I don't think that the people of Vietnam are about to compromise in any way, shape or form about the freedom and independence of their country, and I think Richard Nixon would do well to read Vietnamese history, particularly their poetry, and particularly the poetry written by Ho Chi Minh.

[recording ends] VNMedal

To her credit, during a 20/20 television interview sixteen years later in 1988 with Barbara Walters, Jane Fonda apologized for her incredibly bad judgement in going to North Vietnam and allowing herself to be used as a propaganda vehicle.

      "I would like to say something, not just to Vietnam veterans in New England, but to men who were in Vietnam, who I hurt, or whose pain I caused to deepen because of things that I said or did," she began. "I was trying to help end the killing and the war, but there were times when I was thoughtless and careless about it and I'm . . . very sorry that I hurt them. And I want to apologize to them and their families."

Some discussions...

My generation will not forget the treason Jane Fonda commited.
"Vietnam Vets aren't Fonda Jane."

Jane Fonda was right to go to North Vietnam!
"I would have been...burning the flag and the ROTC building."

jane fonda was a traitor, naive or not.
"She should have been shot, and will never be forgiven."

Young and stupid is not an excuse.
"They danced while we died and that will never be forgotten or forgiven by me."

The war that will forever stay with me is the Vietnam War.
"I commanded brave men in battle....they deserve
the recognition and the forgiveness of having to kill or be killed."

An ingenue in a time of ingenues.
"I have a completely different interpretation of the below statements than you,
and I thought you might review what you'd written."

The last refuge of deaf mutes.
"I think it was the duty of the youth to rebel, to disobey orders. To burn flags, in short."