The Ho Chi Minh Trail

The Ho Chi Minh Trail, named after the North Vietnames President, was a path of roadways, foot and bicycle trails, and waterways that lead from North Vietnam (Democratic Republic) to South Vietnam (The Republic), and into the boardering Kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia. The point of having the trail was to provide support (by material and manpower) to The Vietcong (the military wing of the illegal South Vietnamese communist party), and The North Vietnames Party (democratic). The trail was established in order to aid the Vietcong with supplies in their rebellion agaisnt the South Vietnamese government.
Map of The Trail
Map of The Trail

The History of The Ho Chi Minh Trail

In the beginning, the trail was mainly used to to bring in more people to create manpower, then it was to supply the Vietcong with supplies to overthrow South Vietnam. Parts of the trail were already established as foot trade paths long before they became part of The Ho Chi Minh Trail. The trail goes through rugged lands in Southeast Asia, and dense jungles, barely populated- which the Viet Minh used during the First Indochina War. The Trail first began with the Military Transport Division, which consisted of 440 men and women. Over the next 16 years, more than one million supplies were brought through the trail into South Vietnam, where the Vietcong was.

All About The Trail

The Trail's Purpose and U.S. Involvement

The Ho Chi Minh Trails's purpose was to supply the Vietcong (illegal communist party in S. Vietnam), with supplies to overthrow the Southern Government. This was not the origional purpose, and before the intention changed from manpower, to an illegal supply purpose, people thought the sound of a trade route with "barefooted hordes pushing oxcarts" was wonderful and natrual- but that notion was soon traded for polution from the large army trucks. Nixon, U.S. president at this time, did not want to give up on S. Vietnam, but wanted to remove troops (Vietnamization) from S. Vietnam. Instead of sending these troops home- Nixon decided to send them into Cambodia, the Vietcong's supposed- safe base. The U.S. secretly placed bombs in Cambodia to try and take out the most important part of the trail. This action was not popular because Cambodia was a neutral country, we were NOT at war with them, and not one base was found. This was really bad because the protests in America had started to dwindle..but when news reached home, riots and protests started back up and a lot of Americans died, especially on college campuses.

The Construction of The Trail

The trail consisted of lots of foot, road, water, and units make the trail. The Como-Liason was just one of the units along the trail. The como-liason unit's duties were to provide food to the travelers, housing, medical care, and guides to the next station. This unit was meant to add order and help along the trail to the many army units and supply truck drivers. The Binh Tram was another help system that provided logistical needs.
Trucks on The Trail
Trucks on The Trail

Interesting Aspects of The Trail

The weather on the trail acctually affected it greatly. During the dry, hot season, construction and repairs to the dirt trail were made, "Build roads to advance, fight the enemy to travel". But during the lower temperature, rainy weather- the dirt roads turned to mud and eventually a river that made for very good water trade and transport. The trail developed into a complicated, 18ft wide maze of roads, numerous supply bunkers, storage areas, barraks, hospitals, command and contol facilities.

The Outcome of The Ho Chi Minh Trail

The bombing in Cambodia, on account of the trail led to many bad things in America, but it also led to some good things. Nixon takes diplomatic measures to try and regain his popularity and there is an agreement between North and South Vietnam. The terms to this agreement are: to cease firing, free elections, and American risoners are to be released. This didn't last very long though, and N. Vietnam didn't follow through- so Nixon bombed it. The issue wan't completely resolved, but it was a start.


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