Operation Passage to Freedom was the term used by the United States
Navy to describe its transportation of 310,000 Vietnamese civilians,
soldiers and non-Vietnamese members of the French Army from the
communist North Vietnam to South Vietnam. The French military
transported a further 500,000. In the wake of the French defeat at the
Battle of Dien Bien Phu, the Geneva Accords of 1954 decided the fate of
French Indochina after eight years of war between French Union forces
and the Viet Minh, which sought Vietnamese independence. The accords
resulted in the partition of Vietnam at the 17th parallel, with Ho Chi
Minh's communist Viet Minh in control of the north and the
French-backed State of Vietnam in the south. The agreements allowed a
300-day period of grace, ending on May 18, 1955, in which people could
move freely between the two Vietnams before the border was sealed.
Between 600,000 and one million northerners fled communist rule, while
between 14,000 and 45,000 civilians and approximately 100,000 Viet Minh
fighters moved in the opposite direction. The mass emigration of
northerners was facilitated primarily by the French Air Force and Navy.
American naval vessels supplemented the French in evacuating
northerners to Saigon, the southern capital. The operation was
accompanied by a large humanitarian relief effort, primarily bankrolled
by the United States.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
American Army soldiers cornered and fatally shot John Wilkes Booth, the
assassin of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, in rural northern Virginia,
ending a twelve-day manhunt.
Spanish Civil War: The Bombing of Guernica by the Condor Legion of the
German Luftwaffe resulted in a devastating firestorm that caused
widespread destruction and civilian deaths in the Basque town.
Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania.
The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Chernobyl, Ukrainian SSR,
suffered a steam explosion, resulting in a fire and a nuclear meltdown,
resulting in the evacuation and resettlement of over 336,000 people
Controversy surrounding the relocation of the Bronze Soldier of Tallinn
in Tallinn, Estonia, a Soviet World War II memorial that was erected
during the occupation of the Baltic states, erupted into mass protests
Wiktionary's word of the day:
A noisy quarrel or fight
Wikiquote quote of the day:
I had the good fortune and opportunity to come home and to tell the
truth; many soldiers, like Pat Tillman ... did not have that
opportunity. The truth of war is not always easy. The truth is always
more heroic than the hype.