Vietnam War & Communist Oppression
The Geneva Conference of 1954 settled the French Indochina War by separating VN into two countries; a demilitarized zone between the two was established along the 17th parallel. The communist leader Ho Chi Minh was granted control of North Vietnam (NVN) and Vietnamese Emperor Bao Dai continued ruling the southern portion, South Vietnam (SVN). During that war many Montagnards allied with the French and fought communism.
In 1958 communist NVN launched the communist Viet Cong insurgency against SVN and later invaded. Much of the war was fought in the strategically significant Montagnard homelands, the Central Highlands of SVN.
As a freedom loving and largely Christian people, Montagnards fought with the United States and were America’s most dependable ally.
Post Vietnam War Reprisals & Destruction
In 1975 SVN surrendered to communist NVN which reunified the two countries as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV). Former SVN officials, military personnel, and loyalists who were not executed suffered for years in “reeducation camps." Communist reprisals against Montagnards were especially brutal. Due to their Christian faith, long-standing desire to govern themselves, and American loyalty, they’re severely oppressed today.
For export revenue the SRV denuded the Central Highlands forests of commercial timber and clear-cut for coffee and tea plantations. Except for some small national parks the ecosystem Montagnards nurtured for over 2,000 years was destroyed.
To render the Montagnard culture extinct harsh birth control measures were imposed on them. At the end of the war in 1975 their population in the Central Highlands of VN was one million. According to the 1998 SRV Census it was still one million. In contrast between 1975 and 1998 the vietnamese national population exploded by 233%.