On This Day in History: February 12

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Date: Monday, February 12, 1973

Event: First U.S. POWs are released by the Vietnamese

Where: Vietnam

Significance: The Vietnam dispute (Congress never officially declared war, thus it isn’t one) ended in 1975; however, two years before that, the North Vietnamese released 456 prisoners of war. These men were the first to be released by the North Vietnamese. The significance of this event was that the American people were finally able to see how brutal the Northern Vietnamese Army (NVA) really was. The living conditions were horrible and the prisoners were often mistreated, even tortured at times. One of the most famous prison camps was referred to as the “Hanoi Hilton” by U.S. soldiers. Hanoi (a painting of which is shown below) was notably infamous for the poor treatment of its prisoners along with the endless accounts of torture and execution.

Hanoi was the worst of the camps. Prisoners were often malnourished fed very little. If they were fed, they had a tendency to be fed rotten food. Below are some soldiers held prisoner at Hanoi. As well as a common method of torture performed on the soldiers.

Image courtesy of Stripes.com

Image courtesy of learninghistory.com.

Image courtesy of tripadviser.com.

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On This Day in History: February 12