North Vietnam had issued several interesting propaganda stamps almost 50 years ago to boost the nation’s morale and international image as the US military forces initiated Operation Rolling Thunder and bombed them heavily. The North Vietnamese army shot down many American fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters using anti-aircraft fire, surface-to-air missiles and small arms fire.
The first stamp was issued in 1965, claiming 500 US Aircraft Shot Down Over North Vietnam. A stamp was issued in 1966 claiming 1,000 shot down. The design is inspired from the “Guerilla Girl” photo showing Captain Bill Robinson in custody of a female soldier. Bill Robinson was the longest held prisoner of war in American history. His helicopter was shot down on 20th September 1965 and he was released on 12th February 1973. He even stayed in the controversial prison in Hanoi Hilton. The photo was staged and the girl didn’t capture the American soldier single-handedly unlike the false claims. The final set of stamps was released in 1973, after which the US withdrew itself from the Vietnam War. The claims made by these stamps were probably false and were hyped. However, even the real numbers were considerably huge!
On 14th October 1966, a stamp was released claiming the number to be 1,500. By 5th June 1967, the number became 2,000. In 1967, a new stamp claimed that 2500 US planes were shot down, which rose to 3,000 in 1968 and 3500 in 1972. Another stamp was released later in the same year, claiming that 4000 US planes were shot down.
A set of four stamps called ‘Victory Over US Airforce’ was released in 1973. It claimed that a total of 4.181 US planes were shot down. Another propaganda stamp features a 31-year-old American Quaker activist named Norman Morrison who burnt himself alive on 2nd November 1965 in front of the Pentagon to protest American involvement in the Vietnam War.
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