Talk:Hỏa Lò Prison

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"The two Hiltons in Hanoi" - New Straits Times (Malaysia)[edit]

"There is a story attached to the "other" Hilton.

During the Vietnam war, American POWs were captured and jailed here. But unlike other prisoners, were treated well.

They were provided iron beds, they could have chicken or any other meat as part of their meals (which was unheard of during those hard times), blankets, pillows and other "facilities".

Our tour guide said this was probably because the communists wanted to show that they weren't a ruthless bunch as they tried to extract important information through persuasion rather than torture."

Things became so comfortable for the imprisoned US servicemen that they started calling the Hoa Lo prison, the Hilton Hanoi.

Of course by now you would have guessed that the key word here is comfort. And if you are ever in Hanoi, do drop by the Hilton Hanoi Opera. One truly gets first class treatment here.

--During research, finding this article amused me.


so mccarthy was right — Preceding unsigned comment added by 12.170.4.108 (talk) 00:59, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Lotsofissues 10:34, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

This article was probably inspired by someone's visit to the "Hanoi Hilton" as it exists today. A room used for the interrogation of newly captured American prisoners and where many of them were tortured and some died is today fixed up as a comfortable living space complete with furniture and example personal belongings of a prisoner and has displays alleging that Americans were well treated. I was a prisoner there for six years and was tortured in that room. I have since visited Hanoi and seen the current display. Prpaganda is much like commercial advertising. It is full of claims that bear little relation to the truth. Some people believe it anyway, just because it is said repeatedly. Mike Cronin [14:30, December 4, 2005 MikeCronin]

Thank you Mike for your service to our country. You are my hero. God bless.

161.98.13.100 03:44, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Jane Fonda note-passing[edit]

That POWs handed noted to Jane Fonda and she handed the notes over to the Vietnamese is a myth. Those who disagree should answer one simple question: which POW says she did this? None of them do. POWs do say she visited the prison, as does she. There was no passing of notes, and there is no POW who says there was a passing of notes, how that idea entered the story of her visit is unknown, it is an urban legend, a myth etc. Ruy Lopez 18:39, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

For once, I completely agree with Lopez. I found this through my work which pretty much gives credence that the story was made up:
"The most serious accusations in the piece quoted above, that Fonda turned over slips of paper furtively given her by American POWs to the North Vietnamese and that several POWs were beaten to death as a result, are untrue. Those named in the inflammatory e-mail categorically deny the events they supposedly were part of. "It's a figment of somebody's imagination," says Ret. Col. Larry Carrigan, one of the servicemen mentioned in the 'slips of paper' incident. Carrigan was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967 and did spend time in a POW camp. He has no idea why the story was attributed to him, saying, "I never met Jane Fonda."." -Husnock 19:02, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Regardless, the sheer persistence of the story warrants it at least be mentioned (as well as the high probability of it being apocryphal). [15:06, January 10, 2006 199.43.32.85]

Snopes article about this story: Hanoi'd with Jane - Jane Fonda and POWs --ElfQrin (talk) 07:36, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

'Alleged' War Crimes?[edit]

There is no longer any credible doubt that POWs were systematically abused and tortured in the NV prisons. I removed the 'weasel words' and added a paragraph about the testimony of the released POWs, as well as re-ordering the paragraphs. NetSerfer 17:55, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

Did the North Vietnamese convene "competent tribunals" for any of the captured fliers? The Bush administration claims that the Guantanamo prisoners are not entitled to the protections of POW status because they violated clauses of the Geneva Conventions. What article five of the third Geneva Convention says is that a captor can strip POW status from a prisoner -- first they have to convene a "competent tribunal", then the tribunal has to look at evidence and document how the prisoner violated the GC. The Bush administration hasn't done that for the Guantanamo detainees.
Didn't the North Vietnamese accuse the fliers of bombing civilian targets? If they were going to strip the prisoners of the protections of POW status, over these allegations, they should have, according to the Geneva Conventions, convened "competent tribunals". So, did they? And, if so, how credible were they? -- Geo Swan 03:12, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

More twisted far-Left drivel. There is no such thing as a war that doesn't kill civilians. Not WW II, not WW I, not ANY war including the Vietnam War. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 161.98.13.100 (talk) 03:33, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Many was before the 20th century had little or no civilian deaths. Samuell 03:42, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Name one.--JLTate22 (talk) 05:07, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, many civilians didn't die in the 7 years War- wait no.. the Hundred Years Wa- noo hmm... how about the Trojan- nah nvm. Haha seriously, killing civilians was a legitimate tactic in war back then.

Guantanamo or Bush has nothing whatsoever to do with this article. --Dudeman5685 (talk) 21:53, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Hanoi Hilton → Hỏa Lò or Hoa Lo – Name is American-centric. This prison has a much longer and better-known history (among Vietnamese) of housing Vietnamese prisoners under French occupation. DHN 23:13, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Voting[edit]

Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one-sentence explanation, then sign your vote with ~~~~
  1. Oppose -- this is the English wikipedia, and so why shouldn't this article use the name by which the subject is best known in English. There are lots of articles that are listed under their English names, not their local names -- like the Yangtze River. -- Geo Swan 03:13, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
  2. Oppose -- this is the name which this installation has been known by since the end of the Vietnam War and also during. No need to move or change. -Husnock 01:06, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
  3. Oppose. LuiKhuntek 08:05, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
  4. Oppose Unfortunately, I believe this falls under WP:NC(UE) --Lox (t,c) 13:00, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
    As below, this may not fall under WP:NC(UE), however, I am almost certain it falls under Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names) --Lox (t,c) 10:48, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
  5. Oppose per WP:NC(UE) - Spaceriqui 19:56, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
  6. Oppose: well-known under "Hanoi Hilton". Jonathunder 00:51, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
  7. Oppose This is an English language article and so the English language nickname should hold. The person who complained about this clearly has a political / ideological agenda.

161.98.13.100 03:34, 16 November 2007 (UTC)n Vote expired. Samuell Lift me up or put me down 15:41, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

It was requested that this article be renamed but there was no consensus for it to be moved. Jonathunder 09:37, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Hoa Lo prison under the French[edit]

This entry is overly American-centric and too focused on the use of the Hoa Lo prison during the Vietnam War. Hoa Lo prison had longer history as a prison run by French colonialists for Vietnamese political prisoners. I suggest making the entry more balanced by expanding the article to give more coverage to the use of the Hoa Lo prison during the French occupation. [04:22, July 30, 2006 202.156.6.54]

The article is most definitely American-centric, because the phrase "Hanoi Hilton" is a name given to the prison by Americans. That the prison has a broader history, which can and should be explored in future work, is not in duspute. But the name "Hanoi Hilton" is, by definition, a term used to describe a place, an experience of that place, and an experience of it during a particular time, by Americans. That an English-language encyclopedia, of which a very sizable portion of contributors are Americans, and is based and founded in America by Americans, would start by discussing the topic at the point where it intersected the American experience is both understandable and expected. The Hanoi Hilton is not simply a location on a map, it is a historical experience by a country - in a similar way that the Iran Hostage Crisis was year-long event, not a building in Tehran.Dxco 05:29, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Well said! The subject of this article is the infamous 'Hanoi Hilton' and not the entire history of the prison. 161.98.13.100 03:36, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Yea, you might have confused this with Conservapedia. The article is titled 'Hanoi Hilton' not 'the experience of American prisoners in the Hanoi Hilton'. You say this 'should be explored in a future work'. By this, do you mean a separate Wikipedia entry? Because I can't see any basis for this. Hughteg 05:09, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

That'd be like if someone hopped down to the 7 Years War page and said it was too Euro-Centric because they don't call it French-Indian War, and don't focus on events in America. Be bold, make a separate page if you desire, we can always, always merge later if theres too much gap. 72.199.100.223 (talk) 04:34, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

Seems to me that the prison has a history prior to the Vietnam War which is not explored at all. A separate entry for "Maison Centrale Hanoi" or "Hoa Loa Prison" seems entirely justified particularly as the treatment by the French of the Viet Minh appears to be very much like what the North Vietnamese did to their US captives; seems the French were excellent tutors. Anyone familiar with French colonialism and the Algerian war would recognize similarities as well.

I recently visited the prison, took some photographs and would be happy to collaborate on an article about the prison. Peter.in.nyc (talk) 13:30, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Peter, I was hoping somebody with some information on the French period that I don't have could contribute to this article. But I still don't see why we need separate articles for different periods of time. The prison building itself is notable, so it needs to have an article. I don't see what's wrong with just having separate sections in that article for different historical periods. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hughteg (talkcontribs) 20:03, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
The article now has more coverage of the French period, and sections that clearly delineate the French period, the American POW period, and the post-war period. Wasted Time R (talk) 01:14, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
At the risk of opening old wounds, I'm very much of the view that this article focused entirely too much on the period of the prison during the US-Vietnamese conflict, and almost entirely ignores the other 80+% of its history. I visited the prison yesterday but was frustrated at the poor English translations relating to the French colonial period so came onto Wikipedia to find out more, but there is very little of assistance. I appreciate that on the English language Wikipedia there is going to be more focus on the parts relevant to English speakers, but the article is really disproportionately skewed towards those few years. For what it is worth, I also thing that renaming the article under Hoa Loa Prison should have been a slam-dunk under Wikipedia:Official names; titling the article based upon a nickname used by soldiers of a foreign nation in the last few years of its existence doesn't seem to be right, even if it does pass the search engine test. I appreciate that there are a lot of people who have put this article on their watchlist have a raw emotional connection with the prison (you just need to see the comments on this talk page to appreciate that), but it part of the job of Wikipedia to try and balance that out. --Legis (talk - contribs) 07:10, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

Personnel Held[edit]

I'm interested to know if anyone has a list of the U.S. service people who were held at the prison? If such a list can be added to linked to this page, I think it would be a good addition. [03:58, April 7, 2007 Jaedglass]

The documentary "Return With Honor" lists some of these names. The National League of Families may have more information. 161.98.13.100 03:37, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

There are no doubt lists of all the POWs held in North Vietnam, but I don't know if any list only those held at Hoa Lo. Many POWs were moved around among different camps, including stays at Hoa Lo, especially once "Camp Unity" formed. Wasted Time R (talk) 01:16, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

In late 2000, CdrAirGroup (CAG) Jim Stockdale, Room 7 Senior Ranking Officer (SRO) asked his old friend, By Fuller to provide a list of the roommates of Room 7, Hanoi Hilton as of Christmas 1970.

Thanks to By Fuller for the gut work of putting together this facts sheet. Paul Galanti and Mike McGrath assisted. This historical document is dedicated to a fearless leader, Vice Admiral Jim Stockdale, CAG.

Roster of "Room 7" on 26 December, 1970 (Hanoi Hilton) Name: Shootdown rank: Days captive:

1. Brady, Al Cdr, USN 2236 2. Coker, George Lt (jg), USN 2381 3. Coskey, Ken Cdr, USN 1650 4. Craner, Bob (Deceased) Maj, USAF 1911 5. Crayton, Render LCdr, USN 2562 6. Crow, Fred LCol, USAF 2170 7. Crumpler, Carl LCol, USAF 1713 8. Daniels, Vern Cdr, USN 1966 9. Daughtrey, Norlan Capt, USAF 2751 10. Day, Bud Maj, USAF 2027 11. Denton, Jerry Cdr, USN 2766 12. Doremus, Rob LCdr, USN 2729 13. Dramesi, John Capt, USAF 2163 14. Dunn Howie (Deceased) Maj, USMC 2624 15. Fellowes, Jack LCdr, USN 2381 16. Finlay, Jack LCol, USAF 1781 17. Franke, Bill Cdr, USN 2729 18. Fuller, By Cdr, USN 2060 19. Gillespie, Chuck (Deceased) Cdr, USN 1968 20. Guarino, Larry Maj, USAF 2801 21. Gutterson, Laird Maj, USAF 1846 22. Hughes, Jim LCol, USAF 2130 23. James, Charlie Cdr, USN 1761 24. Jenkins, Harry (Deceased) Cdr, USN 2648 25. Johnson, Sam Maj, USAF 2494 26. Kasler, Jim Maj, USAF 2400 27. Kirk, Tom LCol, USAF 1964 28. Lamar, Jim LCol, USAF 2474 29. Larson, Swede LCol, USAF 2130 30. Lawrence, Bill Cdr, USN 2076 31. Ligon, Vern (Deceased) LCol, USAF 1942 32. McCain, John LCdr, USN 1966 33. McKnight, George Maj, USAF 2655 34. Moore, Mel Cdr, USN 2185 35. Mulligan, Jim Cdr, USN 2521 36. Pollard, Ben Maj, USAF 2120 37. Risner, Robbie LCol, USAF 2706 38. Rivers, Wendy LCdr, USN 2715 39. Rutledge, Howie (Deceased) Cdr, USN 2633 40. Schoeffel, Pete LCdr, USN 1988 41. Shumaker, Bob LCdr, USN 2923 42. Stockdale, Jim Cdr, USN 2713 43. Stockman, Hervey LCol, USAF 2093 44. Stratton, Dick LCdr, USN 2250 45. Tanner, Nels LCdr, USN 2338 46. Webb, Ron Capt, USAF 2093 47. Gary Anderson (Deceased) Lt (jg), USN 2151 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.177.129.179 (talk) 03:41, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Source: http://www.armyparatrooper.org

POV[edit]

This article has a serious POV problem, it has a strong pro-American view epically regarding the current state of the prison. Samuel —Preceding comment was added at 01:25, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

The article does NOT have a POV problem and is not propaganda at all. Having personally known a former Hanoi Hilton POW I can tell you there is no sensationalism or bias in this article at all.

On the contrary the post directly above this one reveals a serious POV (point of view) problem and a clear anti-American bias. Furthermore the post is an apologism for the brutal Vietnamese communist treatment of American prisoners. The serious bias is on the part of this poster, and not the article.

161.98.13.100 03:28, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry but just because it's your point of view doesn't mean it's neutral, please understand that the paragraph has pro-American criticism of Vietnam, which present a POV problem. I am not downplaying what happened in the said prison, But Wikipedia is supposed to be free of any bias. Samuell 03:42, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Has anyone thought of what the CIA did to them? [04:02, February 21, 2008 72.191.7.251]

Maybe we should call it Vietnam's Abu Ghraib or Viet Congs Guantanamo. Of course that would be even more anti-(United States of) America(n), anti-democratic and all the sorts. Just my two cents. So let's keep our POVs to other places since no one's is sin free to throw the first stone. OK--Cosuna (talk) 19:00, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

This article does come across as very POV, and 161.98.13.100 seems to be confirming that in his numerous posts on this page. The article shouldn't be providing judgement...that's for the reader to make for themselves Adonai-aus- (talk) 23:16, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Two or three specific examples of what you consider "providing judgement" would help a lot. Wasted Time R (talk) 23:22, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
This article has been much improved by recent edits such as the initial section about the French colonial period, however the pro-American POV problem is still a problem. For example, the treatment of Vietnamese prisoners by the French, which included execution by guillotine, was undoubtedly worse than that experienced by American pilots. But the second section begins with the throw-away statement "U.S. POWs endured miserable conditions, including poor food and unsanitary conditions." Such a statement might be true of any prison experience, but in this context it reflects an ongoing campaign to demonize America's enemy in the 1959-1975 war.
The Wikipedia article about the tiger cages on Côn Sơn Island is strikingly different, much closer to being even-handed.
The root problem here is that American POW's have had a mythological status in American military culture. It is widely believed, incorrectly, that not all of them were returned. Pilots (the most likely potential POWs) were trained to defy their captors at every opportunity, and in particular to avoid making propaganda statements, despite the obvious fact that prisoners are not free agents and that any propaganda statements they make can and should be completely ignored. (I am a 1968 graduate of that training at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington.) A different approach to this issue might have prevented much needless grief. In any event the Vietnamese eventually realized what valuable assets their captured pilots were and eased up (starting in 1969, according to John McCain's account).
The ultimate passing of the Vietnam era generation will free up this topic for a more balanced analysis. The treatment of all prisoners everywhere is an issue of immense importance and should be studied and reported objectively. HowardMorland (talk) 16:58, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
If you can add additional material about how bad the treatment of Vietnamese prisoners by the French was, then most definitely please do so. I only added what I could find online at the time, and there are surely sources on this that will require real library work. I agree that there really needs to be an overall article that describes POW experiences across the board in Vietnam (Americans in North Vietnam, North and South Vietnamese in each other's, North and South Vietnamese dissidents in their own, etc). This article is unfortunately serving as a bit of a proxy for some of all that, when it really should be more focused on just Hoa Lo. Such an article could also discuss what you bring up, American POW tactics, about which there was indeed a variety of views ranging from near-fanatical resistance to outright collaboration to numerous levels in between. Both the Hubbell and Rochester & Kiley works do good jobs in exploring these divisions. Wasted Time R (talk) 17:28, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
If were going to wait for the Viet Nam generation to die off to solve this POV problem. Then be prepared to wait a very long time. Samuell Lift me up or put me down 04:09, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
It's true that the American POW experience has gotten a disproportionate share of attention compared to all the other POW experiences in the war. There's been a large body of American POW literature, and several of them became well-known in public circles upon returning, including Denton, Stockdale, and of course later McCain. But the solution isn't to restrict the descriptions of their experiences, but rather to expand the coverage of other, non-American experiences. Wasted Time R (talk) 04:26, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
"It is widely believed, incorrectly, that not all of them were returned." HowardMorland, you have no idea. You just claimed that not one person, Not A Single POW was killed. At all. Ridiculous.

Look, I have to agree with some of the people here, this has very little POV in this peice, at least as of now. I think that the people who are saying there is POV just has an opinion on the war instead. I do not support the American side in this war, but it doesn't mean stuff like this didn't happen to them, or that its not true. I'd be more willing to take the bias of someone who was there and even states that this isn't POV at all rather than people who try to change the information after the fact. Some of you other editors have strictly Anti-American bias. 72.199.100.223 (talk) 04:45, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps we should consider a pro-French view to balance the article, as well as an anti-French view, along with a pro-Vietnamese, anti-Vietnamese, pro-UN, anti-UN, neutral-America, neutral-French, neutral-Vietnam, slightly-for-America-but-also-slightly-for-Vietnam-but-also-pro-to-neutral-French-and-way-anti-UN, etc. views. 74.103.77.250 (talk) 15:14, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Sentence restructure[edit]

In the Vietnam War section:

"As a later famous former prisoner John McCain, later said of finally being forced to make an anti-American statement: "I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine."

How could this be restructured to flow a bit easier? It definitely should be attributed, him being a famous person held in the prison. Cs302b (talk) 05:42, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

The context is this text:

In the end, North Vietnamese torture was sufficiently brutal and prolonged that virtually every American POW so subjected made a statement of some kind at some time.[14] (As one later wrote of finally being forced to make an anti-American statement: "I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine."[10]) Realizing this, the Americans' aim became to absorb as much torture as they could before giving in, then admit to each other what had happened, lest shame or guilt consume them or make them more vulnerable to additional North Vietnamese pressure.[12] Nevertheless, the POWs obsessed over what they had done, and would years after their release still be haunted by the "confessions" or other statements they had made.[15] As another POW later said, "To this day I get angry with myself. But we did the best we could. [We realize], over time, that we all fall short of what we aspire to be. And that is where forgiveness comes in."[15]

I intentionally didn't attribute any of these remarks or experiences to any particular POW, because they were largely universal. I also didn't want to bring McCain's name into this context, because it brings with it a lot of political overtones with it that's not necessary in order to illuminate the POW experience. Of course McCain is mentioned later in the article, along with some of the other well-known POWs. Wasted Time R (talk) 10:50, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Then how about we find other non-famous POWs quotes? This is just a mucky confusing mess whether or not to attribute it to him because he's famous, how about we just find someone else who's not? Cs302b (talk) 20:39, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

You can find this sentiment in several other articles and books, for example this newspaper story: "Everyone has a different breaking point, Newcomb says. 'They ramp up to techniques that always work.' For those who endure this much, the breaking point usually comes with the tie-up." But it's not a direct quote, and not as succinct as what McCain says. The same problem exists elsewhere. I'll keep looking. Wasted Time R (talk) 21:48, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

NPOV Title?[edit]

Is this title really appropriate given that half the article is about the French era? In ictu oculi (talk) 02:08, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

This is an old argument. I am fully on your side: the prison had its Vietnamese name for over 100 years, and was nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton" only during the brief period of the Vietnam conflict. However, the article goes under the title Hanoi Hilton and fully 75% of the article is dedicated to the Vietnam war part of the prison's history to the exclusion of the rest. But I am afraid there are too many people with strongly personal views on the subject, and so proposed moves invariably fail. Even the fact that there is an actual Hilton hotel in Hanoi now doesn't seem to influence the thinking on this. If you want to propose a move I'll support you for all the reasons stated above, but most likely we will be heavily outvoted. --Legis (talk - contribs) 11:14, 11 June 2013 (UTC)
I would support a move to Hỏa Lò Prison also, but I also think it would probably fail, because many people just go by what has the most hits on web searches. Wasted Time R (talk) 09:55, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
It would definitely fail. Just look at the voting under Talk:Hanoi_Hilton#Voting above. For better or worse (in my view, worse) there are a lot of English speakers who seem to feel very strongly it should keep the American name for it. --Legis (talk - contribs) 06:27, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
Like the others in this section, I also support the move for all the above reasons... I guess the mood has swung completely? The argument against the move seems quite feeble to me, and the vote (which isn't really WP policy) is from many years ago. At this point, I'll see if I can go ahead and try to move it already. Teply (talk) 09:02, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

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