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Cold War Files: All Units: Events: Operation Sunrise and Strategic Hamlet Resettlement Program Begin

March 1962
Operation Sunrise and Strategic Hamlet Resettlement Program Begin

Operation Sunrise begins the Strategic Hamlet resettlement program in which scattered rural populations in South Vietnam are uprooted from their ancestral farmlands and resettled into fortified villages defended by local militias. However, over 50 of the hamlets and are soon infiltrated and easily taken over by Viet Cong who kill or intimidate village leaders.

As a result, Diem orders bombing raids against suspected Viet Cong-controlled hamlets. The air strikes by the South Vietnamese Air Force are supported by U.S. pilots, who also conduct some of the bombings. Civilian causalities erode popular support for Diem and result in growing peasant hostility toward America, which is largely blamed for the unpopular resettlement program as well as the bombings.

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