Propaganda posters has become very good business in Viet Nam - 4 million tourists a year, and many of them want communist souvenirs.
From the very outset of the Vietnamese struggle against French colonialism, throughout the 'American War' to modern day Viet Nam, propaganda posters have been the major communication means for the leaders and the different party organizations of the country.
"Let us protect the native land and the youth." (Artist: Duong Ngoc Canh, 1966
Hanoi Gallery has good business in selling reprints of vintage propaganda posters.
These days the reprints of old propaganda posters have become best selling souvenirs for millions of tourists coming to Viet Nam as well as very expensive collector's items.
Original posters from the wartime era are sold from USD 200 up to several thousand USD for rarities. In addition the paraphernalia industry is pouring out replicas of army helmets and medals, flags, wartime photos - even copies of the notorious Zippo lighters with US army insignia. (During the 'American War' the GI's coined the euphemism "Zippo Actions" for raids, torching villages suspected of supporting the guerrillas).
Here are some of my favorite examples of Vietnamese propaganda, spanning two devastating wars and one difficult peace era:
"The whole people observe the rules of secrecy" (Artist and date unknown)
"Everyone who is patriotic should come back to the motherland to kill colonialists. (Artist unknown, 1948)
The victory at Dien Bien Phu 7 May1954 is commemorated again and again as the battle that ended French colonialism.
1954 is also commercialized to the extent that a Vinaphone shop offered me a mobile number '090 321 1954' for a surcharge. I gladly accepted - and now have a number for the first time ever that I can remember.
"The army and the People are like fish and water" (Artist: Nguyen Tien Canh, date unknown)
"Uncle Ho is still marching with our soldiers" (Artist: Nguyen Thu, 1970)
"The 30th anniversary of the liberation of the entire South Viet Nam and national reunification. Joy from victory, victory and victory!" (Artist: Nguyen Duch Chinh, 2005)
"Making our country more modern and more beautiful (Artist: Phan Du, 2005)
PROPAGANDA FOR A PROFIT