The Battle of Hanoi began on the 19th of December 1946. It was seen as the beginning of the 'First Indochina War'.
Viet Minh (Vietnamese anti-French and anti-Japanese soldiers) detonated explosives in Hanoi's power plant in response to French naval bombardments that killed a large number of civilians, plunging the city into darkness.
During the 60 day battle that ensued the French soldiers took up positions in the ground around the city of Hanoi to shell the city with artillery.
Ngoc's mother's pregnancy was conventional until around 8 months in when the Battle of Hanoi (1946) took place. (See the above event). The noise and the general unpleasantness of the battle could have had some adverse effects on both Ngoc's mother and herself. One biological influence from this could be an increased possibility that a baby can be born premature or with a low birth weight due to the mother experiencing stress during the pregnancy (March of Dimes 2017).
Ngoc was born on the 23rd of January 1947. She weighed around 5.7lbs which in a western society would be considered low birth weight. Culturally however this would be consider about an average weight for the region at the time. Ngoc Bich Nguyen's name was chosen as it means 'precious jade'. This name was symbolic to her mother as Ngoc's Grandmother was named 'Ngoc' meaning 'jade' and they wished to continue it as a family tradition.
Infancy stage (0-2 years) 1947-1949
Despite her lower birth weight Ngoc began to grow healthily and seemingly suffered from no adverse effects due to the turbulence during her pre-natal stage. She began to develop at a conventional rate and as the second child in the Nguyen family she followed her older sister by 2 years. Ngoc saw what her older sister was doing and attempted to mimic this, adhering to Bandura's hypothesis on children and observational learning (Bandura 1961). Due to Ngoc's level of cognitive development she was absorbing information and learning behaviour rapidly and began to reach conventional developmental milestones; such as, rolling over, crawling and beginning to develop the use of language. At this stage of development Ngoc was in what Piaget outlined as the Sensorimotor Stage (Piaget 1936). She also was adhering to the nurture side of the nature nurture debate. This is due to Ngoc learning behaviour from others such as her family.
In the 1950's French Indochina went through some political changes. The northern half of the country became known as the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. This was due to the North being given arms and training from the Chinese and Soviet Union.
This meant that the former Guerrilla fighters were turned into conventional army units. This had a fairly large influence on the people of Northern Vietnam as there was now more large scale fighting between the French and the Viet Minh.
The areas around Hanoi became used by both sides as the Viet Minh launched attacks on the French Outposts and the French retaliated using artillery and mortars.
As she got older Ngoc continued to further become interested in the nature surrounding her on the farm. She became particularly fond of a cow that lived on the farm. She also began to assist in manual labour on the farm along side her mother and her sister as well as the rest of her family. At the age of six Ngoc would frequently discuss with her sister concepts outside of her own self. This interest in these concepts would align with another of Piaget’s stages of development, the concrete operational stage. (Piaget 1936). However in Piaget’s original theory this stage did not occur until the age of 7-11. The reason Ngoc developed the use of this train of thought could be due to the fact that her sister was developing it at the same time. This again could be seen as an interaction between the Nature vs. Nurture debate. It could be seen as Nature due to the fact that the sisters are related and would therefore have similar genetics with could explain the similarities in their behaviour. However it could also be argued that it is the environmental factor of Ngoc’s sister showing her the behaviours and Ngoc learning them through observation; again following Bandura’s theory (Bandura 1961) and supporting the Nurture side.
In 1955 the Americans began their intervention into the spread of communism in Vietnam formally. This was first with the use of soldiers and police to train and supply weapons for the South Vietnam security forces.
By 1962 the number of American troops increased to 9,000. They began engaging in more supportive action to help the South Vietnam Army deal with the Viet Cong (Vietnamese Communist) soldiers.
By 1965 the Americans started engaging in combat with the Viet Cong and brought 82,000 combat soldiers to Vietnam with the promise of 175,000 more.
The US soldiers began to fight on the ground in the South but they maintained an air campaign of bombing runs on the North code named Operation Rolling Thunder.
Operation Rolling Thunder began in March 1965 and the US began with targeting specific places in North Vietnam with Hanoi and Haiphong being major targets throughout.
Ngoc and Chinh lived happily on their family farm for 6 months until when in August 1965 a fleet American F-105 Thundercats went over head carpet bombing the countryside with incendiary bombs. Ngoc’s entire farm was destroyed. The livestock were killed and more over her mother, father and husband were killed in the air raid. It turned out the American’s thought they were bombing an area of land that the Viet Cong soldiers were training. The only people to survive were Ngoc, and her sister.
Ngoc and her sister were forced to look for somewhere else to live. After they travelled to the Demilitarised Zone they were offered a place in a refugee camp near Saigon in the South. This was a better alternative than living in the North. Ngoc lived in the camp for a year living off of the food that the camp offered. She decided that she wished to become a doctor. At the age of 19 Ngoc met Joe a soldier from America at the refugee camp. She was weary of him at first and he sister was completely against even talking to him. Ngoc began talking to this soldier every time he made a delivery to the camp. Eventually she learned he was from California and that he had been drafted to the army against his wishes. He told her that he felt the Americans had no place interfering with the goings-on in another country. Ngoc got a job as an assistant in the theatre at the medical department of the camp. She began to learn about the ins and outs of working in medicine. In 1966 Ngoc decided that she would travel to America to become a doctor. She knew that she would be unable to do this without a visa. She therefore started seeing the American soldier. This went on and eventually they were married and Ngoc and her sister moved to America. Ngoc got a place at UCLA to study medicine. This could be seen as supportive of ideographic development as she did this independently and this was not a collective community based decision.
After studying Ngoc returned to Vietnam and worked as a doctor in one of the military hospitals near Saigon. Having grown up around war Ngoc was used to having the symptoms of what would later become known to be PTSD. However there was not a focus on the effects of psychological illnesses in the 1960's/70's. She coped with the trauma of war but did suffer some adverse effects on her mental health. Ngoc worked in the hospital as a doctor for the remainder of the Vietnam War. In 1975 when Saigon fell to the Viet Cong, Ngoc was transported back to America. She lived in Los Angeles with her husband Joe she was 28. When Ngoc turned 30 she fell pregnant. Due to complications during her pregnancy due to stress from her mental health issues, she suffered a miscarriage. However despite a period of depression where she was unable to work, Ngoc and Joe went on to try again and at the age of 32 and 34 had two boys, Joseph and Stephen.