1943: Not Anatoly Kuznetsov, insignificant little chap 1324: Petronilla de Meath, the first Irish woman burned for heresy

1972: Evelyn Anderson and Beatrice Kosin, missionaries

November 2nd, 2011 Headsman

On this date in 1972, Vietnamese communists in Laos summarily executed two American missionaries.

Evelyn Anderson (top) and Beatrice Kosin

Evelyn Anderson and Beatrice Kosin were nurses dispatched to southeast Asia with the Christian Missions of Many Lands, which does what it says on the tin.

On Oct. 27, 1972, North Vietnamese communists seized the town of Ban Kengkok, near Savannakhet.

Though several other western missionaries escaped, and were evacuated by helicopter, Anderson and Kosin were captured and tied up in a hut.

A mission to extricate them was scratched — allegedly from on high because the ongoing secret negotiations between the U.S. and North Vietnam on ending the war had just reached a turning point. Someone evidently felt this a skirmish across the border concerning (and possibly killing) good Christian heartland girls might prove politically inflammatory at this delicate moment.*

So it didn’t happen, and that October 1972 diplomatic breakthrough eventually formed the basis of the Paris Peace Accords, publicly unveiled in January 1973, that set the framework for American withdrawal and gave Henry Kissinger his controversial Nobel Peace Prize.

This was all very nice — but also very far from Anderson and Kosin, who were left to swallow to the dregs their sacrificial draught.

A coded message sent early on Nov. 2, 1972 (American radio operators intercepted it) ordered their immediate execution, and the directive was accomplished without delicacy: the hut they were held in was simply torched, with them still inside.

* Also notice that this is days before the U.S. presidential election.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Borderline "Executions",Burned,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,History,Laos,No Formal Charge,Religious Figures,Summary Executions,USA,Vietnam,Wartime Executions,Women

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