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Street Photos in 1973 Capture a Rebuilding Hanoi After Linebacker II

In this collection of black-and-white photos taken by German photographer Horst Faas, Hanoi's streets seem bursting with life, but lurking behind innocent smiling children and packed tram rides are the undeniable remnants of an ongoing war.

Horst Faas (1933–2012) is one of the biggest names in photojournalism and is well-known across history for his works during the American War. In 1962, he became the Associated Press (AP)’s chief photographer for Southeast Asia and lived in Saigon until 1974. During Faas’ time in the country, he won his first Pulitzer Prize in 1965.

Haulers scavenge bricks from the rubbles of Bạch Mai Hospital after parts of the facility was bombed.

Faas took these images during a trip to Hanoi in 1973, just a few months after Operation Linebacker II obliterated whole swaths of neighborhoods in the city. A B-52 carcass from the bombing campaign still remains in today’s Hanoi as part of a war-themed museum.

Across the shots, it’s hard to imagine such a gruesome incident had happened. Teens joke around on their way home from school, grandmas with dyed teeth and their best pals chat on xích lô, and market sessions are as crowded as ever — it’s a testament to the resilience of Vietnamese. A few snapshots show piles of rubbles at locations where the bombs hit, like Khâm Thiên and Bạch Mai Hospital, while Hanoians grapple with rebuilding.

Have a closer look below:

Workers at a paper factory load finished products on an ox-drawn carriage.

School kids hold the Vietnamese flag while welcoming a foreign delegation on the street.

A woman with her trusty bicycle.

Grandpa with his grandchild.

Nón là vendors at Đồng Xuân Market.

Elderly Hanoians waiting to welcome foreign dignitaries.

School children on the way home from school.

Catching up on some current affairs right on the pavement.

Propaganda posters on Tràng Tiền Street.

Playing ping-pong using makeshift equipment at a public park.

A streetcar running along the track in central Hanoi.

Older women often dyed their teeth black during past decades.

Laughing while walking home.

Children often hung onto streetcars to get around for free.

Taking some cool shots at Thê Húc Bridge.

The small island that holds Ngọc Sơn Temple.

Tram track running through Đồng Xuân area.

Few people could afford any vehicle other than bikes.

Tram chasing was a popular hobby for Hanoian kids.

A two-car tram train.


A fruit vendor moving her products using a xích lô ride.

Best friends roaming the downtown together.

Row boats on Hoàn Kiếm Lake.

What took them so long?

A man getting his portrait done on the street.

Reading on the bank of Hoàn Kiếm Lake.

A lady hauling her wicker baskets.

All aboard!

Say cheese!

[Photos by Horst Faas via Flickr user manhhai]

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