The Vietnamese Mathematical Society was set up in 1965 by Le Van Thiem and Hoang Tuy. Both had studied in Europe, the former in Paris and Germany and the latter in Moscow. By 1965, the Vietnam War, which in Vietnam is called the Resistance War against America, or simply the American War had been on progress for ten years and Hanoi University had been closed for four years.

How in such difficult circumstances had van Thiem and Hoang Tuy set up the Journal and what support did they have from the larger international mathematical community?

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    $\begingroup$ I suspect this is discussed in: Neal Irving Koblitz and Hoàng Tuy, Recollections of mathematics in a country under siege, Mathematical Intelligencer 12 #3 (Summer 1990), pp. 16-34. However, this is under a paywall (I don't have access) and right now I don't know where my print photocopy is (made back in the early 1990s), but maybe you or someone else can use this to provide an answer. Perhaps also look in Koblitz's 2008 book Random Curves. Journeys of a Mathematician (chapters 9 & 10). $\endgroup$ Sep 5, 2020 at 6:33
  • $\begingroup$ @DaveLRenfro: Unfortunately, I don't have access to the Intelligencer at present. But thanks for the reference. $\endgroup$ Sep 5, 2020 at 9:27
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    $\begingroup$ "By 1965, the Vietnam War [...] had been on progress for ten years" — How can this be true? First US KIA in Vietnam was in 1959. Probably an "advisor". Only in early 1965 did the official US involvement in Vietnam start. $\endgroup$ Sep 11, 2020 at 9:51

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Following the advice of Dave Renfo in comments, I looked up the 1990 interview with Tụy in The Mathematical Intelligencer. The article is fascinating, and I'd recommend it.

Sadly, it gives a pretty brief account of the founding of the Society, and none of the journal.

Koblitz: And you were able to do mathematics during all this?

Tụy: Yes, in fact our general morale was so high that we continued our seminars on a regular basis during this whole period. The Mathematical Society, which was founded in 1965 by Lê Van Thiêm (I was general secretary), organized joint seminars in optimization, probability, functional analysis, algebra, numerical analysis. People from Hanoi University, the Pedagogical Institute, and the Polytechnic Institute participated (the Hanoi MathematicaI Institute was not formed until 1970). Since the three institutions had been evacuated in different directions from Hanoi, we held the seminars in Hanoi. They met twice a month. I must say, people were very diligent about attending. Many of us would take advantage of the opportunity to visit our families. Since my wife and children were on the opposite side of Hanoi from the university, it was much more convenient for me to visit them after the seminars held in Hanoi.

He has a longer description of what it was like trying to run the University at the time, after it had been evacuated to a spot in the forest some 170km outside of Hanoi, having to teach classes near trenches they could jump into if the Americans started a bombing run, etc., and some amusing anecdotes about Grothendieck visiting the society and having to be evacuated due to bombing.


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