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Civilians In Indochina Essay

2248 words - 9 pages

The Impact of the war on civilians in Indochina

The conflict in Indochina had both short term and long-term social, cultural, environmental and human impacts on the civilians of both Vietnam and Cambodia. The fact that civilians suffered directly and indirectly as a result of the Indochina war is unquestionable. Like Richard Nixon said on March 28th, 1919, ‘No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now’. One thing known about the War was the fact that the impact on civilians because of the war was immense. The future health of civilians resulted in overwhelming amount of devastation. The impact felt by the ...view middle of the document...

Social, environmental, cultural and human impacts

Human Impact
The suffering felt by civilians is put into perspective when examining the results of the conflict. The war left people and the land physically ruined: over 500,000 civilians died and 3 million were wounded, many permanently (Molony., S, pg 115). The human loss experienced by the Indochina war was staggering. The legacy of the war was tarnished; it resulted in many Vietnamese becoming mentally and physically sick, wounded and traumatized by what they were subjected to (Webb., K, pg 118). It left individuals without limbs and caused many diseases. The use of chemical weapons in Vietnam also affected the local population significantly. One very harmful chemical was Agent Orange; even to this day many people suffer from serious diseases, including different types of cancer and disabilities, as a result of the spreading of defoliants and herbicides. Many babies were born with a series of birth defects due to the detrimental chemical (Webb., K, pg 118). There are thousands of children that are now the third generation of victims suffering from malformations and severe defects of the immune and the nervous system. Even thirty years after the end of the war, children in Vietnam are still affected by the chemical operations carried out by the United States in order to destroy vegetation (Webb., K, pg 118).

Psychological trauma was also present during and after the war. It affected the civilians negatively. Many witnessed people in great pain, their friends, family who were attacked by booby traps or weapons. Most civilians suffered from trauma due to the impact the U.S had on them; destroying their villages and families; it is obvious that the impacts civilians felt destroyed them in more ways the one.

The bombs and battles caused instant destruction and death. The prolonged suffering and hardship faced survivors for generations. It is obvious that when the fighting ended, the suffering and hardship had only just begun, due to many aspects that have upset the environment and greatly reduced the ability of the land to support its people. The defoliations of vast tracts of forest and agricultural land by poisonous herbicides, the bombing and burning, the deliberate damage of crops with subsequent starvation, malnutrition and disease; is just a start to the many effects the Vietnamese had to deal with after the Indochina war (Molony., S, pg 114).

Social Impact
The arrival and direct involvement of US soldiers led to the rapid westernization of Vietnamese society. Vast amounts of western material and commercial values gained supremacy with the introduction of American goods such as cars, music and fashion.
It influenced their decisions and actions. However although there were some positive aspects, there almost certainly came the negatives. Due to the influx of western wealth, it began to aid the growth of corruption, prostitution and the drug trade and ultimately led to the...

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