Victims and Survivors: Displaced Persons and Other War Victims in Viet-Nam, 1954-1975

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The massive population displacements and generation of civilian war casualties that occurred between 1954 and 1975 disastrously weakened the fabric of South Vietnamese society, produced widespread demoralization, and contributed to the country's defeat by North Viet-Nam. This new work is the first systematic documentation of the human consequences of the Viet-Nam War. Based on American, Vietnamese, and international records, as well as a wealth of personal experience and eyewitness accounts, it examines the scope of the tragedy, what was done to cope with it, and what lessons can be drawn from the experience.

Wiesner argues that the tragedy of the war itself was appreciably worsened by forced relocations and that this suffering could not have been relieved, because the amount of land on which the largely rural evacuees could be safely resettled was repeatedly diminished by Communist incursions and the demands of combat. Meanwhile, American bombing of the North, much less destructive to civilians than fighting and bombing in the South, was used by the totalitarian regime to instill hatred against the United States and its South Vietnamese ally. When in 1975 the North Vietnamese overran the entire South, masses of Vietnamese, for the first time in their history, fled from their country.

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