ACJC History Dialogic
The ACJC History Dialogic that was conducted on Tuesday, 3rd May was a meaningful event that has added to our understanding of Vietnam’s national struggle. The commonly accepted view of Vietnam is that it was a country caught in the midst of Cold War rivalry. The communist Viet Minh forces were offered weapons by the Soviet and Chinese communists, while the Americans offered France monetary aid in the 1950s, and eventually put boots on the ground themselves, in the effort to fight communism in the Indo-China Wars. With this knowledge alone, it is easy to sort the independence struggle in Vietnam into one of the several categories prescribed by the History curriculum.
The ACJC History Dialogic
However, Associate Professor Pholsena Vatthana from the Southeast Asian Studies Department of NUS provided a rational breakdown of the Indo-China conflict, and also shared a perspective of an undermined country from the Vietnamese perspective. Much has been written about the trauma and sufferings of American forces with regards to the Vietnam War but the voice of those that suffered at the hands of the superpower should also not be forgotten. While 58,000 American soldiers died during the war effort, purportedly to contain communism, the death toll of the Vietnamese -who were fighting for national independence- is largely undeterminable and ranged from a possible figure of 1 to 4 million. Through consideration of such perspectives, we can shed light on the true importance of History, not as a subject, but a recognition of the past.
Associate Professor Pholsena Vatthana
We thank Associate Professor Pholsena Vatthana for her time and her insights on the Vietnam War.