Bill and Sue-On Hillman: A 50-Year Musical Odyssey
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HILLMAN INDOCHINA ADVENTURE
PART 3

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Aircraft :: Tiger Cages :: War Crimes :: Atrocities/Weapons :: Agent Orange :: Annex 1 :: Annex 2
Pt. 1: Aircraft and Armaments Displays

http://www.hillmanweb.com/indochina/vietnam/v32.html
This museum, located in the premises of the former United States Information Agency building, opened in 1975 under the name: "Exhibition House for US and Puppet Crimes." In 1990, the name was changed to "Exhibition House for Crimes of War and Aggression."  In 1995, following the normalization of diplomatic relations with the United States, and the tremendous influx of American investment and tourism, the references to "war crimes" and "aggression" were dropped from the museum's title, and it became the "War Remnants Museum"

The outdoor displays of the War Remnants Museum consist mainly of US military aircraft, tanks, artillery and ordnance left here after the Vietnam War (known as the American War here).

The museum building in the courtyard by the aircraft displays the history of the French Occupation and the Vietnam War. Torture devices, cells and "tiger cages: are in abundance. 

The main multi-storey building concentrates on the destruction and human suffering resulting from the war. As usual, history is written through the eyes of the victor and the displays of the horrors of war are through the POV of Communist North Vietnam and the Vietcong -- although a good many of the photographs are from Western media. There is no mention of the horrors inflicted by the Vietcong who had wiped out villages and had murdered hundreds of thousands of citizens. Despite being blatantly one-sided and featuring a heavy dose of anti-American propaganda, the museum does a fine job of  graphically portraying the horrors of war.

We met very few old people in Vietnam -- millions were killed by and on both sides. Most of the people we met were born after the war and are strongly influenced by Buddhist beliefs which encourage forgiveness. The facts that they have been taught here in school and in the media are strongly influenced by North Vietnamese propaganda. The older South Vietnam survivors we met-- those who weren't able to escape the country following the communist takeover -- had a somewhat different and very bitter view of the wartime events as are officially sanctioned by the government, but remain largely silent. Responses are guarded, however, much can be read between the diplomatically tailored replies. Serious dissenters may be tried and punished, lose privileges, and family members and even ancestors may also pay a price.

The displays in the War Remnants Museum are all subtitled in English and do an excellent job of presenting this one-sided view of events to the West which has been exposed mainly to events through opposing eyes and ears. In any case, the events of this conflict were horrific and brought tremendous suffering to the Vietnamese people as well as massive loss of life style, infrastructure, buildings, and resources. There were no real winners in this very ugly war and incredible atrocities were commited by all sides. A visit to this museum is a very emotional experience.

Web Refs:
Official Museum Website
Wikipedia Entry
 

Click for larger full-screen images

Entrance to the War Remnants Museum


Stages, screens and sound systems were being displayed for
the next day's Independence Anniversary Celebrations


Overview of some of the military displays


U.S. Aircraft












INTRO/CONTENTS :: VIETNAM No. 32

Aircraft :: Tiger Cages :: War Crimes :: Atrocities/Weapons :: Agent Orange :: Annex 1 :: Annex 2

TO MAIN INDOCHINA PAGE

TO VIETNAM CONTENTS

Copyright 2015
Bill and Sue-On Hillman
hillmans@wcgwave.ca