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Consequences of the Vietnam War

Fri, 30 May 2014. Last updated Thu, 25 Jun 2015 08:43

Consequences of Vietnam War are huge to Vietnam, deep division in Vietnamese people, and disorder in the U.S and other countries and all over the world. This war is the most terrible war in the course of protecting Vietnam autonomy.

Vietnam War had rooted the most terrible consequence in the history of Vietnamese people. It also triggered the chaos in the United States and in other countries across the world. According to some sources, the number of Vietnamese people killed in the Vietnam War ranges from three to five million, along with millions of injured and disabled people. The survivors continue to face serious social, economic, and environmental problems which were caused by the war. Among those, the rate of birth defects is highest in the world. There are tens of thousands of victims of toxic chemical (dioxin) in Vietnam. Half of the rain forests of Vietnam were destroyed seriously. The U.S. sprayed in South Vietnam 45,260 tons (75 million liters) of toxic chemicals. The environmental destruction which was caused by the U.S. gave birth to a new English word, “ecocide”. Vietnam has become the country bombed most in the history of the world. The number of bombs dropped on Vietnam was 7.85 million tons, nearly 3 times higher than the total number of bombs used in World War II, in the so-called “lunarization policy”. Infrastructures in both North and South Vietnam were almost ruined. On average, each Vietnamese citizen had suffered under 250 kg bombs of America.


Aftermath of Vietnam War in Vietnam

Vietnamese refugees on US carrier


Stepping out after the war, along with the victory of defeating “the number one superpower” in the world, Vietnam has been unified and independent. For the sake of unification and independence, many Vietnamese generations had fought since resistance war against the French. Their victory also contributed to the success of the communists in Laos and Cambodia, which established Lao People's Democratic Republic and Cambodia Democracy, expanded socialism led by the communist party. However, after the war, Vietnam faced many difficulties. The restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of the Soviet Union and China on political and economic policies changed slowly, natural disasters, the U.S. embargo, and the ravages of war, and two border wars all contributed to the serious postwar problems of the country. The weakness of the economy, society had rapidly severely affected by mimicking the socialist model of Eastern Europe. Along with profound divisions in the war, many military officers and civilian officials under the Republic of Vietnam, and those who worked for foreign organizations were reeducated from several days to several, which resulted in the decline in people's spirit. In addition, Vietnam's economy was heavily depressed due to prolonged conflict at the border with China and the long-lasting setting footholds (over 10 years) in Cambodia after the Southwest border war. These both objective and subjective economic and guiding events created the fled of people crossing borders. After 10 years of reunification, conducting reform policy is necessary and vital.


A soldier in US troops


In the United States, the Vietnam War became a sad chapter in their history. The consequence of the Vietnam War in the U.S was significant. All four strategies under the five presidents’ administration collapsed. Activities of the U.S. military in foreign countries reduced for 15 years until the Gulf War broke out. In addition to 58,220 soldiers killed and 305,000 injured (of which 153,303 were disabled). Beside the physical injuries, many American soldiers of 2.7 million ones who fought in Vietnam suffered from a mental disorder, commonly known as the “Vietnam Syndrome”. About 10 % of American troops coming back home became addicted to heroin during the days in Vietnam. The bitterness of the veterans contributed to the Hippie trend, a movement of rebellion, denying the Western industrial society, coming back to nature, anti-war, sexual freedom and the value of equality, peace and love in American youth for 20 years. Many years after the war, tens of thousands of U.S. troops and advisers had caught cancer or birth defects due to the exposure to Agent Orange.

Politics and the links between the U.S. government and its citizens were seriously divided. The U.S. spent over 686 billion dollars in the war (according to the rate in 2008). If the cost of Vietnam War compared with typical programs that the U.S. government conducted, Vietnam emerged as one of the most expensive “program” in American history. The entire system of interstate roads only cost US$53 billion (in 1972). The astronautic program on taking man to the Moon cost US$25 billion. The loss in Vietnam War caused the soaring deficit of state budget, which contributed to pushing America in a decade of gloomy economic recession.

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