I did the usual sightseeing in Ho Chi Minh City but the one place that really stood out for me was the War Remnants Museum. The museum was originally named ” Exhibition House for Crimes of War and Aggression ” and changed to War Remnants museum in 1995 after the end of the US embargo.
It primarily contains exhibits relating to the American phase of the Vietnam War.
It’s hard for me to give glowing comments for a place that is, in fact, quite a somber experience. However, it definitely creates a very vivid story of the history of Vietnam. This museum documents many of the atrocities committed by the US military during the war. I find that for the most part they allow the exhibits and pictures to speak for themselves without feeling the need to inject too much propaganda, which is a nice change in Vietnam.
The museum is filled with US armoured vehicles, bombs and even artillery pieces are on display. There are also pictures of deformed babies, defects attributed to the use of chemical herbicides by the US military. Don’t go if you’re sensitive to graphic imagery of war and combat, or if you’re planning on a light-hearted afternoon. It would be difficult not to be horrified by these photos of mangled children, tortured soldiers and napalm victims.
The deaths, massacres, dismemberment and chemical weapons are a real eye opener and unfortunately each year many more innocent Vietnamese people are maimed by UXO or deformed by poisons lingering in the environment.
Definitely visit if you’re interested in a presentation about the war from the perspective of the people that had to suffer through it the most – the Vietnamese, of course. Even though the museum seems a little one-sided it truly drives home the point that war is horribly brutal and that many of the victims are innocent civilians.
After all this is a Vietnamese story told in Vietnam.