The disturbing War Remnants or War Crimes Museum of Ho Chi Minh City

War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City
War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City

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.

War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City
I was quite excited at getting to touch the different war vehicles! 
War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City
Me inside the museum

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. 

War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City
War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City

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.

 

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10 comments

  1. I felt physically ill visiting this museum. In fact, I couldn’t go around all of the exhibits. I got a bad vibe about the place. I think it tells a story that is very hard to receive, but it’s an important one.

    The one-sidedness of the exhibits is probably not intentional, as if you speak to Vietnamese they’re very future-focused, and hold no grudges towards America. If anything, many Vietnamese are frustrated at their own government for all that they’ve suffered over the years.

    Great to see your photographs and hear your impressions. I hope lots of people continue to visit this place and debate/discuss it.

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  2. Wow, really some powerful photos…museums like this are so important, if not so incredibly sad, always important to walk away saying “how was that possible…” because, who knows, one day “we” just learn never to commit such atrocities again.
    Safe travels.

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  3. Nice compilation you have here! I was there once and I think you summarized it beautifully, although I didn’t see any pics from the picture exhibition, it is indoor just beside the F18.

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