War Remnants Museum (Ho Chi Minh City)
On the way back from the Cu Chi Tunnels we were dropped off at the War Remnants Museum in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. Luckily enough for us, as they were only open for another 45 minutes we sailed in on discounted entry for about 10,000 VD (30p).
As you walk in the gates you are met by a series of impressive helicopters, planes and tanks that were used by the US in an attempt to bombard North Vietnam into submission. These war machines set the scene for the exhibition inside which provides visitors with a very gritty, harrowing and yet informative account of the trauma and devastation caused by the war.
The level of bias in this government-censored museum is clear for all to see, however all of the dismal photographs and accounts of inhumane treatment in the ‘War of Aggression’ are no fable. There are walls full of bomb-blast figures, mounted guns, casualty numbers and photographs, as well as countless quotes from political figures about the conflict.
The photographs and factfiles on chemical warfare usage and long-lasting after-effects on the population and the environment are horrific. The two photographers from each side bring the whole story to life in a painstakingly honest and vivid fashion. In another room of the exhibition we learnt of the understandable outcries from across the globe for an end to the seemingly pointless war.
Fortunately in spite of the plaques making for hard reading, especially for the Americans among us, the end shows how positively Vietnam has managed to recover and rebuild itself as one of the up and coming Asian nations.