America's Korea, Korea's Vietnam
Atrocities committed by American soldiers against Vietnamese
civilians during the Vietnam War have once again become
an issue of public debate in the United States, yet
similar actions by South Korean troops fighting America's
war in Vietnam remain virtually unknown in the West.
The Republic of Korea (ROK) dispatched more than 300,000
combat troops to Vietnam between 1965 and 1973, but
after decades of enforced silence by successive authoritarian
governments, Koreans have only recently begun to grapple
with the ambiguous legacy of the Vietnam War for South
Korea. In the spring and summer of 2000, testimonies
in the South Korean media by Korean veterans of the
Vietnam War revealed for the first time detailed, extensive
accounts of Korean atrocities against Vietnamese civilians.
These revelations, and the controversy they triggered
within South Korea, bring into bold relief the role
of Koreans in America's Vietnam War and the role of
the Vietnam War in the political and economic development
of South Korea.
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