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The conflict in Vietnam was one of the most traumatic and long-lasting struggles, pursued within the broad context of the cold war, since the conclusion of the Second World War. For the peoples of Vietnam — to which Cambodia and Laos may be added for much of the period — a generation of suffering, injury and death arising from the bitter strife between occidental forces and indigenous movements ended in April 1975 with the collapse of the brittle anti-communist regimes in South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The close of an era dominated by French and American endeavours to contain communist—nationalist movements ironically did not herald the dawn of an era of peace. Cambodia lurched into the grotesque period of dominance by the Khmer Rouge, which witnessed the worst record of mass murder and torture seen since the death camps operated by Nazi Germany, resulting in the demise of at least two million people. The unified Vietnam became embroiled in conflict with China in 1978–9. Slowly Vietnam has started to rebuild its society and economy in the later 1980s and 1990s. The legacy of the Vietnam War lives on for Vietnamese and for Americans.
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Notes and References
- 1.R. S. McNamara (with B. Van De Mark), In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam (New York, 1995 ), p. 212.Google Scholar