My mom once said, we are the victims of the tension between two major forces during the Cold War era, the United States and the Soviet Union along with Communist China. Both Vietnam and Korea went through the partition of the country due to intervention of Communist and Democratic forces, making citizens of these countries fight against their own people. Today, we got to visit the War Remnants Museum of Ho Chi Minh City, which is located in the former United States Information Agency building. The museum consists of a series of themed rooms, such as war crimes and impacts of the war on people afterwards. The tour started by showing us how the war was opposed by a lot of countries and people around the world including the allies of the U.S. and even the U.S. citizens. The museum was very anti-American, exposing what the U.S. military did to Vietnamese people, and some of exhibits were really disturbing and uncomfortable for us to see and acknowledge.
South Korea was pressured to participate in the war as an ally of the U.S. since the U.S. supported the South Korean democratic government during the Korean War, and I learned a lot of things that I have never seen from the oppressor’s point of view through this visit. South Korea took an active role in the war to please the U.S.; for example, two Korean companies were responsible for producing and suppling toxic chemicals to the U.S., and some Korean troops were in charge of spraying Agent Orange in certain regions.
After seeing what happened in Vietnam, I had very mixed feelings. South Korea has become one of the U.S.’s biggest allies after the Korean War, but then I started thinking about what would have happened if the Korean War didn’t end as it has. This led me to many different thoughts and one question popped up in my head at the end: Would the U.S. have done the same thing in the Korean Peninsula if the war didn’t go as they planned?