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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The war in Vietnam as an atrocity producing conflict : an examination of actors and actions Newton, Stephen Joseph


This thesis seeks to explain the commission of atrocities of war in Vietnam. The paper begins with a brief review of the nature of the war and the legal verification of atrocities in Vietnam. The thesis advanced by this paper is that the atrocities committed in Vietnam were a direct result of the technologies developed for and employed by the belligerents to the conflict; and, the psychological conditioning to which members of the warring sides were exposed both prior to and during the conflict. The paper further suggests that these two elements contributed to the atrocity-producing situation in Vietnam by means of an "action-reaction" process. This process is discussed throughout the paper in terms of the elements themselves, and the styles of warfare adopted by the warring sides. The paper's conclusion is that while the atrocities were not the direct result of deliberate attempts to perpetrate atrocities, they were the result the way in which the belligerents prepared for that war and the way in which they executed their respective strategies in response to actions undertaken by the other.

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