Unseen Legacies of the Vietnam War

Exploring the legacy of the Vietnam War remains fundamental to our understanding of the effects of the war and to promoting a cooperative relationship between Vietnam and the United States based on trust and mutual understanding between the peoples and governments of the two countries. 

The destructive nature of the war has left enormous holes in the social fabric of the Vietnamese people, whose culture places great emphasis on family and ancestry. Over 200,000 Vietnamese combatants killed in action remain missing in the southern half of Vietnam, and their families have no idea when or where their members fought and died.

The Unseen Legacies of the Vietnam War Project is the first systematic review of documents from multiple archives and other sources in the U.S. and Vietnam, designed to facilitate the location and identification of Vietnamese war dead. This information is provided to the U.S. Department of Defense along with personal ephemera and verifying documentation that can provide closure and healing to Vietnamese families.

Led by Professor Tony Saich and Dr. Hai Nguyen, the project will also enable future scholarship and study of the war and those who participated in it. The documents and analysis will grow into a state-of-art digital archive and exhibition platform. The collection will ensure that documentation providing valuable information on Vietnamese war dead—plus all metadata, descriptions, translations, relationships to other documents, and more—will be easily navigable and searchable for scholars, students, and others across the globe. 

For questions about the Unseen Legacies of the Vietnam War Project, please email us at info@ash.harvard.edu