Another look at Vietnam War medical history

The Australian War Memorial has announced that a further volume is to be produced on the medical aspects of the Vietnam War, with particular reference to the effects of Agent Orange, the chemical defoliant alleged to have affected the health of service personnel (as well as the health of the Vietnamese people). (A 2014 story is here.)

Barry Smith’s 1993 volume was seen to have downplayed the effects of Agent Orange and the Vietnam Veterans’ Federation of Australia has been campaigning ever since for greater recognition of this issue. The new volume is to be written by Peter Yule of the University of Melbourne and it will be published by 2019.

Despite the claim of the War Memorial spokesperson that the new volume is ‘not intended to “rewrite history but instead be informed by 25 years of new knowledge and interviews with Vietnam War veterans”‘ the newspaper article is (predictably) headed ‘Vietnam War’s medical history to be rewritten to correct record on Agent Orange’. The president of the VVFA made clear that the federation will be looking for the new work to redress ‘omissions and insults’.

Honest History has looked at recollections of Vietnam service. Willy Bach wrote for us about Agent Orange.

14 July 2015