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The other veterans: Socialist humanitarians return to Vietnam

Abstract

This essay examines alternative circuits of memory of the "American War" and the return of other "veterans" to postwar Vietnam; namely, socialist experts from East Germany who contributed to war efforts and urban reconstruction in the 1970s. It follows a delegation of experts who returned in 2007 to the devastated city of Vinh, which they had helped to rebuild. The motivations and itineraries of these returnees diverged from the typical agendas of "war tourists," including the return journeys of U.S. veterans. For the socialist humanitarians, returning to Vietnam offered an opportunity for important memory work within and across former Cold War divisions.

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