The Invisible Burden of the Vietnam War: From the Memoirs of a Soviet Officer
Keywords:Vietnam War; memories; posttraumatic syndrome; international aid
This article publishes and analyses an interview with Lieutenant Colonel V. V. Skoryak, a Soviet military specialist who took part in the Vietnam War for eleven months in 1970. The interview describes little-known facts about military advisers’ stay in the country, when they mostly stayed far away from the frontline and dealt with the preparation and maintenance of the S‑75 high-altitude air defence systems. Special attention is paid to the everyday life of the advisers and their legal status, which helps reveal new aspects of the “everyday history” of war. Skoryak speaks about the ideological, moral, and psychological preparedness of the Soviet people to fulfil their “international duty”, which, according to him, was internally motivated. He also analyses post-traumatic syndromes in Soviet military men: it was especially frequent and profound in the early stages of the conflict. Additionally, the interview contains information about the medical care provided to the participants of the conflict and the consequences for their health. It puts forward some ideas about how the chemical weapons used by the Americans affected the human reproductive system. The interview provides an emotional assessment of the war and their place in the biography of a Soviet officer.
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