When I did my research on Hmong people in unit six I found their history and culture to be very interesting, that is why I choose the conflict of the Hmong people and the Vietnam War to do this project on. Before getting into the exact conflict and the harm that the war caused many Hmong people I am going to write about the Hmong culture. http://www. historyguy. com/hmong_rebellion_in_laos. html#. UYxyE6JnG8g The Hmong are ethnically different from the Vietnamese, Cambodians and Lowland Lao. They lived in the mountains between Laos and Vietnam.
They were considered less “civilized” than the other ethnic groups mentioned. They were considered to be Semi-Nomadic because they practiced the slash-and-burn as their way of getting food. Before the French came and made Indochina a Colony the Hmong were persecuted for their way of life, after that they were left alone and not bothered by the other groups. During the Indochina War (1946-1954) the Hmong people supported the French because they protected them. When the French pulled out they left the Hmong people to survive on their own, little did they know that this would not be the last time this would happen to them.
In the early 1960’s JFK sent in the Special Forces (Green Berets) to South Vietnam. They landed right by the Hmong villages. Right after they landed, the American soldiers started to recruit the young men in the villages to help them fight the North Vietnamese. They agreed to do this not because they had love for the South Vietnamese, but because they thought that the United States would be a good replacement for protection since the French had left them with no protection. The United States also recruited young Hmong men who lived in Laos to form a “Secret Army”.
The Hmong people were dedicated to help the United States in the war and would do whatever it took to have the United States protection from the communist North Vietnamese. Little did they know but that protection wouldn’t be there for long and they would be left to face the enemy on their own. Before the United States recruited the men of Hmong, they were a neutral party in Vietnam. In 1973 the United States soldiers were ordered to pull out of the Vietnam War and left the Hmong with no protection.
When the communist won the war in 1975 they ordered the Hmong people, women and children include, to come down from the mountains. They wanted to be able to monitor what the Hmong’s were doing. I guess they probably did this to make sure that they were no longer a threat to them. Most of the Hmong people refused to come down from the hills. When the Hmong refused to come down the communist started dropping Soviet supplied toxic agents on the villages from the air, this was called “Yellow Rain”.
The yellow rain wiped out whole villages including men, women and children. In 1975 the Hmong people fled to refugee camps in Thailand to escape the horror and torture that they would have to suffer from the Lao Communist Government. In late 1975 they began arriving to the United States from the refugee camps. In the early 1990’s the refugee camps were forced to close and the people who had not fled to the United States were forced to go to non-un camps. Many of them tried to become Thai citizens but that entailed getting large sums of money from relatives.
Most of those refugees could not obtain citizenship because their relatives did not even have enough money to take care of their direct families. In 2006 the Thai government made the remaining Hmong people relocate to a more isolated area in Thailand, many of them are deprived access to join their families in the United States. They are basically left to fend for themselves and fear for their lives every day. If they would never have been asked to join the United States in the fight in Vietnam, they would still be living like they always did before.
They were not an enemy to anyone until they trusted the United States and later that trust was broken. The Hmong people who now live in the United States have what we would call a better life. In my opinion if we would have never disturbed them and their lives during the war they would have never known a different way of life. They would probably be happy just the way they were, with no enemies to mess with them and have never have lost most of their people in the war. It is our fault that they ever had this conflict.
Courtney from Study Moose
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