It was actually a rather disturbing visit to this museum. It was opened in 1975 and was initially named “The House for Displaying War Crimes of American Imperialism and the Puppet Government of South Vietnam” , so I already expected unpleasant revelations.
What I wasn’t prepared for however, was the graphical collection of photographs showing all the effects of Agent Orange and other chemical defoliantsprays, the use of napalm and phosphorus bombs, and atrocities such as the My Lai massacre. The photos of deformities and birth defects of the Vietnamese who were affected by Agent Orange was a little too much for me to bear and it really showcases the evil consequences of war.
One of the side building showcases the prison system used for the Prisoners Of War (POWs). Known as “Tiger Cages”, these were where the prisoners were shackled, abused and tortured. Most of them died from lack of water. It was horrifying to say the least. The actual guillotine used by the French to execute prisoners is also found here. This is the stuff horror stories are made of.
In the courtyard, there is a UH-1 “Huey” helicopter, an F-5A fighter, a BLU-82 “Daisy Cutter” bomb, M48 Patton tank, and an A-1 attack bomber. And I learnt later on that the pile of odd stuff stacked at one of the corners were actually unexploded ordnances!!! These are explosive weapons (bombs, bullets, grenades, and all sorts of mines) that did not explode when they were employed and still pose a risk of detonation! I was told that the charges have been removed but it was still scary to think that an unexpected accident could have easily occurred.