Vietnam War Bibliography:

Atrocities and Bloodbaths

Samuel A. Adams, "Signing 100,000 Death Warrants." Wall Street Journal, March 26, 1975, p. 16. A former CIA intelligence analyst, predicting, on the basis of past Communist behavior, a large number of deaths after the impending Communist victory.

Frank Baldwin, Diane Jones, and Michael Jones, America's Rented Troops: South Koreans in Vietnam. Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1975. 45 pp. I have not seen this, but I am told it contains considerable information about Korean atrocities in Vietnam.

Louise K. Barnett, Atrocity and American Military Justice in Southeast Asia: Trial by Army. New York: Routledge, 2010. xiii, 278 pp. Two chapters on American atrocities in the Philippines, one on American prosecution of Japanese atrocities in the Philippines, two on the Vietnam War (one on My Lai, one on a much smaller incident in the Mekong Delta in 1969 that never attracted public attention).

Bloodbath?. Philadelhia: Indochina Program, American Friends Service Committee, May 1975. 4 pp. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.

Samuel Brenner, ed., Vietnam War Crimes. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press/Thomson Gale, 2006. 141 pp.

Frank Browning and Dorothy Forman, eds., preface by Gunnar Myrdal, introduction by Richard Falk, The Wasted Nations: Report of the International Commission of Enquiry into United States Crimes in Indochina, June 20-25, 1971. New York: Harper & Row, 1972. Hearings held in Oslo, Norway.

Peter Brush, "What Really Happened at Cam Ne?" Vietnam Magazine, August 2003. Reporting by Morley Safer, of CBS, showing the 1/9 Marines burning peasant homes in the village of Cam Ne, near Danang, caused a major controversy. The text has been placed online at HistoryNet.com.

John S. Carroll, "After We Get Out, Will There Be a Bloodbath in South Vietnam?" New York Times Sunday Magazine, October 15, 1972, pp. 38- . The text has been placed online in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.

Ward Churchill and Natsu Saito, eds., Confronting the Crime of Silence: Evidence of U.S. War Crimes in Indochina. 2 vols. AK Press, (announced as forthcoming several years ago, but I get the impression publication has been cancelled). A collection of texts dating from the time of the war (I believe the texts in question are the ones listed below under Dellums, Duffett, and Vietnam Veterans Against the War), with new annotations and commentary.

The Communist Policy of Terror. Saigon: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1972. 106 pp.

Stephane Courtois, et. al., The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999. 912 pp. (Translated by Jonathan Murphy from Le livre noir du communisme. Paris: Robert Laffont, 1997. 846 pp.) Jean-Louis Margolin wrote the chapters "China: A Long March Into Night," "Vietnam and Laos: The Impasse of War Communism," and "Cambodia: The Country of Disconcerting Crimes." The book is intensely anti-Communist, as one would expect from the title.

The Dellums Committee Hearings on War Crimes in Vietnam: An Inquiry into Command Responsibility in Southeast Asia. Edited and with an introduction by the Citizens Commission of Inquiry. New York: Vantage, 1972. xiii, 335 pp. I have not seen this volume, but I believe it probably comes from hearings of an unofficial, ad hoc committee chaired by Rep. Ronald V. Dellums (D-CA), April 26-29, 1971.

Alexander B. Downes, "Targeting Civilians in War." Ph.D. dissertation, Political Science, University of Chicago, 2004. xv, 769 pp. AAT 3125596. A broadly comparative study of 20th century wars. The section on Operation Rolling Thunder, pp. 361-393, starts with two errors in its first paragraph (that the United States "lost over 54,000 dead in combat" in the Vietnam War, and that Rolling Thunder was "the major bombing campaign of the war"), but later gets somewhat better. The text is available online if you are browsing the Internet through an institution that has paid for a subscription to ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

John Duffett, ed., We accuse! A report of the Copenhagen session of the War Crimes Tribunal. London: Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, 1968. 183 pp.

John Duffett, ed., intro by Bertrand Russell, forword by Ralph Schoenman, Against the Crime of Silence: Proceedings of the Russell International War Crimes Tribunal: Stockholm, Copenhagen. New York: O'Hare Books and Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, 1968. ix, 662 pp.

"Firing Line" broadcast transcript, War Crimes: Part I". Broadcast on PBS July 7, 1971. Host William F. Buckley interviewed Seymour Hersh (the reporter who had broken the story of the My Lai massacre) and Ernest van den Haag (a professor of social philosophy at New York University).

"Firing Line" broadcast transcript, War Crimes: Part II". Broadcast on PBS July 21, 1971. Host William F. Buckley interviewed Captain John F. Bender, Captain Donald B. Carpenter, and Captain Oliver L. North, all Vietnam veterans and all currently on active duty in the USMC, who believed the American people had been given an exaggerated impression of American atrocities in Vietnam.

Bernd Greiner, War Without Fronts: The USA in Vietnam. London: Bodley Head (Random House), 2009. 528 pp. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009. x, 518 pp. Translated by Anne Wyburd and Victoria Fern. German original Krieg ohne Fronten: die USA in Vietnam. Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 2007. 595 pp. Some of the publicity for the book distributed by Yale University Press says that Greiner reveals "the existence of a systematic U.S. policy during the Vietnam War to exterminate Vietnamese civilians whenever and wherever possible." The book does not actually to make this preposterous claim, but it is pretty bad. Greiner discusses the worst American units as if they were a lot more typical than they really were. On the other hand, he also exaggerates the atrociousness of the Communists. For a more extended discussion of this book, see my review essay, published in Journal of Cold War Studies, 13:3 (Summer 2011), pp. 190-196.

Randy Herrod, Blue's Bastards. Washington: Regnery Gateway, 1989. Herrod was a Marine private who was put on trial for murdering Vietnamese peasants; Oliver North's testimony helped him win acquittal. A review of this book in Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute, November 1990, says that Herrod was guilty, and that the book is a pack of lies. (See also book on this incident by Gary Solis, below.)

Seymour M. Hersh, "Uncovered." New Yorker, November 7, 2003. A short comment on the revelation by the Toledo Blade in October (see below under Michael Sallah) that a platoon of the 101st Airborne Division had run amok in Vietnam in 1967, committing numerous atrocities, and on the lack of attention to this story in the major national media.

Edward S. Herman, Atrocities in Vietnam: Myths and Realities. Philadelphia, Pilgrim Press, 1970. vi, 104 pp.

P.J. Honey, Vietnam: If the Communists Won. Issue No. 2 (June 1971) of Southeast Asian Perspectives. New York: American Friends of Vietnam, 1971. iv, 26 pp. Frenzied anti-Communist propaganda, predicting that more than a million people in South Vietnam would be "butchered" if the Communists took over.

Stephen T. Hosmer, Viet Cong Repression and its Implications for the Future. R-475/1-ARPA. Santa Monica: Rand, May 1970. xiv, 241 pp. Private sector reprint, slightly modified: Viet Cong Repression and its Implications for the Future. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath, 1970. ix, 172 pp. The D.C. Heath reprint had a short subject index. The copy now online at RAND appears to be missing the last two pages of the main text, pp.187-88. Checking the corresponding section (pp. 122-23) of the D.C. Heath edition, one finds that these were the pages on which Hosmer made his strongest predictions that the Communists would kill huge numbers of people if they won the war; "the number of executions alone could well total many tens of thousands.... this author finds it difficult to believe that the number would be much less than 100,000. Indeed, it might well be considerably higher." (p. 122) In addition to the executions, Hosmer suggested that there might be large numbers of informal killings, and that the death toll would be further increased if there were to be a bloody land reform of the sort he believed (some of his sources were seriously exaggerating) had been carried out in North Vietnam in the mid 1950s.

George McT. Kahin and D. Gareth Porter, The Administration's Bloodbath Argument. Ithaca, NY: Glad Day Press, July 10, 1970. 7 pp. Includes comments on the North Vietnamese land reform of the 1950s, and on the Hue Massacre. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.

Erwin Knoll and Judith Nies McFadden, eds., War Crimes and the American Conscience.  New York:  Holt Rinehart & Winston, 1970. xiv, 208 pp. Includes an edited transcript of the Congressional Conference on War and National Responsibility, 1970. There were some pretty extravagant denunciations of US behavior at that conference, by people like Hans Morgenthau and Gabriel Kolko, which I presume would be in this volume.

Docteur Jean-Michel Krivine, Carnets de missions au Vietnam, 1967-1987: Des maquis au "socialisme de marché" Paris: les Indes Savantes, 2005. 246 pp., plus unpaginated illustrations and documents at the end. Krivine was a member of the French Communist Party. pp. 17-124 are his diaries of visits to North Vietnam and the NLF-controlled areas of South Vietnam in 1967, gathering information for the Russell War Crimes Tribunal. pp. 127-235 are diaries of visits to postwar Vietnam, 1975-1987.

Gary Kulik, "War Stories": False Atrocity Tales, Swift Boaters, and Winter Soldiers--What Really Happened in Vietnam. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, 2009. xii, 305 pp.

James S. Kunen, Standard Operating Procedure: Notes of a Draft-Age American. New York: Avon, 1971. 381 pp.

Mark Lane, Conversations with Americans. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1970. 247 pp. Full of atrocity stories. Neil Sheehan wrote a scathing review in The New York Times Book Review, December 27, 1970, pp. 5, 19, demonstrating that many of the stories were not true.

Daniel Lang, Casualties of War. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969. 123 pp. Also published as Incident on Hill 192. London: Secker & Warburg, 1970. 3, 121 pp. Originally published in the New Yorker, October 18, 1969. The story, with all names changed, of a soldier (not the author) in the 1st Cavalry Division who testified at the trials (held in mid-March 1967) of four of his buddies who had raped and murdered a Vietnamese woman in November 1966. All four defendants were convicted, though at least one later won acquittal at a re-trial. Lang says that the trial records are available at Clerk of Courts, U.S. Army Judiciary, Falls Church, VA.  For a brief account by Claude Newby, an Army chaplain who helped bring the incident to light (referred to in Lang's book by the pseudonym "Gerald Kirk"), see chapter 6 of Newby's book It Took Heroes (Tribute Enterprises, 2000).

Jay Mallin, Terror in Vietnam. Princeton: Van Nostrand, 1966. 114 pp.  By a journalist.

The Mariah Project, "A Study of the Use of Terror by the Viet Cong." Saigon, May 1966. 39 pp. "A preliminary study to establish the feasibility for implementation of MAC/SOG project, code name Phoenix/Phong Hoang", prepared for the United Staes Mission in Vietnam by MAC/SOG and Headquarters 5th Special Forces Group. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University. Interesting for its dating (p. 1) of the insurgency to a decision made in Hanoi March 13, 1959.

Seymour Melman et al., In the Name of America: The Conduct of the War in Vietnam by the Armed Forces of the United States as Shown by Published Reports, Compared with the Laws of War Binding on the United States Government and Its Citizens. New York: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam, 1968. ix, 421 pp.

Deborah Nelson, The War Behind Me: Vietnam Veterans Confront the Truth about U.S. War Crimes. New York: Basic Books (Perseus), 2008. vii, 296 pp. Based on an large file of reports on U.S. Army atrocity allegations, compiled by Army staff during the late stages of the Vietnam War. An important study. (See related items under Nicholas Turse, below.)

Anita Lauve Nutt [a.k.a. Anita Lauve], On the Question of Communist Reprisals in Vietnam. Santa Monica: Rand Corporation, 1970. P-4416.  15 pp. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.

Normand Poirier, "An American Atrocity," Esquire magazine, August 1969, pp. 59-63, 132-41. An incident on the night of 23 September 1966, when a nine-man ambush patrol of the 1/5 Marines gang raped a Vietnamese woman and mudered several members of her family.

D. Gareth Porter, The Myth of the Bloodbath: North Vietnam's Land Reform Reconsidered. Interim Report no. 2. Ithaca: Cornell University IREA (International Relations of East Asia) Project, 1972. iii, 59 pp. The first serious attack on the wildly exaggerated account of atrocities in the North Vietnamese land reform of the mid 1950s. Porter's refutation of the myths is generally sound, though he makes some errors.

D. Gareth Porter, "The Myth of the Bloodbath: North Vietnam's Land Reform Reconsidered." Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, September 1973, pp. 2-15. A condensed version of the previous item. The text is available online.

D. Gareth Porter and Len E. Ackland, "Vietnam: The Bloodbath Argument." The Christian Century, November 5, 1969, pp. 1414-1417. At this point Porter was not yet as doubtful as he later became about the scale of killing in the land reform of the mid 1950s in North Vietnam; the article referred to "the harshly implemented land reform program of 1955-56" in which "zealous cadres and local grudge-bearers combined to bring about massive executions and imprisonments..." The article also includes an interesting and detailed discussion of the Hue Massacre. A reprint of this article, distributed by Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam, has been placed online in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.

Gareth Porter and James Roberts, "Creating a Bloodbath by Statistical Manipulation", Pacific Affairs 61:2 (Summer 1988), pp. 303-310. A good critique of a very incompetent study by Jacqueline Desbarats and Karl Jackson, which had attempted to demonstrate that there had been a major bloodbath in South Vietnam following the Communist victory of 1975. If you browse the Internet through an institution that has subscribed to JSTOR, you can access the text directly or go through the JSTOR Pacific Affairs browse page.

James Reston, Jr., Sherman's March and Vietnam. New York: Macmillan, 1984. 323 pp.

Rudolph J. Rummel, Death by Government: Genocide and Mass Murder since 1900. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1994. xxiii, 496 pp. From what I have seen of it, the section dealing with Vietnam is dreadfully inaccurate. Examples from the pages dealing with the early to mid 1950s, the period of the infamous North Vietnamese land reform:

Rudolph J. Rummel, Statistics of Democide: Genocide and Mass Murder since 1900. Charlottesvill, VA: Center for National Security Law, School of Law, University of Virginia, 1997. Reprinted Münster: Lit Verlag (U.S. distributor Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers), 1998. viii, 527 pp. A lot of the same material, and the same errors, as in the preceding item.

Bertrand Russell, War Crimes in Vietnam. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1967. 178 pp.

Ginetta Sagan and Stephen Denney, "Re-education in Unliberated Vietnam: Loneliness, Suffering and Death," Indochina Newsletter, October-November 1982.

Michael D. Sallah and Mitch Weiss, "Rogue GIs Unleashed Wave of Terror in Central Highlands." The Toledo Blade, October 19, 2003. This was the lead for a series of articles published by the The Toledo Blade from October 19 to 22, 2003. They dealt with the "Tiger Force," a reconnaissance platoon of the 1/327 Infantry, 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. The articles said that the platoon committed numerous atrocities from May to November 1967, first in Quang Ngai province and later in Quang Tin province, including torture and killing of prisoners, deliberate killing of large numbers of civilians, rapes, collection of ears from corpses, etc.
     The Army launched an investigation in 1971, which went on for more than four years before finally recommending criminal charges against some of the soldiers involved. No criminal charges were actually filed.
     The articles were extremely convincing; they had good evidence from good sources. No important weaknesses in the evidence or the argument were immediately apparent, and none were discovered, so far as I am aware, in the weeks following publication. A very solid piece of work. The series won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.
     There was an article by Seymour Hersh commenting on the series (see above). For information about the behavior and activities of the Tiger Force in 1966, before it ran amok, see To What End? by Ward Just, About Face by Col. David Hackworth, and Special Men by Dennis Foley.

Michael Sallah and Mitch Weiss, Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War. Boston: Little, Brown, 2006. xi, 401 pp. Book-length version of the previous item. The authors are occasionally careless about terminology and about peripheral facts (the background discussion of the events of 1962 to 1964, for example, on p. 19, is quite inaccurate), but very good on the central part of the story, dealing with the actions of the Tiger Force.

Thomas R. Searle, "Targeting Civilians: When and Why U.S. Military Forces Have Deliberately Killed Enemy Civilians, 1863-1973." Ph.D. dissertation, History, Duke University, 2004. vi, 386 pp. AAT 3177306. Chapter 5, pp. 261-341, is "Counter-Guerrilla Warfare: The Phoenix Program and the Vietnam War, 1967-72." The author is or was a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army Special Forces. The text is available online if you are browsing the Internet through an institution that has paid for a subscription to ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

Neil Sheehan, "Should We Have War Crime Trials?" The New York Times Book Review, March 28, 1971, pp. 1-3, 30-34. This review essay (covering a long list of books) made a good argument that the United States was going to have to face questions that had been being dodged, such as the extent to which U.S. troops in Vietnam had been committing atrocities, and whether some of the systematic activities of the United States, such as the extensive use of bombing and shelling in populated areas, constituted war crimes under international law. Sheehan had written a scathing review of Mark Lane's book Conversations with Americans (see above), published in The New York Times Book Review, December 27, 1970, pp. 5, 19, saying that Lane's book was garbage but that the issue of American atrocities, with which Lane was dealing so ineptly, was a real and serious one. This led to his writing the longer review essay.

Gary D. Solis, Son Thang: An American War Crime. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1997. xix, 340 pp. A former Marine officer writes about the incident of February 19, 1970, in Quang Nam province, in which 1/7 Marines killed sixteen civilians (see also book on this incident by Randy Herrod, above).

Anthony Syme, Vietnam: The Cruel War. Sydney and London: Horwitz, 1966. 130 pp.

Ta Quoc Tuan, "The Vietnamese Communist Terrorism." n.p., January 1970. 12 pp. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project at Texas Tech University.

Robert Turner, "Bibliography of Materials on V.C. Assassinations." Circa 1970. Unpaginated. Not a bibliography, but a collection of excerpts, mostly from documents identified by CDEC Log Number. First 50 pages, next 29 pages, last 28 pages.

Nicholas Turse, "'Kill anything that moves': United States war crimes and atrocities in Vietnam, 1965--1973." Ph.D. dissertation, Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health, Columbia University, 2005. 1025 pp. AAT 3174910.

Nick Turse, Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam. New York: Metropolitan Books, January 2013 (forthcoming). 320 pp.

Nick Turse, "A My Lai a Month: In Operation Speedy Express, new evidence of civilian slaughter and cover-up in Vietnam," The Nation, December 1, 2008, pp. 13-20. The 9th Infantry Division in the Mekong Delta, 1968-69.

Nick Turse and Deborah Nelson, "Civilian Killings Went Unpunished: Declassified papers show U.S. atrocities went far beyond My Lai." Los Angeles Times, August 6, 2006. This long and quite impressive article particularly focuses on atrocities by B Company, 1/35 Infantry, 3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, in late 1967 and early 1968. On the web site of the Los Angeles Times, the text is accompanied by links to .pdf images of original documents. I don't know how long the newspaper will keep this article conveniently available on its web site.

Deborah Nelson and Nick Turse, "A Tortured Past: Documents show troops who reported abuse in Vietnam were discredited even as the military was finding evidence of worse." Los Angeles Times, August 20, 2006. A follow-up to the previous item. See also under Deborah Nelson, above.

Viet Cong Atrocities and Sabotage in South Vietnam, rev. ed. Saigon: Ministry of Information and Chieu Hoi, Directorate of Psy-War Planning, 1967. 64 pp. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project at Texas Tech University.

Viet Cong Use of Terror. Saigon: United States Mission in Vietnam, March 1967. 84 pp. Revised and updated version of the paper that is listed above under The Mariah Project. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project at Texas Tech University, in two parts: pp. 1-49, and pp. 50-84.

Viet Nam Destruction: War Damage. Hanoi: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1977. 66 pp. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project at Texas Tech University.

Vietnam Veterans against the War, The Winter Soldier Investigation: An Inquiry into American War Crimes. Boston: Beacon Press, 1972. xv, 188 pp.

Gina Marie Weaver, "Ideologies of Forgetting: American Erasure of Women's Sexual Trauma in the Vietnam War." Ph.D. dissertation, Rice University, 2006. vii, 314 pp. AAT 3256763. Argues that rapes of Vietnamese women by American soldiers occurred more often than has been reflected in American images of the war.

Gina Marie Weaver, Ideologies of Forgetting: Rape in the Vietnam War. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2010. xvii, 198 pp.

Terry Whitmore and Richard P. Weber, Memphis, Nam, Sweden: The Autobiography of a Black American Exile. Garden city, NY: Doubleday, 1971. 189 pp. Memphis-Nam-Sweden: The Story of a Black Deserter. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1997. 202 pp. Terry Whitmore, a Marine, having been heavily wounded and evacuated to Japan for hospitalization, deserted when ordered back to Vietnam. Whitmore charged that his unit had been involved in a massacre of a Vietnamese village. I have not checked the evidence myself, but statements I have seen, that the story has been checked and proven false, look convincing to me.

 

For Communist atrocities during the land reform of the mid 1950s in North Vietnam, see my book Land Reform in China and North Vietnam.

For great exaggerations of Communist atrocities during the land reform of the mid 1950s in North Vietnam, see Hoang Van Chi.

For the incident at Thanh Phong, February 25, 1969, see books by Robert Kerrey and Gregory Vistica, in the section Navy SEALs.

See The Hue Massacre

See The My Lai Massacre

See Congressional Committee Documentation: Main List for 1972 and 1973 hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Communist atrocities in Vietnam, especially the land reform of the 1950s.
 

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Copyright © 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, Edwin E. Moise. This document may be reproduced only by permission. Revised February 11, 2014. Opinions expressed in this bibliography are my own. They could hardly be the opinions of Clemson University, since Clemson University does not have opinions on the matters in question.