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Abstract

During the Vietnam War (1955-1975), the United States military dropped nineteen-million gallons of a chemical defoliant commonly known as Agent Orange. In the direct aftermath of this conflict, many U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers, civilians, and related progeny experienced severe and often life threatening diseases and birth defects. This paper seeks to establish a more concrete link between the chemical defoliants and these diseases. Despite the overwhelming evidence, many scholars and scientists are reluctant to acknowledge this connection. In the years following the Vietnam War, the abortion rate in Vietnam saw a drastic increase. This study provides evidence for causation, not just correlation, between chemical warfare and the resulting spike in pregnancy termination due to developmental defects. In addition, the paper highlights concentrated efforts to improve widespread knowledge about the physical and environmental effects of chemical warfare, as well as the ways the United States and Vietnam have addressed the issue in the forty years since the end of the war.

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