Northeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

2 - Cold War Atoms for Peace Program and Nation Building in Postcolonial States: Republic of Vietnam and the Quest for Building a Nascent Nation’s Science and Technology

Friday, July 6
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Amaltas, Lower Ground Floor

In 1953, US president Eisenhower proposed “Atoms for Peace” speech, announced that the US would share its atomic expertise with partner nations. As a US ally in the containment against communist advancement in Southeast Asia, Republic of Vietnam(RVN) was one of the first four third world countries which installed a TRIGA Mark II research reactor. Through Atoms for Peace program, this paper explores how Cold War intersected with scientific and developmental projects. The paper examines how the program fitted into the picture of the quest for building a nascent nation‘s science and technology in the RVN. The paper argues that it was not only a symbol of modernity which helped the RVN to advertise its reputation, to strengthen its legitimacy but also had a more practical and essential meaning: took advantages from the support of the US to build its scientific infrastructure and personnel, and strove for gathering and retaining a national technical group for sustaining the nation’s science and technology. Giving privileges to local voices, the paper uses archival sources collected in archives in Vietnam and the US as well as oral history interviews. This paper also aims at contributing to a better understanding of the history of the RVN, challenging its conventional image of “the US creation”, and suggesting a different way of thinking: the RVN history was not only about war and strife but also about construction, about desire of local Vietnamese in building a more developed nation in the context of decolonization and the Vietnam War.

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2 - Cold War Atoms for Peace Program and Nation Building in Postcolonial States: Republic of Vietnam and the Quest for Building a Nascent Nation’s Science and Technology



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Send Email for Cold War Atoms for Peace Program and Nation Building in Postcolonial States: Republic of Vietnam and the Quest for Building a Nascent Nation’s Science and Technology