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Title: 'I was there as a person who was trying to save lives' : the life stories of the American medical personnel who served in the Vietnam War
Author: Cassie, Nicole
ISNI:       0000 0004 9356 0970
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2018
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The Vietnam War is an event of enormous significance to American history, culture, politics, and memory because American defeat in Vietnam punctured the post-Second World War national mythology which had proclaimed American exceptionalism. The impact of the Vietnam War on its veterans has also become synonymous with the evolution of our understanding of trauma and the development of the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) diagnosis. This thesis examines the life stories of the American men and women who served as non-combatant medical personnel in Vietnam between the outbreak of war in 1964 and the US evacuation of Saigon 1975. Medical Vietnam veterans witnessed the immediate aftermath of warfare. Some medical veterans developed PTSD as a result of what they witnessed and participated in during the war, whereas others managed to retain resilience. The thesis argues that we can learn from both of these experiences. By conducting a narrative analysis of oral history interviews which were conducted in the 2000s the thesis explores the ways in which the medical Vietnam veterans’ distinct experience of serving in Vietnam, and their engagement with trauma and PTSD, has shaped their understanding of their lives and themselves. It utilises oral history, narrative, trauma, Holocaust narratives and memory theories as conceptual frameworks to interpret the process by which medical Vietnam veterans have constructed narratives of trauma and resilience when narrating their life stories in oral history interviews in the 2000s. It is also concerned with how medical veterans have responded to and drawn from broader public narratives and the contemporary political and discursive context on the Vietnam War, its veterans, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan when creating their own life stories.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: E11 America (General) ; E151 United States (General)