Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Deserters and GI's during the Vietnam War

Recently, the IISH acquired and arranged a vast and colourful collection on resistance within the American Army during the Vietnam era. Approximately 50,000 American conscripts deserted during the Vietnam War. Traditionally, deserters are despised and punished as traitors and cowards. But only recently views have been changing dramatically.  In some 20 German and Austrian cities memorials have been erected to honour deserters from Hitlers armies. In the centre of Vienna, October 2014, as a provisonal last in line, a memorial to deserters from Hitler's armies was unveiled. The idea is: Desertion is not reprehensible, War is. There is no monument for Vietnam deserters as yet, but this collection fits very well in into this discussion. 

The collection was named after its founders, Dave Harris, Dieter Brünn and Max Watts. The collection contains many witnesses from RITAs (resisters inside the army) and FRITAs (friends of resisters inside the army), the most prominent ones being Jane Fonda and Jean-Paul Sartre. It also holds many soldiers’ magazines from various countries and all kinds of studies of the armed forces.

The Brünn-Harris-Watts Collection is an asset to the collection on the anti-war movement, conscientious objection and peace at the IISH.

13 April 2015