ABSTRACT

I now turn to a case of serious human rights abuses that did not turn genocidal, in order to see how closely victim identity was constructed in keeping with the “three switches” I defined for the Holocaust and the Cambodian genocide. The case is the unification of Vietnam following the victory of North Vietnamese forces over the South in April 1975. United socialist Vietnam is a useful comparator for the other two cases, since it does not represent a case of non-violent consensus, reconciliation, or accommodation in the aftermath of a severe security crisis – a prolonged civil war that lasted well over a decade. Instead, it was a regime that engaged in repression, abuse, and often violence against former opponents of the Vietnamese Communist Party from the defeated Government of Vietnam (GVN) and its armed forces (ARVN). What I seek to understand by this comparison is whether other forms of repression and violence short of genocide are underpinned by the same reconceptualization of the victim group in the wake of crises that I have suggested lay the foundation for mass-violence genocides.