See the War Museum in Cambodia
The War Museum in Cambodia is located in Siem Reap on National Highway No. 6 between Siem Reap and the airport. The museum chronicles and exhibits the implements and effects of war different wars that this South Asian nation has gone through. The war museum especially covers the last 40 years of the 20th century when Cambodia was rocked by conflict.
Wars in Cambodia
During the Vietnam War, Cambodia was sucked into the conflict as North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces had sanctuary in Cambodia prompting the US to bomb the areas suspected to be inhabited by the rebels. The areas were carpet bombed including the US of Agent Orange to help clear vegetation and deny the rebels hiding places and food.
This was an herbicide used as a defoliant. This means it was sprayed to clear areas of vegetation. The effects of this chemical were devastating as it made wide areas inhabitable and caused physical harm to people and animals exposed to it.
The effects of the chemical can still be seen today as people exposed to it had children with deformities and this has been passed to 3rd and 4th generations. The areas that were sprayed with the chemical are still toxic to date.
Exploring the museum
The War museum of Cambodia exhibits other weapons used during the Vietnam War that spilt into Cambodia, and the Khmer Rouge insurgency that devastated Cambodia. Some of the weapons go back to World War II. There is a T-54 main battle tank, there is a Russian made jet fighter aircraft MiG-19, there is a helicopter gunship Mil Mi-8, and heavy guns like field artillery gun 85-mm and divisional gun D-44. You will also see assorted bombs and landmines that were left unexploded. There are also rare photos of war experiences and effects.
You are allowed to handle different weapons on exhibit. You can take pictures with any of the rifles like AK-47s and M-16s. You can also handle a Brown Automatic Rifle (BAR) or even a rocket launcher. The tours are free.
The guides to take you around are all veterans of the wars. They were in the Viet Cong, Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian army. These veterans have authentic war stories of having been through bombings, battles and seeing the effects of Agent Orange. You can offer them a donation for their time and conversation.
The Cambodian War Museum is a testimony of the deleterious effects of war on the soldiers who fought and the civilians who lived through those terrible times.