Date of Award

Spring 2017

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Kurk Dorsey

Second Advisor

Lucy E Salyer

Third Advisor

Jessica M Lepler


This dissertation dispels two myths about the Vietnam War. The first is that U.S. involvement in Indochina ended abruptly in April 1975 and the second is that the only exception to complete disengagement was the effort to secure a “full accounting” of missing American servicemen. This project demonstrates that the United States remained actively involved in Vietnam and Southeast Asia as a whole, in large part to address refugee issues. I am particularly interested in the policymaking process, and this project is the first to examine U.S. policies regarding missing American soldiers, boat and land people, Amerasians, and reeducation camp detainees in a single study and to place these issues in the context of U.S.-Vietnamese diplomacy. By shifting our focus to the postwar period and to refuge issues, “The Last Chapter of the Vietnam War” challenges the way we understand the Vietnam War and warfare itself.