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The Roles Of The Ho Chi Minh Trail For The Victory Of The North In The Vietnam War

991 words - 4 pages

During the peak of the Cold War, the US and USSR were the two world superpowers, going head to head in proxy wars around the world. One of the most famous proxy wars was the Vietnam War, in which the technologically superior US army lost to the inferior North Vietnamese Army (NVA). Prior to the Vietnam War, the French IndoChina War ended several years earlier, in which the Viet Minh forces managed to push out the French forces, separating the country into two; the Communist North lead by Ho Chi Minh, and the South led by a French-backed emperor. By then, the US government feared that the fall of North Vietnam to communism would cause neighboring countries in Southeast Asia to follow, creating a chain reaction dubbed as the “Domino Theory”. After the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in which the NVA allegedly engaged US navy ships, the US began sending more troops into Vietnam. The Johnson Administration’s “Americanization” of the conflict led to nearly half a million troops stationed in South Vietnam by the end of 1966 (Banner 25.) This paper will look at how the Ho Chi Minh trail played an intricate role of allowing the Northern Vietnamese to win the war. First, there will be a thorough explanation of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, followed by an analysis looking at its importance to the North Vietnamese. Then, it is followed by the analysis of the Agreement on Laos and how those policies helped protect the trail from direct attack from the US military. Finally, the paper will look into the methods employed by the US military and their effect on the trail and the outcome of the war.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail was created out of the system of trails and roads that have been used by the Viet Minh in their rebellion against the French Colonial rule in the early 50s. When the threat of another conflict loomed, the North Vietnamese began to further develop these trails and roads into a complex logistics system that included fuel depot, repair stations, shelters, foot storages, and weapons facilities to supply its army. The trail comprised of many paths and routes; 10-30 miles wide at various points and over 12,000 miles long (Nofi 19). After the Americans came to Vietnam, they were more aggressive in stopping people crossing the border into the South, therefore the NVA created a special operations group that would organize a route through the Truong Son mountains, which formed a natural border between North Vietnam, Laos, and South Vietnam.

The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) heavily relied on the trail, because of the lack of funding and supplies to fall back on. The NVA troops that were in South Vietnam had their supplies of rice either captured or destroyed by the enemy, which led to starvation and mass famine amongst the troops. To maintain the trail, the North Vietnamese stationed over 300,000 workers along the trail to make repairs and to further conceal...

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