A. Plan of Investigation
The investigation evaluates to what extent the failure of the United States in the Vietnam War was predictable. It assesses how this failure was predictable in the long and short-term and what factors were involved. The two sources used for a deeper study are from America in Vietnam, by Guenter Lewy and The army and Vietnam by Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr. Their origins, purpose, values and limitations will be discussed to assess their usefullness for the investigation.
The investigation will partially focus on the course of the Vietnam War and how North Vietnam and the Viet Cong were an example of the U.S. army`s weakness in a foreign territory. Furthermore, the American policy of attrition will be analysed. The topic was chosen because of its impact on American foreign affairs in the 20th century.
B. Summary of Evidence
• Vietnam War occurred between December 1956 and April 1975
• It can be categorised as a civil war
• Resulted from the desperate attempts of the United States to prevent Vietnam falling to Communism
• North Vietnam was communist and led by the popular leader Ho Chi Minh
• The USSR supported the North Vietnamese troops, whereas the United States supported the South Vietnamese with equipment and leadership
• In 1945 the United States promised the French to re-colonise their former conquest, Vietnam
• Dwight E. Howard introduced the “falling dominoes” theory, which predicted that one Southeast Asian country after another would become communist if the U.S. did not intervene
• The U.S. installed the puppet leader Ngo Dinh Diem, as it was believed that the Vietnamese lacked the ability to conduct a war or govern themselves
• The Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) was massively supported with high quality equipment and American generals to lead them
• Public opinion was very harsh towards the war, especially by Liberals and students
• John F. Kennedy was facing enormous pressure during his presidency due to failures like the Bay of Pigs dilemma and the Berlin Wall, and tried to convince global adversaries and the general public that the Vietnam situation was under control
• Heavy bombings followed in 1964 by the U.S. army
• The Viet Cong answered with Guerrilla warfare, making it more difficult for the troops to fight an invisible enemy
• Tet Offensive of January 1968 was the first major attack by the North Vietnamese army and the Viet Cong
• On the 8th December 1969, Richard Nixon declared that the war was coming to an end, but fighting continued
• In the early 1970`s, the U.S. army tried to spot the Viet Cong using defoliation techniques, such as Agent Orange
• Agent Orange did not work as the Guerrilla forces were hiding in extensive tunnel networks, but it did lead to the destruction of the jungle and long-term genetical issues in animals and humans. The Americans aimed to expose the Ho Chi Minh Trail too, but failed to intervene in the extensive trail from North to South Vietnam
• On 30th April...