United States' Loss To Vietnam Essay

1613 words - 6 pages

United States' Loss to Vietnam

There were many reasons for the USA's loss in the Vietnam War. There
is no singular reason for the USA's loss; instead there are many, and
each of these contributes to the end result. Some historians believe
that the USA didn't lose the war at all. The USA first invaded Vietnam
on the 8th March 1965, with the first 3,500 US marines landing on
Vietnam soil, this seemingly small amount of troops would mass to
525,000 in 1967. America first involved themselves in Vietnam because
of the "Policy of Containment" in this policy it made it clear that
the USA was to stop the spreading of communism. The Domino theory was
also a persuasive element. It suggested in the Domino theory that if
one country was to fall to communism then the surrounding countries
would also fall. This suggested to the USA that if Vietnam fell to
communism then the surrounding countries (Indo-China) would also fall
to communism. This meant that the USA would have to take action to
stop communism-overtaking Indo-China. The USA's objectives of starting
a war in Vietnam were to install security to capitalist countries
there and to stop the spread of communism.

The USA's army was a professional army and had little to no experience
with Guerrilla tactics. They relied heavily on bombing, this made the
Vietnamese only more determined to win. Also the US was used to
conventional wars fought on open land. Their superior technology and
training was of little use to them as the VC and NVLF used guerrilla
tactics. This meant that the VC and NVLF had an advantage as they had
experience with guerrilla tactics and so could effectively "nibble at
the enemy" - Source E. Many of the troops in the US army had more
experience than the officers, this meant that the chain-of-command was
not referred to as US marines preferred to take orders from more
experienced soldiers. The Search-and-destroy operations undertaken by
the US meant that many innocent civilians were killed which also
helped to increase the un-popularity of the South Vietnam regime. Many
of the Vietcong hid in villages and the US troops didn't know civilian
from VC "You never knew who was the enemy and who was the friend. They
all looked alike. They all dressed alike. They were all Vietnamese.
Some of them were Vietcong." - Source F. An Extreme example of this is
the My Lai Massacre "We were firing before we hit the ground, we fired
into the huts all we could. Then we burned the huts" - Source H.
Bombing usually had the opposite effect to what the US desired. The
Intense bombing campaign, Operation Rolling Thunder, was mainly
directed at the jungle to stop the Vietcong gaining routes to the
South through the Ho Chi Min trail. This was largely in effective and
until the introduction of chemical weapons. Even the chemical weapons
meant the...

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