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Why The U.S. Withdrew Its Forces From Vietnam In 1973

1455 words - 6 pages

Why the U.S. Withdrew Its Forces from Vietnam in 1973

The USA’s involvement in Vietnam started in 1954, for a few reasons.
Firstly, the Americans were, as always, concerned with the spread of
communism. They wanted to stop communism spreading through south-east
Asia. They were worried that if one country were to fall to a
communist leader, so would neighbouring countries. This was known as
the Domino Theory. These reasons for joining the war in Vietnam and
the fact that the United States did not want to appear weak were the
main reasons that the USA withdrew forces from Vietnam so late, as it
took from 1968 when peace talks were made with North Vietnam until
1973 when the majority of soldiers had been withdrawn from Vietnam.

There were many reasons for the USA withdrawing its forces from
Vietnam: the tactics of the two armies, the strong anti-war movement
in America, the change in public opinion and the one-sided media
coverage.

The major turning point for most members of the USA public and
government was the Tet Offensive in 1968. Before this event, the US
army believed they were winning the war because their casualties and
deaths were a lot less than the north-Vietnamese army, who had lost
100,000 soldiers during 1967. The US army had fed the government
information that the war was going well and that they were much closer
to winning than in reality. In January 1968 the Vietcong and the NVA
attacked towns and bases of South Vietnamese troops all over South
Vietnam. Thousands of troops died during the attack and it came as a
complete shock to America who thought that they had been close to
winning the war. The USA government and public felt betrayed and
misled by the army from whom they had been receiving positive
information about the war, suddenly they realised that the Vietcong
were a lot stronger than expected.

Events such as this along with many others, such as My Lai, search and
destroy missions, and the use of chemical warfare by the USA, were all
exposed by media coverage. This and the change in public opinions
about the war were the most significant reasons for the withdrawal of
troops from Vietnam. The Vietnam War was the first to ever have full
media coverage due to the improvement in technology. People were able
to see exactly how awful this was really was, not only for their own
soldiers but for the north-Vietnamese especially. The coverage was
particularly one-sided, showing how awfully the US army was behaving.
The US public were becoming unnerved by the actions of their young
soldiers, who were being seen to destroy homes, set fires to areas,
and massacre villages. The terrible use of napalm bombs was exposed
and an extremely famous and shocking photo was published showing a
young girl covered in napalm jelly. The public were also shocked...

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