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Why The United States Withdrew Its Forces From Vietnam In 1973

2702 words - 11 pages

Why the United States Withdrew Its Forces from Vietnam in 1973

The Vietnam War pitted America against Communism and was a classic
example of Cold War conflict.

Before the Second World War Vietnam was part of the French Empire but
during the war the country had been overrun by the Japanese. In 1945 a
man named Ho Chi Minh declared independence for Vietnam after the
Japanese retreated, however, this was faced by French opposition.
After the French were defeated in 1954, Vietnam was split in two along
the 17th parallel of latitude. The North was Communist, led by Ho Chi
Minh and the South was Capitalist, under Ngo Dinh Diem. Diem was a
fanatical Catholic and as communism hated religion, Diem hated all
that communism stood for. This is why he got America’s support and one
of the reasons why America got involved with Vietnam. Diem’s rule was
in the era of the Domino Theory and anyone who was anti-communist in
the Far East was far more likely to receive American backing. The
Domino Theory was the creation of America’s Secretary of State and he
believed that if one country was allowed to fall to communism, the
country next to it would be the next to tumble just as when one domino
falls, the rest go with it if they are connected. In the view of
America, the thought of Vietnam starting the process of turning to
communism and then spreading it was unacceptable.

The party of Ho Chi Minh was called the Viet Minh and by 1956 they
were becoming more active militarily. Their guerrillas – now called
the Viet Cong – attacked soft targets in the South and began to mount
attacks on rural areas. However, to be successful, the Vietcong (VC)
needed to ensure that the local people accepted their presence, so
they made an effort to get to know local people. They treated them
with respect and to pay their way, the Vietcong worked in fields.
However, when this didn’t work, the Vietcong turned to torture and
terrorism.

The Vietcong stood little chance against the superior weaponry of the
US, so they avoided major face-to-face confrontations and established
guerrilla tactics. They used a network of paths that was named the Ho
Chi Minh Trail. This trail was roughly a 1000 mile trail along the
border, situated along dense jungle terrain so that detection form the
air was very difficult. It could sometimes be hazardous due to bombing
and jets but the trail was essential for the movement of supplies and
fighters. The Vietcong also built a network of underground tunnels
through which they moved and lived, undetected. Some of the tunnels
housed sleeping quarters, storage and suchlike. Most tunnels were also
booby-trapped to fool the American soldiers who discovered them. An
example of a method of the Vietcong is the mines they used, named
“Bouncing Bellies”. These were on springs and when tripped, they...

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