Was the Communist victory in Vietnam due more to the inherent weaknesses of the Saigon regime or strategic mistakes made by the United States?
Discussion/Thesis: The Vietnam War provides us with a clear case of misperception and unclear objections. It is important to understand the root cause of the conflict and the nature of the protagonist. There were many missteps by both the United States and the Saigon regime, which the North Vietnamese capitalized on through the use of non-conventional means and the power of messaging. The conflict between the Communist north and newly installed Ngo Dihn Diem regime in Saigon boils down to two governments attempting to gain control of the their population. The difference is the way each employed political and military means, as well as the confidence and support they each received from their own people.
It would be incorrect to characterize United States strategic planning as ineffective, but it is fair to say it was inefficient. History shows us that the story goes beyond the US involvement in Vietnam and exposes a battle between ideologies. Ultimately, the US will be unable to keep Saigon out of communist control, which may have been a sign of severe strategic mistakes. The true path to Communist victory goes beyond US military planning and execution. The US was forced to carefully balance military objectives with world diplomacy. The entrance of China or the USSR into the war could have catapulted it to a scale beyond any side was prepared for. True victory would have been a sustaining South Vietnam so that it could protect itself from continued Communist invasion.
Even with the intervention of the United States, the inherent weaknesses of the Saigon regime enabled North Vietnam to attack their center of gravity and engage a war of attrition the South could not sustain.
Main Point 1: The Saigon regime did not have the foundation for a successful society while being threatened by the Communist North. Built on the framework instituted by the French colonial system it did not support the fundamental interests of its people. Ngo Dihn Diem’s appointment as the first President of South Vietnam in 1955 began with hopes that a government could be built which represented the various social and religious groups making up this region. Shortly after his installation as President, he began to institute policies based on Catholic belief which closely mirrored those of the colonial years. In a largely Buddhist country, policies that infringed on the basic beliefs of the populace led to backlash and dissension.
The growing discontent in the South was the opening Hanoi needed to integrate the country under Communism. The Government of South Vietnam (GVN), as heirs to the French, inherited their colonialist mantle -- a disadvantage which Hanoi and the National Liberation Front (NLF) vigorously exploited. We suffered even more from the sharp contrast between the adversary we faced and the ally we...