• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain why the United States withdrew its forces from Vietnam in 1973

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explain why the United States withdrew its forces from Vietnam in 1973 Vietnam is a country 9000 miles away from the USA. The country as a whole had been threatened by Communism for many years. The victory over the French in 1954 led many Americans to believe Communism was taking over the world. The war was one of the most controversial of the 20th Century. The atrocities shocked the world, with the USA eventually conceding defeat in 1973 to the Vietcong's Guerrilla tactics. During the Second World War, it was impossible for France to defend her overseas empire. The Japanese made a "request" to move their troops into French Indo-China during July 1941. The French authorities were too weak to refuse. Five months later Asia and the Pacific were at war. A remarkable rebel leader, Ho Chi Minh, came back to Vietnam at this time. He joined with other Nationalists and Communists to fight against the foreign invaders. In 1941, he founded a resistance movement, the Vietcong. In the last years of the Second World War (1943-1945) they fought a successful guerrilla campaign against the Japanese and French. They were led by a brilliant military leader, General Vo Nguyen Giap. By the time of the Japanese surrender in August 1945, Ho Chi Minh controlled a substantial part of Vietnam, later announcing a new Democratic Republic. The French, having recovered from World War II, wanted to re-establish their empire. The subsequent war lasted eight years. Giap and his soldiers ambushed convoys and attacked isolated French outposts while the French controlled the cities. Despite increased US aid for the war, the Vietcong soldiers never faltered. After a French plan to lure the guerrillas into the open, using a heavily fortified army base failed, they admitted defeat. The Battle of �i�n Bi�n Phu was the climactic battle between the French and the Vietminh that led to the division of Vietnam into two countries. ...read more.

Middle

These young men were drafted into the armed forces as part of compulsory military service. They had to fight in unfamiliar surroundings, had no experience of rainforests and had no knowledge of the Vietnamese language or customs. To make matters worse, it was very difficult to identify the enemy. The VC might be a peaceful farmer during the day but by night a VC guerrilla. The effectiveness of Vietcong guerrilla tactics persuaded the US military to find a way of combining their technological power with some form of guerrilla tactics. Helicopters were used to "search and destroy," the speed of which gave the VC little warning. The helicopters could land troops close enough to VC controlled villages, to give the troops they were carrying the chance to attack before the Vietcong fighters had time to organise themselves. Search and Destroy also involved sending army units into the field to search for and kill any VC. The brutality and torture used on VC suspects was so horrific, many American soldiers suffered panic attacks and nightmares long after their return to the US. The ill-treatment of VC suspects did much to advance the Vietcong's efforts rather than harm them. President Johnson came into office in 1963 and his policy concerning the war was intensification, in order to end it. Operation Rolling Thunder which began February 11th 1965 was a joint military operation by American and South Vietnamese warplanes, on key military and industrial targets in North Vietnam. It was ineffective because safe areas were created which protected 80% of industry and 75% of population. Another tactic was Saturation Bombing (also called blanket bombing). Hi-tech American B-52 bombers were first used April 1966 to bomb everything in sight and this was even less effective than Operation Rolling Thunder. It strengthened the Communists' determination to resist and between 1965-68, 1400 US warplanes were shot down. From February 1965, to the end of all-out US involvement in 1973, South Vietnamese forces mainly fought against the Vietcong guerrillas, while US ...read more.

Conclusion

Inparticular, Vietnam was blamed for the massive drug problems in the USA in the 1970s and 1980s. Many people across the world were delighted to view Vietnam as a humiliating defeat for the most powerful nation on Earth. Vietnam was even blamed for increasing racial tension as many blacks believed their boys had done a disproportional amount of the fighting. US forces in Vietnam faced charges of war crimes for the dropping of 4 million tonnes of bombs on Vietnam, killing and disfiguring people with napalm and for using chemical weapons such Agent Orange. Nixon's doctrine led to the Vietnamisation of the Vietnam War. US troops would gradually withdraw from the conflict and the South Vietnamese Army would be trained to fight the war on its own. On 7 July, 1969, the first US troops started to go home. Vietnamisation did not end the war but it did reduce US losses. In 1972, the Communists launched a successful Easter offensive, but by September the well-equipped ARVN forced them back. The North Vietnamese government now realised it would not win a quick victory. The United States withdrew its forces from Vietnam because the Vietcong were a ruthless and effective enemy, particularly in fighting a Guerrilla War. They were prepared to keep fighting even when the Americans pulled off victories and inflicted high casualties. The South Vietnamese peasants disliked their own government and brutal treatment by the Americans meant they gave their support to the Vietcong. America's attitude in the war was strongly criticised by its own people and allies. America lost the will to fight. Expense, defeatism, conduct, broadcasts and protests meant that eventually the American people did not support the war and the American people are America so the war had to stop. Some historians claim that the US Army did not actually lose the war but were prevented from winning it by the attitude of politicians and the public. Finally though, President Nixon withdrew troops with his policy of "Vietnamisation." As for the US military, it would not be easily drawn into a Guerrilla war again. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. WHAT WERE THE CAUSES OF THE YOM KIPPUR WAR OF 1973?

    the fact that the USA guaranteed right of passage to Israel in the Suez canal, further made Nasser powerless and humiliated. To compensate for his humiliation during and after the Suez campaign was launched. Nasser once again closes the straits to Israel ships this time on May 1967.

  2. The Arab-Israeli conflict 1956, 1967 and 1973.

    a 'Government of National Unity' in which all political parties had a place. General Moshe Dayan, the former Minister of Defence was appointed as leader and he declared that the best form of defence for the Israelis was to attack.

  1. America In Vietnam, 1953-73

    which Westmoreland repeatedly stated that America was winning in Vietnam, that the VC were defeated and only "a couple of years of mopping up" were required to finish them off and that they could, "see the light at the end of the tunnel".

  2. To what extent can it be argued that the use of guerilla warfare tactics ...

    If so, give a source. Doesn't it conflict with your earlier point about wide media coverage? Was it just at the beginning that people lied about their age? Were there other reasons for the young age of the soldiers> so that they could do their "American duty" and serve their country abroad.

  1. US President George Bush labelled Iran and Iraq as part of an "axis of ...

    using terrorist methods to achieve certain goals that has been released to the public. I have encountered one major problem writing this research project: whether to accept if the information that is presented by government agencies, such as the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

  2. Why did the USA become involved in Vietnam in the 1950s and the 1960s? ...

    This allowed them to use much more expensive weapons than the North Vietnamese, hence this war being very famous for having American soldiers brought in by helicopter to trace the North Vietnamese. These helicopters were also used as rocket launchers and machine guns as the marshy and forested land of

  1. How Useful are Sources A-C to explain why the United States became involved in ...

    He is again persuading the American people that going to Vietnam was right and that they are right in believing that it is right. He brings the words of the bible to back up his point of going to Vietnam being right.

  2. What were the consequences of the Vietnam War for civilians in both the United ...

    A Veterans administration survey in 1988 estimated that some 500 000 veterans suffered from 'post traumatic stress disorder'. Its could take ten or 15 years to appear. Depression, panic and rage attacks are features of the disorder. They are often followed by divorce, drug addiction alcoholism and suicide.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work