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Explain why the USA withdrew its forces from Vietnamin 1973

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Explain why the USA withdrew its forces from Vietnam in 1973 America withdrew its last troops from Vietnam in 1973 but troop numbers were being reduced since 1969 after the election of President Nixon on a pledge of "Peace with honour". Eight years earlier in 1965 president Johnson had committed the nation to war with general support from the population who had come to fear communism. America was committed to Truman's policy of "Containment" of communism thereby hoping to prevent the 'domino effect' whereby America feared that if Vietnam became a communist country, other neighbouring countries would follow suit. They entered the war as the world's richest and most technologically advanced nation with an army that had been victorious in all previous campaigns. Their weaponry was advanced and far superior to the limited resources of the Vietcong whose soldiers were made up in part of untrained peasants and farmers. When America withdrew its last troops from Vietnam in 1973 it was not as a victorious conqueror but as a humiliated and divided nation. I have attempted to set out below the reasons for the US withdrawal from Vietnam in 1973. ...read more.


The American blindness towards Vietnamese nationalism undoubtedly led them to underestimate the commitment of the fighters. American troops on the other hand were mostly young conscripts (draftees) of average age 19, who did not believe in the war they were fighting. Their main aim was to survive their one year tour of duty and return home safely. With no enemy to strike back at and in a hostile and unpleasant country, with mounting casualties, American fighting morale was poor. Drug abuse and lack of respect for their senior officers was rife, often leading to the murder of unpopular officers. Frustration, psychological strain and poor morale led to Civilian atrocities such as the My Lai massacre which further alienated the population of South Vietnam who America claimed to be 'liberating'. Even before this, the US soldiers were unpopular with the local population; they did not speak Vietnamese and threw their money about in a very poor society. Further factors that conspired against American success included support for the Vietcong from Russia and China; North Vietnamese losses in equipment, raw materials and vehicles were replaced by Russia and China who also supplied military advisers. ...read more.


He promised to reduce the number of US soldiers in Vietnam whilst increasing support for the South Vietnamese army. From the above it can be seen that the USA withdrew from Vietnam in 1973 for two main reasons. Firstly they were fighting a war they could not win. They had been unable to deal with the guerrilla tactics of the Vietcong, they had lost the battle for the "Hearts and minds" of the Vietnamese people, they had poor support from the South Vietnamese army and US troop morale was non existent. The politicians realised they were unable to achieve the military objectives of the war. Secondly the increasing social unrest back home in the USA was threatening national security and the potential stability of the country. The increasing tide of opposition to the war had led to the promise of withdrawal since 1968. The delay till 1973 for final withdrawal was because Nixon did not want to loose the war ("Peace with honour"). Due to domestic pressure, peace talks began but fighting continued and the period saw the heaviest war bombing of North Vietnam in an effort to make the Vietcong accept a peace treaty which was finally signed in 1973. Were it not for the desire to save political face, the withdrawal could well have been earlier. Name: Emily Capes Candidate Number: 5085 ...read more.

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