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How far did the home front contribute to America's inability to defeat the Communists in Vietnam?

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Introduction

How far did the home front contribute to America's inability to defeat the Communists in Vietnam? The home front highlighted America's inability to defeat the Communists in Vietnam. The anti-war movement put pressure on the government not to commit more troops to Vietnam; the movement also questioned the use of technological weapons by the American troops and the nature of the South Vietnamese government that the USA was supporting. The prime factors that contributed to America's inability to defeat the Communists were: that the Americans were unsuccessful in understanding the Vietnamese people, culture and history, the failure of the American military strategy and the American failure of political will. These factors were brought to light when the home front began to collapse. The home front, in general, initially supported the US involvement in Vietnam. But in 1964 anti-war protests began, although these protests did not become significant until the late 1960s, when opposition to the war had gained more support. ...read more.

Middle

This programme was unsuccessful in dramatically weakening the Communist enemy and killed many innocent Vietnamese, and for this reason many Vietnamese civilians began to sympathise with the Communists. The strategic hamlets programme did not take into account the culture and tradition of the South Vietnamese people, many became disillusioned with the Americans who were supposedly protecting them. Further alienation of the South Vietnamese civilians came when the American troops went on 'search and destroy missions'. The Americans did not attempt to win over 'the hearts and the minds' of the Vietnamese civilians, which was one strength of the Communists. Perhaps the most significant failure of the Americans was to overlook the Nationalism that the Communists were fighting for and view the war in the context of the Cold war. American strategy also failed to take into account the determination of the Communists, who wanted to rid their country of foreigners. ...read more.

Conclusion

Nixon could not justify to a public that was divided over the war that sending more troops would ensure American success. To conclude, the Americans were unable to defeat the Communists in Vietnam because their methods of waging war were unsuitable for the terrain and combating guerrilla warfare. The American government and troops knew little about the Vietnamese culture and history and failed to understand them. The American troops alienated many South Vietnamese with their behaviour towards the civilians and programmes that aimed to weaken the Communists. Ultimately the Americans failed to win over the 'hearts and the minds' of the South Vietnamese and were unable to see that the enemy's nationalism came before their communism. The home front did not contribute to America's inability to defeat the Communists but the anti-war movement, influenced by the media, signified that many were becoming disillusioned with the war and were not in support of the methods used in Vietnam. This movement questioned whether the communists could actually be defeated by the Americans and put pressure on the government to review its presence in Vietnam. ...read more.

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