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

To what extent can it be argued that the use of guerilla warfare tactics by the Vietcong against the US military was the key factor in explaining the American lack of success in the Vietnam War?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent can it be argued that the use of guerilla warfare tactics by the Vietcong against the US military was the key factor in explaining the American lack of success in the Vietnam War? The Vietnam War has been regarded with much controversy - both during the War, and after its conclusion in 1973. America came under heavy criticism because it seemed to the world that its presence there was unjustified. Many countries saw America's presence as purely strategic and economical rather than for the protection of South Vietnam's people as America had first claimed. This worldwide lack of support included many protestors at home in America. This was devastating for the morale of the hundreds of thousands of young 'grunts'. Throughout the war American losses, both financial and military were astounding. Never before had a country with America's degree of power and worldwide influence been so unsuccessful when combating an economically underdeveloped country such as Vietnam. Admittedly North Vietnam did receive aid from both the Soviet Union and China but despite this, Vietnam has to be seen as a Third World country defending their homeland from the world's biggest super power. ...read more.

Middle

However the NVA and other Northern Vietnamese forces used it as a way to distract America from the Tet offensive itself . Put a footnote here to indicate you have a source for this claim. From early 1962 America encouraged Diem to adopt a policy of 'strategic hamlets', fortified villages in which the Vietnamese peasants would hopefully be isolated from the Vietcong. This strategy only created further opposition to Diem and the US regime as the people disagreed with being forced to leave their ancestral homelands and farms to build the blockades. Link to Vietnamese culture - ancestor worship - bones of ancestors buried in land nearby. Another incident that shows poor American preparation and execution But you haven't been talking about poor preparation and execution in the paragraph before - you've been talking about the fact that their behaviour was insensitive. You therefore need to introduce this slightly differently - perhaps - 'an event that highlights in an extreme form the insensitivity of American soldiers in their approach to the Vietnamese is the My Lai massacre of May 1968. This incident was a well-publicised tragedy that was has often been put down to the utter frustration that the American troops were experiencing. ...read more.

Conclusion

You need to provide a source for your comment about low levels of morale. Unfortunately for the Americans, the low morale led to what seemed like an infinite stream of problems for their war effort. Many of the most obvious causes for the US lack of success could be ultimately put down to a lack of morale and vice-versa. The causes and consequences of US lack of success often appear to be intertwined. Jon - there's lots that's good about this, but the one crucial problem is that the factor you highlight at the beginning of the essay - namely, Vietcong guerrilla tactics, is not mentioned at all in the essay. What you have to do is to discuss these tactics in some detail, provide evidence of how these tactics resulted in massive casualties for the Americans. Explain how Vietcong tactics didn't allow America to gain the advantage from their much higher levels of military technology. In your concluding paragraph you need to tease out all the factors to explain why you consider that guerrilla tactics was the key factor - perhaps bringing out, though, in some detail how all the other factors played a part in allowing the guerrilla tactics to be so successful. 1 The Battle for Khe Sanh, The USA and Vietnam 1945-75 - Vivienne Sanders ...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. This graduation paper is about U.S. - Soviet relations in Cold War period. Our ...

    well, insisting on the abolition of independent parties and sending Soviet troops to the Czech border to back up Soviet demands for an all new communist government. After Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk either jumped or was pushed from a window in Prague, the last vestige of resistance faded.

  2. Vietnam - reasons the US lost the war.

    South Vietnam government collapsed due to lack of support from its own people. Robert McNamara served as Defense Secretary during the Vietnam War and looks back after the lost of war and says "The Nixon administration, like the Johnson administration before it, could not give the South Vietnamese the essential ingredient for success; genuine indigenous political legitimacy."

  1. Was the My Lai Massacre a failure in the Rules of Engagement or a ...

    The definition of Rules of Engagement is 'Directives issued by competent authority which delineate the circumstances and limitations under which United States Forces will initiate and/or continue combat engagement with other forces encountered.'0 The rules of behavior are: If possible the enemy will be warned first, then asked to surrender.

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

    In 1968, Ho Chi Minh ordered the Tet Offensive. This was the first time that the NVA had made an attack outside of the forest. The reason for doing this is because the Americans had grown complacent and thought that they were winning the war.

  1. What can you learn from Source A about the reasons for US involvement in ...

    This shows that the Viet Cong were motivated and that they had clear set out targets, this helped them remain undefeated by the US. Part of the reason why the Viet Cong were so well motivated was because they truly believed in what they were fighting for; communism.

  2. To what extent was the Civil War the main factor in the Bolshevik

    They were also the most publicised opponent to the Bolsheviks regime during the Russian Civil War; this was due mostly to the Bolsheviks as they wanted to show this perception and traditional soviet or Marxist historians shared this also. "The struggle against the foreign imperialists and the whiteguards lasted for

  1. How was opposition to the Vietnam War portrayed in contemporary literature, film and popular ...

    Despite being offered in propaganda, the glory that surrounded the war will never be seen. The mild mockery of the American Government's decision to enter Vietnam and the mention of the many depressing effects of this decision all help to generate an overall pessimistic view of the war.

  2. How was opposition to the Vietnam War portrayed in contemporary literature, film and popular ...

    more comedic side of things, maybe as a way to cover up the failure. One of these shows was called M.A.S.H. It was set in South Korea during the Korean War. It was a comedy, which focused on a group of doctors and nurses whose job it was to tend

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