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Why did US forces withdraw in 1973?

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Introduction

Why did US forces withdraw in 1973? It was a tremendous shock that a superpower like the USA could not defeat a small country like North Vietnam. A large range of reasons have been given for losing the war, such as America's inadequate leadership, too much reliance on airpower, the soldiers were inexperienced, the Vietcong's will power, the media and public opinion, inappropriate technology used by the USA and the Domino theory. American males as young as the tender age of nineteen were recruited into the war (average age was twenty).They felt they were going to promote American ideals and their country's values, democracy, freedom of speech, human rights, freedom assembly, liberty, justice and generally because they were told they were helping to defeat communism and to fight for America. They were extremely confident and believed there was to be a "quick kill". Basic soldier training included; marches and close quarter fighting, soldiers were taught to fight in the spirit of the Bayonet and were taught to give no mercy. They began to develop a bond between themselves and were highly motivated "killing machines". Despite their hard training and preparation, the war did not turn out as planned. Unfortunately, it was the longest and most unpopular war in which Americans had fought and huge losses were made, both in human life and financially. The main long-term reasons were: the obvious disadvantages the US soldiers had, their use of tactics. They were totally oblivious to the Guerrilla warfare. ...read more.

Middle

Two examples are the Tet Offensive and the My Lai Massacre. The My Lai massacre which also known as Pinksville was a very disturbing event which shocked the whole of America. Charlie Company rounded hundreds of innocent residents-babies, the elderly, women etc and murdered them also there were accusations of rape. Soldiers found it exceptionally hard to resist killing as once they began, they found it easy to repeat as they were highly charged and wanted revenge. The Tet Offensive was when 60,000 Vietcong troops attacked all American bases in the south and over 100 cites but despite this, the US eventually overcame it and defeated the Vietcong. But this was about as successful as the USA got in defeating the Vietcong. But the Tet Offensive had an unlikely effect on the mindset of the US commanders by causing them to enjoy the idea of revenge; I, E- the My Lai massacre. One of the most influential magazines in the USA, "Life Magazine" calculated it cost $400, 000 for each Vietcong soldier killed, and even with all this cost the Vietcong could still attack in large numbers. The US realised they were fighting a losing battle. This short-term reason for American withdrawal links to the use of expensive tactics by the USA as the Tet Offensive was when the Americans finally admitted their tactics were never going to work. This was about as successful as the Americans got in defeating the Vietcong. "Life magazine" was also the magazine who published the shocking event at My Lai. ...read more.

Conclusion

Despite not technically losing the war, America withdrew, and would have lost otherwise because they really were not ready for this war; they even had no idea where and what Vietnam was. They dived straight into the war with such self confidence and should have researched the atmosphere and especially the Guerrilla welfare; this is probably the main point that needed perfecting-the soldiers tactics. In conclusion, I believe the main reason for their withdrawal is because of the high number of deaths due to guerrilla warfare and the fact that Americans were totally un-familiar with Vietnam that it was impossible to defeat a country where they hardly knew anything about it. They did organise themselves and their training was excellently conducted, however the methods to defeat the Vietcong were the wrong way to go about the situation resulting to mass number of deaths. However, not to forget that live broadcasting of the situation in Vietnam was shown internationally which received many negative reactions. This definitely was a humiliating experience and especially the fact that they were not exactly doing as well as planned which resulted to several anti-war protests by the majority of America as they realised the true reality of war and what they were doing was not exactly improving the situation. Everything got so out of hand that they felt there was nothing else they could do. This in turn put pressure on the President to start peace talks with Vietnam especially seeing that they were lacking support in their own country. 1 Jennifer Remonte Candidate no: 9638 11J Centre no: 94495 ...read more.

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