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GCSE: Vietnam 1954-1975
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Vietnam at this time was a French colony, which was occupied by the Japanese during World War Two. The Vietminh, which was an anti-Japanese resistance lead by Ho Chi Minh, defeated the Japanese in 1945 and took over North Vietnam changing it into a communist state. This led to the return of the French at the end of World War Two and they tried to take Vietnam back. With China, who had just become communist, supporting the Vietminh, the USA felt they had to intervene and decided to support France with Financial aid in order to enforce the containment theory and the Truman Doctrine.
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These cells worked together but carried little knowledge of each other to avoid too much information being given away in case any were captured and tortured by opposing forces. The Vietcong knew where to hide and tactically picked the places where they would battle against the US. The Vietcong believed that if they were to win the war against the US, then they would have to follow Mao's belief of having the support of the peasants. Mao believed that, "without the constant and active support of the peasants, failure is inevitable", and this was true in the case of the Vietcong.
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Explain why there were such different reactions in the USA to the country's involvement in the conflict in Vietnam in the 1960's?
Opposition to the war slowly began to increase as the war progressed, mainly within the younger generation. After World War Two, a record number of babies were born due to the men coming home from war, leading to the term 'baby boomers'. This new generation were more affluent and rebellious than the previous, and began to question the beliefs of their parents in their taste of music, morals, politics and attitudes to war. Many became members of the 'Counterculture' and expressed their opposition to American politics, the Cold War and the Vietnam War through music, drug taking and casual sex.
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Since 1945 most leaders of America offered to support Vietnam. At this time Eisner Hower was a successful war general, just before he became president. They had an objective which they hoped to aim: 'the independence of South and the freedom of the people of South Vietnam to guide their own country in their own way'. President Kennedy was the first president to send 'advisors' to Vietnam. And Johnson was his vice president at the time. Now that Johnson is president, he wants to follow in Kennedy's footsteps. Johnson also says that this is what Kennedy would have wanted.
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How Useful are sources A to C to explain why the United States became involved in the war in Vietnam
This source does have its limitations also, because it is only a snapshot of one moment. Also, it was possible the US soldiers did give help medically. This was seen by U.S. public, who were horrified & didn't want to be part of the US. This source is quite biased because it only shows U.S. attack victims and also there's no sign of communist atrocities. Source F, is the American view of the difficulties of fighting guerrillas. It was written by an American journalist, Richard Hamer in 1970. The intended audience was the U.S. public. This source is anti-war; 'The end justifies the means', this is saying it doesn't matter how you win the war, spraying napalm is not the way to win 'hearts & minds'.
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Other interesting lyrics are; "Be the first one on your block To have your boy come home in a box" This is, again, cynically sung, and it disagrees with the war, it also is trying to influence people not to go and fight, as it basically says "don't get involved, for you'll enter a pointless bloodbath". This is a catchy song which would have reached out to the white students of the east and may have shaped some of their opinions and encouraged them to oppose the war.
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Therefore the United States set up their own government in Vietnam, led bye Ngo Dinh Diem. Diem's regime was very corrupt and his anti-Buddhist views were hated by most of the peasants who were themselves Buddhist. This led to the Viet Cong being created, built for the liberation of South Vietnam. The violence towards the government set up by the United States led Kennedy to send in military 'advisers' which otherwise meant soldiers. President Kennedy was later assassinated in 1963, and his replacement Lyndon Johnson was much more eager to commit the United States to a full-blown war.
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How useful are sources A, B, C in explaining why the U.S.A. involved in Vietnam?Source A is a quote from the U.S. President Johnson to the American public in 1965.
'Our objective is the independence of South Vietnam and the freedom of their people'. The President is telling the American people that he intends to help the Vietnamese and give them their freedom he is giving the impression that America is being heroic and fulfilling its duty to the international community by being the good guys and coming to the aid to endangered countries. He also talks about how America has a duty to stay in South Vietnam and underlines the idea that America must prevent communism, and that democracy must be strengthened. In the speech the President makes links with the Vietnam war and fighting the tyranny of Hitler; he then concludes it
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The USA should have been successful in Vietnam because of its technological and military supremacy/ however, the USA failed to use this supremacy effectively to defeat a smaller, less advanced enemy. Do you agree or disagree with the interpretat
During both these countries attempts to win America had helped by sending weapons and money to buy essentials but they refused to send any troops to help. After both these countries lost; America became worried that the Vietnam land was going to be lost and the whole of Vietnam would turn communist; as a result of this the domino theory would take effect. Source D is a bar chart showing an estimate of the troops and service men sent from America, those who were landed in China beach, Saigon between the years 1962 and 1972.
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This started off America's main war with Vietnam. General Westmoreland was the commander of the American forces in Vietnam, he had a basic tactic, this was called search and destroy. The Americans sent out "search and destroy" platoons. Search and destroy was known as Zippo raids by the American troops. These were searching out villages and then destroying them. They were called Zippo raids after the name of the lighters they used to light/destroy the villages. The us often brought in gun ships, helicopters, aircraft strikes or artillery to back up their platoons, when the platoons were not killing as much Vietnamese as they should have done.
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The French were allowed to maintain their presence in South Vietnam. There was due to be elections, yet Ngo Dinh Diem refused to hold them in case he lost his place. He claimed the north would never hold elections. The US supported him, even thought it was a breach of the Geneva peace agreement of which the American had promised to support. At the 1954 French Diem Bien Phu battle, the French asked the US for help with naval and air power.
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This was one of the first problems Diem had to face when weighing up his attributes as president of South Vietnam. Diem, an authentic nationalist, ran the south with brutal and ruthless tyranny. Diem was expected by America to rule South Vietnam as an inspired 20th Century leader and because so did not gain much support by the local people. In attempt to satisfy everyone, being Americas and Vietnam's values and expectations, Diem achieved very little. Socially he spread dissatisfaction among the general population by only focusing and favouring the minority group of Christians.
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As the 1960's began the North Vietnamese declared their intention of liberating South Vietnam from the US imperialist. As the Guerrilla attacks started they had a big effect on the North Vietnamese but they tried to blame it on the South even though it was the newly formed Vietcong who were an anti-communist government. The USA increased its involvement after a while when things started to get worse. Even with more support from the US, Ngo Dinh Diem's government made more mistakes. They tried to separate all of the villagers from the Vietcong by creating 'Strategic hamlets' or fortified villages that the Vietcong could not get in to.
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Often the Vietcong were extremely close to American Outposts, bases, patrols. This was known as clinging to the enemies' belt. Therefore the VC had an advantage over the Americans because they knew exactly where they were. Another thing that made fighting the war difficult for the Americans was the uniform that the Vietcong wore. Their uniforms consisted of black pyjamas and shirts, with straw hats. This led to a great lack of trust among the Vietnamese and the Americans, as they were unable to distinguish between real Vietnamese civilians and Vietcong soldiers in disguise.
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Do you agree with this interpretation of the problems faced by the United StatesSoldiers in Vietnam?
But in reality no Vietcong were found or killed, only villagers, as they hadn't all left for market. The unit managed to obtain 6 Vietcong guns but no members. The title shows the authors opposing opinion to the war; this is more evidence of the source being bias. Author Michael Bilton has used research in this source. As the source quotes; "recruits scored so low on intelligence..." This use of research shows is likely to increase the sources accuracy, although statistics can be manipulated. The quote does not focus on recruits' average age of 19. This affected the military's performance as recruits were immature, inexperienced in life.
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The USA gave large amounts of money and aid to the French. Despite this the French were loosing and in the battle of Dien Bien Phu were finally defeated and pulled their troops out of Vietnam. As a result, the Geneva agreement was set up to try and keep order in Vietnam, the north would be ruled by communist Ho Chi Minh and the south by Ngo Dinh Diem. This was temporary, Ngo was meant to hold elections to unite Vietnam, but he never did and the Americans, scared that Ho would win, didn't force him to.
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They set up strategic villages, trying to separate the peasants and Vietcong. They were very unpopular, moving people away from their homeland and ineffective as the Vietcong had been moved into the mistaken as villagers Once the Strategic Villages had been over-run by the Vietcong, America launched operation rolling thunder to limit supplies from the north and then used the minor excuse of an attack on Pleiku an American airbase to justify war to the American public and deployed ground troops.
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What different tactics were used by both sides in an attempt to win the conflict in Vietnam between 1965-1968?
This was the start of civil war between Vietnam and America. Now I will discuss the tactics used by the Vietcong beginning with Guerrilla Warfare. The Vietcong began using Guerrilla Warfare when they realised they could never directly confront the American soldiers as their weapons were not sophisticated or advanced enough to come up against the Americans. They also began using Guerrilla Warfare because it was something that the battle-hardened Vietcong were good at, as they had been fighting since the Japanese occupation of Vietnam during World War 2.
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Evaluate the tactics and strategies employed by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army, and the USand Australian armed forces.
The guerillas employed the tactics of small scale harassment, ambush, terror and sabotage against key enemy positions as opposed to large scale confrontations. The Viet Cong also had no uniform other than their loose fitting 'black pyjamas' which made them indistinguishable from the ordinary peasant. US frustrations grew as they lacked a readily identifiable enemy. As captain EJ Bank remembers: "You never knew who was the enemy and who was the friend. They all looked alike...They were all Vietnamese. Some were the Viet Cong...
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The Americans lost a lot of support in the war by standing by the South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinah Diem, who was a devoted catholic which caused a major problem with the public in south Vietnam as most of the population was Buddhist, more importantly though, he broke the Geneva agreement by fixing the elections in South Vietnam, and then shortly afterwards suppressed the peasants and made his close friends and family into power. Then there was Diems 'strategic hamlet' programme which was a complete failure due to the fact that the peasants involved were moved away from there homes
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Comparative Essay: José de San Martín vs. Simón Bolívar - two of the primary causes of independence of countries from colonial powers in Latin America
After being chased out of Venezuela three more times, while using terror tactics the Spanish had once used against Creoles such as suffocation, while gaining the support of the British and a bond with Haiti, and while declaring that he would abolish slavery as his first official act (if in power), he decided to build a guerilla warfare army in 1817. After defeating the Spanish in New Granada (which consisted of present-day Columbia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Panama) using guerilla tactics and the help of thousands of mercenaries from Britain and Germany, he met with San Mart�n and desired to take
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This had already happened in Eastern Europe as countries freed from Nazi control by the Russians such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland became communist countries influenced by Russia. This made the Domino Theory important to America. In March 1947, President Truman made a speech stating that the US would take the lead to try to contain communism. This was called the 'Truman Doctrine'. Truman believed that the countries of Eastern Europe had been forced into communism by Russia and that if the US did not attempt to contain the spread of communism in the world it would be viewed as a sign of weakness.
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Between 1950-53 USA had lost 142,000 soldiers by trying to stop a Communist take over of Korea. The biggest concern that USA had was the 'Domino Theory'. This meant that if one country turned Communist that others round it would also, acting like a row of dominos. This is the reason why the U.S joined. In June 1954 the USA sent a group of 'military advisers' over to Saigon to prevent the Communist North Vietnamese Government taking over the South.
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Describe the military tactics used by both the USA and the Vietcong in the Vietnam War in the 1960s.
This was combated by the American tactic of strategic hamlets during 1962. The aim of strategic hamlets was to isolate the Vietcong from the ordinary people of Vietnam. The problem with this was that when they rounded up the Vietnamese people they also rounded up members of the Vietcong, who would organise attacks on the Americans from inside the strategic hamlets. These tactics eventually forced the Americans into sending in ground troops and the Americanisation of the war. The growing amounts of American ground troops forced the Vietcong to Guerrilla Warfare. This is where the Vietcong tried to overcome the American army by using their brain and knowledge of the area and landscape and not their military power.
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Vietnam.There were many reasons for the USA's loss in the Vietnam War. There is no singular reason for the USA's loss; instead there are many, and each of these contributes to the end result.
The USA's army was a professional army and had little to no experience with Guerrilla tactics. They relied heavily on bombing, this made the Vietnamese only more determined to win. Also the US was used to conventional wars fought on open land. Their superior technology and training was of little use to them as the VC and NVLF used guerrilla tactics. This meant that the VC and NVLF had an advantage as they had experience with guerrilla tactics and so could effectively "nibble at the enemy" - Source E. Many of the troops in the US army had more experience than the officers, this meant that the chain-of-command was not referred to as US marines preferred to take orders from more experienced soldiers.
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