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What different tactics did both sides use in an attempt to win the conflict in Vietnam between 1956 and 1968?

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Introduction

Jimmy Hardman What different tactics did both sides use in an attempt to win the conflict in Vietnam between 1956 and 1968? During 1956 and 1968, different tactics were used by both sides of the Vietnam War that seemed to have evolved during the 12 years of war. In 1956, it had been agreed at the Genena Peace Conference that foreign troops would leave Vietnam and there would be elections for the whole country. In the north HO CHI MINH was in charge and in the south NGO DINH DIEM. America was already giving Diem heavy financial support to keep the Communists out of the south of Vietnam. Diem refused to set up elections due to fear of communist success. America was desperate to keep the communists out of Vietnam as she was under the impression that Vietnam was the first domino in the domino theory, which meant that once one country fell under communist control, others would follow. America was continuously supporting Diem's harsh regime with financial help and began to train the South Vietnamese Armed Forces. Ho Chi Minh was leading the North of Vietnam and he knew that Diem was never going to allow the elections to take place so to obtain power the Vietnamese people had to fight back. The Viet Cong began armed resistance against Diem's South Vietnamese Government, the Vietcong were recruited from men and women who lived in or had come from South Vietnam and supported Ho Chi Minh by 1956 and therefore in 1960, America started sending military advisers over to Vietnam due to ...read more.

Middle

America didn't gain the trust of the civilians like the Viet Cong did as they removed the Vietnamese people from their farm lands which they had lived on usually since birth and placed in purposely built homes and farms so the Americans could blanket bomb (using Agent Orange and Agent Blue) and destroyed the land and homes where the Vietnamese people used to live. This meant farmers who had worked hard all their lives would have had their farms and crops destroyed and nothing could be done to stop the soldiers doing this. Unable to defeat the Vietcong by other means, President Kennedy approved 'Operation Ranch Hand' in 1962. This meant dropping a chemical 'Agent Orange' which destroyed the forests where the Vietcong hid over enormous areas of the Vietnamese jungle. Huge areas of jungle were destroyed and many civilians suffered food shortages but the tactic did little to stop the Vietcong successes as they simply moved to other parts of the jungle that had not been cleared. The South Vietnamese Army was having difficulty catching the Vietcong and stopping their supply of weapons due to the size and extent of the Ho Chi Minh trail. In November 1963, the leaders of both America and Vietnam, Presidents Kennedy and Diem, were assassinated; Kennedy was followed by Lyndon B. Johnson, who also believed in the Domino Theory and thought Vietnam could be the vital first domino as the communists tried to increase their power. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Saigon a Vietcong suicide squad of 19 attacked the US embassy and occupied it for six hours. US troops recaptured the embassy and killed every Vietcong in the process. Cholon, the Chinese suburb of Saigon, was taken over by the Vietcong. A bitter war broke out at the Saigon racetrack as the Vietcong defended the first-aid station they had established there before the attack. With 4,500 fighters inside Saigon the Vietcong hoped to hold out for the 48 hours needed until reinforcements arrived. They also hoped the South Vietnamese people would support them and overthrow the South Vietnamese government and force the US out of Vietnam. The ARVN and US troops, however, fought and back and ended the offensive. The American army saw this as the turning point of the war and the chance to win the war and saw it as a great victory. However, the media saw it different, the images of death and fighting in Saigon, the fall of the Hue and even its recapture at the end of February, failed to convince the American public that the war was going their way. The politicians were not convinced either. When Westmoreland requested for 200,000 troops to finish off the war, congress refused. This was when the public began to believe that the war was impossible to win. The feeling among many Americans was that the war needed to be end as soon as possible so President Johnson had no choice but to pull out. Johnson was throwing every thing he could at the Vietcong: new weapons, more and more troops, advisers, helicopters and yet America was no nearer to winning the war. ...read more.

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