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Why did America lose the War in Vietnam?

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Introduction

´╗┐Why did America lose the War in Vietnam In America, the Tet Offensive was deemed a huge success in preventing the Vietnamese from rising up in 1968. However, within five years, President Lyndon Johnson had announced that he was withdrawing from Vietnam and would not stand for re-election. This stark reversal in fate could have been caused by a number of reasons; the most important being that the Americans did not succeed politically or militarily in Vietnam. The reason for this was both the internal and external cost the war had on America. The internal elements are to do with the fact that the United States lost the public support for the war because of the number of casualties, mistaken government policies and the activist of the anti-war movement. The external costs have to do with the nature of the war itself which required guerrilla tactics which the soldiers were not trained in and the mistaken assumptions that the United States carried into the war. These assumptions included the American notion that they were fighting against Communism, obeying the idea of the domino theory, rather that the independent struggle by the Vietnamese which it actually was, and it was for this reason that America lost the war in Vietnam. ...read more.

Middle

America also totally underestimated both the strength of the Vietnamese and how long it would take to defeat them. In 1965, ?Operation Rolling Thunder? was launched, which entailed heavy bombing on strategic locations in North Vietnam and whose aim was to damage the economy in the North. This operation was only meant to last for eight weeks, however it continued for three and a half years and eight million tons of bombs were dropped; more than the number dropped by both sides during World War One and Two. Napalm was used to clear large areas of forest in order to find the enemy and chemical defoliants such as ?Agent Orange? were used to destroy crops and kill forests. These chemicals were, however, later found to be carcinogenic and caused terrible deformations in children, the people who the Americans were meant to be improving living conditions for. General Westmoreland?s tactic ?search and destroy?, whose aim was to try and root out the North Vietnamese Army operating in the South, leaving the South Vietnamese troops to deal with the less well-trained Vietcong, was completely flawed and resulted in vast collateral damage and turned the South Vietnamese against America, a reason for America?s eventual loss. ...read more.

Conclusion

I thought we were winning this war?. This also shows that the Vietnamese learn many lessons during the war, such as using guerrilla raids and ambushes to prevent the number of casualties, making them a much harder opponent to fight against. The rationale for going to war with Vietnam was to prevent the spread of communism and to unify the South Vietnamese from the North, however in this was all America did was to alienate the South Vietnamese and turn those against Communism into sympathisers, thinking that it has to be better than the violence displayed by the Americans. Instead of fighting them, the Americans needed to persuade the Vietnamese to think like the US and win over their ?hearts and minds?. In order to have won in Vietnam, the Americans would have had to kill all the guerrilla insurgents, and because some remained, the Americans lost. The Americans lose if they do not win, whereas the Vietnamese win if they do not loose - all they needed to do was survive to win. The most powerful reason for America losing was the media. If the people at home are not happy to fight, a country will never win. The power and danger of the media was shown with the Wikileaks scandal, showing that there is a need to not have everything out in the public. ...read more.

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