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

Why did the Communists win the Vietnam War?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why did the Communists win the Vietnam War? From 1955, the US became involved in supporting the South Vietnamese government under Diem. South Vietnam soon came under attack by the Vietcong in 1957 as the Vietcong attempted to reunify Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh, the charismatic communist leader of the North. The Vietcong launched a highly effective guerilla war and American fears that the fall of South Vietnam to communism might lead to the fall of Vietnam's neighbouring countries to Communism as well, whether a result of internal revolution or external aggression, prompted the US to become more and more involved in the war. What was initially a civil conflict escalated into a full-scale war between North and South Vietnam. In May 1975, the Vietcong forces succeeded in reunifying Vietnam under a communist government. As William Duiker points out 'the most significant fact about that conflict is not that the United States lost but that the Communists won'. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, the communist party was led by Ho Chi Minh who was capable, charismatic and understood the Vietnamese people. All this gave his party an 'aura of legitimacy'. Comparatively, the US-backed South Vietnamese government was corrupt, incompetent, unconcerned about the Vietnamese people's welfare and was perceived as an American stooge. Led by Ngo Dinh Diem, who was a Catholic governing a country with a Buddhist majority, the South Vietnamese government grew increasingly alienated from its citizens. Diem was despotic and nepotistic; his brother was appointed the Archbishop of South Vietnam. His irreverent and insensitive attitude towards Buddhism, the prevailing religion of the day, triggered the civil war when the self-immolation of a Buddhist monk in protest drew only his contempt. The popularity of the communist party soared and this aided them in conducting guerilla warfare as they were able to blend in with civilians and were assured that their identity would be protected. ...read more.

Conclusion

Since foreign policy is often shaped by domestic opinion, the United States was unable to fully commit to the war as each US president risked public backlash if they overcommitted to Vietnam especially since public support for the war was rapidly waning. To remedy the situation, President Nixon attempted to increasingly involve the South Vietnamese in the war effort. However, those who were not communist sympathizers were content to have the Americans wage war on their behalf and were reluctant to actively participate. Essentially, 'a combination of political and military techniques in both urban and rural areas with a diplomatic and psychological offensive that undermined public support for the party's rivals' allowed the communists to emerge victorious. Despite the overwhelmingly superior technology and firepower of the American forces, the sheer willpower and intelligent strategy of the communists eventually prevailed. In 1973, US troops were withdrawn, although fighting between North and South Vietnam continued. In May 1975, Vietcong forces took Saigon and created a united Vietnam that was admitted to the United Nations in 1977. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Vietnam 1954-1975 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 GCSE Vietnam 1954-1975 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explain why the US withdrew its forces from the Vietnam War in 1973

    4 star(s)

    Vietnam was the first major conflict every to be affected by non-propaganda media. News that was kept from soldiers in the field by the military was released by the American press to the public who, for the first time, could actually see the effects of war through films and images and even radio.

  2. How was the opposition to the Vietnam war protrayed in contemporary literature, film and ...

    Instead the live in fear. This was due to the Vietnam War. The sounds of the bombs terrified the children they weren't able to sleep at night this must have been dreadful. There are also films, which outline the opposition towards the Vietnam War such films as Apocalypse Now.

  1. John Keegan, a modern military historian, suggests that Haig was an efficient and highly ...

    Haig may just have poor information. The artillery used shrapnel that did not cut the wire 'well' and the British did not have enough heavy guns so the artillery preparation was not 'thorough'. Part three of the source is Haig on the day of the first attack.

  2. Explain why the United States became increasingly involved in the war in Vietnam

    Also in 1949, the Elysee Agreement was signed by Bao Dai (the Emperor of Vietnam) and President Vincent Auriol of France where the French pledged to assist in the building of a national anti-Communist army, as opposed to one that was backed by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)

  1. The Vietnam War.

    is the only legal government. It is recognized by the Soviet Union and China, but also establishes democratic relations with Marshal Tito's Yugoslavia, prompting some American officials to suggest that Ho is not a Soviet "puppet." Chinese Communists begin to provide modern weapons to the Vietminh as they start to post themselves on the Vietnamese border.(Schoenbrun 33)

  2. Explain why the United States withdrew its forces from Vietnam in 1973

    AS we can see from previous wars, the American's had a lot of pride, and liked to show off their army, and another easy win would have let the anti-war feeling in America die down. The United States went into the war with the totally wrong tactics.

  1. From the beginning of the war the NFL realised that in order to win ...

    It was originally set up to last about 8 weeks but in actual fact it continued for over 3 years. The NFL had no such armaments and technology, so relied on using Guerrilla tactics. Originally adapted by Mao Zedong for use by China, Ho Chi Minh exploited Chinas tactics very carefully.

  2. I think that the four most significant themes in the Vietnam War were protest ...

    The release of the papers soon split American citizens and the US government because of their views on Vietnam; Lynden Johnson?s administration saw the war as a lot more optimistic and necessary than the critics did. This difference between the US citizens and government became known as the credibility gap.

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