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Why did the USA withdraw from Vietnam by 1973?

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Introduction

Why did the USA withdraw from Vietnam by 1973? There are several factors involved in the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam and in this essay I shall be discussing the following: political, economic, social and military as well as discussing these in relation to American forces defeat. I shall also be exploring the American involvement in Vietnam and the differences between the American and Communist strategy, the South Vietnamese government and the American home front and examining why it took so long for America to withdraw from Vietnam. The first factor I will be investigating is military. Some say that a reason for America's withdrawal was that their tactics were inappropriate and brutal; their technology was advanced and they were using weapons that caused mass destruction. One of their tactics was to repeatedly bomb the enemy. They believed that this could destroy the economy and morale of the communists. Between 1969 and 1970, America dropped an average of 100,000 tonnes of bombs a month on South Vietnam. The Americans used mother bombs, napalm, white phosphorus and Agent Orange, all of which were extremely destructive. In 1968, a tactic was introduced called 'Operation Phoenix'. ...read more.

Middle

The media also influenced the outcome of the war. Vietnam was the first televised war and the first and last uncensored war. The news reports from Vietnam were blunt and truthful. The public were being shown the true horrors of war on their TV sets and this led to anti-war protests across America. The impact of the media lowered the morale of troops and this limited their fighting effectiveness. There was such a lack of public support and in 1967 there were thousands of protest marches in American cities against the war. This lack of public support further hindered their confidence and success. The social factor involved in the withdrawal from Vietnam is important. Perhaps one of the most key problems in the war was that American troops were mentally unprepared. Drug abuse became a big problem. In 1970, an estimated 58% of American troops smoked cannabis and 22% were on heroin. These factors all lowered morale within the troops which had an effect on the soldiers performance and contributed to America being unsuccessful which in turn, led to their withdrawal in 1973. Whilst the low morale of the Americans hindered their success, Communist determination helped to boost morale. ...read more.

Conclusion

For this, the Communists would have to be persuaded to accept the continued existence of the South Vietnamese government and Nixon used great military and diplomatic pressure to achieve this end. Nixon used Vietnamization which involved using more South Vietnamese troops to defeat the communists. The Vietcong conducted a guerrilla warfare campaign; the jungle was ideal for this but was a disadvantage to the Americans. Along with their underground tunnel systems, the jungle was very effective for hiding, the Americans used their tactic 'Search and destroy' to try and combat this. To conclude, the main reason for the withdrawal of American forces was their inappropriate tactics compared to those of the communists. The media also played a big part in their defeat, it was the first television war and this clearly had an effect on there success, lowering the morale and confidence of American people as well as that of the American forces. America was clearly not prepared for war and they went the wrong way about it, using brutality and force rather than trying to win the hearts and minds of the people. The Communists played a major part in determining the outcome of the war. Their determination, tactics and ingenuity greatly contributed to the defeat of America. Lauren Anderson ...read more.

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