Why USA lost the Vietnam War.

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History Essay

Why did the USA lose the Vietnam War?

By Sameer Patel

Historians believe that there were many reasons why the USA lost the war in Vietnam, ranging from domestic pressures to weak military tactics, and even perhaps failing to interpret the tenacity of their opponents. However, a few of those of involved in the war still fail to accept defeat, and are adamant that the USA were victorious. They firmly believed that they had not lost, but instead, they had blamed the fact that they were forced to withdraw due the lack of Congressional support back home. The fact that the USA had hardly lost any wars that they had engaged in prior to this one was an accomplishment that they were more than proud of, and due to a vast range of reasons, they had failed to continue and carry on with the good form. Their aim going into war was to abolish Communism, and exercise containment, making sure that the ‘Domino Theory’ would not take place. They had failed disastrously, as surrounding nations such as Laos and Cambodia had also succumbed to Communism. Their defeat had taught them a stern lesson on the limitations of power.

First off, the military had failed, and so had their tactics. They were ill-equipped for the type of warfare their opponents were bringing in. The USA’s army wasn’t well-acquainted enough for fighting a war in the jungle, which was an advantage for the Viet Cong. USA were heavily reliant on the combined forces of their navy and air force to bring them victory, but however, in a totally different environment, they found it hard to adapt, and had therefore succumbed to the hands of the opposition. The Viet Cong had taken advantage of their opponent’s evident weaknesses, and had used it to their benefit. With their vast geographical knowledge and their experience with the grueling and rugged terrain, the Viet Cong used guerilla warfare tactics to stun their enemy, and although it was considered unorthodox, it ended up being highly effective and successful. The Viet Cong also had the support of the local villagers, comprising of mostly peasants, and this was beneficial to them in the long run in the sense that they were never low on troops who were eager to battle in order to secure their freedom. With the help of the peasants and other local villagers, the Viet Cong had used the jungle to their advantage, and had built an astonishingly complex underground tunnel system, called the Chu Chi network. This had helped them immensely, when it came to keeping under the enemy’s radar, and it had protected them from the ruthless air attacks deployed by the USA air force.

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The USA were brutal with their air strikes, employing the likes of chemical warfare tactics and carpet bombings to weaken the enemy. They were deadly from above, but this wasn’t as effective, as the bulk of the war was fought on the ground, in the thick of the jungle. The USA’s air force destroyed rainforests and had savagely murdered tens of thousands of South Vietnamese civilians. In the long run, it had damaged Vietnam’s beautiful and unique ecosystem, and led to over 500,000 birth defects after the war. In total, they had used around 20,000,000 gallons of Agent Orange, which ...

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