Why Did The Americans Withdraw From South Vietnam In 1973?

2129 words - 9 pages

Vietnam was split into North Vietnam, communist and South Vietnam, capitalist and used to be part of French Indo-China, occupied by the French. The leader of the Vietnamese communist was Ho Chi Minh who set up the league for the independence of Vietnam, this was named the Vietminh. The Vietminh set up guerrilla operations to defend against Japan and France in Northern Vietnam; they defended with success and later beat the French again with the clever guerrilla Warfare at Dien Bien Phu.
The lead to the Vietnam War was because of America’s fear of the domino theory coming into effect. This theory was that, due to neighbouring countries like China and North Korea falling into communism, then ...view middle of the document...

This failed as there were hardly any factories to bomb as Vietnam was mostly countryside. This tactic was planned to last eight weeks but instead carried over three and a half years and another flaw in the plan was that by bombing innocent Vietnamese civilians, the Vietcong would obviously be infuriated and would want instant revenge.
Another US tactic was ‘Search and destroy’, an operation by the General Westmoreland, the commander of the US forces. This was a plan to search and destroy the enemy forces of the NVA that were operating in the south, like the secret officials. This plan was to cut down guerrilla Vietcong fighters but again this was a main failure as the US troops couldn’t see or fight at their optimum in the tricky dense jungles. Also the US troops couldn’t tell between Vietcong enemies or Vietnamese civilians as they wore the same clothes and it was hard to spot them in the jungles. After the Vietcong would kill American soldiers, the friends of these soldiers would be frustrated and frightened and so went to Vietnamese villages and carried out Zippo raids; killing innocent civilians. In turn, this led to failure of the ‘Battle of the hearts and minds’ as the US troops would not get the peasants of Vietnam on their side and instead would follow the Vietcong’s side. This played a major part in the withdrawal in Vietnam as during the Vietnam War, a lot of innocent civilians were killed and due to the effect of the media and no censorship, Americans did not like what they were seeing or hearing. There were still other failures of US tactics as well as the unpopularity of them which itself lead to failure also. Another tactic was ‘Body Count’ this was a plan to kill as many Vietcong as possible; this failed with the same reason, US soldiers couldn’t tell between civilians and the Vietcong and so again ended up killing innocent civilians due to confusion and fear of these soldiers, like ‘cherries’ who were inexperienced soldiers imported after one year, where they replaced good American soldiers who had already served one year. These ‘cherries’ didn’t get accepted and were seen as weaker and careless and so made it difficult for them to get along with their officers and fellow soldiers. This in turn lead to ‘fragging’ because when it was coming close for the US troops to go home, they wanted to stay alive and not be sent into combat; so they then killed their officers by shooting them so they wouldn’t have to fight. The ‘Body Count’ also failed because the Vietcong would take the dead bodies with them and US troops wouldn’t check and so they lied to the officers and gave phoney information.
Like the other failed reasons, cluster bombs, napalm and defoliants helped towards the failure as more innocent civilians were killed. Cluster bombs turned to shrapnel, after dividing into smaller bombs and killed Vietnamese civilians as they were close to where the Vietcong fought. Napalm was liquid petroleum jelly that when exposed would...

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