‘the Usa Lost the Vietnam War Because Its Military Strategy and Tactics Were Wrong’ How Far Do You Agree?

Topics: Vietnam War, Ho Chi Minh, United States Pages: 4 (1528 words) Published: December 30, 2012
The Vietnam War was a prolonged, costly struggle between nationalist forces. North Vietnam wanted to unify Vietnam under communism and the USA wanted to contain communism and prevent the domino effect. More than 3 million lives were lost before the end in 1975, when communist forces conquered Saigon, the capital of the South, and the North took control. The USA withdrew in 1973 and left the fighting to the South. USA advisers believed they could beat the Vietcong, a Southern communist movement, with a strong government and a well-organised, large-scale war. President Johnson said ‘I am not going to be the president who saw South-East Asia go the way China went.’ The loss was due to different factors, including their strategy and tactics but also the strength of North Vietnam and the Vietcong, the weakness of the South and lack of home support. One reason the USA lost was because of their military strategy and tactics. In 1964, Johnson and his advisers discussed the best strategies. Some were in favour of expanding the air war, while others wanted to apply gradual pressure with occasional and careful bombings. Only the Undersecretary of State, George Ball, rejected these ideas, claiming Johnson’s policy was too aggressive. In February 1965, after an attack on the USA army, Johnson ordered Operation Rolling Thunder; continuous bombing over the SV, hoping it would force the Vietcong and NV to surrender. Bombing wasn’t as successful as hoped, the Ho Chi Minh trail wasn’t badly affected, with slower supplies. The pilots couldn’t see properly into the forest and didn’t want to risk killing his own. There were few factories to bomb and USSR radar stations warned the opposition when aircraft was coming. They also were under instruction to not bomb the North. American soldiers weren’t prepared for the guerrilla warfare because it was so different to what was expected. Conscription was introduced; normally young black men were sent, for about a year. They were...
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