Richard Nixon Essay

Topics: Richard Nixon, Vietnam War, Gerald Ford Pages: 11 (1844 words) Published: October 16, 2012
Many people fail to realize that Nixon had accomplished some impressive feats as a

president. Instead, they all choose to look at negative things such as the Watergate Scandal and

the fact that he was one of the few presidents to be impeached. While these are important aspects

of his presidency, it is only right that Nixon’s accomplishments should be addressed as well.

Richard Nixon was a president associated with controversy and deceit; however he was regarded

as an able and versatile politician, so the grade that he receives is a B- .

The first real major event Nixon has to deal with is the Vietnam War. Nixon knew that

when he became president this was something he needed to put to end immediately . Knowing

that 300 American troops were dying every week, Nixon planned to slowly remove the

American soldiers from Vietnam. However In order to do so, Nixon had to destroy the North

Vietnamese base. Nixon approved a secret bombing campaign of North Vietnamese positions in

Cambodia in March 1969 (code-named Operation Breakfast) to destroy what was believed to be

the headquarters of the National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam. The Air Force considered

the bombings a success. He then proposed simultaneous substantial withdrawals of North

Vietnamese and American forces from South Vietnam one year after reaching a mutual

agreement. In June 1969, in a campaign fulfillment, Nixon reduced troop strength in Vietnam by

25,000 soldiers, who returned home to the United States. From 1969 to 1972 troop reduction in

Vietnam was estimated to be 405,000 soldiers.

This mutual agreement became known as the Nixon Doctrine, whereby the United States

would provide arms and aid—but not military forces—to its Asian allies, who would provide

their own military forces in resisting communist aggression. In other words, this was a strategy

of removing American soldiers while replacing them with Vietnamese troops. This was a

process more commonly known as “Vietnamization”. While this method was slow and time

consuming, it began to return American troops back home which was a good start for his

presidency. Under President Nixon, American involvement in the war steadily declined from a

troop strength of 543,000 to zero in 1973. Once American support was diminished, in 1975,

North Vietnam was able to conquer South Vietnam and formed one country.

Richard Nixon’s hope was to finally end the military draft here in America, so he began

to make advertisements on the television in order to attract more volunteers to the army, rather

than forcefully making people go. Military pay was also increased as an incentive to get people

to volunteer. The Gates Commission issued its report in February 1970, describing how adequate

military strength could be maintained without conscription and the plan to end the draft early

had failed, since the military draft had been extended to June 1973. Once American support

was diminished, in 1975, North Vietnam was able to conquer South Vietnam and formed one


All in all, Nixon’s take on the Vietnam War was a very wise one. From his perspective,

he probably did not have many options. He could’ve chosen to continue the war in some futile

attempt to try gaining victory. He could’ve also chosen to try and secure South-Vietnam as a non-

communist state; however he realized that what the American people protested mattered the

most. Nixon decided that the only effective thing he could do, which would also be in the best

interest of the country, was to pull all of the American troops out before any more harm could be

done. This task, in and of itself, was not an easy one to accomplish. Nixon could not just simply

pull the American troops out in a single day, so he would have to use “Vietnamization” .

Vietnamization was necessary because pulling out American troops slowly would mean the army

would get...
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