Bonolo Masilela27756874AZA1235 Assignment 1Due date: 16 June 2019The United States Defeat In The Vietnam War:America’s involvement of aid in South Vietnam backfiring I, Bonolo Masilela, hereby confirm that I haveread and understood the Plagiarism Protocol at: of ContentsIntroduction.1Commitment1Support of China & the Soviet Union.2 3.1 Ngo Dinh Diem’s Regime…3Familiarity of the Environment3Tet Offensive4 Anti-War Movement .4US Withdrawal5Conclusion5Reference List61. IntroductionThe United States and the Vietnam War is a case of David vs Goliath. The mere fact that such a power force was brought to its knees has led to a wide analysis as to what fuelled such a defeat.
Mainly known as the Vietnam War, the War was a result of the United States belief and commitment to curb communism influenced by the ideologies of the Cold War as this would lead to a more developed society. In this paper, an in-depth analysis will be given as why Vietnam conquered in this war. Firstly, an overview of the commitment of the North Vietnamese soldiers will be discussed in detail as to what were the main drivers and influences on such a cause to fight for independence.
Furthermore, an analysis on the relationship that manifested from China and the Soviet Union with the North Vietnamese is outlined to illustrate the role they played in this war. In addition, a more in-depth explanation is given regarding the advantages that the North Vietnamese had in this scenario due to their familiarity with the terrain in South Vietnam.
To supplement to these issues discussed, an analysis into the strategic play the North Vietnamese orchestrated in South Vietnam is given and the results that were yielded from it. Lastly is a detailed conclusion given on the issues discussed. 2. CommitmentVietnam has a history of being ruled and dominated by other states. Ancient Vietnam was ruled by China and later in the 1800s France took control over it and established what was known as French Indochina. Imperialism and Colonialism was the reason why the people of Vietnam demanded a government of their own and therefore the national movements began in the early 1900s.In 1940, France lost control of Vietnam to Imperial Japan as the focus of France was primarily set on Nazi Germany during the World War II (The Nation, 1992). The to be front leader of the Viet Minh movement was Ho Chi Minh. He was born in 1890 and was in exile for 30 years. During his time in exile, when he was in Paris, he was part of the French Socialist Party then later became a communist. Ho Chi Ming hoped to achieve Independence in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh saw the Japanese as alien invaders who came to exploit Vietnam and influenced his decision towards returning to Vietnam based on his belief to defeat the Japanese and French and gain Independence for Vietnam. In February 1941, Ho Chi Minh slipped back into Vietnam and started the Viet Minh also known as the Vietnam Independence League (Mcmahon, 2002).In the Spring of 1945, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour made the United States look for allies behind the lines in Vietnam and to look for a way to undermine Japanese forces. As a means of ending World War II, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki which resulted in Japan surrendering (My-Van, 1996). The Vietnamese saw this as an opportunity to act towards seizing control of their country before the French. As a result, Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam to be an Independent country and called it the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (McMahon, 2002). During this time, the United States (US) hoped France and Vietnam would have peace as no one was in charge. The United States, on the other hand, was threatened by the French that if they intervene and helped Vietnam, France would fall into the Russian orbits. France then made the decision to return to Vietnam to reoccupy the country and refused to recognize Vietnam as being independent. This resulted in the First Indochina War. Independence and communism ideologies influenced by Ho Chi Minh in North Vietnam is what the North Vietnamese Soldiers were committed to fighting towards. They followed Ho Chi Minh beliefs in gaining Independence and were devoted to his leadership (Talley, 2016). Ho Chi Minh wrote letters to Truman explaining how they have the same beliefs in the hopes of gaining the US support, but the letters were never received by Trueman. In June 1946, Ho Chi went back to Paris in a fruitless attempt of the promise the French made to increased autonomy for Vietnam. With the fight between the French and the Viet Minh; the Viet Minh realized they were not strong for the French and called for a nationwide guerrilla warfare; as they would ambush the French by disappearing during the day and only attacking at night. The French tried to win the Indochina War through pacification and would revenge by burning houses, raping women and killing the buffaloes in the villages (Dang, 2018). 3. Support of China & the Soviet UnionIn 1950, Mao agreed to give Ho Chi the arms equipment and military training he had been seeking. The Soviet recognized the Viet Minh and offered help (Talley, 2016). The decision of China and the Soviet Union to assist Ho Chi resulted in Trueman being blamed for losing China and seen as Trueman failing to contain communism. Even though Ho Chi asked for aid from the United States and because of Ho Chi being a communist and Trueman being under pressure, he approved $23 million aid programmed for the French in Vietnam. America influenced by the Cold War and their stance regarding stopping communism from spreading, it resulted in the US no longer being neutral (Tucker. 2017).China and The Soviet Union together contributed over $2 billion to the North Vietnamese Army as Aid to fight against the United States. The aid included 200 anti-aircraft missile sites and 8000 anti-aircraft guns (Talley, 2016). On March 13th, 1954 in Dien Bien Phu, The Viet Minh artillery began raining down on the French troops hurdled below the mountain base. After months of fighting, on the 7th of May 1954, the French forces surrendered with 8000 men wounded. The humiliating defeat resulted in the French artillery commander committing suicide. The defeat marked an end of the French military in Vietnam (Mcmahon, 2002). Even with the defeat of the French, the United States could not have a war with China, or the Soviet Union based on the concept of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) and attrition. 3.1 Ngo Dinh Diem’s RegimeThe Geneva Peace Conference declared Vietnam to be temporarily divided at the 17th parallel into North and South Vietnam until an election could be held to unify the two under free elections held in 1956. On October 26th, 1955, Ngo Dinh Diem took over the government of South Vietnam and declared it Republic of Vietnam with assistance from the United States. Ngo Diem being an anti-communist leader and being the elected President in South Vietnam, his regime was known for being corrupt and unethical (Tucker, 2017).However, the United States continued to invest into his regime as a means of containing communism and not letting it spread. Ngo Dinh Diem also had the goal of communism not to be in South Vietnam. John F. Kennedy saw South Vietnam as America’s offspring and the United States believed they could build one South Vietnamese Nation, as they were motivated by their success with the Marshall Plan in Western Europe (Leepson, 2015). Meanwhile, Ho Chi was planning on rebuilding the North and organized the National Liberation front known as the Viet Cong to act as resistance towards Diem’s regime. The South Vietnamese Army was trained by military advisors sent by John F. Kennedy. In 1963 a coup was sent into South Vietnam to overthrow Diem and resulted in the assassination of Diem. The newly appointed leader was no different from Diem (Leepson, 2015).4. Familiarity of the EnvironmentThe Viet Cong lived in the villages of South Vietnam and were accepted by the general public of the South Vietnamese as they assisted them in their daily life routines. The Viet Cong also having the vast knowledge of the terrain, their boob-traps, jungle cover and tunnel system made them not easy to defeat and extremely hard to spot (Allison, 2013). The devotion and servanthood towards Ho Chi’ leadership by the Viet Cong and their long tours of duty, resulted in the Viet Cong being aware and informed about America’s tactics (Mcmahon, 2002). As a means of keeping the commitments of his successor John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson wished to maintain the involvement of the United States in Vietnam to a minimum. However, in 1964, US navy ships were attacked by North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin. Johnson sent troops to Vietnam as a Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave Johnson war power and consistent bombing raids by planes from the US which was known and named “Operation Rolling Thunder”. Trying to Americanize the war the resolution led to 400 000 US troops in Vietnam by 1966 (The Nation, 1992).5. Tet OffensiveIn 1968, The Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese organized and launched the Tet Offensive campaign. 80 000 soldiers attacked over 30 US targets and more than 100 cities in South Vietnam all at once (Mcmahon, 2002). As much as it was a surprise to the US, the undying resistance of the North Vietnamese Army made America to believe that they could not win the war even so after the invasion of the US Embassy in Saigon, however, the US still managed to push back the offensive for two days and won, but the media in America saw the conflict as a defeat for the U.S (Dang, 2018). 5.1 Anti-war Movement After the My Lai Massacre in the Village of My Lai, anti-war protests increased especially during the years of 1968 and 1969 as there were hundreds of protest marches and gatherings throughout America. In 1969, November 15th, the largest protest took place in Washington D.C with over 250 000 protestors gathered calling for the withdrawal of US troops in Vietnam (Dang, 2018).The protestors were mainly students and Hippies resulting in Americans being divided. With the protests taking place and the war in Vietnam growing, it caused the violence and the police brutality that took place outside the Democratic National Convention in 1968 (Majerol, 2014).5.2 US WithdrawalA policy of Vietnamization of the war was promoted by Richard M. Nixon. In which it stated and promised the withdrawal of the US Troops and the handing over of the management of the war to the South Vietnamese. But, without the knowledge and permission of the US Congress, Nixon authorised the bombing of the Viet Cong in the nations of Laos and Cambodia. The authorisation ended up causing a scandal in the US with heavy media and newspaper coverage, Nixon was then forced to resign and push for a peace settlement in 1971 (Leepson, 2015).In 1972, Nixon engaged in diplomatic engagements with China and the USSR and pushed for the bombing of North Vietnam as a means of placing pressure upon the North into a settlement. January 1973, the final peace agreement was concluded. This cease-fire was signed and in March 1973, the last U.S military personal left Vietnam (Brooks, 2015).Nixon became caught up in the Watergate Scandal that led to his resignation in 1974. North Vietnam forces stepped up their attack on South Vietnam and launched an all-out offensive in 1975. On April 30, 1975, the capital of South Vietnam, Saigon, fell under the North Vietnamese renaming it Ho Chi Minh City and united the country under the communist rule as the Social Republic of Vietnam in 1976. Ending the Vietnam War (Leepson, 2015).6. ConclusionIndependence and Communism ideologies influenced by Ho Chi Minh was what the North Vietnamese believed in. It made the to never give up on the fight for Independence, regardless of the number of Vietnamese soldiers that were dying in comparison to American Soldiers. The involvement of the US is argued to have never been about stopping the spread of communism, but rather about US wanting always wanting to be the dominant state. However, the tactics and strategies used by the Vietnamese, resulted eventually in the US pulling out of the War. It made the US realize that they are not invincible and were never ready for the war. Their involvement dived up their state at and tore it apart during the anti-war movement. The war was considered a Civil War as it was catastrophic to the citizens of Vietnam. America pulling out and aid in South Vietnam being cut assisted Vietnam to gain their Independence. Thus, America losing the War as they got into a War that they were never prepared for and fighting against a state that fought strategically and had an upper hand, regardless of their reputation and the power of their military. –(Word count for main body of essay: 1690)7. Reference ListAllison, W., Allison, W., & Turse, N. (2013). Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam. Parameters, 43(4), 162″163. Retrieved from T. (2015). Losing Vietnam: How America Abandoned Southeast Asia. United States Naval Institute. Proceedings, 141(3), 77″78. Retrieved from H. (2018). Vietnamese United States negotiations during the Vietnam War (1965-1968). Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit¤t Mјnchen.Leepson, M. (2015). American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity. Vietnam, 28(4).Majerol, V. (2014). The Vietnam war: fifty years ago, the United States stepped up its involvement in a war that tore the nation apart.(TIMES PAST 1964). New York Times Upfront, 146(12).Mcmahon, R. (2002). Contested Memory: The Vietnam War and American Society, 1975″2001. Diplomatic History, 26(2), 159″184. C. (2016). The Vietnam War as China’s Watershed. The Vietnam War as China’s Watershed. Tran My-Van. (1996). Japan and Vietnam’s Caodaists: a wartime relationship (1939-45).(The Japanese Occupation in Southeast Asia). Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 27(1), 179″193.Tucker, S. (2017). ENDURING VIETNAM: AN AMERICAN GENERATION AND ITS WAR. United States Naval Institute. Proceedings, 143(3), 85. Retrieved from stories. (effects of the Vietnam War) (Editorial). (1992). The Nation, 254(8), 255.