How effective was the US response to guerrilla warfare?

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  • How effective was the US response to guerrilla warfare?
    • Hearts and minds
      • It was hoped that improving conditions for the South Vietnamese would help secure their support
        • Peasants in the countryside were helped with farming methods
        • Communications were helped with the building of bridges, canals and roads
        • Local democracy was encouraged
      • Pros
        • Helped advance the living standards of both the citizens in towns and villages
        • When the North launched the Tet Offensive, the South did not support them
          • This suggested that they had been won over by the US
      • Cons
        • The Vietcong remained in the countryside
        • Many peasants continued to hide the Vietcong throughout the entire war
    • Search and destroy
      • Small groups of US soldiers flown into areas by helicopter
      • Every home was searched and suspected Vietcong were tortured for information then killed
      • My Lai - example of search and destroy mission
        • 500 people killed in 2 hours
          • Most killed were women and children
            • Information was leaked to US public 18 months later
      • Cons
        • Damaged Hearts and minds campaign as many civilians killed
        • Vietcong responded with capture and kill which left US troops vulnerable to ambush
    • Chemical warfare
      • Agent Orange used to destroy leaves and undergrowth in Vietnamese countryside
      • Agent Orange dangerous to humans with contamination causing cancer
      • Napalm used to attack enemy positions - human contact brought severe burning of skin
      • Cons
        • Didn't help advance US position in the war in any way
        • Vast human impact - 500,000 since born with defects caused by chemical warfare
        • Images of suffering caused by chemical warfare were sent abroad e.g. Kim Phuc running with severe burns
          • This helped to turn the US public against the war
      • Pros
        • Defoliants destroyed parts of the Ho Chi Minh Trail
    • Operation Rolling Thunder
      • Created in 1965
        • It was a military air based campaign against the North
          • Involved bombing strategic military and logistic targets in the North
          • The White House maintained strict control over which targets could be for bombing, not  any military personnel in the South
          • Involved US troops being brought in to guard air bases - 200,000 by end of 1965
      • Pros
        • $300 million damage done to North Vietnam
      • Cons
        • Highlighted the inability of the USA to identify the North's real vulnerablilities
        • Targeted industrial points but most of the North's industry was coming from the USSR, its satellites and China
        • Supplies dispatched through China or Cambodia not entering the North


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