Slides in this set
Why did the USA get involved with
Vietnam was originally a part of the French empire.
But after the war at the Geneva peace conference it was
decided that Vietnam would be temporarily divided and
agreed on these terms:
The North would be under communist control under
the Ho Chi Minh
The South would be controlled by the anti-communist
And there will be a general election in 1956 to decide if
the North and South should join or remain separate.…read more
Why did the USA get involved with
The USA believed that if the election took place the North would win and Vietnam would become
They believed that if Vietnam became communist a domino theory would take place. A theory that
if communism was not stopped in Vietnam then other countries in the South East would fall like
dominos into the communist way.
America then started to support the South of Vietnam. They were given $1.6 in aid and sent
military advisors to prepare for the elections, they trained the ARVN…read more
The Vietcong wanted to avoid open warfare. Their aim was to attack the US troops in small groups
and then disappear. It war a war with no front line.
This tactic effected the US troops, they suffered mental
damage, they never knew who they were fighting and the
Vietcong hid underground and dressed in peasant cloths. It
destroyed there moral in fighting an enemy they cannot
The success of the guerrilla warfare was heavily due to the
support of the local people who hid the Vietcong.
As the US did not win the `hearts and minds' of the local
people they took the side of the Vietcong and lost the
support within Vietnam.
The Vietcong's aim was to wear down the Americans.…read more
Guerrilla attacks were ideal in jungle conditions.
The Vietcong were able to make booby traps, ambush soldiers and carry out attacks on the US
They built a system of underground tunnels, it was very complex and avoided the US. They came
out at night and during the day they were hidden the villages where they were provided with food
and shelter. Because of this support, which the US did not have, they gained a huge advantage.
The tropical conditions were also another advantage, the Vietcong were used to the climate and
knew there land well. Paddy fields, hilly jungle, swamps were what they were fighting in. The heat
was another factor with the US soldiers had not been trained to fight in before.
The US soldier were young and unused to the climate, all they wanted to do was to survive until
there line of duty ended and they could return home. If they came back at all they would have
physiological damage due to the type of warfare, and many took drugs to get them through their
line of service…read more
The US response to Guerrilla tactics
1) Operation rolling thunder
This was a concentrated bombing campaign which targeted North Vietnam such as
bridges, roads, railway lines and supply deports. The main reason for this was the US
hoped that North Vietnam would back down once it had experienced the military
power of the US. However instead of particular targets `blanket bombing' took place.
This caused huge devastation to North Vietnam but did not force then to surrender.
2) `Hearts and Minds'
At the same time of trying to bomb the North into submission the US spent money
and materials to help ordinary South Vietnamese people. They built schools, improved
roads and health clinics. Winning over the Vietnam people became increasingly
important as the war went on, guerrilla tactics heavily relied on the villages support.
In the rural areas the Vietcong had much more influence and support.…read more