The USA and Vietnam - Reasons for USA Loss

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Guerrilla Tactics

  • AVOIDED OPEN WAR AS WEAPONRY INFERIOR
    • 'HIT AND RUN TACTICS' - DIFFICULT FOR US TO KNOW/ATTACK ENEMY - BOOBY TRAPS, BOMBS - AVOIDED DIRECT CONTACT
    • REMAINED HIDDEN - ATTACKED US SOLDIERS IN SMALL GROUPS AND THEN DISPPEAR INTO SURROUNDING COUNTRYSIDE
    • AVOIDED DIRECT CONTACT - WOULD NOT DEFEAT US IN BATTLE - NOT EQUIPT
    • EVENTUALLY HOPED TO WEAR DOWN US TROOPS AND DESTROY MORALE - ALLOW TO TAKE CONTROL OF AREAS WHERE US STRONGER
  • RELIED HEAVILY ON LOCAL SUPPORT FOR PROTECTION AND RECOURCES
    • BECAME PART OF VILLIAGE - LIVED AND WORKED WITHIN IT - IMPOSSIBLE FOR US TO FIND
    • USED VIETMINH CODE OF CONDUCT AND KIDNAPPED UNPOPULAR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS - WON SUPPORT OF LOCALS - PLACE TO HIDE
    • GOT INTO US CAMPS - DID WASHING AND CLEANING - ''VC PYJAMAS' - DESTROYED US MORALE
    • ALSO GAINED SUPPORT BY THREATENING TO KILL PEOPLE THAT SUPPORTED USA
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Guerrilla Tactics

  • TUNNEL NETWORKS - STAYED HIDDEN AND SUPPLIED WITH EQUIPMENT AND WEAPONS
    • CATERED FOR NEEDS - WEAPON STORES, KITCHENS, SLEEPING QUARTERS, HOSPITALS
    • STRONGLY PROTECTED - DIFFICULT TO FIND AND BOOBY TRAPPED
    • BOOBY TAPS - PUNJI STICKS IMPALED USA - BOUNCING BETTY
    • SHOWED LEVEL OF DETERMINATION AND ORGANISATION OF VIETCONG
    • ENTRANCES CONCEALED UNDER PLANTS, COOKING POTS ETC.
  • HO CHI MINH TRAIL - WEAPONS AND SUPPLIES BROUGHT FROM NORTH
    • SUPPLY ROUTE FROM NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES OF LAOS AND CAMBODIA
    • OVER 600 MILES IN LENGTH AND 50 MILED WIDE
    • DUMMY TRAILS - CONFUSED US BOMBERS AND SPY PLANES
    • DISPITE BOMBINGS AND MONSOON, NEVER SHUT - DETERMINATION
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Ineffectiveness of USA Tactics

  • FAILURE OF 'HEARTS AND MINDS'
    • IMVESTMENT POURED INTO SV TO WIN SUPPORT -PEASANTS HELPED TO IMPROVE METHODS OF FARMING (DRAINAGE DITCHES), BUILDING OF ROADS, CANALS AND BRIDGES, SCHOOLS IN TOWNS IMPROVED, REFUGEES FLEEING NV PROVIDED WITH HOME
    • SUCCESS IN VILLAGES BUT LESS IN COUNTRYSIDE WHERE DOMINATED WITH VC
  • SEARCH AND DESTROY MISSIONS LOST LOCAL SUPPORT
    • HELICOPTERS FROM USA BASES CARRYING SMALL NUMBER OF TROOPS CARRIED OUT SURPRISE ATTACKS ON VC - FAST HELICOPTER LANDED NEAR VILLIAGES - HARD FOR VC TO DETECT - LITTLE TIME FOR VILLIAGERS OR VC TO GET AWAY
    • EVERY HOME SEARCH - IF VC PRESENCE FOUND - VILLIAGE DESTROYED
    • INNOCENT SUVVILIANS HOME DESTROYED AND SOMETIMES KILLED - CRUEL AND LOST US SUPPORT
    • MY LAI MASSACRE - 'INEXCUSABLE AND TERRIBLE' - 500 UNARMED WOMEN AND MEN KILLED - NEWS BROKE IN 1969 - PHOTOS RELEASED TO MEDIA - USA OUTRAGED - PUBLIC OPINION TURNED
  • FAILURE OF BOMBING CAMPAIGNS
    • OPERATION ROLLING THUNDER CALLED OFF IN 1968 - VC HADN'T SURRENDERED
    • AGENT ORANGE AND NAPALM - CHEMICAL WARFARE 1965-1970 - MADE LITTLE DIFFERENCE TO FIGHTING BUT HUMAN COST IMMENSE - 0.5M V CHILDREN BORN WITH DEFECTS
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Changing Public Opinion

  • MEDIA COVERAGE SHOWED BRITALITY OF WAR
    • 'TV WAR' - USA PUBLIC SAW SHOCKING IMAGES E.G. CHILDREN RUNNING IN NAPALM RAID, VIETCONG SUSPECT BEING MURDERED IN SAIGON, PICTURES OF MY LAI AND TET
    • CAUSED OPINION TO BE TURNED AWAY - LEAD TO 1968-1973 PROTESTS
    • 1968 - 10,000 DEMONSTATORS PROTEST IN CHICAGO AND 35,000 OUTSIDE WHITEHOUSE
  • UNIVERSITY PROTESTS
    • HIPPY CULTURE - 'MAKE LOVE NOT WAR' - MORAL REASONS AGAINST IN LATE 60'S AND EARLY 70'S
    • DEMONSTATIONS ON CAMPUSES AND IN SUPPOUNDING CITIES - MOST PEACEFUL, SOME OUT OF HAND
    • WENT ON STRIKE - REFUSED TO ATTEND LECTURES - ATTRACTED MEDIA ATTENTION
    • MAY1870 - KENT STATE PROTEST - 1000 STUDENTS - DAMAGE TO UNI BUILDING - NATIONAL GAURD BROUGHT IN AND SHOT 4 STUDENTS - LATER PROVED NOT TO BE PROTESTORS
    • TURNED USA AGAINST WAR - LOST RIGHT OF DEMOCRACY TO PROTEST - MADE NIXON REALISED VICTORY COULDN'T BE ACHIEVED WITH SO MUCH PROTEST
  • FULLBRIGHT HEARINGS 1971
    • 22 PEOPLE GAVE EVIDENCE - SOME FOR AND SOME OPPOSING WAR
    • JOHN KERRY - DETAILS OF WINTER SOLDIER INVESTIGATION - REVEALED VIETNAM WAR CRIMES AND PROVED BRUTAL INCIDENTS OF MY LAI NOT RARE - NEED FOR PEACE APPARENT
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Tet Offensive

  • SHOWED USA PUBLIC AND POLITICIANS THAT WAR COULD NOT BE WON
    • PUBLIC SAW TELEVISION FOOTAGE - SHOCKED - ALL OF SAIGON DESTROYED
    • OVER 100 PLACES ATTACKED
    • THOUSANDS OF CIVILLIAN CASUALTIES, HUNDRENS OF THOUSANDS OF REFUGEES
    • US SUPPOSED TO BE WINNING - TURNED PUBLIC OPINION
  • POLITICIANS OPINION TURNED
    • CONGRESS REFUSED REQUEST OF US COMMANDER IN VIETNAM FOR 200,000 TROOPS TO FINISH JOB
    • PRESIDENT JOHNSON DID NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION IN 1968 - NIXON ELECTED AND PROMISED TO END US INVOLVEMENT IN WAR
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