Friday, March 1, 2019

American War effort in Vietnam Essay

The Vietnam contend is thought processed by the major(ip)ity as unriva guide of the worst periods in the Statesn history. The the Statesns moved into Vietnam in 1954 under the dissimulation of flake against an evil and aggressive Communist regime1. The establishment give tongue to the Domino Theory as a reason for involving themselves in psyche elses struggle, whereby if the States did non stop Vietnam from falling to socialism indeed other countries would follow, and American liberty, free enterprise and security would be ordinate at risk. It is hard to define peerless(prenominal) important reason for the Americans defeat in Vietnam. at that place are many positionors that justify it restrictions on the military and tactics that the American legions employed, coupled with the strong suit of the northwest Vietnamese Army. The fight be spatial relations cost a subr outine of money, which meant inflation, tax rises and Americas economy suffering. The collapse o f the home face up and the overlook of support from the media was ca employment for the presidents to retreat and was a nonher reason for the undermining of the state of warfare effort. This information from home often leaked to the front line and caused the deterioration of army esprit de corps, also, the government was often criticised for not understanding the political nature of Vietnam, where no-one in truth understand or cared close the term democracy.The general consensus by some historians is that the military tactics employed contend a large part in determining the outcome of the war. Justin Wintles The Vietnam state of wars concentrates on the military aspects, and suggests that plot of land the Americans had a superior military and equipment, the tactics they used were useless collect to the environment in Vietnam Westto a outstandinger extentlands search-and-destroy operations would have been an effective inverse to guerrilla combat, or would have done had they been able to take distance in a sealed environment ventilated by the Ho Chi Minh Trail2, proving that the tactics used were inappropriate and not sanitary thought out by the army generals. Even Major legerdemain Fenzel in the US Army agreed that defeat was due to tactical failures, which meant that they could not compete with the multi-faceted schema of insurgency and protraction3 of the North Vietnamese army. General Bruce Palmer Jr. stated that Vietnam was a devilishly chary mixture of conventional warfare fought somewhat unconventionally and guerrilla warfare fought in the classical manner4.It was not just that the American strategy was ineffective it was ineffectivein the conditions and against a strong North Vietnamese army perfectly adapted to their environment. Due to the absolute strength of American tune power, the Americans were lucky enough to keep a good death ratio where the number of Vietnamese deaths heavily outnumbered their own, however the fact that th e war dragged on for so long greatly deteriorated the armament morale. Obvious tactical failures were the Phoenix Program under Nixon where troops agents infiltrated into Vietnamese peasant districts to respect activists, and while its effect was obvious, its methods were seen to be violent and intelligence operation of innocents being kill soon reached home. Operation Apache S instantaneously, where American soldiers sharpshooted Vietcong taking refuge on Ap Bia, now to a greater extent comm solo known as Hamburger Hill. military attacked with prove-fight, conk-to-hand combat and aerial conk outardment, however this only served to increase ohmic resistance to the war, so Hamburger Hill was abandoned, which impelled Senator Edward Kennedy to label the operation as senseless and irrseponsible5. Morale among the troops was also decreasing. When tactics looked successful, morale was high. that as strategies resorted to a degree of barbarism with innocents being killed and ba rrage raids, news of lack of support from the home front reached the front line and the haggard out nature of the war ensured that morale soon deteriorated.Also, the experience of war was reasonably comfortable, as Saunders orients out in Vietnam and the USA soldiers spent a considerable amount of time a air from the front line and in Japan or Saigon for Rest and Recuperation, this obviously led to an air ofunreality and disorientation6, where drug abuse was common. This lack of morale led toeven more barbarism, one marine unit was known to say- our emotions were rattling lowbecause wed lost a lot of friendssowe gave it to them whatever was moving was goingto move no more curiously after (our) 3 days of blood and guts in the mud7. in that location wereother reckons, which led to this low morale. It was often frustrating for some soldiers as men in authority were not al courses as go through as them this meant that thither appeared to be little structure to strategies, leadi ng to confusion. They also could not capture the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese, with the hamlet programme set-up by Diem, and the bombing of Vietnam by Americans, the Vietnamese peasants disliked American troops. However, it is easy to understand the Americans lack of reaction to the Vietnamese, as the circumstances of the war were obviously frustrating, and they felt that they were fighting someone elses war, resenting the American government for direct them. This dislike for those who they were so-called to be helping meant that it was a difficult task for the American troops to win the war.The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) on the other hand were very well suited to the surroundings and made the most of their environment. The patch in Vietnam appeared to be, as James Cameron stated, from the moment the US prepared its scratch line bomb in the North of Vietnam, she welded the nation together unshakeably. Every bomb was a bonus for Ho Chi Minh8. It seemed that whatever hinder ed the American army only streng accordinglyed the Vietnamese. What the Americans did not realise was that the blitzes from firepower united the North Vietnamese. Chinese and Soviet aid meant that the NVA could enjoy modernhardware rocket launchers, anti-aircraft batteries, mortars and flamethrowers. The view shared by many historians is that they could be defeated entirely they could never be vanquished9, they had great perseverance and their tactics were cl archean laid out, in summaryAmericans attack and NVA retreatAmericans camp and NVA raidAmericans tire and NVA attackAmericans retreat and NVA pursueThe structure of the army also seemed more forward-looking than that of the Americans. Someone carrying supplies and ammunition maintained each unit. Structure was built upon the whim of cells of collar or ten men, so if they were discovered or captured, they would not lose large numbers of troops. This also meant that they could move around more stealthily and communication aro und the cell was easier. The NVA became expert at thornground booby traps and it became hard for Americans to effectively fight them as they attacked enemy units and whence quietly disappeared into the jungle. The communists were also better at winning over the Vietnamese population. Their combination of brutishity and kindness allowed them to gain the support of the Vietnamese peasants. This obviously gave them an advantage over the American Army.The actions of the American Presidents also went some way in undermining the war effort. Eisenhower had restricted involvement in the war, rejecting any brain of bombing the country you boys must be crazy. We cant use those awful things against Asians for the second time in less than ten years.10. musical composition he did give support to the French in their Vietnam battle,Eisenhower sawing machine that sending troops in would be unwise. When Kennedy became president, he increased Americas commitment to Vietnam, pick uping a more adventurous foreign policyand larger defence disbursement. The war is seen as Johnsons War as it was Johnson whostarted major escalation. With the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, it appeared that the populationwas behind Johnson and his efforts to send more troops to Vietnam, but towards the end of his term, semipublic discernment had swayed and their waspressure to start bringing soldiers backhome. Nixon had initially supported the war, but soon he was under a lot of pressure to allow fewer troops out, and bring more back. Nixon soon began to organise secret bombing campaigns so that he could meet his own wishes concerning Vietnam without losing the publics confidence. Nixon was able to manipulate the situation by making announcements of troop withdrawals at times so that it would decrease opposition. Eventually, Nixon stop the war due to public opposition, the realisation that the war was not winnable, the need for a vote-winning action, and opposition from Congress. The main pr oblem with the presidents is that they seemed to have their own personalised agenda for Vietnam, knowing little about the actual situation. After a meeting with, Johnson and Kennedy, a State division expert said I was asked to say something at the end of the meeting and they looked at me absolutely helpless, the self-colored group of them.There was not a single person there who knew what he was talking aboutThey simply did not understand the recognition of nationalism and Communism11, this issue was also brought up at a National Teach-In, the obsession of American policymakers with what they see as monolithic Communism has blinded them to the fact that Communism in Asia has adapted itself to nationalism12. Those in power often fooled the public and therefore undermined American involvement in the war, as there was a good kill ratio, where it looked like the American forces were winning, officials could fool themselves into believing it would be a victory however the Tet sickis h showed the reality of the situation. Presidents seemed to be set on destroying Communism, being blind to thefact that building a feasible South Vietnam was outside of Americas power, what was needed was for them to understand Vietnam and work with quite than against this knock- rase(a) force13. The absolute majority of Vietnamese did not even know the difference between collectivism and democracy14.The Vietnam War was the first war with free press, so the media played a vast part in undermining the war effort, undermining public opinion and demoralising American troops in Vietnam. The media had started off supporting the American presidents and their decisions about the war,however, their support soon decreased as news of the brutal reality of the war and the campaigns that had been covered-up leaked to the press. Press coverage was a major factor in ensuring lack of public support, and therefore the retreat of presidents from Vietnam. One illustrious example is the issue of Life Magazine, which saw a in effect(p) edition with two hundred and forty-two photographs of the soldiers killed in Vietnam during just one week of fighting.As well as showing the hardships which Americans had to endure in Vietnam, the media showed footage of the bulldozing of human carcasses into mass graves, the napalming of children, and the ravaging of villages by American soldiers15, so that the public began to dislike soldiers, causing many men to try to dodge the draft. non only did the media allow public opposition to spread, it also undermined the military less people were drafted into thewar, low morale, and secrets were leaked to the press from troops in Vietnam which the media was able to exploit.The NVA would then be able to see this and could expect attacks. The images that were on television were so powerful that they have been used as one of the main reasons why America was defeated due to the impression left on the public. Although, Riddick argues against this a bridgment while the media can influence public opinion, inVietnam media reportage merely reflected, and did not create the national mood ofdisillusionment16. The government, however, understood how influential the leaving of mediasupport could be. In February 1968, a CBS reporter, Cronkite, left an aside not meant for diffuse what the hell is going on? I thought we were winning this war? President Johnson supposedly said If weve lost Cronkite, Ive lost Mr. number citizen.In order to cope with the expansion in Vietnam, US financial aid was greatly increased, Washington had, for example, sent out approximately $2billion worth of aid in the time running up to the Paris cessation Agreement. The war was costing money, and started to interfere with the economy. Johnson,however, would not admit to the extent of expenditure in case Congress decided to cut budgets on his house servant programmes. In 1965 the government deficit was $1.6billion, in 1968, it was $25.3billion, Johnson h ad not requested the take wartime tax increases. This publicationed in inflation, and eventually taxpayers became indignant and they increased the pressure on Johnson to put an end to the war, or to take a different approach. The war was a great hindrance on Americas economical stature. It denied funds to America and other needs, such as hospitals and education.In the early sixties, Vietnam was popular patriotism was strong in a confident nation, who faux that they had the necessary weapons and firepower to assure victory. Opinions on the war differed according to geography and age. The grey and Mid-West counties were conservative and patriotic whereas coastal counties were liberal and democratic. The older generations supported the war because of the effect of foundation War II, which had brought prosperity. The younger generations had more liberal attitudes. They were interested with freedom of speech and self-expression. Conscription also made the war less-traveled with yo ung adults, which resulted in low morale in the army and a fall in the number of troops as draft document were torn up. Further into the sixties, anti-war sentiment was growing in America, the turning point was the Tet Offensive, where the public was able to see the reality of the war and the fact that they were not winning.Soldiers returning home were jeered at and called baby-killer, and trust in the American government was lacking. At the onset of war, those who opposed it could be split directly into three categories people with left-wing political opinionspacifists who opposed all warsliberals who believed that the best way of stopping the spread of Communism was by encouraging democratic rather than authoritarian governments17. The fact that presidents had decided to use chemical warfare especially upset the public as they saw images and heard stories of innocent men, women and children dying as a result.The mid-sixties was also a time of barren rights. There were disproport ionate numbers of blacks fighting in Vietnam, and it seemed unfair for America to expect blacks to fight this war for freedom when they enjoyed little of this at home. Historians saw the blacks as comparing themselves with the Vietnamese both were, in their view, victims of a anti-Semite(a) government18.An International War Tribunal was set up and they, on with other critics, claimed that US behaviour in Vietnam is comparable to the atrocities committed by the Nazis in WW219. In 1967, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War was formed, one member stated I hope that someday I can return to Vietnam and help to construct the country we tore apart20. Also, anti-war leaders claimed that if troops were not go from Vietnam, the government mightneed to bring them home to stop a revolution. Apart from these comments to the government, several protests were taking place. By 1965, organised rallies were being held in approximately forty American cities and a few foreign capitals. There were a l ot of studentsprotests as the younger generations refused to accept the authority of the government.Groupsagainst the war were dedicated to protesting for the withdrawal of troops, putting a lot of pressure on the government. Violent protests started to become more common as moreatrocities became manifest in the press, specifically the incident of My Lai where about 400innocents were murdered, which damaged the morale argument about the need to save Vietnam. In November 1965, Norman Morrison imitated the actions of Buddhistic monk in Saigon by setting fire to himself out side the Pentagon. A protest at Kent University where four students were killed by open fire brought the message to the public that loss of life as a result of the Vietnam Warwas no longer confined to Indchina21.There was still a considerable amount of support for the governments policies, however, even a minority in America can protest vociferously and make a huge difference, especially when figured of respect an d authorityspeak out. For example, Senator J. William Fullbright spoke out against that arrogance of power which has inflicted, weakened and in some cases destroyed great nations in the past22, Martin Luther King also spoke out about how the Great Society has been shot down on the battlefield of Vietnam23. unexclusive pressure meant that in 1968, Johnson had lost confidence in his decisions and his war and he announced he was calling of bombing raids and was prepared to open discussions on the possibilities of peace talks. However, the war was prolonged into Nixons term as president, which served only to strengthen the disquiet against the war. As C. Reich stated, the War seemed to sum up the evils of our company destruction of peopleenvironmentwar by the rich and powerful against the poor and helpless, justification based on abstract rationality, hypocrisy and lies24. The presidents knew that unless public opinion was swayed towards them and the war, they would not be able to stay in power. By the time Vietnam ended, it was clear that a major reason for withdrawal was down to public opinion.There is no doubt that public opinion went a long way in ensuring that presidents retreated and the war effort undermined. opponent resulted in a decline in troops and protests throughout America which demonstrated the unrest which politicians had to act on. However, there are other factors which ply to this to explain Americas defeat, the failure of the American army against a strong Vietcong force, the role of the media, the economic situation due to mass expenditure, and the sightlessness of the government to the real situation in Vietnam.Saunders The USA and Vietnam (p.2)2 Wintle The Vietnam Wars (p. 136)3 Major John Fenzel Vietnam We Could Have Won4 General Bruce Palmer Jnr. The 25-Year War Americas Military Role inVietnam (p.176)5 Wintle The Vietnam Wars (p.165)6 Saunders The USA and Vietnam 1945 75 (p.85)7 Ibid. (p.89)8 James Cameron bump9 Wintle The V ietnam Wars (p.165)10 Saunders The USA and Vietnam 1954 75 (p.32)11 State Department Report 196312 National Teach-In Gettleman Vietnam History, Documents, and Opinions on a Major World Crisis (p.411)13 Gettleman Vietnam History, Documents, and Opinions on a Major World Crisis (p.411)14 Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement John Kerry to the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations 197115 Franklin H. Bruce From naive realism to Virtual Reality Images of Americas Wars (p.441)16 Riddick The Vietnam War17 A Vietnam Overview Higgins Vietnam (p.101)19 A Vietnam Overview Ibid.21 Wintle The Vietnam Wars (p.168)22 Ibid. (p.157)23 Ibid. (p.161)24 C. Reich The Greening of America (p.194)

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