Was the Vietnam War Winnable? The war in Vietnam waged by America was unwinnable through the type of warfare that was used by the US . If they had concentrated on certain key aspects they may have prevented the spread of communism to South Vietnam and achieved their ultimate goal. Americas inability to obtain the “Hearts and Minds “of the Vietnamese led to a continual supply of fighters. The US was unable to fight against an ever-increasing civilian army. In Vietnam the US relied tremendously on their advanced and superior firepower to defeat the Vietcong and the ARVN.
There technology and training was inadequate in the foreign Vietnamese terrain. The Vietnamese were allied to other communist nations, if their defeat was too humiliating they may have escalated the cold war to a hot war. America was not supported by the people of Vietnam in their efforts to rid South Vietnam of “evil’ communism, even before the war began. This is one vital area the Americans failed. Their “Hearts and Minds” operation that begun years before the official beginning, of the war, was short-lived. The People of Vietnam considered “U. S. Diem is using fascist violence to provoke war, contrary to the will of the people and therefore must certainly be defeated” ( Le Duan, 1956). The hatred Vietnam had of outsiders trying to control them was spurred by years of colonisation by the French before the War started. This became a major setback as it was not corrected before the US attacked the communists. The angered civilians refused to cooperate with the Americans and this was one of their largest setbacks during the war. American soldiers entered Vietnam believing themselves to be fighting for the Vietnamese people protecting them from the “evils” of communism. he Vietnamese resisted the Americans believing them to be disrupting their peace. This infuriated the solders causing them to lash out at the locals. They had “raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan”( Kerry, 1971). The civilians retaliated by aiding the Viet Cong eventually joining them. This continued over the p of the war thereby creating an ever-increasing number of People fighting against the Americans.
Americas inability to attain the “Hearts and Minds” of the Vietnamese population led to a constantly growing opposition ensuring that for every one “gook” the Americans killed there were always 2 more to replace him. No matter how many casualties USA inflicted on Vietnam the continuous supply of people would eventually beat the policy restricted US. ‘You can kill 10 of my men for everyone I kill of yours, but in the end I will win and you will lose”. American did not have the people of Vietnam backing them. To the Vietnamese they were intruders who murdered their families forcing the people of Vietnam to fight back.
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The Vietnamese’s refusal to cooperate with America prompted backlash from the solders. The Vietnamese’s responded with even more resistance to the US. This chain reaction fuelled the hatred the Vietnamese had for America. The USA was extremely vain when going to war in Vietnam. They had extreme firepower. With a few weeks notice at the time, had the power to turn Vietnam into a region of radioactive glass. The US’s strategy of search and destroy conflicted directly with the Vietnamese’s strategy of hanging onto their belts (caplan,2012).
Unlike previous American victories against Japan and Germany, massive American bombing of enemy cities and use of heavy artillery would not be as effective. The Viet Cong used a guerrilla warfare which did not allow the use of American artillery and bombs to kill them. The dense jungle fighting created low visibility from the air, which made it hard for the United States to utilize their far superior weapons. America dropped seven million tons of bombs on North Vietnam and the neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia United States air forces only dropped 2. 2 million tons of ordnance in the largest war in history, WW2 .
America dropped over ,three times more bombs, but it was still not effective enough to defeat North Vietnam. The US strategy of destroying enemy troops and supplies faster than they can reproduce them was not a viable strategy. The Vietnamese who had been fighting for independence for hundreds of years and were not about to give up. The US, at that time relied on their extremely advanced technology to combat the Vietnamese. This failed as the Vietnam is covered in dense jungle which rendered the Americans fighting style useless, they were accustomed to fighting in larger open areas instead of dense jungle and narrow city treets. Vietnam not only had an almost infinite number of people but also was supplied by both the Soviets and the Chinese. The Chinese were essential in North Vietnams eventual unification of Vietnam. They provided military experts to advise generals in decision making large amounts of military equipment and eventually solders to aid their war efforts against the South. This not only supplemented their strength but was also a separate major threat for USA. China and the Soviets being communist aimed at spreading communism around the world directly clashed with USA’s policy of preventing the spread of communism.
The most successful part in America’s strategy was operation “Rolling Thunder” which was a large amount of bombings over Vietnam. This was the most successful of all American tactics. It incapacitated their enemy around 1972. Even though the most bombs in history, were dropped over Vietnam, America still feared the Chinese’s. If they hit too hard with the bombings on Vietnam their communist allies may involve themselves turning the cold war that they fought through Vietnam and other smaller nations into a hot war with Mutually Assured Destruction for the entire world.
Had they continued the routine bombings and adjusted their fighting styles accordingly they may have triumphed in this conflict. The Vietnam war may have been winnable if the United States had focused more on re-educating the local people of Vietnam had adjusted their stratergy to fit the type of warfare and terrain in South Vietnam. They would have had to defeat the communists subtley to avoid humiliating the Chinees ans Soviets. Unfortunately the Americans “plunged boldly into the thick” of Vietnam without careing to attin the hearts and minds of its people.
They fought against the natural terrain instead of adapting to it which was highly advantageous to the Vietnamese as it his them for so long. The USA is not known for being for being subtle and enjoy going full out into wars. By disgracing other communists states they would turn the cold war into a hot war annihilating much of the planet. Therefore using a stratery that depende of heavy firepower and without the support of the locals the Vietnam war was unwinnable, if they had won the war and left Vietnam in a state of disgrace theywould have turned the cold war into a hot war. The perpose of the war was to atop the spread of communism and
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Was the Vietnam War Winnable. (2016, Nov 20). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/was-the-vietnam-war-winnable/