Exploring the Reasons for United States' Withdrawal from Vietnam

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Exploring the Reasons for United States' Withdrawal from Vietnam America withdrew its last troops from Vietnam in 1973 but troop numbers were being reduced since 1969 after the election of President Nixon on a pledge of "Peace with honour". Eight years earlier in 1965 president Johnson had committed the nation to war with general support from the population who had come to fear communism. America was committed to Truman's policy of "Containment" of communism thereby hoping to prevent the 'domino effect' whereby America feared that if Vietnam became a communist country, other neighbouring countries would follow suit. They entered the war as the world's richest and most technologically advanced nation with an army that had been victorious in all previous campaigns. Their weaponry was advanced and far superior to the limited resources of the Vietcong whose soldiers were made up in part of untrained peasants and farmers. When America withdrew its last troops from Vietnam in 1973 it was not as a victorious conqueror but as a humiliated and divided nation. I have attempted to set out below the reasons for the US withdrawal from Vietnam in 1973. Despite its huge technological superiority, America failed to overcome the Vietcong army. This was due to a combination of American weakness and Vietcong strengths. The US army found itself fighting an enemy it seldom saw. Dense jungle with swamps prevented the use of tanks and high-tech weaponry committing the army to foot patrols while the Vietcong enemy employed 'guerrilla' tactics to confront the US troops. Guerrilla tactics is a system whereby a smaller number of soldiers can harass ... ... middle of paper ... ...support from the South Vietnamese army and US troop morale was non existent. The politicians realised they were unable to achieve the military objectives of the war. Secondly the increasing social unrest back home in the USA was threatening national security and the potential stability of the country. The increasing tide of opposition to the war had led to the promise of withdrawal since 1968. The delay till 1973 for final withdrawal was because Nixon did not want to loose the war ("Peace with honour"). Due to domestic pressure, peace talks began but fighting continued and the period saw the heaviest war bombing of North Vietnam in an effort to make the Vietcong accept a peace treaty which was finally signed in 1973. Were it not for the desire to save political face, the withdrawal could well have been earlier.

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