Why the U.S. Withdrew Its Troops from Vietnam in 1973

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Why the U.S. Withdrew Its Troops from Vietnam in 1973 In 1973, after many years of war both military and political, the USA withdrew all half a million troops from the bases in South Vietnam. This was because of many reasons also political and military related. When the USA sent the first troops over and the war began, they were confident that they would be able to win the war in a matter of a few months as they knew they had much better equipment, better training, aerial backing etc. The Communist North Vietnamese had only basic weaponry, no other equipment, little supplies and many had no training whatsoever. One of the key reasons therefore that they were able to stand a chance of victory was that they knew how to win what is commonly referred to as, ‘The Battle for Hearts and Minds.’ Out of the 17 million strong population of South Vietnam, 85-90% were peasant farmers and cared nothing for the view of the USA on prevention of communism. The North Vietnamese knew what this and were able to give the people what they wanted, just to be left alone. They used this to gain support. President Johnson’s advisors also realised that they needed to win this support but the decisions were being made by the military at this point. The military were using tactics of Search and Destroy and also they started the largest bombing campaign ever in history. This obviously did not bode well with the peasants and the idea of accepting North Vietnamese insurgent spies seemed promising. Propaganda was also a big part of this Hearts and Minds war in use by the North Vietnamese. They made the USA look like intruders come to destroy the country and the Vietcong were the only ones who could get them out! At one point in the war, the USA began to regain this support of the people through a programme called County Fair which comprised of food and medical support to the villages which had been affected by the war as well as entertainment for the villagers.

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