“I’ve always said, if you don’t go in to win, don’t go in at all…Either you conduct the conflict with all the assets the United States has at its disposal to bring about a quick and successful outcome or you stay out.” -Alexander M. Haig JR.
The War That Couldn’t Be Won!
By withdrawing its forces from Vietnam in 1973 did the United States admit defeat? This is an argument that historians and observers have been having for years. Before answering that question however, we must first understand if we ever really had a chance to win the war. The circumstances leading up to the war were pretty much out of the United States control with an obligation to our French allies. With threats of communism taking over Vietnam, many felt that our presence was needed to avoid Ho Chi Mihn’s control. With all of the excitement, many important factors were overlooked such as did the United States have enough troops to fight this war, what type of retaliation the Vietnamese would use, and were we ready to fight a sixteen year war? The United States strongly underestimated the power and desire that the North Vietnamese had to gain control and preserve communism.
It was thought that the US presence in Vietnam was required to contain the communist influence from living up to the expectations of the Domino Theory. The Domino Theory resulted from the Cold War and stated that if one country was to fall under the communist regime, soon neighboring countries would fall. At the time France was fighting to gain back control of Vietnam as it was beginning to feel resistance from small guerrilla groups known as the Viet Kong, so America saw it as its duty to help out their French allies by giving money and supplying weapons. America believed this was necessary in order to help the French keep control of Vietnam and never fall to Communism. These small Communist guerrilla groups were funded by other Communist powers such as China and Russia. If the whole of Vietnam fell to communist rule this could have had an impact on the rest of the world and show that a Communist regime holds more power than the United States Democracy, thus slowly turning the rest of the world communist. This was just the beginning of the part the US played in Vietnam.
Gradually they got dragged further and further into the war and sud...
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...m was not even really supported by the Vietnamese people. How could the United States expect to win a war when nobody wanted the government they had set up? South Vietnamese guerillas began to work with the North Vietnamese soldiers to defeat the American supported government and to unify Vietnam. The United States basically turned the Vietnamese that were earlier on their side against them. They became angry that so many of their civilians were being injured and killed and did not want the government set up by the United States to stay in place. With even more Vietnamese people against the United States, there was no way that they were going to be able to win this war.
In 1975 many tired troops finally came home from Vietnam, defeated. Their efforts did not end communism and left countless numbers of Americans and Vietnamese people dead. The United States weak strategies, the public’s anti-war attitude, and the Vietnamese’s opposition to the government the United States had set up all contributed to the United State’s defeat in Vietnam. The most tragic part about the Vietnam War was that it took about sixteen years to lose a war that from the beginning we were not going to win.
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