Why Did the Usa Lose the Vietnam War

475 Words2 Pages
1. The US failed to win the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese. They were fed up with a corrupt elitist government in Saigon and communism was offering them land reforms and control of their own destiny. The US were instead backing and supporting the corrupt government, thus they were part of the problem, not the solution. The US in fighting communism, was fighting the wrong enemy, they were arrogant and thought that they knew best. 2. Use of military firepower - bombing villages, towns, the Ho Chi Minh trail. This killed a lot of South Vietnamese people, destroyed their farms and livelihoods etc. It's best not to antagonise the people you are trying to help. This pushed the people they were trying to help away and made the VC/NV more determined to win. The failure to understand their tenacity and determination was important. Ultimately they were able to withstand and accept far higher losses than the US was able to take. By the end of the war Vietnam was incredibly unpopular in the US and had cost the lives of 70,000 men. Vietnamese losses were far higher and spread to the civilian population, but they perceived the losses to be a necessary evil - they were fighting for freedom and independence. The US wasn't. 3. The US failed to understand that they were fighting a guerrilla war. The cost of arming a North Vietnamese fighter was pennies - they were given guns, bullets, explosives and that was it and they fought the ideal fight for a mountainous and jungle ridden country. They would set up ambushes would inflict a few casualties and then would leave rather than stay and let the much heavier US firepower work to its advantage. Their hit and run tactics were perfect for the terrain. The US responded by drafting more men and spending more money on helicopter gunships, bombing campaigns and the use of napalm and agent orange (to defoliate the countryside).
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