The USA should have been successful in Vietnam because of its technological and military supremacy Essay

I agree and disagree with this quote. America was far advanced than the Vietminh and Vietcong. But the way that the communist recovered from there loses and that they had already drove France and Japan out. So there guerrilla tactics did work against stronger opponents. Even though the Americans out numbered and killed more the communist were willing to accept loses because they were fighting to free there country and make it one country, whereas the American public didn’t want more and more men to die for a useless cause.

Maybe if the public had of stayed on there side America would of won the war. There were around 2. million Americans which served in Vietnam. Two million of these men were drafted. So only a small part of the army was professionals and the rest of soldiers were men which may have been against the war and have not experience. 48% of them died in the first 3 months. In total 58,000 American soldiers were killed thought out the war in Vietnam. A main part of the army were black because rich people could delay there draft to go to university. But just because the Americans had a lot of men doesn’t mean they were going to win because most of were poorly trained for jungle fighting, 11% of men were killed by booby traps.

Soldiers on patrol didn’t just have enemy ambush to worry about there were booby traps as well. They were cheap, easy to make and very effective against clumsy inexperienced soldiers. Sharpened bamboo stakes hidden in shallow pits covered by leafs and sticks. But what the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong feared the most were bombing raid from the American planes. The Americans had developed a variety of bombs the cluster bomb were called the ‘mother bomb’ by the Vietnamese they exploded in the air and released up to 600 smaller bombs. When one of those hit the ground, it exploded into thousands of metal pellet.

Napalm was a bomb which exploded and showers the surrounding victims with burning petroleum jelly. Napalm sticks to the skin and burns at 800 degrees centigrade. This forced the communist to dig deep tunnels and use them for air-raid shelter. The tunnels around Saigon were up to 320km long. But the bombing raids weren’t always effective as it was hard to find Vietcong bases so they had to use new tactics like operation rolling thunder which continuously bombed north Vietnam was only supposed t only last 3 weeks as the Americans thought the Vietminh would surrender but they didn’t so it went on for a further 3 years.

But the bombing of cities by both sides didn’t have a deceive impact on the war. Another tactic was Search and Destroy. It was a basic idea the American troops would search out the communist and destroy the big enemy forces. But searching and destroying the enemy was one thing, but all to often the enemy couldn’t be founded and this got the American frustrated so they started to burn villages in sum cases the villages had no role in helping the Vietcong, these raids were known as the ‘Zippo’ raid after the lighter.

If the VC couldn’t be founded or be forced into a battle the then the villages would suffer. Chemicals were used in the jungle and on crops to kill the vegetation, so that the VC couldn’t use the jungle as cover. The most used defoliant was Agent Orange it was later discovered that Agent Orange contained a dioxin which caused cancer among those who used it. The Australians also agreed to send troops to Vietnam. The Australians also had a reason to worry about the domino theory.

They feared the spread of communism in South East Asia and by 1969 there were 7000 Australians troops in Vietnam. The Vietcong feared the Australian troops more because they were better jungle fighters than the Americans. Source A is chart to show how many American troops went to Vietnam from 1962 to 1972. The American government had to release all the information on Vietnam because of the ‘freedom of information act’ so we will be able to trust the information on this graph is correct. But it doesn’t say when it was made so we don’t know if its a primary or secondary source.

However the graph has it its limits of usefulness as it doesn’t show how many of the men were drafted into the army and how many were professionals. This source backs up the quote because America had a lot of men in Vietnam had should of won the war. Source B is an account of a napalm attack by the Americans. I think that this source is reliable because it is a primary source an eye witness account and the correspondent is writing for a well respected British newspaper, and Britain aren’t fighting in the war so it won’t be one sided or biased.

Although Britain was friends with America his purpose is to tell the truth about Vietnam to alert Britain. But it is limited there isn’t enough information to tell if there was a battle or if the bombing is successful. This also backs up the quote because it shows the technological advantages over the communist in Vietnam. Source C is an extract from a GCSE textbook; it is to inform students doing GCSE history that guerrilla warfare was effective. As the Vietcong fought a guerrilla war in there own country. They were fighting on home ground and could easily blend in with the rest of the population.

During the daytime they might appear ordinary peasants but at night they would lay mines and ambush American soldiers. This source is most likely to be a secondary evidence as Tony was properly not there. Tony’s interpretation is biased but the evidence isn’t. This source is most likely to be reliable because its for GCSE students so the facts have to be right or he wouldn’t be doing his job properly. But it has its limits because it doesn’t say how many lives weren’t saved and doesn’t give any dates to when they faced the French, Japanese and Americans.

Source D is a North Vietnamese propaganda poster, because it is a pro-communist poster. It’s trying to show the North Vietnamese how hard it is for Americans to find the Vietcong, and that the communist are in control as the can attack at any time and disappear again. This propaganda is getting the North Vietnamese public more supportive. But I would say it is biased towards the communist because it doesn’t show the kill ratio which 10:1 to the Americans. It also doesn’t show that the communist are greatly outnumbered and were losing men at an astonishing rate.

This source disagrees with the quote as it shows the Vietnamese army in control and Americas fire power counts for nothing when it comes to jungle fighting. Source E is a diagram of a Vietcong tunnel system. This source is a reliable source because it is based on real tunnels which are open to the pupils today. The Cuchi tunnel near Saigon is one of the most famous. It is used to show that the Vietcong used what they had available and used it well. They used them to hide from Americans and shelter for air-raids. But not all tunnels were as well designed as this tunnel.

Some offered little protection from the effects of bombs. It also doesn’t say how long they were for example the tunnels that ran round Saigon were 320km. We don’t know if they were all effective because a lot of them were destroyed in air-raids. This also disagrees with the quote as it shows us that the Vietnamese may have not had bombs to attack the American they would create very effective tunnel systems to help them hide from the bombs. Source F is an interview between an American solider and a North Vietnamese General.

It is to inform people about what happened in Vietnam and why the USA left. This source is a primary source because they were both there fighting in the war. I believe it is a reliable source as there is no reason to lie because the war is over and the interview isn’t been censured. But we don’t know if William was drafted or a volunteer and he had changed his mind in Vietnam we don’t know. But the general may of been proud of his work in Vietnam so may be biased towards the communists. But Williams view doesn’t mean the whole of America thought like that maybe that’s just his view on the war.

This source proves and disproves the quote because yes they both agree that America are more powerful but the Vietnamese had “history” on there side as they had previously beaten France and Japan in a guerrilla war. And that they were fighting to become one country, whereas America was fighting “nothing”. Yes the USA should have been successful in Vietnam because they out numbered, had more firepower and were better trained. But they under estimated the Vietnamese and resourcefulness of them and how they could hit and run and make up for there loses. But the USA didn’t use there fire power to there full advantage.

If they had continuously bombed the Vietcong maybe they would have surrendered. But they didn’t know where the Vietcong bases were and some of the tunnels were really well built and was nearly impossible to destroy. The guerrilla tactics also proved very effective against the American soldiers because they weren’t used to fighting in the jungle, and were clumsy and 11% of the men were killed by booby traps. So I agree and disagree with the quote because America should have won the war. But the Vietnamese were suited to the jungle tactics and had already forced out France and Japan previously.