American Involvement In Vietnam

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The Cold War can be seen as the root of America’s involvement in Vietnam. The US followed a strict policy of containment as implemented by President Truman. This policy stated that the United States would supply financial aid to any country that was under the threat of becoming communist.
At first, the US was only indirectly involved in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese were tiring of being under colonialist rule and therefore came into conflict with France, who had colonised their country in the late 1800s. They were thus known as French Indochina. During the early 1900s pro-independence movements emerged in Vietnam, under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh. He founded a radical nationalist organisation called the Viet Minh. At the end of WWII, Ho declared
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The Vietcong was dependant on the Ho Chi Minh trail for supplies such as ammunition and arms. Their other needs were met inside South Vietnam.
The main Vietcong units consisted of full-time soldiers in uniform. These soldiers were used to conduct offensives of a large scale over very large terrain. There were local forces which operated full-time too, but only in their own districts. When needed, these forces would combine for large scale attacks.
Guerrilla tactics was their main style of combat. It is defined by dictionary.com as the use of hit-and-run tactics by small, mobile groups of irregular forces operating in territory controlled by a hostile, regular force. They also made use of booby traps such as the “Punji traps” which were sharp spikes hidden in quarries and could easily disable an enemy soldier. These traps were often contaminated on purpose to increase the risk of
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A devastating tactic used was Agent Orange. This was a herbicide meant to destroy crops and expose the enemy supply line. This led to many areas becoming unliveable and caused mutations and diseases in many Vietnamese people.
Another tactic used was the “Search and destroy” (S&D) method. This method was unsuccessful. Firstly, there was no clear division between “Search and Destroy” and “Clear and Hold” (another type of military tactic less brutal than S&D). As the war became more aggressive, the “clear and hold” tactics eventually became just as brutal as “Search and Destroy. Secondly, during S&D, US patrols were expected to search homes for the Vietcong and this made the soldiers visible and easy to ambush.
As a result of the unsuccessfulness of S&D, the American soldiers became frustrated at the fact that their advanced military weapons and technology was not working. The product of their frustration was the My Lai Massacre of 1968 in which as any as 500 unarmed civilians were viciously attacked and murdered by USA army soldiers. U.S. troops in a slum in Saigon during the Tet offensive, Feb 1968. ~ Vietnam War source:

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