Academic Master

Education, English

Why did America Lose the Vietnam War?

The Political Reason:

The South Vietnamese government was faction-driven, undemocratic, and corrupt at the time of war. It proved incapable of providing its people and army with a cause worth fighting a battle as big as the Vietnam War. The Communists were much more successful in comparison to the United States and the future happiness of the people of Vietnam.

The government persuaded millions of them to support and die for it while keeping them in the trance of a bright future; it promised to reform the corrupt socio-economic system. The government whipped up a national sentiment against the American Imperialists. On the other hand, The American President has committed its military to war without having a clear plan of action. He deliberately misled the Americans about the cost and duration of the war and kept them ignorant of the bleak realities of Vietnam.

The Military Reason:

The South Vietnamese people hid the Communist guerrillas, thus making it harder for the American and Vietnamese soldiers to fight them. They were rarely able to fight them and could only grope after the elusive enemy. Furthermore, they had to fight them on their terms if the soldiers ever got the chance. The Vietnamese troops outnumbered the American soldiers from the beginning despite the fact they started pouring into the country in 1965.

The Economic Reason:

The South Vietnamese soldiers were well-supplied with firearms and other advanced weapons. Thanks to helicopters and transport planes, they enjoyed considerable mobility during the war. The Americans would have won the war if they had fully mobilized their national power. However, it would have resulted in calling up the Reserves, raising taxes, and other sacrifices. Therefore, the American government restrained from doing so.

The Psychological Reason:

According to the revisionists’ point of view, the failure of America in the Vietnam War has a psychological base. The victory could only be brought forward on the land if the American political leaders had maintained their support with the decision of war. At the end of the United States, there was an absence of presidential cheerleading. The Pentagon had no idea about the timeline of the war. However, contrary to America’s attitude, the Vietnamese attitude towards the war played a decisive role in this failure. Popular support for Communism started in the United States and declined as the war in Vietnam kept dragging on, whereas there was no popular support for the concept of war in Vietnam. Moreover, they always supported the economic system under Communism. A large part of the society favored Communists. However, the South Vietnamese soldiers had a weak will to fight. This shortcoming was never overcome.

The Technological Reason:

The media played a critical role in painting the picture of the Vietnam War in the eyes of both the Vietnamese and the Americans. Mediums such as newspapers and television were used to inform the public about the progress of the war. These mediums shaped the views of the war and the American soldiers in the manner they viewed themselves. Some of the media channels emphasized the fearlessness, strength, and dignity of the American soldiers, whereas the other focused on showing the suffering and anguish of the Vietnamese soldiers. Thus, a stereotype of a soldier’s life was built by the media because those at home knew nothing about it. On returning to their homes, the soldiers were frustrated and annoyed by the strange behaviors of their families. There was a lack of the process of adjustment because the media created hype around the Vietnam War with profit-maximization purposes. The process of self-identification among the soldiers was hampered, too.



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