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The reasons of the initial american support of the vietnam war and changes thereafter

U.S. withdraws from Vietnam

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. June 2012 Learn how and when to remove this template message President Johnson had already appointed General William C. Under Westmoreland, the expansion of American the reasons of the initial american support of the vietnam war and changes thereafter strength in South Vietnam took place. American forces rose from 16,000 during 1964 to more than 553,000 by 1969.

They were joined by the Republic of KoreaThailandand [[the Philippines the Philippines[ citation needed ]]]. Meanwhile, political affairs in Saigon were finally settling down — at least as far as the Americans were concerned. Thieu and Ky were elected and remained in office for the duration of the war. In the presidential election of 1971, Thieu ran for the presidency unopposed. With the advent of Rolling Thunder, American airbases and facilities needed to be constructed and manned for the aerial effort[ citation needed ].

On May 5 the U. Army ground unit committed to the conflict in South Vietnam. On August 18, Operation Starlite began as the first major U.

The North Vietnamese had already sent units of their regular army into southern Vietnam beginning in late 1964. Some officials in Hanoi had favored an immediate invasion of the South, and a plan was developed to use PAVN units to split southern Vietnam in half through the Central Highlands[ citation needed ].

The two imported adversaries first faced one another during Operation Silver Bayonet, better known as the Battle of the Ia Drang. During the savage fighting that took place, both sides learned important lessons.

The North Vietnamese, began to adapt to the overwhelming American superiority in air mobility, supporting arms, and close air support by moving in as close as possible during confrontations, thereby negating the effects of the above[ citation needed ]. Search and destroy, the strategy of attrition[ edit ] President Lyndon B. In a series of meetings between Westmoreland and the President held in Honolulu in February 1966, Westmoreland claimed that the U. The issue then became in what manner American forces would be used[ citation needed ].

The nature of the American military's strategic and tactical decisions made during this period coloured the conflict for the duration of the American commitment. The logistical system in Laos and Cambodia should be cut by ground forces, isolating the southern battlefield[ citation needed ]. However, political considerations limited U. Ever present in the minds of diplomats, military officers, and politicians was the possibility of a spiraling escalation of the conflict into a superpower confrontation and the possibility of a nuclear exchange.

Therefore, there would be no invasion of North Vietnam, the "neutrality" of Laos and Cambodia would be respected, and Rolling Thunder would not resemble the bombing of Germany and Japan during the Second World War. These limitations were not foisted upon the military as an afterthought. Before the first U. Westmoreland believed that he had found a strategy that would either defeat North Vietnam or force it into serious negotiations. Attrition was to be the key. It is widely held that the average U.

This compares with 26 years of age for those who participated in World War II. Soldiers served a one-year tour of duty. The average age of the U. As one observer put it, "we were not in Vietnam for 10 years, but for one year 10 times. Unlike soldiers in World War II and Korea, there were no secure rear areas in which to get rest and relaxation. He said, "One of the biggest reasons that a lot of GIs do get high over here is there is nothing to do. This place is really a drag; it's a bore over here.

Like right now sitting around here, we are getting loaded. Whereas, it doesn't really get you messed up; that's I guess the main reason why we smoke it. In the backcountry the U. The cleaning-out of the NLF and the pacification of the villages would be the responsibility of the South Vietnamese military. The adoption of this strategy, however, brought Westmoreland into direct conflict with his Marine Corps commander, General Lewis W.

Waltwho had already recognized the security of the villages as the key to success. Walt had immediately commenced pacification efforts in his area of responsibility, but Westmoreland was unhappy, believing that the Marines were being underutilized and fighting the wrong enemy.

In the end, MACV won out and Westmoreland's search and destroy concept, predicated on the attrition of enemy forces, won the reasons of the initial american support of the vietnam war and changes thereafter day.

Both sides chose similar strategies. PAVN, which had been operating a more conventional, large-unit war, switched back to small-unit operations in the face of U. The struggle moved to the villages, where the "hearts and minds" of the South Vietnamese peasants, whose cooperation was absolutely necessary to military success, would be won or lost. For the American soldier, whose doctrine was one of absolute commitment to total victory, this strategy led to a frustrating small-unit war.

Most of the combat was conducted by units smaller than battalion -size the majority at the platoon level. Since the goal of the operations was to kill the enemy, terrain was not taken and held as in previous wars. Savage fighting and the retreat of the communists was immediately followed by the abandonment of the terrain just seized. Combined with this was the anger and frustration engendered among American troops by the effective tactics of the NLF, who conducted a war of snipingbooby traps, mines, and terror against the Americans.

As a result of the conference held in Honolulu, President Johnson authorized an increase in troop strength to 429,000 by August 1966.

The large increase in troops enabled MACV to carry out numerous operations that grew in size and complexity during the next two years. During the Vietnam War, the use of the helicopter, known as "Air Mobile", was an essential tool for conducting the war. In fact, the whole conduct and strategy of the war depended on it.

Vietnam was the first time the helicopter was used on a major scale, and in such important roles. Search and destroy missions, for example, would have been nearly impossible without it. Helicopters allowed American commanders to move large numbers of troops to virtually anywhere, regardless of the terrain or roads. Troops could also be easily resupplied in remote areas. The helicopter also provided another new and vital capability: It could fly wounded soldiers to aid stations very quickly, usually within the critical first hour.

This gave wounded soldiers a higher chance of survival in Vietnam than in any previous war.

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The helicopter was also adapted for many other roles in Vietnam, including ground attack, reconnaissance, and electronic warfare. Without the helicopter, the war would have been fought very differently. This willingness of the communists to remain fixed in place inspired MACV to send reinforcements from other sectors of South Vietnam.

The Border Battles had begun. To threaten this flow of supplies, the Marine Corps established a combat base on the South Vietnamese side of the Laotian frontier, near the village of Khe Sanh. Westmoreland also hoped to use the base as a jump-off point for any future incursion against the Trail system in Laos. These small unit actions and increasing intelligence information indicated that the PAVN was building up significant forces just across the border. Indeed, PAVN was doing just that.

Two regular divisions and later elements of a third were moving toward Khe Sanh, eventually surrounding the base and cutting off its only road access. Westmoreland, contrary to the advice of his Marine commanders, reinforced the outpost.

Role of the United States in the Vietnam War

As far as he was concerned, if the communists were willing to mass their forces for destruction by American air power, so much the better.

He described the ideal outcome as a " Dien Bien Phu in reverse". Another massive aerial effort was undertaken to keep the beleaguered Marines supplied.

There were many comparisons by the media, Americans military and political officials, and the North Vietnamese to the possibility of PAVN staging a repeat of its victory at Dien Bien Phu, but the differences outweighed the similarities in any comparison.

A sensor-driven, anti-infiltration system known as Operation Igloo White was in the process of being field tested in Laos as the siege of Khe Sanh began. Westmoreland ordered that it be employed to detect PAVN troop movements near the Marine base and the system worked well.

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By March, the long-awaited ground assault against the base had failed to materialize and communist forces began to melt back toward Laos. MACV and future historians were left with only questions. What was the goal of the PAVN?

Was the siege a real attempt to stage another Dien Bien Phu? Or had the battles near the border which eventually drew in half of MACV's maneuver battalions been a diversion, meant to pull forces away from the cities, where another PAVN offensive would soon commence? These forces, ranging in size from small groups to entire regiments, attacked nearly every city and major military installation in South Vietnam.

The Americans and South Vietnamese, initially surprised by the scope and scale of the offensive, quickly responded and inflicted severe casualties on their enemies. The NLF was essentially eliminated as a fighting force and the places of the dead within its ranks were increasingly filled by North Vietnamese.

During the occupation of the historic city, 2,800 South Vietnamese were murdered by the NLF in the single worst massacre of the conflict. The hoped-for uprising never took place; indeed, the offensive drove some previously apathetic South Vietnamese to fight for the government. Another surprise for the communists was that the ARVN did not collapse under the onslaught, instead turning in a performance that pleased even its American patrons.

After the Tet Offensive, influential news magazines and newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, Time and The New York Times, increasingly began to characterize the war as a stalemate. What shocked and dismayed the American public was the realization that either it had been lied to or that the American military command had been dangerously overoptimistic in its appraisal of the situation in Vietnam. The public could not understand how such an attack was possible after being told for several years that victory was just around the corner.

The Tet Offensive came to embody the growing credibility gap at the heart of U. These realizations and changing attitudes forced the American public and politicians to face hard realities and to reexamine their position in Southeast Asia.

It also massively weakened the domestic support for the Johnson administration at the time [29].