Why was the Vietnam War lost?

morsk

LE
Because come the end the americans were fighting their own kids?
 
Moot. It's unclear if the Southern Vietnamese people actually wanted the Northern administration.
I never said they did. It's clear from their reluctance to support it that they didn't want the US-sponsored one they were given when the French pulled out.

It's as if the US hadn't learned anything from Korea.
 
I never said they did. It's clear from their reluctance to support it that they didn't want the US-sponsored one they were given when the French pulled out.

It's as if the US hadn't learned anything from Korea.
But the alternative was what? Bear in mind the mentality of the time
 
But the alternative was what?
A government chosen by the Vietnamese, what with democracy and all.
Bear in mind the mentality of the time
The mentality at the time (and not just in SEA) was, "who cares if they're a bastard so long as they're our bastard."

Didn't work out well at all, did it?
 
Given the US's war aims, I doubt that would have resulted in them winning. A good 'mission accomplished' moment at best.

They'd still have had to deal with the Republic of Vietnam's government being wholly incapable of running their country effectively or even extending their writ beyond the barrel of an American gun.
Well I guess now we'll never know if it would have gone the way you suggest it might have. I agree though that having to deal with the Government in the South would have been a nightmare.

Given the anti war feelings back home, I reckon the Americans would have tried fixing things and then said okay it's up to you folks now don't mess it up because we're not coming back again.

Like I said already though, who knows.
 
A government chosen by the Vietnamese, what with democracy and all.

The mentality at the time (and not just in SEA) was, "who cares if they're a bastard so long as they're our bastard."

Didn't work out well at all, did it?
You do see what I did there in anticipation of your answer. I seem to recall that the concept of a democratic choice would never have been tolerated in those days. It simply wasn’t an option other than the status quo. We can’t rewrite history.
 
Vietnamisation… Yes, that worked.

Well it did for there bank accounts of the ruling elites in SVN as they sold off or thieved almost everything financial or otherwise the US put into Vietnam.

Having said that, President Thieu wasn't all bad, after all, it was said of him '(he) was arguably a more honest and decent man than Lyndon Johnson'.

And a fitting full stop to the Vietnam War - Premier and a dozen other jobs and utterly corrupt Cao Ky, the chap in the sunglasses, ended up running a booze store in exile in the US.
 
A decent article which addresses a lot of the shortcomings.

 
You do see what I did there in anticipation of your answer.
Yes, I did but the question was "the alternative was what?", not "what permissible alternative was there?"

Standing up behind their justification for being in Vietnam in the first place was an option: they chose supporting the unpopular, incompetent and corrupt anti-Communist instead.
 
Yes, I did but the question was "the alternative was what?", not "what permissible alternative was there?"

Standing up behind their justification for being in Vietnam in the first place was an option: they chose supporting the unpopular, incompetent and corrupt anti-Communist instead.
Well we all know that FP is carried out with pegs on noses, but one has to ask oneself if that was a bad decision at the time. The point was it was to prevent further incursions of Communism and whichever way you slice it that is still the US’s policy in relation China and North Korea.
 
Well we all know that FP is carried out with pegs on noses, but one has to ask oneself if that was a bad decision at the time. The point was it was to prevent further incursions of Communism and whichever way you slice it that is still the US’s policy in relation China and North Korea.
as noted before, the Americans were fighting nationalists.
 
It’s not a competition. It does say volumes for the character of your senior politicians though.
Indeed it does, but when a real heroes (Lt. Bob Dole 10th Mountain div, Lt Jg GW Bush USNR) ran for POTUS people voted for the draft dodger (Bill Clinton)
 
I think Ho Chi Minh told the French - in 1945/6 - that the VM would accept a sort of 'protected' status for Indochina. Internal affairs would be left to the local population, with France maintaining military bases, overseeing Indochina's foreign affairs, etc. France couldn't see the writing on the wall and I wonder whether the French felt it necessary to demonstrate that the defeats of WW2 were of the past? It was a huge missed opportunity and of course very costly in terms of lost lives.
Probably one reason the French took such a hard line in Algeria shortly afterwards.
 
A certain USN officer resigned his commission to run for fir congress
Having secured Texas he had the honour to succeed a fellow pacific officer in the big chair only to be replace by another Pacific officer who swore a lot
LBJ is a case of classic stolen valor

As a USN officer in the SWPA he was to fly as an observer on a B-26 Bombing mission over Salamaua, New Guinea. The aircraft he was supposed to flying was named "Wabash Cannonball" #40-1499. just before the takeoff LBJ got out to drain the snake and a Army Colonel replaced him. So he got into B-26 "Heckling Hare" # 40-1488 of the 19th Bombardment sqn.

the crew
Pilot 1st Lt. Walter H. Greer
Co-Pilot P/O G. B. Robertson (RAAF)
Navigator 2nd Lt. B. B. Boothe
Bombardier Sgt C. A. McCredie
Engineer/Top turret Pfc H. G. Brown
Radio Sgt L. H. Walker
Tail Gunner Sgt B. E. Newhouse
Passenger Commander Lyndon B. Johnson (USN)



Before the Marauder made it over enemy lines she developed magneto trouble and aborted. LBJ was awarded a Silver Star medal for gallantry for the mission. No Enemy were sighted, not a round fired and no awards to any of the crew

Wabash Cannonball was shot down with no survivors


LBJ used to have the medal re awarded during his post war congressional campaign stops
 
They weren't, POTUS asked Harold Wilson for British troops, he declined POTUS replied" Don't expect any help from us in the future"............
The US didn't want formal British military support. What they wanted and got was covert political support to prevent interference by the Soviet Union through the Geneva Agree,emt. Britain was chair of the Geneva Agreement and both the UK and the USA were completely aware that the numbers of troops being committed to Vietnam broke the international agreement for such things. Britain's primary role, supported also by the South Vietnamese, was to ensure that Russia did not get the 'chair' to move towards an investigation. The following is extracted from a paper on released files from the UK National Archives:

The British government has never admitted that British forces fought in Vietnam, yet the files confirm that they did, even though several remain censored. In August 1962, the Military Attache in Saigon, Colonel Lee, wrote to the War Office in London attaching a report by someone whose name is censored but who is described as an advisor to the Malayan government. This advisor proposed that an SAS team be sent to Vietnam. Lee said that was unacceptable owing to Britain’s position as Co-Chair of the Geneva Agreement but then wrote:

Other covert aid provided by Britain included secret British air flights from Hong Kong to deliver arms, especially napalm and five-hundred-pound bombs.
‘However, this recommendation might be possible to implement if the personnel are detached and given temporary civilian status, or are attached to the American Special Forces in such a manner that their British military identity is lost in the US Unit. However the Americans are crying out for expert assistance in this field and are extremely enthusiastic that [one inch of text censored] should join them. He really is an expert, full of enthusiasm, drive and initiative in dealing with these primitive peoples and I hope that he will be given full support and assistance in this task’.
The British provision of arms to the US for use in Vietnam was done in the knowledge that it breached the Geneva Agreements. In September 1965 the Foreign Office agreed to export 300 bombs intended for the US Air Force ‘for use in Vietnam’, saying that ‘there must be no publicity’ and that ‘delivery should be in the UK’. The previous month the Foreign Secretary had agreed to provide the US with 200 armoured personnel carriers for use in Vietnam ‘providing that delivery took place in Europe’ and that there was ‘no unavoidable publicity’.
 
For my money, the war being lost in Washington was down to Washington having opted to fight for the Vietnamese government they wanted instead of the Vietnamese government the Vietnamese wanted.

The Soviets and PRC were arguably doing the same, the main differences being they were not committed in any scale and that their choice of government was headed by people who had reputations as Vietnamese patriots from the anti-colonial wars.
Apparently over 2 Million fled in boats and overland because the North was NOT the government they wanted. tens of thousand of others were sent to reeducation camps
 
as noted before, the Americans were fighting nationalists.
Like in 1941-45
Italian Nationalists
German Nationalists
Japanese Nationalists
Even Vichy French Nationalists
 
An interesting comparison in Rodric Braithwaite's Afghantsy on the Soviet Afghan war was the demographics of the conscript troops were very similar to the US's in Vietnam. In both cases, large numbers of connected kids avoided the draft through family influence while the urban middle classes had various schemes of their own.

The bulk of the troops who went were urban working class and - disproportionately high in both settings - rural kids from Nowhereville and Nigdegrad.
Soviet leadership tried (though without any success) an interesting tactics. There is a lot of Tadjiks and Uzbeks in Afghanistan and millions of them lived in the Soviet union. There were the whole military units in the Soviet armed forces formed strictly on an ethnical ground. The idea was simple - The Afghans (especially in Northern Afghanistan would regard the Soviet army not as just foreign invaders but as their 'brothers'. But these efforts appeared to be fruitless.
 
Like in 1941-45
Italian Nationalists
German Nationalists
Japanese Nationalists
Even Vichy French Nationalists
There is a big difference between nationalists that are ready to fight and die and ones that are ready to surrender.
Also there is profound difference between WW2 and the war in Vietnam.
Japan attacked the USA and Germany itself unleashed the war.
By contrast Vietnam didn't attack the USA ... though there was so called Tonkin incident
that was used as a justification of in fact American aggression.
 
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But the alternative was what? Bear in mind the mentality of the time
The alternative was to allow fall of puppet regime in Saigon and following domino effect in the region.
Of course it was unacceptable for Washington.
 

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