13 April 2023

What is the Vietnam War? – Reason, type of war and consequences of the Vietnam War

By Donald

The Vietnam War was an armed conflict that It happened between 1955 and 1975. It was the result of a fight for the independence and unification of Vietnam, which later turned into an ideological struggle between the communist forces of the North and the capitalists of the South, with the support of the United States and other countries in the region.

What was the Vietnam War about?

It was a military conflict that took place in the Southeast Asia, in North and South Vietnam. The combat involved the United States military. This supported South Vietnam in its fight against the communist government of North Vietnam and its ally, the National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam (known as the Viet Cong).

The fight started as a result of the Cold War, in which the United States was in an ideological and military struggle against the expansion of communism in the world. In Vietnam, the United States government considered that the fight against the ideology of Karl Marx was essential to protect its interests in the region. It began sending troops and military advisers to South Vietnam in the 1950s.

However, the war turned into a protracted and costly conflict for the United States, it faced strong resistance from the Army of the Republic of North Vietnam and the Viet Cong. The war also generated growing opposition in the country, both from public opinion and from the soldiers themselves, who began to question the legitimacy and strategy of the battle.

The Vietnam War was notorious for the use of guerrilla tactics, in addition, the use of the jungle as a combat ground, which made it difficult for either side to win. It was also the scene of atrocities and human rights violations, such as the use of chemical agents and the massacres of civilians as part of the “destruction of villages” strategy by US forces.

In the end, the war ended in 1975 with the victory of the North Vietnamese army, who managed to unify the country under a communist regime. This combat left hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded, both civilians and military, in addition, it generated a profound impact on the social history and American politics, which took years to recover from the effects of the fight.

What was the reason for the Vietnam War?

It began as a result of a complex series of political, economic and military factors, that developed over several decades in Vietnam and the Southeast Asian region.

One of the most important factors was the Cold War, the ideological and military struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union for world domination in the post-World War II period. In this context, the United States sought to contain the spread of communism in the world, therefore, it became involved in order to support South Vietnam, which opposed the Marxist government of North Vietnam.

In addition, the division of the country into two separate states, the south and the north, after the Indochina war (1954-1955), had created political and military tension in the region. The United States government feared that the spread of communism could spread to other countries in Southeast Asia, leading to an escalation in the conflict.

Another factor that contributed to the war was instability in South Vietnam, In addition, the struggle for power between different groups and the military. The South Vietnamese government was in crisis and faced opposition from a significant part of the population, especially from the Buddhist community.

What kind of war is the Vietnam War?

This conflict it is considered a guerrilla and counterinsurgency battle. On the one hand, it was a war of armed groups because the North Vietnamese forces, the Viet Cong and other insurgent collectives adopted combat tactics. These involved the use of small mobile units that attacked and harassed enemy forces. Then they retreated through the jungle and the network of underground tunnels.

On the other hand, it was also a counterinsurgency war, because US and Southern forces were fighting, this in order to try to disrupt the Viet Cong insurgency and its support network in citizens. To do this, they developed strategies to control and monitor the population. Such as, for example, the creation of fortified villages, the control of movements and the conduct of search and destroy operations in areas considered hostile.

In addition, the dispute included the use of the aviation, helicopters and heavy artillery. This makes it a modern warfare, in which sophisticated weapons and tactics were used.

Why did the United States lose the Vietnam War?

There are many reasons why the United States failed. Here are some of the main reasons why this happened:

  • Lack of Popular Support: The Dispute it did not have sufficient support in the United States. Many Americans opposed and protested against it. Popular pressure forced political leaders to reconsider their position in combat.
  • War of Attrition: The North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong they adopted a battle of exhaustion strategy. This meant that they were not looking for a decisive military victory, but rather to deteriorate American and Southern forces. In such a way that they created a climate of uncertainty and emotional exhaustion in the American public opinion.
  • Ground conditions: The jungle and dense vegetation of Vietnam made difficult mobility and use of American technology, which allowed the Vietnamese fighters to hide and move with ease.
  • Logistical problems: There was not a very good organization of the American troops, this due to the geography and climatic conditions of the country. This increased the cost and difficulty sustaining a large-scale military operation.
  • Lack of Cultural Understanding: Americans did not fully understand culture and society Vietnamese. This limited their ability to win the support of the population, as well as understand the nature of the conflict.

Causes of the Vietnam War

This had its roots in the struggle for independence and the unification of Vietnam, which had been a French colony since the late 19th century. As the struggle for independence intensified, a Marxist movement emerged led by the Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, who had founded the Communist Party of Vietnam in 1930.

After the Second World War, the French tried to restore their control over Vietnam, which led to combat between the North Vietnamese army, led by Ho Chi Minh, and the French army. In 1954, after a major battle at Dien Bien Phu, the French were unsuccessful and the Geneva Agreement was signed, dividing Vietnam in two, creating a communist North and a capitalist South, and establishing unified elections for 1956.

However, the year 1962 arrived and the votes never took place, Concerned about the spread of communism in the region, the United States began supporting the government of the South and sending military advisers.

In 1964, it was alleged that US ships fell victim to an attack in the Gulf of Tonkin by Northern forces, prompting the US Congress to authorize President Lyndon B. Johnson to take military action in Vietnam. From then on, US military participation intensified, it had a strong moment of battles in 1973 and the war lasted until 1975.

What are the main consequences of the Vietnam War?

This conflict had serious results both for Vietnam and for the United States and the international community. Here are some of the main consequences:

  • Deaths and injuries: The war caused the death of about 3 million Vietnamese and more than 58,000 US soldiers. In addition, many were injured or suffered from war-related illnesses. Among these including Agent Orange, a herbicide used by the United States.
  • Destruction and displacement: The conflict caused a great annihilation in vietnam and transport millions of people. An estimated 10% of the Vietnamese population was displaced as a result of the dispute.
  • Political changes: This battle caused significant changes in Vietnam and the United States. In Vietnam, the communist North took control of the country and established a unified government in 1975. In the United States, the conflict sparked massive protests and a great social divide.
  • Loss of Trust in Government: The Vietnam War made many Americans distrust the country, in addition, in its capacity to handle international conflicts.
  • Changes in US foreign policy: The Vietnam War led the United States to rethink your way of intervening, Therefore, the United States asked itself, what do we do? and they adopted a more prudent and multilateral approach in the management of international conflicts.