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Autor: anton • December 21, 2010 • 1,997 Words (8 Pages) • 531 Views
Turning Point of Vietnam War.
The Vietnam War was an extension of Cold War -An Ideological conflict between Capitalism and Communism. In this protracted war scores of critical events happened and many proxy wars were fought between Nations belonging either of the Capitalist/ Communist bloc. The contrasting ideas of West and East about Government and economy was the driving force between the than two major forces of the World. The Western Nations were in favor of bringing democratic system of Government and Capitalist economy in the newly liberated Nations whereas, Russia considered it to its right specially on Eastern European countries. United States considered Communist's expansion more threatening in 1949, when Mao communists took control of China. Truman and Acheson inaugurated a plan called "Containment". Through this plan United States sent a message to all the newly liberated Nations and Europe that it will deploy all its resources in defending these Nations against expansionist Communist bloc. Its all-economic, Technical, Military assistances to such countries would be meant to block Communism. It considered Soviet expansion a fear for itself and its Allies. It therefore further made a Master Plan to build the dwindling economies as well as North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In this purview United States continued its involvement in the World politics, to maintain its role as World leader. To show the Third World that United States was willing and capable to standup to communism anywhere in the World.
War in Vietnam had no real beginning and was just escalation of fighting that was going on for centuries. In 1954 Vietnam became independent from the control of French Regime. The two parts of Vietnam i.e. North Vietnam and South Vietnam had two different systems of Government and economy. North was a Communist Government and economy, whereas South, a Capitalist. During 1955-1960, North Vietnam and its Allies tried to conquer the South Vietnam. America thought that supporting South Vietnam in the battle would make America seem reliable and trust worthy. It entered into the war, little by little, piece by piece, over the time. Initially there was no approval, whatsoever, by the United States Congress. But subsequently, in August 1964 US destroyer ' Maddox' was attacked by North Vietnamese Torpedoes, which paved way for free hand to the US president by the Congress. The Congress allowed to escalate and gave powers to wage war. The Resolution was passed unanimously except opposition by one, Wayne Morse, who said, "I believe that within a century, future generation will look at dismay and great disappointment upon a Congress, which is now about to make such a historic mistake". There appeared a flaw in this decision of Congress, i.e. it lacked thorough study about culture and, livings of Vietnamese people besides having geographical and seasonal conditions of that area before carrying out the offensive. America initially mostly relied upon Rolling Thunder, which was a massive demonstration of US firepower and Military Might. But it did little effect due to no Industry or Installations to be destroyed in North Vietnam. The built-up of US forces continued till 1967, when the figure rose to about 500,000. Casualties were considerably increasing without much progress, besides heavy expense. North Vietnam forces were using new techniques of war each time. (John Caussin)
Giap, the General of North Vietnam Army, planned an offensive in the ending quarter of the year 1967, against US and ARVN forces, which vindicated his approach of long, protracted war, win or lose but American would be taught a lesson. This offensive plan was subsequently named as "Tet offensive". The Tet is the Vietnamese Lunar day of the New Year and observed most important holiday in Vietnam. General Giap's plan was a masterpiece and no one knew about it till last moment. There were apparently three main goals behind this plan. One, Create uprising among the South Vietnam against Saigon Government and make a coalition Government to say good bye to US. Secondly, Demonstrate that the Americans claims regarding the successes in war were wrong and thirdly, bring the war to cities of South Vietnam to release the pressure on the countryside. The Vietcong forces announced one week's truce from January 27 to February 3,1968, at the occasion of lunar day of the year in order to fully celebrate it. The US and ARVN (Army of Republic of Vietnam) forces became relaxed to enjoy the truce. Although their intelligence agencies reported to them that there was some troops movements nearby, yet it was taken lightly without doubt of an offense. Westmoreland, the Chief of Staff of US Army thought that there would be no head to head collision and enemy would be beaten back. He thought "Khe-sanh" to be the center of war. He welcomed the showdown. Vietcong fighters violated the temporary truce, they had pledged. (Timothy P. Maga)
"On the night of 31st January 1968, about 70,000 North Vietnamese Troops launched the 'Tet offensive', a greatest campaign in the history". (By Steve Forest.). The Vietcong Guerillas and North Vietnam's troops sunk down into South Vietnam surrounding hundreds of villages, cities and US Military bases. Major part of the plan was a bold attack on US embassy in Saigon. Vietcong and North Vietnam forces expected to take control of South Vietnam and wedge between America and South Vietnamese. Fight continued for about three weeks but none of the Vietcong military objective had been accomplished in the area. They entered into DA-Nang area village, which was full of Marines. There was Air wing Head quarter other side CB base and up Artillery Regiment. Allied forces and US initially considered the fires as crackers at the occasion of New Year's celebrations but they repulsed their attacks with full force and US as well as Vietcong forces suffered heavy casualties. On the 31st January at about 3,a.m, 19 Vietcong Commandos arrived in a taxi at the Radio station and quickly blew their way through the wall, automatic blazing within 5 minutes. They were brought under control but US suffered 4 casualties. They attacked 13 out of 16 Provincial Capitals of Mekong Delta. This Tet offensive continued for about 8 weeks wherein its Allies and US won Militarily. US lost about 4000 lives in 8 weeks offensive. (Gary A. Donaldson)
Now let us see as to how far General Giap succeeded in achieving the above stated objectives behind the offensive? Communists failed in achieving their first goal. Due to of lack of planning to retreat/withdraw they suffered heavy casualties. They however succeeded in expanding their control in urban areas. The attack created