Why the United States Withdrew Its Forces from Vietnam in 1973
The Vietnam War pitted America against Communism and was a classicexample of Cold War conflict.
Before the Second World War Vietnam was part of the French Empire butduring the war the country had been overrun by the Japanese. In 1945 aman named Ho Chi Minh declared independence for Vietnam after theJapanese retreated, however, this was faced by French opposition.After the French were defeated in 1954, Vietnam was split in two alongthe 17th parallel of latitude. The North was Communist, led by Ho ChiMinh and the South was Capitalist, under Ngo Dinh Diem. Diem was afanatical Catholic and as communism hated religion, Diem hated allthat communism stood for. This is why he got America’s support and oneof the reasons why America got involved with Vietnam. Diem’s rule wasin the era of the Domino Theory and anyone who was anti-communist inthe Far East was far more likely to receive American backing. TheDomino Theory was the creation of America’s Secretary of State and hebelieved that if one country was allowed to fall to communism, thecountry next to it would be the next to tumble just as when one dominofalls, the rest go with it if they are connected. In the view ofAmerica, the thought of Vietnam starting the process of turning tocommunism and then spreading it was unacceptable.
The party of Ho Chi Minh was called the Viet Minh and by 1956 theywere becoming more active militarily. Their guerrillas – now calledthe Viet Cong – attacked soft targets in the South and began to mountattacks on rural areas. However, to be successful, the Vietcong (VC)needed…
…drawal, especially put alongside the eventsthat happened in Vietnam. If images of the Tet Offensive or The My LaiMassacre hadn’t have been broadcast across US televisions screens, thepublic wouldn’t have realised the horror of the war, put pressure onthe Government to withdraw and participated in the backing down ofJohnson and the election of Nixon. There are clearly a lot of factorsthat lead up to the withdrawal in 1973, such as the lack of experiencethe American soldiers had, the advanced methods of guerrilla warfareand protests. However, for me, the media relate to the public, whichevidently participated in the actions taken in, and concerning,Vietnam. I believe that the media and the effect this had on Americansat home was the greatest factor contributing to the withdrawal offorces from Vietnam in 1973.