Reasons Behind United States' Withdrawal of Forces From Vietnam in 1973

Reasons Behind United States' Withdrawal of Forces From Vietnam in 1973
In 1973, US troops were withdrawn from service in Vietnam after peace talks in Paris. The Paris peace agreement drawn up that year stated that all US troops should be withdrawn and that the North would recognise the South Vietnamese government. This treaty marked the end of the war, at least for America, and was the apparent cause for the withdrawal of troops. However, this treaty is not the only reason that troops were withdrawn, many circumstances led up to this agreement and these also played key roles in the US decision to vacate troops. Democracy in the United States was an important cause, which along with others led to the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam in 1973. Public support is a vital consideration in any democratic system of government and the US democracy meant the lack of public support for the war demanded a swift end to the conflict. Although public support for the war had been lacking from the very beginning, it was particularly evident during the later stages, when mass protests were organised.
In 1971, just two years before the withdrawal, over 300,000 people participated in the Veterans? March and many smaller demonstrations took place around the country. The freedom of speech that comes with democracy allowed people to voice their opinions around the country and pressured the government to bring an end to the war. The US government is democratic and therefore should speak for the people. It is due to this democracy that the American people were able to pressure the government to do as the mass wished: to withdraw American troops. The Tet Offensive of 1968 forced the US public to realise that the war was not as one sided as they had been led to believe. From the beginning, public opinion had been minimal so it was important that the US forces were seen to be winning the battle. War coverage on the press and on television had earlier given the American people the impression that a US victory was imminent, it was the Tet Offensive that influenced the public to believe the war should be ended as quickly as possible. This surprise attack proved the strength of the nva and dispelled any misconceptions of their dedication. The offensive was a vital event that led to mass support for a withdrawal, the democracy meant that this opinion had to be reflected by the governments actions and therefore was a serious cause of the withdrawal of forces. The strength of the nva and Vietminh were a significant cause of the 1973 withdrawal. Perhaps one of the biggest problems that the US faced was the fact that the Vietcong were fighting using guerrilla tactics: fighting on a small scale, taking independent, irregular actions. The Vietcong depended on stealth, concealment, and surprise attacks and ambushes. Unlike conventional wars in which the Americans may have fought, the war in Vietnam had no defined front lines. This meant great difficulties for the American soldiers and led to a collapse in moral throughout the army, which contributed to the decision for a US withdrawal. The strengths of the opposition were also a serious problem because it encouraged brutality amongst the Americans which via media coverage was revealed to the American public. An example of this is the ?My Lai massacre? in1968, where almost an entire village, including women and children, was wiped out by US soldiers who suspected them of being Vietcong sympathizers. This not only led to massive public disapproval of the war but also led to the withdrawal of troops via the electing of a new president. This factor triggered many of the most important deciding events in the war, including the change from Johnson to Roosevelt: known to be a man dedicated to the ending of the war, thus acting as a prominent cause of the withdrawal. The arising of Nixon as president was an important cause of the withdrawal of forces from Vietnam. Nixon?s success in the elections in 1968 was largely down to his promise to end the war. His pledge was likely to have been influenced by the desire of the American people; it was because of this election promise that Nixon had to order a withdrawal of troops. Had Nixon not been voted into presidency, the Vietnamese war could have lasted a lot longer but due to the democracy of the country and Nixon coming to power the withdrawal of troops was foreseeable. The brutality that the US army used combined with media portrayal of the war led to severe doubts about the war amongst the American people. Not only the well publicised My Lai incident but also many photographs and graphic descriptions were exposed to the public in America. Much of the media coverage of the war was very one-sided and tended to focus on the brutality involved in the war. Compared to the US losses the massive loss of Vietnamese life shocked the public. Many protests followed the uncovered My Lai massacre and the brutality became extended into the usa itself. In May 1970 a violent protest ended in the fatal shooting of four students and many others injured. A public outcry at the barbarity in Vietnam and that used on anti-war demonstrators forced the government to speed up the process of ending the war. This lack of compassion was covered to a great extent in the media triggering protests and mass uprising, which ultimately led to the withdrawal of forces in 1973. The public demand for an end to the fighting was the most significant cause of the withdrawal of US troops in 1973. The democratic system of government meant that public opinion had to be listened to and was the main reason the troops were called home. The government could not ignore the countless protests, and the moral amongst troops was severely dampened by the news of American public opinion of the war. It was felt by the public that Americans were dying for no real reason and that the war was merely a waste of life, this widespread opinion meant the government had no choice but to withdraw troops. The lack of moral meant the army was not performing as well as it could so it was only a matter of time before the troops would have to be withdrawn. The peace talks were really only an excuse for the US to withdraw troops, by the end of the war it was widely felt that America should never have got involved. It was mainly down to public opinion because without support the US government could not justify prolonging the war. The democracy of the country was a necessary cause for public opinion to hold such a dramatic effect on the outcome, but the support for the end of a war was the vital cause. The rising of Nixon as president was merely an effect of public opinion and although an important cause would have been unlikely to occur if not for his campaign promises. All the causes stated contributed to troops returning to America but public support for a withdrawal was undoubtedly the most important cause.

Reasons Behind United States' Withdrawal of Forces From Vietnam in 1973 7.6 of 10 on the basis of 2972 Review.