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Why did the US lose the Vietnam War?

The Vietnam War was a failure for the United States. Despite expending more than $141 billion, and 56,000 American lives, the world’s largest military superpower was unable to achieve its sole strategic objective: to prevent Vietnam from falling under communist control. Historians are divided over the reasons that led to US defeat.

Strong Communists defeated the US in the Vietnam War

The Northern Vietnamese communists employed highly effective military strategies to defeat the US and South Vietnamese.

Guerrilla-Style Warfare made the US lose the Vietnam War

The Vietcong were adept at deploying guerrilla-style tactics against the US and South Vietnamese forces.

The US did not know the terrain in the Vietnam

The communists were fighting on home soil. They knew the conditions far better.

The War at Home made the US lose the Vietnam War

The domestic situation in the US meant that successive Presidents had their hands tied and could not dedicate the necessary resources to the war effort.

The US lost the American Public and therefore the Vietnam War

Without the support of the American people, the President could not escalate the war any further.

The “Gold and Dollar” 1968 Economic Crisis contributed to the US losing the Vietnam War

The 1968 Financial Crisis severely limited the financial resources at President Johnson's disposal.

US Strategic Failures caused the loss of the Vietnam War

The communists didn't win the war, the US lost it due to extensive flaws within its war strategy.

The Vietnam War saw a Severely Limited Bombing Campaign

The US government’s bombing campaign across Northern Vietnam was tightly controlled and never given the freedom to strike targets that would cripple communist supply lines.

Losing the Hearts and Minds caused the Vietnam War to fail

The US conduct in Vietnam turned the local population against them, driving many into joining the communists.

The US lost the Vietnam War because of nukes

The US could have won the war at any time if it had deployed atomic weapons.

The US lost the Vietnam War because of Intelligence Failures

The US intelligence in Vietnam left the US forces vulnerable to attack.

The Vietnamese People Are to Blame

The South Vietnamese Government should have done more to help with the war effort. It was their country, their civil war, and ultimately responsibility for defending it must fall on their shoulders.

No South Vietnamese Leader Mobilised the Population

The South Vietnamese Government produced a string of ineffective and incompetent leaders that couldn’t secure the support of the country.

The US lost because the Vietnam War was unwinnable

The Vietnam War was unwinnable from the start.

The Vietnam War was an all-consuming quagmire

The Vietnam war was already lost before President Johnson put troops on the ground in 1965.

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 11:02 UTC