Vietnam Study

Topics: History

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Last updated: November 9, 2019

The USA should have been successful in Vietnam because of its technological and military supremacy. However the USA failed to use this supremacy efficiently to defeat a smaller less advanced enemy? Do you agree or disagree with this interpretation? Explain your answer using sources D-K and knowledge from your studies.

I agree that America failed to use its supremacy to defeat a smaller less advanced country, Vietnam. We can see this from the fact that the US was able to help defeat the Nazis, the Japanese and Koreans before Vietnam, and those countries were much more developed than Vietnam.In this essay I will express my feelings on the Vietnam War using facts and my own opinions to prove that the US failed to use their supremacy effectively. Firstly, Source D shows us a bar chart showing the amount of US Troops in Vietnam, we can say it is reliable because it is based on fact and is very similar to ones in our text books, however it has no details showing where it comes from so it cant be useful in that sense, but we can easily double check and see that it is aligned with other charts of the same standing.We can see that after the 1968-69 Tet Offensive, a lot of Us Troops came to Vietnam to support the NVA and we can see the dramatic fall of troops after the Offensive going down from 500,000 to a mere 20-40,000 range. This source is one sided towards the Americans because it has no information about the amount of Dead US or Vietcong troops, nor does it show the amount of Vietcong in comparison to amount of US, that could show to us that the US was losing to a smaller, less advanced army, but because it doesn’t show them in the chart, thus making it useless in the case of ‘Is America Superior? .Another point to prove that this source is not that useful is that it doesn’t show the quality of the Vietcong nor their US counterparts, whereas the US troops were being conscripted and being poorly trained, and the Vietnamese were volunteering and were trained better, and knew their country well enough to take part in guerrilla warfare, I would also like to mention that the US conscripts normally fell below the US army’s average and has little understanding and motivation for the war in Vietnam, while the Vietnamese where motivated by the war because it was for their right to freedom.So in my opinion I think Source D is not that useful, because it lacks information, it has no mention of the American superiority, it only shows that America thought that ‘Might was right’ and they had quantity not quality.

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Secondly, Source E shows the US actions at the time of the Gulf of Tonkin incident; again it shows no information about where the source comes from.However it does show US Attacks that happened due to the incident, however there is no defensive or offensive Vietcong attacks shown, which makes the source biased towards the Americans, however it successfully shows that the US was able to initiate swift attacks in only a sort amount of time, however most of the attacks had been planned before hand in-case of emergency. While the source shows the US using technology (Planes and more advanced weapons) and military superiority it doesn’t show how effective and the results these attacks had, also it doesn’t show the Communist backing the NVA was receiving from the USSR and China.Source F tells us what Saturation/Carpet bombing was like during the Vietnam War by the B-52 Bombers, this source has no name on it, so we don’t know whose side it comes from, however by the context we can guess that it is American. The source does not mention why carpet bombing was used and how it was used, it only mentions the effects of it. We can use this source to back up the claim that the US was more advanced because of the power they had, however the source doesn’t back up the military supremacy part of the question, because it doesn’t show that American used the Saturation bombing effectively.

Unlike the previous sources this has some information to where it comes from. So I think this source is useful in the sense that it proves America had technological supremacy but it shows no signs of military tactical supremacy or if the US Air force used the supremacy effectively to defeat the smaller and less advanced army of North Vietnam. Source G tells us the devastating effects of Napalm, The source shows where it comes from and we can trust it is reliable. This source is British and shows a neutral view on Napalm.While it tells us how the Americans used it, it doesn’t show the effects it had on the Vietnamese people who was scarred by it. This source also backs up the claim that America was technologically advanced, because it shows that they were able to use chemical warfare on a large scale, unlike the Vietcong who mainly used chemicals on Punji sticks.

I think this source also shows that America had Technological advantages but didn’t have the military tactics to use them effectively or efficiently.Source H shows us the Vietcong tunnel system, it shows us that the Vietcong had a fair few military advantages to those of the US, this diagram shows that while the USA had superior Air force, their GIs were no where near ready to face the might of the Vietcong guerrilla tactics and their hiding places. This source doesn’t show any details on where it originated from, however the same diagram is in multiple text books so we can say it is reliable to an extent. The Source has no mentions of how it was used to trick American GIs nor does it show any type of American counterattacking measures, so it is one sided towards the Vietcong.I think this source gives people a good idea of what the US forces had to deal with but it does lack some minor details, and this source does not support the claim that America was Superior, it actually shows that the Vietcong improvised and proved to be equally supreme in some sense, it shows that the Vietcong managed to better their so-called more “Superior” Enemy and as a result won their freedom and proved to the whole world that the ‘Mighty’ USA can be beaten. Source I gives us a passage from the “Modern World History” text book, it does show where it is from and who wrote it, but it doesn’t mention where its Authors were from.

The Source tells us that the Vietcong made hundreds of trials from the North to the South, enabling thousands of troops safe passage and let them keep Supplies in and the injured out, the fact that the Vietcong was able to make such useful lines proved that they were able to make themselves Military Superior in Wartime situations, and in my opinion I think things like the Ho Chi Ming Trial and the Guerrilla warfare tactics they used proves that they were superior than their US counterparts in Military Tactics and effectiveness.Source J shows us how the troops felt about the Vietnamese, it shows that they were scared of them, because the NVA didn’t have a set uniform the US wasn’t sure who was a part of the NVA and who was a civilian and as a result that they would not trust a single one of them, because if they misplaced their trust it could be the last thing they do. Source J shows that the Vietcong was so successful in hiding that they were able to pass away as civilians.Source J does show details of where it came from and I believe it can be relied on. It proves that the Vietcong were very successful in their guerrilla war, and their ability to hit and hide was remarkable, while the source backs that up, it has no mention on the US tactics and doesn’t help me decided if America was effective in using their ‘Supremacy’ of Military and Technology during the Vietnam War.

In my conclusion, I believe that the sources do not provide enough evidence to prove that the US didn’t use their Military and Technological Supremacy effectively. However using the sources with my own knowledge helps me further my claim that the US didn’t use superior tactics to win the Vietnam War, and as a result have embarrassed themselves forever on the Global stage.

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