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VietnamA Essay Research Paper Vietnamization and it (стр. 1 из 2)

Vietnam(A) Essay, Research Paper

Vietnamization and it’s Lasting Effects onSouth Vietnam and it’s Fall—–OutlineI. Background A. Introduction B. Vietnam — two separate countries 1. French Control 2. Viet Minh Revolt 3. Creation of North and South Vietnam C. America’s objectives in South Vietnam D. Vietnam’s armiesII. Vietnamization A. Beginnings of Vietnamization B. Research of possible withdrawal C. Decision to withdraw 1. began in early 1969III. American Withdrawal and South Vietnamese Buildup A. Short history B. Advisor and troop reductions C. Combat assistance team reductions D. South Vietnamese buildup E. South Vietnamese military additions in 1972IV. The Fall of Vietnam A. Easter Offensive B. Ceasefire 1. Goes in to effect on January 28, 1973 C. Break of the cease fire and North Vietnamese offensive of December, 1973 D. Final offensive in 1975 E. Resignation of President Thieu F. General Minh assumes the Presidency G. Minh fails in negotiations H. Minh gives in to all North Vietnamese demandsV. Conclusions BackgroundVietnam was a country that was far removed from the American people until their history and oursbecame forever interlinked in what has come to be known as the Vietnam conflict. It is a classic story ofgood guys versus bad, communism versus freedom, and a constant struggle for stability. Americasattempt to aid the cause of freedom was a valid one, but one that ended up with South Vietnam beingdependent upon us for its very life as a nation. “Vietnamization” was the name for the plan to allowSouth Vietnam to stand on its own, and ended in leaving a country totally on its own, unable to stand andfight. Vietnam was a French territory until the Viet Minh insurgency of the late 1940’s and through 1954. Although regarding this uprising as part of a larger Communist conspiracy, Americans were notunsympathetic to Vietnamese aspirations for national independence. The ensueing defeat of the Frenchbrought an end to the first stage of what was to be a thirty year struggle. The Indochina ceasefire agreement (Geneva Accords) of July 21, 1954 led to the creation of seperate statesin Laos and Cambodia, and the artificial division of Vietnam into two republics. In the North theCommunist Viet Minh established the democratic of Vietnam, and in the south a random collection ofnon – Communist factions, led by Ngo Dinh Diem, formed the Republic of Vietnam. The generalelections provided for by the agreement never took place, and the two states quickly drew apart. TheUnited States immediatly threw its support behind the southern regime and extended military aid througha Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) under the command of Lt. General John W. O’Daniel. American objectives in South Vietnam were reletively simple and remained so — the establishment andpreservation of a non – Communist government in South Vietnam. Initally, the most pressing problemwas the weakness of the Saigon government and the danger of cival war between South Vietnam’s armedreligious and political factions. Diem, however, acting as a kind of benevolent dictator, managed to put aworking government together, and O’Daniel’s advisory group, about three or four hundred people, went towork creating a national army. Slowly, under the direction of O’Daniel and his successor in October 1955, Lt. General Samuel T.Williams, the new army took shape. The primary mission of this 150,000 man force was to repel a NorthVietnamese invasion across the Demilitarised zone that seperated North and South Vietnam. Diem andhis American advisors thus organised and trained the new army for a Korean – style conflict, rather thanfor the unconventional guerrilla warfare that had characterised the earlier French – Viet Minh struggle. President Minh also maintained a substantial paramilitary force almost as large as the regular army. Thisforce’s primary task was to maintain internal security, but also acted as a counter weight to the army,whose officers often had political ambitions that were sometimes incompatible with those of Diem. Fromthe beginning, such tensions weakened the Saigon government and severly hampered its ability to dealwith South Vietnam’s social and ecenomic problems. At the beginning of 1968 the military strength of the Saigon government was, on paper, impressive. Theregular armed forces consisted of about 250,000 men, organised into a conventional army, navy, air force,and marine corps, well equipped with tanks, artillary, ships and aircraft, Behind the regulars was asimilar – size militia – like organization, the Territorial forces. Although consisting mainly of small rifleunits, the territorials had begun to recieve modern radios, vehicles, and small arms during the early1960’s, and their capabilities had increased considerably. The organization of the armed forces mirroredmost Western nations; a civialian Ministry of Defence directed a military general staff which headed aheirarchy of operational commands and various support and training facilities. The Territorial Forces, aformal part of the armed forcse since 1964, was apportioned amon the forty – four province cheifs, theprinciple administrators of Vietnam. In comparison, the Viet Cong army looked pertty weak. With some80,000 lightly equipped regulars, back by about 80,000 – 100,000 part – time geuirillas and supported by afew thousand North Vietnamese troops and a fragile supply line hundreds of miles long, it was hardly animposing force. Nevertheless, this force had inflicted a series of defeats on the South Vietnamese troops,all but throwing then out of the copuntryside and back into the cities and towns. VietnamizationIn the spring of 1969 Presiden Richard M. Nixon initiated his new policy of “Vietnamization.” Vietnamization had two distinct elements: first, the unilateral withdraawl of American troops from SouthVietnam; and, second, the assumptionof greater military responsibilities by the South Vietnamese armedforces to make up for that loss. Mlilitary planners had based previous withdrawl plans on reductions inenemy forces. Vietnaminization rested on the twin assumptions thqat the combatants would not reach anykind of political settlement, or understanding, and that the fightinh in the South would continue withoutany voluntary reduction in enemy force levels. Although in theory the subsequant withdrawl of Americantroops depended on improvements in Souh Vietnamese military capabilities and the level of combatactivity, in practice the timing and size of the withdrawals were highly political decisions made in theUnited States. Senior advisors in Vietnam were asked for their opinions on South Vietnam’s ability to handle a VietCong threat, or a combined Viet Cong – North Vietnamese threat, and their answers were for the mostpart the same. They agreed that South Vietnam would be able to “contain” a Viet Cong threat except inthe III Corps Tactical zone, wherecontinued American air and artillerary support would be needed. Against a combined threat, however, all doubted that the South Vietnamese could do little more than holdtheir own, and judged their offensive capabilities marginal at best. Although they made norecomendations as to how the South Vietnamese could deal with either a Viet Cong or a combined threat,and suggested no changes in their military organization or stratedgy, all saw a pressing need for more air,artillery, and logistical support, and more attention to training and retaining troops. Most recommended more promotions based on merit, and more stationing of troops near home to reduce desertions. Phasingthe American troops out of Vietnam could take no less than five years was often mentioned. The foursenior advisors were hopeful that the South Vietnamese could eventually deal with the insurgency bythemselves, but none felt that they could handle a conventional North Vietnamese threat or a combinedViet Cong – North Vietnam opponent. On March 5, 1969, Melvin R. Laird, Nixon’s new secretary ofdefence, visited Saigon, accompanied by General Wheeler. Briefed by the MACV (United States MilitaryAssistance Command, Vietnam) on the situation in Vietnam, Laird declaired his satisfactionwith theprogress that had been made, both in the war effort and in the South Vietnamese armed forces, andinstructed Abrams (commander od the MACV) to accelerate all programs turning over the war to Saigon. He returned to Washington, and his determination to effect a major change in American policy tward thewar in Vietnam remained fixed. In subsequent discussions with Nixon, Henry Kissenger (the president’sspecial assistant for national security, and the Joint Cheifs of Staff, he pursued this goal vogorously,presently persuading the president to embark on a policy of what he called “Vietnamization” — turning theground war over to the South Vietnamese. On April 10, Kissenger, with the approval of the president, directed Laird to prepare a specific timetablefor Vietnamizing the war. The plan was to cover all aspects of U.S. military, para – military, and civilianinvolvement in Vietnam, including combat and combat support forces, advisory personnell, and all formesof equipment. Neither a further expansion of the South Vietnamese armed forced nor the withdrawl of theNorth Vietnamese Army was envisioned. Instead, through phased troop withdrawls, the Americanmilitary presence in Vietnam was to be reduced to a support and advisory mission. Troop withdrawlswere to begin July 1, 1969, with alternitive completion dates of December 1970, June 1971, and December1972. Kissenger requested an initial overall report outline by June 1. Thus, despite the divergent U.S.agencies involved in the war effort and despite the unanimous opinion of these same agencies that theSouth Vietnamese could never deal with a combined Viet Cong – North Vietnamese Army threat, the newadministration had instructed the American military command to develop plans for turning over almostthe entire ground war to the South Vietnamese. Tward the end of 1969, the first American troops leftVietnam, never to return. WithdrawlThe withdrawl of U.S. military forces from South Vietnam continued throughout 1971 and 1972 almostwithout a break in stride. American military strength passed through the residual support phase sometimein 1971, and in April, 1972 MACV began planning for a possable total U.S. withdrawl as early asNovember 1973. As american troops redeployed, Vietnamization, the expansion of South Vietnamesemilitary responsibilities, marched steadily forward. The period was marked by heavy combat. SouthVietnamese cross – border operations into Cambodia and Laos in 1971 met stiff opposition, and in early1972 were countered by the North Vietnamese “Easter” offensive into South Vietnam. Fighting wasintense, casualties and equipment losses were high, and the nature of the combat was more or lessconventional. Guerrila warfare behind South Vietnamese lines was negligable, while use of tanks, long -range artillary, and sophisticated missles became commonplace. As American combat units left South Vietnam and the South Vietnamese assumed responsibility for thewar, many advisors felt their work load increasing. In September 1971, General Abrams (commander ofthe MACV) directed that the current avvisory effort focus primarily on management of support programsand revoltionary development. The Southe Vietnamese regulars, he felt, were performing reasonably wellin the field and needed little operational advice. Assistance was most needed in areas of command andcontrol, personnel, logistics, training, communications, electronics, and in intelligence. On the civilianside assistance was needed in areas of local self – defence, self – government, and economic self -development. He also pointed out that the advisory effort was not being slighted. By the end of the year,66 percent of the U.S. military forces would have left Vietnam, while the total advisory effort would haveonly declined 22 percent. This would be primarily done by reducing the size and number of the tactical

detatchments. The combat assistance teams in the field had began dissappearing even before 1972. With the exceptionof the airborne advisors and some teams in the northern corps, MACV closed out all of the battalion teamsby June 30, 1971, and began phasing out the regimental teams by September. By the end of the year, theU.S. Army tactictle advisory strength had fallen from 5,416 to 3,888, and MACV staff strength from1,894 to 1,395 and many were military cadre from leaving American units trying to complete their twelvemonth tours. During 1972 General Abrams, and his successor in June, General Fredrick C. Wayand, threw the weightof the advisory effort into a succession of material supply porjects that enabled the South Vietnamese tocomplete existing modernization programs; to make up for heavy combat losses; to create new units, andto fill their depots with munitions, fuel, spare parts, and other supplies. The eventual result was amassivesea and airlift between October 23 and December 12 1972 that brought over 105,000 major itemsof equipment to South Vietnam, about 5,000 tons by air and the rest by sea. In the field of supply the most critical and the most costly item in the South Vietnamese inentory wasammunition. In 1972, under MACV guidance, the Central Logistics Command established a moredetailed system to moniter the status of all munitions: base, field, and unit depot stockage; unitexpenditures; and ammunition maintenance. Unused ammunition was subject to rapid deterioriation andhad to examined periodically and , if necessary, reconditioned of destroyed. Stockage levels in eachammunition category were critical. Munitions stocks increased from 79,000 short tons in January 1969 to146,900 in January 1972 and 165,700 in January 1973. However, a normal monthly expenditure rate of33,000 short tons, which could rise to over 100,000 short tons per month in periods of intense combat,made continued resupply by the United States vital. Another potential problem was the vulnerability ofammunition dums; the enemy had destroyed over 24,000 short tons of depot ammunition during theEaster offensive alone. The South Vietnamese would have to maintain, protect, and ration their existingstocks as carefully as possible. Following the Easter offensive of 1972, MACV and the Joint Cheifs of Staff suddenly decided that furtheradditions had to be made. These included two more M48 tank battalions; two additional air defence andthree more 175-mm. self – propelled artillery battallions; crews for one hundred sophisticated antitankmissle launchers; and, for the South Vietnamese Air Force, thirteen aviation squadrons. The new airunits represented a major expansion and included aircraft for two more squadrons of heavy CH-47, threeof A-37 jet fighter bombers, two of large C130 transports, and five of F5 jet fighters. Perhaps anticipatingsome kind of agreement in Paris, the Department of Defence agreed to ship this material to SouthVietnam as soon as possable under the code name Project ENHANCE and to raise and train units andcrews at some later date. At the same time, in order to strengthen the territorials, MACV authorised moreRegional Forces battalions and enlarged province tacticle staffs to provide better command and control. To create these new units without violating the 1.1 million troop ceiling, MACV and the Joint GeneralStaff again made compensatory reductions in Popular Forces strength. Fall of VietnamIt took almost one year for the North Vietnamese to rebuild their strength and launch their own majoroffensive. On March 30 1972 three North Vietnamese Army divisions crossed the Demilitarised Zone innorthern South Vietnam, overrunning advance bases of the new South Vietnamese 3d Division; three dayslater, three more enemy divisions headed south across the Cambodian border twards Saigon, surroundingpositions held by the 5th Division in the III Corps Tacticle Zone, and two weeks after that, two otherdivisions attacked the 22nd Infintry Division in the Highlands, while smaller units struck at towns in BinhDinh Province along the coast. Because of the timing of the attacks, they were quickly called the “EasterOffensive.” Through all of this, the North Vietnamese had only won two district towns, Loc Ninh, nearthe Cambodian border, and Dong Ha, opposite the Demilitarised zone, a small showing for the heavyprices they paid. The ceasefire agreement of January 23 1973 marked an end to the American policy of Vietnamization. The agreement specified the complete withdrawl of all American military forces from South Vietnam,including advisors, and the end of all U.S. military actions in support of Saigon. The North Vietnamese,in turn, agreed to put a ceasefire in place, the return of Amerocan Prisoners of War, and an end toinfiltration in the South. The accord caught many American generals by suprise, including GeneralAbrams, the new Army cheif of staff (Abrams had stepped down as MACV commander on June 28 1972to replace General Westmoreland as the Army chief of staff, and the U.S. Senate confirmed theappointment on October 12). He had felt that the United States would end up with some type ofpermanent ground and air comittment similar to that in South Korea. Instead, there was to be no residualsupport force, not even an advisory mission, and, in theory, the Viet Cong and Saigon governments wereto settle their political differances at some later date. The ceasefirebegan at 8 o’clock on Sunday, January 28 1973, and the war ground to a temporary halt. Inthe sixty days that followed, slightly over 58,000 forign troops departed South Vietnam, including about23,000 Americans, 25,000 Koreans, and a few hundred assorted Thais, Fillipinos, and NationalistChinese. Their leaving left about 550.000 South Vietnamese regulars and another 525,0000 territorials toface a regular North Vietnamese army that Americans estimated at 500,000 to 600,000 troops, of whichabout 220,000 were in South Vietnam and the rest close by. The final U.S. withdrawals were timed tomatch the release of American prisoners of war by the North Vietnam. MACV headquarters dissolved onMarch 29, and three new agencies took over it’s remaining functions. Thus ended the ill fated Americaninvolvement in Vietnam. In late 1973, the cease fire was broken by the sending of 18 divisions from North Vietnam into the south. This, in time, would become one of the worst blood baths of the war. This continued through 1975, whenthe enemy came to be in near Saigon, and elements of the underground political opposition came into theopen and held meetings to voice their antigovernment feelings. The government moved in and on March27 1975, arrested a number of poeple suspected of plotting a coup. On April 2 1975, the SouthVietnamese Senate even adopted a resolution holding President Thieu personnally responseable for thedetiorating situation and asking him to take immediate steps to form a broader cabinet. It was speculatedthat to save what they could, the government should send a plenipotentiary to Paris and ask the Fenchgovernmentto act as official intermediary in negotiations to be conducted with the Communists. ButPresident Thieu appeared only incredulous. Demands that President Thieu should resign and transfer his powers at once to General Duong Van Minhwere resurrected in earnest. A coalition government led by General Minh, it was said, stood a betterchance of being accepted by the Communists; if so, more bloodshed could be averted. On Monday April21, during a meeting at Independance Palace, President Thieu announced his decision to step down. Heinferred that the United States wanted him to resign, and whether or not he consented, certain generalswould press for a replacement. As required by the Constitution of South Vietnam, he was prepared totransfer the presidency to Vice President Tran Van Huong. Finally, he asked the armed forces and thenational police to fully support the new president. In the evening of April 21, 1975, the televised transferof power ceremony took place at Independance Palace. After President Huong took over, he immediatly went about imposing certain forceful measures, amongwhich was a formal ban on all overseas travel. Servicemen and cival servants who had fled to forigncountries were ordered to return within thirty days; if they failed to do so, their citizenship would berevoked, and all their belongings confiscated. The only people that the new government would allow togo overseas were the old and the ill; they were to be permitted to seek treatment out of the country afterposting a large bond (to say nothing of the large bribes required to obtain such a pass). In the meantime, the militry situation became increasingly bad. In the afternoon of Sunday April 271975, the defence minister, Mr. Tran Van Don, led a military delegation composed of general officers ofJoint General Staff and the commander of CMD in an apperance before a meeting before both houses ofCongress. By 7:30 pm, 138 senators and representatives were present. Mr. Don summarized the militarysituation: Saigon was now surrounded by fifteen enemy divisions under the control of three army corps. The Saigon – Vung Tau Highway had been cut, and enemy troops were advancing tward the Long Binhbase. At 8:20 pm, the General Assembly voted to hand over the presidency to General Minh. The nextday, Monday April 28, 1975 at 5:30 pm, General Minh was sworn in as president. President Minh was much more confident. He based his conviction of an eventual political arrangementwith the Communists on these ficts as he saw them: (1) The Communists did not have a solid structure inSaigon – negotiations would provide more time for solidation. (2) The provisional government wasstrongly anti – Communist and the Communists preferred a “two Vietnams” solution. (3) It was believedthat Communist China preferred a divided Vietnam and a unified Vietnam would pose a threat to China’sborder. Finally, “The Communists know that the people of South Vietnam don’t like Communism. Sinceit is impossible for the Comminists to kill them all, it is to their advantage to negotiate. So he firmlybelieved that a government with him at the head would be more acceptable to the Communists, and thatthey would be willing to negotiate with him for a political solution. President Minh waited in vain for a favorable word from the other side, but none came. The response ofthe Communists was omnious: they bombed Tan Son Nhut Air base the moment he was sworn in, andshelled Saigon barely twelve hours later. Still a last ditch effort was attempted by President Minh’s peopleto contact the Communists through their representative at Tan Son Nhut. But the answer was evasive andintimidating. It was then that President Minh realised that all hope was gone. He gave twenty – fourhours for all U.S. personnel to leave South Vietnam. The evacuation proceeded ferverishly throughout thenight and was over at 5:00 am on April 30. At 10 :00 am on April 30,1975, President Minh ordered thearmed forces to stop fighting, and gave in to all Communist demands. And the Republic of SouthVietname came under Communist control and no longer existed as a free nation. ConclusionsThe United States policy of Vietnamization was a good idea, but the time was not ripe for it to best beused. Saigon’s military strength was rated by nearly all experts in South Vietnam as uncapable ofhandleing a combined threat. True, Vietnamization was not what led to the total withdrawl of troops fromVietnam, but the opinions pressed by Laird had somewhat of an affect on our agreeing to sign a ceasefireagreement. Also, if we had used Vietnamization’s program of building up South Vietnam’s armed forcesmore extensively, South Vietnam might still be in existance today. Selected BibliographyClarke, Jeffrey J. Advice and Support: The Final Years, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington, D.C., 1988Fenton, James. The Day Saigon Fell, New Statesman and Society v4, August 1991Fox, Sylvan. “Vietnam Cease- Fire Goes Into Effect.” St. Louis Post – Dispatch, January 28, 1973″Growing Gloom in a Shrunken Land.” Time, April 7,1975, pp. 29 – 34Keeler, Rick. Information taken from interview on March 27, 1993Le Gro, William E. Vietnam: From Cease – Fire to Capitulation, U.S. Army Center of Military History, 1981MacDonald, Charles B.; Charles, von Luttichau V. P. The U.S. Army in Vietnam, Army Historical Series: Office of the Cheif of Military History, United States Army”Now, Trying to Pick Up the Pieces.” Time, April 14, pp. 6 – 13″Seeking the Last Exit from Viet Nam.” Time, April 21, 1975, pp. 14 – 31Vien, Cao Van. The Final Collapse, Center of Military History, U.S. Army, pp. 141 – 166World Book Encyclopedia, 1967 ed. V – “Vietnam”2