Vietnamization and its Effects Vietnamization and it’s Lasting Effects on South Vietnam and it’s Fall Outline I. 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 armies II. Vietnamization A. Beginnings of Vietnamization B. Research of possible withdrawal C.
Decision to withdraw 1. began in early 1969 III. American Withdrawal and South Vietnamese Buildup A. Short history B. Advisor and troop reductions C. Combat assiezce team reductions D. South Vietnamese buildup E. South Vietnamese military additions in 1972 IV. 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 demands V. Conclusions Background Vietnam was a country that was far removed from the American people until their history and ours became forever interlinked in what has come to be known as the Vietnam conflict. It is a classic story of good guys versus bad, communism versus freedom, and a conezt struggle for stability. Americas attempt to aid the cause of freedom was a valid one, but one that ended up with South Vietnam being dependent upon us for its very life as a nation.
“Vietnamization” was the name for the plan to allow South Vietnam to ezd on its own, and ended in leaving a country totally on its own, unable to ezd and fight. 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 not unsympathetic to Vietnamese aspirations for national independence. The ensueing defeat of the French brought 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 states in Laos and Cambodia, and the artificial division of Vietnam into two republics. In the North the Communist Viet Minh established the democratic of Vietnam, and in the south a random collection of non – Communist factions, led by Ngo Dinh Diem, formed the Republic of Vietnam.
The general elections provided for by the agreement never took place, and the two states quickly drew apart. The United States immediatly threw its support behind the southern regime and extended military aid through a Military Assiezce 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 and preservation of a non – Communist government in South Vietnam. Initally, the most pressing problem was the weakness of the Saigon government and the danger of cival war between South Vietnam’s armed religious and political factions.
Diem, however, acting as a kind of benevolent dictator, managed to put a working government together, and O’Daniel’s advisory group, about three or four hundred people, went to work 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 North Vietnamese invasion across the Demilitarised zone that seperated North and South Vietnam. Diem and his American advisors thus organised and trained the new army for a Korean – style conflict, rather than for the unconventional guerrilla warfare that had characterised the earlier French – Viet Minh struggle. President Minh also maintained a subeztial paramilitary force almost as large as the regular army.
This force’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. From the beginning, such tensions weakened the Saigon government and severly hampered its ability to deal with South Vietnam’s social and ecenomic problems. At the beginning of 1968 the military strength of the Saigon government was, on paper, impressive. The regular 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 a similar – size militia – like organization, the Territorial forces. Although consisting mainly of small rifle units, the territorials had begun to recieve modern radios, vehicles, and small arms during the early 1960’s, and their capabilities had increased considerably.
The organization of the armed forces mirrored most Western nations; a civialian Ministry of Defence directed a military general staff which headed a heirarchy of operational commands and various support and training facilities. The Territorial Forces, a formal part of the armed forcse since 1964, was apportioned amon the forty – four province cheifs, the principle administrators of Vietnam. In comparison, the Viet Cong army looked pertty weak. With some 80,000 lightly equipped regulars, back by about 80,000 – 100,000 part – time geuirillas and supported by a few thousand North Vietnamese troops and a fragile supply line hundreds of miles long, it was hardly an imposing 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. Vietnamization In 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 South Vietnam; and, second, the assumptionof greater military responsibilities by the South Vietnamese armed forces to make up for that loss.
Mlilitary planners had based previous withdrawl plans on reductions in enemy forces. Vietnaminization rested on the twin assumptions thqat the combatants would not reach any kind of political settlement, or underezding, and that the fightinh in the South would continue without any voluntary reduction in enemy force levels. Although in theory the subsequant withdrawl of American troops depended on improvements in Souh Vietnamese military capabilities and the level of combat activity, in practice the timing and size of the withdrawals were highly political decisions made in the United States. Senior advisors in Vietnam were asked for their opinions on South Vietnam’s ability to handle a Viet Cong threat, or a combined Viet Cong – North Vietnamese threat, and their answers were for the most part the same. They agreed that South Vietnam would be able to “contain” a Viet Cong threat except in the 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 hold their own, and judged their offensive capabilities marginal at best.
Although they made no recomendations 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. Phasing the American troops out of Vietnam could take no less than five years was often mentioned. The four senior advisors were hopeful that the South Vietnamese could eventually deal with the insurgency by themselves, but none felt that they could handle a conventional North Vietnamese threat or a combined Viet Cong – North Vietnam opponent. On March 5, 1969, Melvin R. Laird, Nixon’s new secretary of defence, visited Saigon, accompanied by General Wheeler.
Briefed by the MACV (United States Military Assiezce Command, Vietnam) on the situation in Vietnam, Laird declaired his satisfactionwith the progress that had been made, both in the war effort and in the South Vietnamese armed forces, and instructed 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 the war in Vietnam remained fixed. In subsequent discussions with Nixon, Henry Kissenger (the president’s special assiezt 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 the ground war over to the South Vietnamese. On April 10, Kissenger, with the approval of the president, directed Laird to prepare a specific timetable for Vietnamizing the war. The plan was to cover all aspects of U.S. military, para – military, and civilian involvement in Vietnam, including combat and combat support forces, advisory personnell, and all forms of equipment.
Neither a further expansion of the South Vietnamese armed forced nor the withdrawl of the North Vietnamese Army was envisioned. Instead, through phased troop withdrawls, the American military presence in Vietnam was to be reduced to a support and advisory mission. Troop withdrawls were to begin July 1, 1969, with alternitive completion dates of December 1970, June 1971, and December 1972. 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 the South Vietnamese could never deal with a combined Viet Cong – North Vietnamese Army threat, the new administration had instructed the American military command to develop plans for turning over almost the entire ground war to the South Vietnamese.
Tward the end of 1969, the first American troops left Vietnam, never to return. Withdrawal The withdrawal of U.S. military forces from South Vietnam continued throughout 1971 and 1972 almost without a break in stride. American military strength passed through the residual support phase sometime in 1971, and in April, 1972 MACV began planning for a possable total U.S. withdrawl as early as November 1973. As american troops redeployed, Vietnamization, the expansion of South Vietnamese military responsibilities, marched steadily forward. The period was marked by heavy combat.
South Vietnamese cross – border operations into Cambodia and Laos in 1971 met stiff opposition, and in early 1972 were countered by the North Vietnamese “Easter” offensive into South Vietnam. Fighting was intense, casualties and equipment losses were high, and the nature of the combat was more or less conventional. 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 the war, many advisors felt their work load increasing. In September 1971, General Abrams (commander of the MACV) directed that the current avvisory effort focus primarily on management of support programs and revoltionary development.
The Southe Vietnamese regulars, he felt, were performing reasonably well in the field and needed little operational advice. Assiezce was most needed in areas of command and control, personnel, logistics, training, communications, electronics, and in intelligence. On the civilian side assiezce 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 have only declined 22 percent. This would be primarily done by reducing the size and number of the tactical detatchments. The combat assiezce teams in the field had began dissappearing even before 1972. With the exception of the airborne advisors and some teams in the northern corps, MACV closed out all of the battalion teams by June 30, 1971, and began phasing out the regimental teams by September. By the end of the year, the U.S.
Army tactictle advisory strength had fallen f …