Why did the USA lose the Vietnam War?


The USA soon found themselves losing their battle against stopping the spread of communism in Vietnam.


Viet Cong and Guerrilla Tactics

Ø      Retreat when the enemy attacks

Ø      Raid when the enemy camps

Ø      Attack when the enemy tires;

Ø      Pursue when the enemy retreats


US tactics in Vietnam 1965-1972

Ø      The raids were often based on inadequate information;

Ø      Inexperienced US troops often walked into traps;

Ø      Innocent villages were mistaken for Viet Cong strongholds;

Ø      Civilian casualties were extremely high;

Ø      These raids made the US and South Vietnamese forces very unpopular with the peasants;


The USA lost the war in Vietnam, as they could not adapt to the style of war.  US troops were used to trench warfare and couldn’t change their tactics so couldn’t keep up with the Viet Cong.  Even though the air raids over North Vietnam damaged North Vietnams war effort and disrupted the supply routes the war never had public backing.  After the Tet Offensive President Johnson concluded that the war could not be won military.  He announced the process of Vietnamisation.  This was the build up of South Vietnamese forces and withdrawing US troops.  Between April 1969 and the end of 1971 almost 400,000 US troops left Vietnam.