Who won the Vietnam War?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Admiral_Thrawn60, May 7, 2002.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Admiral_Thrawn60 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2000
    star 6
    To my mind, you don't have to kill every last enemy unit to win a war, or even to gain enemy territory. You simply have to fulfill all the objectives you are fighting to fulfill, and make sure the enemy doesn't fulfill his.

    The objective of the North Vietnamese was to unify the country under Communist rule. The objective of the Americans and the South Vietnamese was to keep South Vietnam independant.

    President Johnson decided against sending an additional 206,000 troops to Vietnam, and in 1975, President Ford instead decided to pull out of the war. The United States, unable to fullfill their objectives with their current resources in the area, and unwilling due to popular support for the anti-war movement to increase troop activity, retreated out of the theatre of combat, and the Communists united Vietnam. The North Vietnamese had accomplished their objective, and the United States had failed in theirs.

    To me, the answer to the question "Who won?" is obvious. Yet, many Americans claim that America has never lost a war. I'm not going to get into the War of 1812 here in detail, but just briefly I would like to say that the American objective there was to capture Canadian territory, and this objective was not accomplished. The war ended in a stalemate, but the borders remained unchanged, and this was the objective of the Canadians/British. Again, if you look at objectives, you see an American loss.

    So, I would like to see why Americans claim that they have never lost a war, when confronted with these facts. This thread is in no way intended to bash America. I want to give Americans a chance to explain why they feel the way they do on America's military history.
  2. Wylding Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2000
    star 5
  3. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    In 1975, President Johnson decided against sending an additional 206,000 troops to Vietnam, and instead decided to pull out of the war.

    Lyndon Johnson was dead by 1975. Gerald Ford was president, having taken over for Nixon in 1974.

    I'm curious as to where you are getting this information. Could you provide a source, if possible?
  4. Wylding Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2000
    star 5
  5. Admiral_Thrawn60 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2000
    star 6
    Really? I'll have to consult my history class notes again.

    Trivial points like that arn't the point though. The matter of who the President at the time was has no bearing on the question I asked.

    My source is the British Columbia Grade 12 History curriculum. I'm afraid I cannot link you to my teacher's lecture.

    Now please, can we stop avoiding the question? My facts arn't perfect. Nobody is perfect. But, I believe that they are generally sound, and that's all that matters.
  6. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    No, but it does call the credibility of your sources into question.

    U.S. Presidents

    I don't mean to be negative at all. Just wondering about the source of all the information.
  7. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Now please, can we stop avoiding the question? My facts arn't perfect. Nobody is perfect.

    If you'd allow us a little bit, we could answer the question. I simply noticed the error and pointed it out. I didn't mean any offense.
  8. Admiral_Thrawn60 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2000
    star 6
    I apologize for my mistake. We havn't finished the chapter on Vietnam yet in history class. The most recent thing we learned is that Johnson decided against sending the 206,000 troops to Vietnam, and instead embarked on a program of de-escalation of the conflict. I assumed that he saw it through to the end, but I forgot that he wasn't running in the next election (I saw the speech today in which he announced that).
  9. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 1999
    star 7
    So, I would like to see why Americans claim that they have never lost a war, when confronted with these facts. This thread is in no way intended to bash America. I want to give Americans a chance to explain why they feel the way they do on America's military history.

    We have never lost a war because America is SOOO great and everyone else is stupid...

    Realistically, we have never surrendered or called for a peace treaty that involves us being on the downside.

    Still, the Vietnam war was a smaller war which we did not surrender in, but we did not do what we could have done or what we should have done to comeplete it.

    The Vietnam war was an American loss, we gained nothing, Vietnam became Communist, and we lost many men. We lost it. We withdrew to our former status. Now instead of saving Vietnam from Communism, we lost many men and gained nothing. We essentially lost.

    I was unaware of the fact that many Americans believe that we won the war. How stupid. [face_plain]

    However, in the war of 1812, it was an American victory because we were able to prove to them that we could hold our own. We lost men, we gained nothing; Britain gained nothing: it was a stalemate.

    However, we gained some respect. A small struggling country, attacked by Britain in the form of warfare and the forced removing American sailors from our ships to the British ships. I forget its name right now.

    Still, the war was not a major gain, but we proved that we could hold our own. That was all that mattered.
  10. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    As for the wars themselves...

    I'm not going to get into the War of 1812 here in detail, but just briefly I would like to say that the American objective there was to capture Canadian territory, and this objective was not accomplished. The war ended in a stalemate, but the borders remained unchanged, and this was the objective of the Canadians/British. Again, if you look at objectives, you see an American loss.

    This is an error. The American objective was not Canada. It may have been part of it, but the ultimate objective was Britain. British ships were continually taking our sailors and ships and part of the war's objective was to get that activity to cease. In addition, the war had the effect of further legitmizing America's existence and borders. After the war, America's legtimacy would never again be questioned, and Britain had more respect. In the end, the war was a stalemate, although it ended with an American victory in New Orleans, after the peace treaty had been signed. America did not lose, it did not win. It gained things from it, did not really lose anything, and at worst the war can be called a stalemate.
  11. Amidala-Leia Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2002
    star 4
    People argue that America never lost a war because war was never declared. With Vietnam the US never made an official declaration. But never have I personally heard anyone claim that the US won the war. You may say that North Vietnam won the war according to their objectives and if you simply look at objectives you are correct AT60. IMHO though I don't think North Vietnam won the war either. There was too much death and destruction on both ends. I have never claimed that the US won the war

    On another note, the US planned poorly for the war. They planned for tactics that would work in conventional warfare. The tactics that they used were'nt near as effective because the Viet Cong utilized guerilla warfare.
  12. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Had America been fully committed to Vietnam and thrown a great deal more resources into the war, it would have won. However, being that it was often a political war as much as it was a military one, the objectives in Vietnam could never truly be accomplished.
  13. Kyle Katarn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 10, 1998
    star 6
    Technically, America was never at war with anyone, as Congress never declared a state of war during the conflict, thus making Vietnam not a "war" in the official sense.
  14. Admiral_Thrawn60 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2000
    star 6
    On the subject of the War of 1812, Obi-Zahn Kenobi, the same can be said of the British. It ended in a stalemate, so by definition, both sides held their own. My knowledge of the start of the war isn't the greatest, but I believe the Americans attacked first, after being treated unfairly by the British.

    As for the Viet Cong, they were all but finished after the Tet Offensive of 1968. It became a contentional war against the North Vietnamese Army after that.

    While it is true that a state of war was never formally announced, I believe that's an irrelevent point. Sure, you can use that to say that technically you've never lost a war, but I think it's clear that it was still a war. You don't need an official declaration of war to have a war. I define a war as a conflict between opposing armed forces, and not something that is written on paper. So, I believe that you can say that technically you've never lost a war, but if you actually believe that, you're kidding yourself, and hiding behind formalities.
  15. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 1999
    star 7
    Had America been fully committed to Vietnam and thrown a great deal more resources into the war, it would have won. However, being that it was often a political war as much as it was a military one, the objectives in Vietnam could never truly be accomplished.

    You're right. Johnson was micromanaging the war. Politicians do not make good generals. Johnson didn't have enough understanding of the down to earth military situation. Wars go wrong during micromanagement.

    EDIT: You are partially right AT60. We did what we wanted with the war; we told the British "shove it" and they listened. That was the objective to my knowledge. We merely wanted to show that we were their equals and inferior to it.

    Both held their own, but we got what we wanted. The respect of Britain. Britain lost in the sense that we got what we wanted they did not keep it. They lost the ability to do what they want to the US. They lost something, we did not.
  16. Amidala-Leia Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2002
    star 4
    KW-Resources had nothing to do with it. It was poor tactics on the part of the Americans. The Americans planned for conventional war not guerilla warfare. I think that if the US had switched tactics, they would have seen more success.

    But you're right about the political aspects of the war-they could never be accomplished. It all centered around the Red Scare and the desire of the US to rid the world of communism.
  17. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    KW-Resources had nothing to do with it. It was poor tactics on the part of the Americans. The Americans planned for conventional war not guerilla warfare. I think that if the US had switched tactics, they would have seen more success.


    In my view, resources include manpower. America did not use more than a small amount of the manpower it could have in the war. Also, America did not adapt its resources to suit the war it was engaged in and paid the price for it.

  18. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 1999
    star 7
    My Grandpa says that we also did not do many things that we sohuld have done.

    He says that there were many cities, factorys, dams, and irrigation channels that they should have "bombed the heck out of".

    He did not believe that we did enough to fight the war with the resources that we had and could use conventionally. It's sad that we lost so much because of political micromanaging.

    Dang you Johnson.
  19. Amidala-Leia Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2002
    star 4
    I don't think public opinion would have allowed more troops than the US sent over. In fact, the public wanted less than that. The war was very unpopular in the US. Look how all the veterans were treated after they came back. I'm still not convinced, nor will I ever be, that more manpower would have been useful without a change in tactics. The US did little to change tactics even when they realized that the ones they were using were not effective. Only with a change of tactics could increased manpower have been effective.

    EDIT:Obi-Zahn. We didn't bomb very strategically. I think our military strategists covered their eyes and pointed to a spot on the map and that's where we bombed that day. At least that's what it seemed like.
  20. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    I don't think public opinion would have allowed more troops than the US sent over. In fact, the public wanted less than that.

    I agree. I was speaking only from a military sense, intentionally not taking the politics into account in this case. I know public opinion played a part in the war, and that played into the politics, which directly influenced how things went.

    Only with a change of tactics could increased manpower have been effective.

    I only partly agree. I think a great deal more troops could have made the issue a moot point. However, had the military adapted its tactics earlier on, I think the number of troops we had might have been sufficient to win, or certainly enough to achieve more.
  21. Admiral_Thrawn60 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2000
    star 6
    Amidala-Leia has a point. If your men are all being slaughtered, any commander worth his rank would change his tactics, rather than just commit more troops to the futile battle. This is why it's important to study history. If memory serves, the Soviets learned that lesson the hard way in WW2.
  22. Amidala-Leia Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2002
    star 4
    Sometimes I wish our politicians did not have to be so responsive to public opinion. It can keep us from effectively fighting a war as was the case in Vietnam IMO.
  23. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    If your men are all being slaughtered, any commander worth his rank would change his tactics, rather than just commit more troops to the futile battle.

    It wasn't quite that extreme. Certainly the Vietnamese won their share of skirmishes and inflicted a great deal of damage. However, it was rarely a case of complete slaughter.
  24. Uruk-hai Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 26, 2000
    star 5
    The 1812 war? Was that the war of American Independance?


    I don't believe the Americans or Australians should have been in Vietnam at all. BUT, if you are going to fight a war, you fight it to win. Unfortunately that didn't happen. It was far too political and after a while there was no hope of winning with the policies the US government adopted. The Aussies pulled out in 1972.

    Nearly 60,000 US and Australian soldiers were killed along with God knows how many South and North Vietnamese soldiers and civillians. What for?
  25. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    The 1812 war? Was that the war of American Independance?

    No, the American Revolution took place between 1776-1783.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.