The Vietnam War was a long, costly armed conflict that pitted the communist regime of North Vietnam and its southern allies, known as the Viet Cong, against South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States. The war began in 1964, after the rise to power of Ho Chi Minh and his communist Viet Minh party in North Vietnam. Growing opposition to the war in the United States led to bitter divisions among Americans, both before and after President Richard Nixon ordered the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1973. The Vietnam War was difficult to win for several reasons. Some of these reasons include Guerrilla Warfare, Unfamiliar Territory, and the lack of domestic support. Although the Vietnam War was difficult to win, America still had benefits. The US benefitted from AGENT ORANGE. Agent Orange was a chemical herbicide that was sprayed to destroy the foliage from plants and to kill crops. The US had also benefitted from planes as well as superior navy and weapons.
One thing that made the Vietnam War difficult to win was that they were in unfamiliar territory. Few american GI’s had ever experienced such hot and humid conditions. Uncomfortable tropic climate also gave rise to a host of insects and other pests, as well as diseases like Malaria. Troops would have to march through soggy, lowland rice paddies and swamps and over steep, jungle-clad mountains. The heavily forested terrain often made it difficult to locate the enemy. Unlike US soldiers, the Viet Cong and the NVA knew this land intimately and were skilled at concealing themselves in the dense tropical vegetation. Besides concealing themselves in the jungle, Viet Cong and the NVA soldiers often hid from their american pursuers in underground tunnels. Some of these tunnels had several exits, which made escape easier. Others were even more elaborate, containing living areas, storage spaces, and even kitchens. The Viet Cong also had the ability to “hide in plain sight” a south vietnamese peasant tilling the soil in the day could actually be a guerrilla, killing americas during the night. GI’s could not trust anymore; men, women, or children.
Another misfortune that made the Vietnam war problematic to win was Guerrilla Warfare. Guerrilla warfare is a very unconventional style of warfare; that refers to small conflicts where groups of stealthy combatants use the element of surprise to eliminate the opponent. The Viet Cong used this tactic very widely. During some ambushes the Viet Cong Guerrilla fighters would sneak up on unaware U.S. troops, attack them, and leave before risking capture. The Viet Cong while posing as farmers and citizens would attack U.S. troops when least expected. The tunnels were also aid to the guerrilla fighters in their ability to move from place to place without the U.S. spotting them.
Another key factor that made the vietnam war difficult to win was the lack of domestic support. Television was a major role in how Americans viewed the war. At first television would broadcast about how brave,courageous, and skilled our soldiers were. As the war continued, television reports started to show more of the destruction, violence, suffering of the war, and what it was like in reality. As television was showing the destruction of what was going on over seas, the government was spending more and more money on the war. With huge expenses, led to increased inflation and higher taxes for American’s. Many american’s began to question the LBJ policies, and started to wonder the real reason why we were fighting in Vietnam. Televisions started to newscast a credibility gap, which would show the difference between the reality of the war and the Johnson administration’s portrayal of the war.
Although the United States had benefits from better technology, military, and weapons the Vietnam war was still difficult to win. Difficult conditions such as tunnels, heavily forest terrain, and “hiding in plain sight” contributed to this. Other key factors in making the war difficult to win were Guerrilla Warfare, and losing domestic support through television and taxes.