History 1810E Lecture Notes - Lecture 30: Total War, Guerrilla Warfare

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21 Jul 2016
Department
Vietnam War – March 19 18:26
The American War: Blowin’ in the Wind
“Victor Charlie”
The people’s army of Vietnam
Asymmetrical because
Johnson wanted to keep the war limited but a total war for the
Vietnamese
Americans had lots of advanced military technology compared to
the Vietnamese; Vietnamese had home field advantage  fighting
for national survival
Vietnamese carved out an elaborate network of tunnels  would allow
them to move undetected, avoid American bombings, could lay ambushes
to get the Americans, etc.  Vietnamese used the landscape to level the
playing field
Vietnamese set booby traps  point was to maim them (not kill) and slow
them down
Guerilla warfare was designed to force the Americans to fight in close
quarters and not just use their far advanced weapons
NLF: National Liberation Front
Escalated the fighting but couldn’t finish the job
Popularity began to wane due to this
People in the south just wanted an end to the fighting
Initial leadership of NLF  many ended up dying or disabled; some joined
the South Vietnamese government
New leaders  social reform wasn’t as important to them; their interests
became very different from the North
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