How significant was the Tet offensive 1968 as a reason for US withdrawal from Vietnam - Jan 2012

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Mind Map on How significant was the Tet offensive 1968 as a reason for US withdrawal from Vietnam - Jan 2012, created by anyadesilva on 05/06/2015.

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How significant was the Tet offensive 1968 as a reason for US withdrawal from Vietnam - Jan 2012
  1. Tet Offensive
    1. 30 Jan 1968
      1. Vietcong launched a surprise attack from Ho Chi Minh trail
        1. Were able to take over many cities in South Vietnam
          1. Came close to capturing US embassy
            1. Attack presidential palace of Thieu
            2. Very significant - led to America realising that they could not win the war
              1. Attack exposed many US weaknesses: had failed to predict the Offensive
                1. NVA were able to penetrate territory in the South as far as Saigon
                  1. CREATED INCREASE IN ANTI WAR MOVEMENTS
                    1. Following the offensie, Walter Cronkite (respected TV journalist) spoke for US Peoplewhen he said "what the hell is going on? I thought we were winning the war."
                      1. Consequently; Johnson's approval ratings fell from 48%-36%
                        1. Opinion poll showed that 2/3 believed no progress had been made since 1965
                          1. Significantly contributed to Nixon's decision to withdraw troops - Vietnamisation
                            1. became clear the NVA were not going to back down and that winning the war was unlikely so providing US assistance was no longer vital to US interests
                              1. However less significant as did not cause the immediate withdrawal of troops - the first US troops did not leave Vietnam until september 1969
                    2. Despite Johnson's claims that they were
                      1. This in itself caused the need for withdrawal of troops as made USA realise that it was unlikely they would win the war and therefore US troops was unnecesary
              2. Financial cost
                1. Spent $120 billion on the war
                  1. This led directly to, in early 1970's, Congress began to refuse to continue to fund the war effort
                    1. As Nixon had begun withdrawing troops, he could not use the well being of American soldiers as a reason for Congress to continue their support
                      1. Congress therefore began to pass measures that restricted Nixon's ability to make decisions in Vietnam; which inevitably directly linked to the mass withdrawal of US troops as Nixon was now powerless in taking any other measure in Vietnam
                        1. Congress repealed Tonkin Gulf Resolution January 1971
                          1. Amendments attached to spending bills forbidding further intervention by ground forces in Laos/Cambodia
                            1. 1973 War Powers Act - reduced Nixon's power in further conflicts
                              1. April - July 1971 congress voted 17 times to on measures to restrict Nixon's actions
                          2. Had negative impacts: Johnson's "great society" only received $15.5bn; US budget deficit increased $1.6bn - $25.3bn
                        2. Nixon's policies
                          1. Most significant factor as actually meant troops were withdrawn
                            1. Aim to achieve "peace with honor"
                              1. Nixon was a realist in politics (as was Kissinger)
                                1. Speech Feb 1970 "out interests must shape our commitments rather than the other way round"
                                  1. This belief led to his policy of Vietnamisation
                                    1. Set out in the Guam doctrine which justified his policy of Vietnamisation - put the burden of fighting on ARVN troops and US troops would be withdrawn
                                      1. Directly led to the withdrawal of US troops: April 69 - 543,000; December 1969 - 475,200; Dec 1970 - 334,000; Dec 1972 - 24,000
                            2. However can be argued that these were his policies only due to previous circumstances
                              1. eg Tet caused lack of public support which he needed to win 1972 election - therefore these causes could be seen as the underlying cause for withdrawal of troops
                              2. Became president Nov 68
                                1. Failure of Vietnamisation
                                  1. Part of Vietnamisation was to strengthen ARVN troops
                                    1. Although it grew from 850,000 - 1 million, the strengthening of the ARVN could be seen as a failure
                                      1. 100,000 ARVN troops deserted per year
                                        1. Feb 1971 - ARVN troops attacked Laos. 2,500 died and were forced to retreat due to lack of US support
                                          1. ARVN remained weak in comparison to communists by 1972; showed US that it was futile and may aswell pull out American troops when they could
                                            1. Communists in south found it easy to replenish their armies (unlike ARVN) - by 1972 50,000 NVA troops; 225,000 VC troops; 150,000 local militias
                                              1. Quick rearming considering blow caused by failure of the Tet
                                  2. Nixon opposed George McGovern's policy to condemn draft dodgers
                                    1. 34,000 draft dogers
                                  3. Growth of anti war movement - public opinion
                                    1. Directly linked to Tet offensive as following the Tet offensive protests grew
                                      1. Can be argued that anti war movements as a result of the Tet offensive was the most significant factor in withdrawal of US troops
                                        1. These protests convinced Nixon to establish policy of Vietnamisation
                                          1. Nixon wanted to maximise his chances in 1972 election and therefore shaped his policies around the desires of the public
                                            1. October 1969 - 2 million people across 200 cities took part in mass protest
                                      2. Prior to the Tet
                                        1. Martin Luther King
                                          1. speaks out against the war 1967
                                            1. Significant because MLK was a very influential figure as leader of the Civil Rights movement. He protested against the greater percentage of black troops in combat roles - 28%, with only 13% overall
                                              1. strongly significant in increasing number of people who were against the war who would've put pressure on Johnson/Nixon to withdraw from the confict
                                          2. public demonstrations
                                            1. Norman Morrison, quaker, self immolation
                                              1. 20,000 in a teach in in Berkeley
                                                1. 200,000 demonstrated in NY
                                              2. However the growth of anti war movement was not that important
                                                1. It wasn't that significant as 68% supported Nixon's policies, so only a minority were anti war and would have impacted Nixon's decisions to withdraw troops
                                                  1. "silent majority"
                                                  2. Also - there was some significant public support for keeping troops in USA show in polls 1968
                                                    1. 42% were in favour of mining Haiphong
                                                      1. 49% wanted an invasion of NV
                                                        1. These stats show that public opinion was not highly significant as many still wanted to keep US troops in Vietnam and carry on the war
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