Vietnamization and its Effects

Vietnamization and it's Lasting Effects on South Vietnam and it's Fall


I. Background

A. Introduction

B. Vietnam -- two separate countries

1. French Control

2. Viet Minh Revolt

3. Creation of North and South Vietnam

C. America's objectives in South Vietnam

D. Vietnam's armies

II. Vietnamization

A. Beginnings of Vietnamization

B. Research of possible withdrawal

C. Decision to withdraw

1. began in early 1969

III. American Withdrawal and South Vietnamese Buildup

A. Short history

B. Advisor and troop reductions

C. Combat assiezce team reductions

D. South Vietnamese buildup

E. South Vietnamese military additions in 1972

IV. The Fall of Vietnam

A. Easter Offensive

B. Ceasefire

1. Goes in to effect on January 28, 1973

C. Break of the cease fire and North Vietnamese offensive of

December, 1973

D. Final offensive in 1975

E. Resignation of President Thieu

F. General Minh assumes the Presidency

G. Minh fails in negotiations

H. Minh gives in to all North Vietnamese demands

V. Conclusions


Vietnam was a country that was far removed from the American

people until their history and ours became forever interlinked in what

has come to be known as the Vietnam conflict. It is a classic story

of good guys versus bad, communism versus freedom, and a conezt

struggle for stability. Americas attempt to aid the cause of freedom

was a valid one, but one that ended up with South Vietnam being

dependent upon us for its very life as a nation. "Vietnamization" was

the name for the plan to allow South Vietnam to ezd on its own, and

ended in leaving a country totally on its own, unable to ezd and


Vietnam was a French territory until the Viet Minh insurgency of

the late 1940's and through 1954. Although regarding this uprising as

part of a larger Communist conspiracy, Americans were not

unsympathetic to Vietnamese aspirations for national independence.

The ensueing defeat of the French brought an end to the first stage of

what was to be a thirty year struggle. The Indochina ceasefire

agreement (Geneva Accords) of July 21, 1954 led to the creation of

seperate states in Laos and Cambodia, and the artificial division of

Vietnam into two republics. In the North the Communist Viet Minh

established the democratic of Vietnam, and in the south a random

collection of non - Communist factions, led by Ngo Dinh Diem, formed

the Republic of Vietnam. The general elections provided for by the

agreement never took place, and the two states quickly drew apart.

The United States immediatly threw its support behind the southern

regime and extended military aid through a Military Assiezce

Advisory Group (MAAG) under the command of Lt. General John W.


American objectives in South Vietnam were reletively simple and

remained so -- the establishment and preservation of a non - Communist

government in South Vietnam. Initally, the most pressing problem

was the weakness of the Saigon government and the danger of cival war

between South Vietnam's armed religious and political factions. Diem,

however, acting as a kind of benevolent dictator, managed to put a

working government together, and O'Daniel's advisory group, about

three or four hundred people, went to work creating a national army.

Slowly, under the direction of O'Daniel and his successor in October

1955, Lt. General Samuel T. Williams, the new army took shape. The

primary mission of this 150,000 man force was to repel a North

Vietnamese invasion across the Demilitarised zone that seperated North

and South Vietnam. Diem and his American advisors thus organised and

trained the new army for a Korean - style conflict, rather than

for the unconventional guerrilla warfare that had characterised the

earlier French - Viet Minh struggle. President Minh also maintained a

subeztial paramilitary force almost as large as the regular army.

This force's primary task was to maintain internal security, but also

acted as a counter weight to the army, whose officers often had

political ambitions that were sometimes incompatible with those of

Diem. From the beginning, such tensions weakened the Saigon

government and severly hampered its ability to deal with South

Vietnam's social and ecenomic problems.

At the beginning of 1968 the military strength of the Saigon

government was, on paper, impressive. The regular armed forces

consisted of about 250,000 men, organised into a conventional army,

navy, air force, and marine corps, well equipped with tanks,

artillary, ships and aircraft, Behind the regulars was a similar -