What if the United States had not given up in Vietnam?

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There is a way that doesnt involve nukes. Forget public opinion, do three things.
1 Call up the national guard.
2 stop the coup of the month between diem's death and the rise of Ky, three years later. Buy off Minh, so no Khanh, or quat.
3 accept unpopular help. Ian Smith's Rhodesia, offered 6000 troops mainly black Franco's Spain offered air support into Cambodia in 1966. So did Chang Kai-shek this isn't Korea the mainland won't interfere. put Sir Robert Thompson on retainer.
 
Doubt if Rhodesia could have spared that many in real life but if the Americans had fought like the Rhodesians...
 
There is no comparison. The Communists won the war because they could freely use Laos, and Cambodia for logistical bases. The front line in Vietnam was 800 miles long, which is almost twice as long as the Western Front in WWII. The NVA could cross into South Vietnam anywhere, and anytime they wanted to. After defeat they would retreat back into a safe zone, to regroup, resupply, and start all over again. They used the same routes to supply, and reinforce the VC inside SV. If the American Army moved into Laos they would cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail at it's base along the 17th Parallel, extending the DMZ Westward. The Communists also moved supplies into Cambodian ports, that the USN could block, by searching incoming ships.

This is called isolating the battlefield. With their supplies cut off the VC could only count on what they could capture, or buy though corruption, which would be far more limited. The ARVN could then concentrate most of their forces on counter insurgency, rather then fighting the NVA. The Americans, ROK's, and Australians would deal with the NVA in the North, fighting a conventional war. No GI's burning villages, herding peasants into Strategic Hamlets, or the dropping napalm on kids.

The Soviets lost in Afghanistan, because their use of geocidal tactics turned the population irrevocable against them, along with most of the Islamic World. The Mujahidin had safe havens in Pakistan, and Iran, with supplies, weapons, and volunteers from Muslim Countries, and sophisticated weapons from the CIA. China also supported anti Soviet factions in the NE part of the country. The Soviets never had the option of invading Iran, or Pakistan. That would be beyond their military capacity, and would only multiply their problems. Both China, and the United States would intervene to defend Pakistan, and potentially start WWIII, with the USSR & India vs. USA & China. invading Iran would only create another quagmire.
Very good point. The war basically could not be "won" unless we either - 1. invaded NVN or 2. isolated SVN from NVN by cutting the HCM trail. In the absence of one of these two things, the enemy could always pull back across the border into Laos or even back to NVN and simply wait for an opportune moment to reenter. It would be impossible to score a knock out punch because they could always pull back, recover and then come back with reinforcements. In a sense the war could be "won" for a few months, but the minute we let up, they would come back again.
The only real solution was to build a line going all the way to the Mekong River and then reinforce it so that the HCM trail ceased to exist. At that point, we could THEN wage a war of attrition against the remaining VC forces in the south and since they couldn't be reinforced and we could be reinforced, this is a war of attrition that we could win. As to supplies and men coming through Cambodia, a US government of the type described in the thread would have no problem coercing the Cambodians to stop this by blockading them and refusing to lift the blockade unless they cooperated.
Whether all of this would be "worth it" is another question. But if the war was worth 60 thousand American lives lost and hundreds of thousands of American lives wrecked, then it was worth taking these more drastic steps to win.
In my own opinion, the war was not worth it because the domino theory was not sound - at least not after the Indonesian coup. But the Indonesian coup occurred when we were already neck deep in the conflict and no one had the balls to pull out because of the sunk cost (how can we leave VN and admit that all those who got killed wasted their lives?) fallacy.
The whole thing was a tragedy which I hope we never repeat.
 
aVery good point. The war basically could not be "won" unless we either - 1. invaded NVN or 2. isolated SVN from NVN by cutting the HCM trail. In the absence of one of these two things, the enemy could always pull back across the border into Laos or even back to NVN and simply wait for an opportune moment to reenter. It would be impossible to score a knock out punch because they could always pull back, recover and then come back with reinforcements. In a sense the war could be "won" for a few months, but the minute we let up, they would come back again.
The only real solution was to build a line going all the way to the Mekong River and then reinforce it so that the HCM trail ceased to exist. At that point, we could THEN wage a war of attrition against the remaining VC forces in the south and since they couldn't be reinforced and we could be reinforced, this is a war of attrition that we could win. As to supplies and men coming through Cambodia, a US government of the type described in the thread would have no problem coercing the Cambodians to stop this by blockading them and refusing to lift the blockade unless they cooperated.
Whether all of this would be "worth it" is another question. But if the war was worth 60 thousand American lives lost and hundreds of thousands of American lives wrecked, then it was worth taking these more drastic steps to win.
In my own opinion, the war was not worth it because the domino theory was not sound - at least not after the Indonesian coup. But the Indonesian coup occurred when we were already neck deep in the conflict and no one had the balls to pull out because of the sunk cost (how can we leave VN and admit that all those who got killed wasted their lives?) fallacy.
The whole thing was a tragedy which I hope we never repeat.

Every discussion about the Vietnam War is still a loaded subject. Just reading some of these posts show that emotions are still high, almost 50 years after U.S. involvement ended. About 25 years ago I meet a man at the VA, who'd been in combat there, and told him just what I wrote here. I said we lost the war because we used a very poor strategy. He became so agitated, he started to just shout that "You don't understand man, you weren't in the Nam." He quickly walked away. He was just so upset. I don't even know what it was that upset him, he couldn't express his thoughts, or even discuss the subject. I remember as a kid how divided the U.S. was at that time, the anger, and bitter feelings were terrible, and the divide is still deep even today.

Even though I still think to this day the war was winnable, I also think Vietnam was of little strategic value to the U.S., and probable not worth the cost of a major war. The damage to American self confidence, and international prestige were serious, and the U.S. has never recovered from it. The economic damage was also serious. It ended the 60's Space Age Boom, and set the stage for the Stagflation, and Pessimism of the 70's. It also derailed the Progressive, Civil Rights Era, and started a Cultural Backlash, that set the stage for the current Red State, Blue State divide.

The war reunited the Vietnamese People in one National State, but it was under a Communist Regime that imposed a humanitarian, and economic disaster on the People. Victory over the South gave them no peace, only another decade of new wars. Vietnam still suffers under that regime, but is slowly making improvements. The real threat to Vietnam comes from China, not the USA. Today the Vietnamese want the Americans to come back to Cam Ranh Bay. Everything comes full circle, and nothing ever really ends. It may have been better to never get on the Vietnam Ride, the price of the ticket, and the motion sickness afterward just weren't worth it.
 
Apologies for getting my Vietnamese factions wrong but my point wasn't that the US destroyed the Communists forces, its about controlling the media narrative so Tet isn't seen as proof that the US can't win but instead as a significant victory.

how can it be seen as a victory? Sure the offensive didn't have the effect the NVA desired or expected, but it had a much more powerfull sideffect. And i'm not talking about the general public turning against the war because of how the media displayed it(which was not inaccurate), but how it send a shock through the US military about the capabilities of the NVA and VC. They never thought the VC could pull something off like that. Next to that, after the end of Tet they were sure the VC was destroyed and couldn't do it again, but they did it again next year, and then again, and again. It was clear the NVA didn't care about lives, they just kept doing it over and over again to demoralise and destabilise the south. Which worked like a charm.

That, had at least as much influence of the willingness to fight as the anti-war campaign did back home. They had no clue how to deal with it, period. Not a victory at all.
 
Your comment is useless, this would be a never ending discussion if we discuss all the minimum details

He's right, though. This scenario is ridiculous. You can't just wave your hand and say the leader of the free world suddenly becomes a banana republic-style military dictatorship. At that point, Vietnam isn't even the primary issue compared to how Western Europe reacts to this. What leads to that? How does it happen? There has to be a coherent point of departure for this to be a counterfactual, whereas this is just a thought experiment.

It's really clear that you just posted this thread so you could grind an axe about a revisionist myth (PragerU videos as a source? Really?). Don't be rude to people who are critiquing your dumb trolling.
 
(late to the party, hope am not repeating others)

The kind of rabid anti-comm miltary that would cause a successful coup in the US is not the kind that would be happy with just sitting back in South Vietnam and "take it". These are the kind of people to whom things like political "niceties", world opinion, legalities or reality do not matter.

They would escalate the war by launching a full scale ground invasion of the North, acompanied by bombing campaigns like Rolling Thunder, with the logic of "taking the war to the enemy"; the objective would be the capture and/or destruction of Hanoi, trying to get the surrender or destruction of the comunist army and leadership. Sooner or latter, this would put them in direct conflict with China or the USSR, or even both, (depending on what year this would be done) by getting their troops killed or captured. This would almost certainly force either of these nations to send in their own reinforcements of equipment and troops. The USSR is simply too far away but China is literally around the corner. Assuming the NVA agrees with this (depending on how desperate it gets) China could be pouring troops by the 10s of thousands within days, with air cover. Ground combat between US and China would be inevitable.

How long would it be before either side uses a tactical nuke? Who knows... but WWIII would not be far behind...
 
There would be massive rioting and civil disobedience in the US. You would find a number of World War II generals joining the protesters. The National Guard would be unable to contain the riots and troops would have to be withdrawn from Europe. Most NATO members would withdraw from the alliance. There would be a real shortage of available troops to send to Southeast Asia. The economy would tank.
 
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I propose the following scenario:

(Please read the entire threads before commenting)threads

The United States has become a military government. In this scenario for some reason, a military junta takes the government, and immediately begins controlling the media (like in ww2), propagating strong anti-communist and patriotic campaigns, and repressing anti-war protests and hippie culture, and drug use is also heavily repressed, especially in the army. This happens at the height of the war in 1968, and American generals are ready to fight until the annihilation of communist aggression in Vietnam and the region.

In this scenario, it is not the intention to debate how it would affect the rest of the world, so suppose the international geopolitical situation was similar to what occurred in our timeline, the Soviet Union and China still support northern Vietnam, a full ground invasion is not possible against North Vietnam, because it would eventually generate Chinese involvement, but the United States ends up using any military actions that are necessary against Cambodia and Laos, in order to neutralize the Ho Chi Minh line and attack Vietnamese positions in these countries, allowing invasions military by ground, but very limited, in order to not involve other countries and not escalate into a global or major conflict, therefore the only main target are Vietnamese troops and Vietnamese who use military positions in these countries.

American strategies remain basically the same, for body counting, but the military now has the autonomy to make war-related decisions without having to worry about justifying actions for the civilian government.

PS: The purpose of the discussion is not to focus on debating how this radical political change in the USA would be possible. This is a parallel universe where different and specific events generated this scenario that would not be possible in our timeline, the purpose here is to debate how it would affect the conflict, since there would be no more withdrawal of troops from Vietnam or anti-war movements.

PS II: The army taking the government is just an excuse to justify this scenario, where the United States does not give up the war, and the military has freedom to act around this objective. The idea of the military taking power was to create a context where this total engagement in the war would be possible. If you think this scenario is unrealistic, you can create your own explanation for describe how this total engagement in war would be possible in a alternative timeline.

Uhm, IF the above happened the Vietnam conflict would proceed as follows:
The US military will pull out as soon as practical while up-grading, (dumping) most of the military material already in theatre to the South Vietnamese. You're mission one major point about the conflict that tends to get over-looked in that the US military was totally un-interested in participating in a war in Asia when they felt they should have been focused on the REAL threat which was the USSR in Europe.

Vietnam was a very political, not military war and as such was both expanded and supported by politics at home and not the military. it was always seen as an 'aside' at best and a semi-plausible 'combat testing' zone for military hardware against known Soviet, (who where the main suppliers) hardware. If the US military stages a 'coup' in the US they will NOT stay in Vietnam for any reason because it was simply never that important to them. The US military had known going in that it would be a quagmire and drain of focus from the "main" area which was always going to be Europe. By the mid-70s it was clear the USSR was increasing its reorganization and reequipping in Europe so they were looking for either a full political commitment from the civilian government, (which was never in the cards) to an actual 'total war' strategy in Vietnam or a draw-down and re-deployment of assets BACK to Europe. Vietnam and Asia in general were never going to be a major focus for the US military especially if "they" are in charge.

Randy
 
Apologies for getting my Vietnamese factions wrong but my point wasn't that the US destroyed the Communists forces, its about controlling the media narrative so Tet isn't seen as proof that the US can't win but instead as a significant victory.
If Tet was a significant victory why did Wheeler and Westmoreland ask for 206,756 more troops which Wheeler characterized as a matter of vital military necessity?
 
If in 68 in response to the Tet offensive , we had decided to invade North Vietnam , would it have ended the war? or Brought China in to the Conflict?
I said that the war could not be won unless we did one of these things. I did not imply that it would have been a good idea to do one of these things and I did not necessarily indicate that the war would actually have been won if we did one of these things. What I am sure of is that the war could not have been won if we had not.
 
Viet Nam just wasn't worth the cost the North Vietnamese were capable of making the U.S. pay for victory. The whole "body count" rationale was about making the cost ratio even less favourable for North Viet Nam, but that couldn't work because they had stopped factoring their own cost long ago.
Even Kissinger later wrote that a line had to be drawn agains the expansion of communism, but Viet Nam was the wrong place to draw it.
 
To finish off the enemy while they were on the ropes?
They were hardly on the ropes. At least that is not how Wheeler and Westmoreland presented them. On February 27, 1968 the CIA issued an Intelligence Memorandum titled "Future Communist Military Strategy in Vietnam " that forecast robust military activity including the introduction of air and armored units. Tet was a failure in the sense that the Communist forces did not hold the targets they attacked. It was a communist victory in that it showed nowhere was safe from attack. Despite the losses the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong suffered there was no lessening in their willingness to continue to absorb losses. One thing you have to remember is that Communist doctrine whether the Red Army in World War II or in wars of national liberation accepts prodigious losses.
 
These is silly "video gaming" scenario. War is always extension of society. If you refuse to discuss the "home front" then discussion would turn unrealistic and useless quickly.
I believe that this would be to deviate too much from the subject, the central theme being "how the war would proceed with full engagement of the United States and without withdrawal of troops", and not how it could have happened, but as I said, if you think the context that I created unrealistic, you can create your own explanation to justify a scenario of total engagement by the United States.

Please maintain respect, this is a serious discussion, and if you think the discussion doesn’t make sense, then I don’t see why you’re commenting here instead of ignoring the post.
 
Viet Nam just wasn't worth the cost the North Vietnamese were capable of making the U.S. pay for victory. The whole "body count" rationale was about making the cost ratio even less favourable for North Viet Nam, but that couldn't work because they had stopped factoring their own cost long ago.
Even Kissinger later wrote that a line had to be drawn agains the expansion of communism, but Viet Nam was the wrong place to draw it.
I think Vietnam, above all else, proved that you cannot stop a political theory by military means. Kissinger was wrong, just as the American military was. Vietnam was going to become Communist eventually. All they could do was slow the process, if they were lucky.
 
They were hardly on the ropes. At least that is not how Wheeler and Westmoreland presented them. On February 27, 1968 the CIA issued an Intelligence Memorandum titled "Future Communist Military Strategy in Vietnam " that forecast robust military activity including the introduction of air and armored units. Tet was a failure in the sense that the Communist forces did not hold the targets they attacked. It was a communist victory in that it showed nowhere was safe from attack. Despite the losses the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong suffered there was no lessening in their willingness to continue to absorb losses. One thing you have to remember is that Communist doctrine whether the Red Army in World War II or in wars of national liberation accepts prodigious losses.
Tet failed in it's objective - which was to try and provoke a general uprising amongst the South Vietnamese population against the South's Government. The NLF was meant to occupy, around Saigon the likely landing grounds for US Helicopters and so prevent the rapid reinforcement of the US and ARVN forces in the city. They failed.
 
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