What should the U.S. have done to win the Vietnam War, in your honest opinion?

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daveshoup2MD
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Re: What should the U.S. have done to win the Vietnam War, in your honest opinion?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Mar 2021 05:12

Futurist wrote:
17 Mar 2021 23:00
@daveshoup2MD: Was Korea more of a martial power pre-independence than Vietnam was?

As for your point #1 here, if you would have extended Vietnam's DMZ through Laos all of the way up to the Thai border, this would have significantly helped with this, no?
No, but the ROK Army was - essentially - professionalized along US lines in 1952-53, at a point when the war - although still very "hot" was stabilized; having the ocean on each flank was a huge advantage for the UN/allied forces, of course, and forced the Chinese and what was left of the NKPA to fight (relatively) conventionally, force-on-force. The Korean War was never an insurgency, obviously, in the sense the Vietnam conflict(s) were, at least at time.

The ROK Army was also literally doubled in size (from 10 light infantry division equivalents to 20) in 1952-53, which was possible because of the inherent stability of the front and the reality the Americans were willing to fund the expansion and sustain it, because it helped achieve the US strategic goals of the moment.

Here's a pretty reasonable short summary:

https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv103xd ... b_contents

The problem for the ARVN was the "Vietnamization" effort came at a point in that conflict where the front was not stable and the landward flank, at least, was not "closed." Likewise, it's worth noting the US has been willing to maintain combat forces in the ROK from 1953 to the present day; there was no will among US decision-makers to do the same in the RVN, even if the situation had stabilized.

And the US tried extensive operations in Cambodia, and support to the Cambodian and Laotian governments; it was never enough to shut down the landward borders.

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Re: What should the U.S. have done to win the Vietnam War, in your honest opinion?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Mar 2021 05:15

Futurist wrote:
17 Mar 2021 23:01
sailorsam wrote:
17 Mar 2021 15:05
Futurist wrote:
16 Mar 2021 20:22
By the way, why do you think that the South Vietnamese military was so much weaker than the South Korean military was?
I'm no expert
imho the SVn government had no moral authority. it was corrupt and tended to ignore rural areas.
and it was seen as the puppet to colonial overlords (first France, then USA). thus not much loyalty or desire to fight for.
most VietNamese, imho, just wanted to be left alone.

the USA was portrayed as the next French, wanting to rule. in fact the USA had no desire to rule Vietnam, it just didn't want it to be communist, but was never able to convince the Vietnamese people of this. apparently a lot of the people saw the war as an extension of the revolution against the French.
very sad that Ho Chi Minh was communist. if he had just been a nationalist he could have led his country to independence and better days.

fwiw, united Vietnam wasn't the Moscow (or Beijing) puppet the USA feared it would be.
am happy to see some freedom returning there now.
shame they wasted a generation on government by marxist dogma.
Yep, I head that Vietnam only turned to the Soviet Union for assistance due to the US being hostile to it.
In 1945, the ROK came into existence under US tutellage, and that relationship survived the worst of 1950-51 and yielded dividends from 1952 onwards; in 1945, France was more important to the US than Vietnam, and remained so until 1954, at which point it was far too late.

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Re: What should the U.S. have done to win the Vietnam War, in your honest opinion?

Post by Futurist » 18 Mar 2021 05:17

daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Mar 2021 05:15
Futurist wrote:
17 Mar 2021 23:01
sailorsam wrote:
17 Mar 2021 15:05
Futurist wrote:
16 Mar 2021 20:22
By the way, why do you think that the South Vietnamese military was so much weaker than the South Korean military was?
I'm no expert
imho the SVn government had no moral authority. it was corrupt and tended to ignore rural areas.
and it was seen as the puppet to colonial overlords (first France, then USA). thus not much loyalty or desire to fight for.
most VietNamese, imho, just wanted to be left alone.

the USA was portrayed as the next French, wanting to rule. in fact the USA had no desire to rule Vietnam, it just didn't want it to be communist, but was never able to convince the Vietnamese people of this. apparently a lot of the people saw the war as an extension of the revolution against the French.
very sad that Ho Chi Minh was communist. if he had just been a nationalist he could have led his country to independence and better days.

fwiw, united Vietnam wasn't the Moscow (or Beijing) puppet the USA feared it would be.
am happy to see some freedom returning there now.
shame they wasted a generation on government by marxist dogma.
Yep, I head that Vietnam only turned to the Soviet Union for assistance due to the US being hostile to it.
In 1945, the ROK came into existence under US tutellage, and that relationship survived the worst of 1950-51 and yielded dividends from 1952 onwards; in 1945, France was more important to the US than Vietnam, and remained so until 1954, at which point it was far too late.
Do you think that Vietnam gets independence right after World War II if FDR lives longer?

daveshoup2MD
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Re: What should the U.S. have done to win the Vietnam War, in your honest opinion?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Mar 2021 06:59

Futurist wrote:
18 Mar 2021 05:17
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Mar 2021 05:15
Futurist wrote:
17 Mar 2021 23:01
sailorsam wrote:
17 Mar 2021 15:05
Futurist wrote:
16 Mar 2021 20:22
By the way, why do you think that the South Vietnamese military was so much weaker than the South Korean military was?
I'm no expert
imho the SVn government had no moral authority. it was corrupt and tended to ignore rural areas.
and it was seen as the puppet to colonial overlords (first France, then USA). thus not much loyalty or desire to fight for.
most VietNamese, imho, just wanted to be left alone.

the USA was portrayed as the next French, wanting to rule. in fact the USA had no desire to rule Vietnam, it just didn't want it to be communist, but was never able to convince the Vietnamese people of this. apparently a lot of the people saw the war as an extension of the revolution against the French.
very sad that Ho Chi Minh was communist. if he had just been a nationalist he could have led his country to independence and better days.

fwiw, united Vietnam wasn't the Moscow (or Beijing) puppet the USA feared it would be.
am happy to see some freedom returning there now.
shame they wasted a generation on government by marxist dogma.
Yep, I head that Vietnam only turned to the Soviet Union for assistance due to the US being hostile to it.
In 1945, the ROK came into existence under US tutellage, and that relationship survived the worst of 1950-51 and yielded dividends from 1952 onwards; in 1945, France was more important to the US than Vietnam, and remained so until 1954, at which point it was far too late.
Do you think that Vietnam gets independence right after World War II if FDR lives longer?
Possibly, but FDR was the ultimate pragmatist, and absent any major change in Allied strategy in the Pacific War, the Japanese occupation of French Indochina is presumably going to end in 1945 along the lines of what happened historically, which means the British and Chinese are on the ground, which suggests the French get back in as they did historically in 1945-46, and the situation presumably plays out close to how it did, anyway.

Futurist
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Re: What should the U.S. have done to win the Vietnam War, in your honest opinion?

Post by Futurist » 18 Mar 2021 19:05

daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Mar 2021 06:59
Futurist wrote:
18 Mar 2021 05:17
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Mar 2021 05:15
Futurist wrote:
17 Mar 2021 23:01
sailorsam wrote:
17 Mar 2021 15:05


I'm no expert
imho the SVn government had no moral authority. it was corrupt and tended to ignore rural areas.
and it was seen as the puppet to colonial overlords (first France, then USA). thus not much loyalty or desire to fight for.
most VietNamese, imho, just wanted to be left alone.

the USA was portrayed as the next French, wanting to rule. in fact the USA had no desire to rule Vietnam, it just didn't want it to be communist, but was never able to convince the Vietnamese people of this. apparently a lot of the people saw the war as an extension of the revolution against the French.
very sad that Ho Chi Minh was communist. if he had just been a nationalist he could have led his country to independence and better days.

fwiw, united Vietnam wasn't the Moscow (or Beijing) puppet the USA feared it would be.
am happy to see some freedom returning there now.
shame they wasted a generation on government by marxist dogma.
Yep, I head that Vietnam only turned to the Soviet Union for assistance due to the US being hostile to it.
In 1945, the ROK came into existence under US tutellage, and that relationship survived the worst of 1950-51 and yielded dividends from 1952 onwards; in 1945, France was more important to the US than Vietnam, and remained so until 1954, at which point it was far too late.
Do you think that Vietnam gets independence right after World War II if FDR lives longer?
Possibly, but FDR was the ultimate pragmatist, and absent any major change in Allied strategy in the Pacific War, the Japanese occupation of French Indochina is presumably going to end in 1945 along the lines of what happened historically, which means the British and Chinese are on the ground, which suggests the French get back in as they did historically in 1945-46, and the situation presumably plays out close to how it did, anyway.
Might a surviving FDR have used economic pressure to try restraining France from reacquiring French Indochina, though?

daveshoup2MD
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Re: What should the U.S. have done to win the Vietnam War, in your honest opinion?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Mar 2021 23:49

Futurist wrote:
18 Mar 2021 19:05
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Mar 2021 06:59
Futurist wrote:
18 Mar 2021 05:17
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Mar 2021 05:15
Futurist wrote:
17 Mar 2021 23:01

Yep, I head that Vietnam only turned to the Soviet Union for assistance due to the US being hostile to it.
In 1945, the ROK came into existence under US tutellage, and that relationship survived the worst of 1950-51 and yielded dividends from 1952 onwards; in 1945, France was more important to the US than Vietnam, and remained so until 1954, at which point it was far too late.
Do you think that Vietnam gets independence right after World War II if FDR lives longer?
Possibly, but FDR was the ultimate pragmatist, and absent any major change in Allied strategy in the Pacific War, the Japanese occupation of French Indochina is presumably going to end in 1945 along the lines of what happened historically, which means the British and Chinese are on the ground, which suggests the French get back in as they did historically in 1945-46, and the situation presumably plays out close to how it did, anyway.
Might a surviving FDR have used economic pressure to try restraining France from reacquiring French Indochina, though?
It's an interesting question - about the only cases of de-colonization that come to mind as (partially) occurring while FDR was alive, historically, were Syria and Lebanon, and both were special cases as former League Mandates; and even then, their status was "fluid" even as late as San Francisco.

I'm trying to think of any others, but can't ... pretty much all the European imperial colonies were still under European control in 1941-45, either de facto or de jure. The PI was on the track to independence with FDR's support even before the Japanese attack, so that's an example, but pretty far from what happened in Indochina, Indonesia, etc.

Futurist
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Re: What should the U.S. have done to win the Vietnam War, in your honest opinion?

Post by Futurist » 21 Mar 2021 04:38

Interesting; thank you.

Also, it's quite interesting--IIRC, FDR's initial plans for France after WWII were to turn France into an Allied protectorate or something along those lines, but AFAIK, these plans were preempted by French General Charles De Gaulle when he declared a Provisional French Government in late 1944.

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Re: What should the U.S. have done to win the Vietnam War, in your honest opinion?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 22 Mar 2021 08:17

Futurist wrote:
21 Mar 2021 04:38
Interesting; thank you.

Also, it's quite interesting--IIRC, FDR's initial plans for France after WWII were to turn France into an Allied protectorate or something along those lines, but AFAIK, these plans were preempted by French General Charles De Gaulle when he declared a Provisional French Government in late 1944.
Not really; see:

https://history.army.mil/html/books/011 ... b_11-6.pdf

Globalization41
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Re: What should the U.S. have done to win the Vietnam War, in your honest opinion?

Post by Globalization41 » 22 Mar 2021 15:27

Thailand successfully defended its neutrality during the Vietnam War by allowing several gigantic U.S. military installations to operate from neutral Thai territory in support of the anti-communist war effort in Indo-China. Communist expansion stalled (due to U.S. intervention) and the fad reached its limits after Cambodia fell. Thailand without U.S. intervention might or might not have been overrun by radical communists or Maoists. … Thailand was the only country in the region never colonized by Europeans and thus was not generally prejudiced toward Americans. The Thais protected the U.S. bases from foreign insurgents. … Aircraft carriers had their advantages, but land bases could deliver more firepower.

Globalization41.

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Re: What should the U.S. have done to win the Vietnam War, in your honest opinion?

Post by Futurist » 22 Mar 2021 18:27

daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Mar 2021 08:17
Futurist wrote:
21 Mar 2021 04:38
Interesting; thank you.

Also, it's quite interesting--IIRC, FDR's initial plans for France after WWII were to turn France into an Allied protectorate or something along those lines, but AFAIK, these plans were preempted by French General Charles De Gaulle when he declared a Provisional French Government in late 1944.
Not really; see:

https://history.army.mil/html/books/011 ... b_11-6.pdf
Thanks! Will check out!

daveshoup2MD
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Re: What should the U.S. have done to win the Vietnam War, in your honest opinion?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 22 Mar 2021 18:40

Futurist wrote:
22 Mar 2021 18:27
daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Mar 2021 08:17
Futurist wrote:
21 Mar 2021 04:38
Interesting; thank you.

Also, it's quite interesting--IIRC, FDR's initial plans for France after WWII were to turn France into an Allied protectorate or something along those lines, but AFAIK, these plans were preempted by French General Charles De Gaulle when he declared a Provisional French Government in late 1944.
Not really; see:

https://history.army.mil/html/books/011 ... b_11-6.pdf
Thanks! Will check out!
Sure. The official histories are well worth reading.

Futurist
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Re: What should the U.S. have done to win the Vietnam War, in your honest opinion?

Post by Futurist » 22 Mar 2021 22:48

daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Mar 2021 18:40
Futurist wrote:
22 Mar 2021 18:27
daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Mar 2021 08:17
Futurist wrote:
21 Mar 2021 04:38
Interesting; thank you.

Also, it's quite interesting--IIRC, FDR's initial plans for France after WWII were to turn France into an Allied protectorate or something along those lines, but AFAIK, these plans were preempted by French General Charles De Gaulle when he declared a Provisional French Government in late 1944.
Not really; see:

https://history.army.mil/html/books/011 ... b_11-6.pdf
Thanks! Will check out!
Sure. The official histories are well worth reading.
Official histories are always extremely interesting, no doubt. I wonder if the US and every other country have an official history for every single war that they have ever entered and fought in.

daveshoup2MD
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Re: What should the U.S. have done to win the Vietnam War, in your honest opinion?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 23 Mar 2021 06:42

Futurist wrote:
22 Mar 2021 22:48
daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Mar 2021 18:40
Futurist wrote:
22 Mar 2021 18:27
daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Mar 2021 08:17
Futurist wrote:
21 Mar 2021 04:38
Interesting; thank you.

Also, it's quite interesting--IIRC, FDR's initial plans for France after WWII were to turn France into an Allied protectorate or something along those lines, but AFAIK, these plans were preempted by French General Charles De Gaulle when he declared a Provisional French Government in late 1944.
Not really; see:

https://history.army.mil/html/books/011 ... b_11-6.pdf
Thanks! Will check out!
Sure. The official histories are well worth reading.
Official histories are always extremely interesting, no doubt. I wonder if the US and every other country have an official history for every single war that they have ever entered and fought in.
Short answer? Yes, pretty much.

Futurist
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Re: What should the U.S. have done to win the Vietnam War, in your honest opinion?

Post by Futurist » 23 Mar 2021 21:42

Very interesting! Might be prudent on my own part to search for and read more of these official histories. :)

daveshoup2MD
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Re: What should the U.S. have done to win the Vietnam War, in your honest opinion?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 27 Mar 2021 05:51

Futurist wrote:
23 Mar 2021 21:42
Very interesting! Might be prudent on my own part to search for and read more of these official histories. :)
Like any work, the reader has to consider the source, author, editor, publisher, etc, but - generally - the US official histories well worth reading. Very impressive group of authors, most were professional historians, and willing to raise questions - generally ;)

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