Presentation on theme: "What problems did the Americans face in Vietnam?."— Presentation transcript:
What problems did the Americans face in Vietnam?
Learning objective – to be able examine the nature of the problems faced by US troops in Vietnam. I can describe some of the problems the US troops faced in the Vietnam War. Grade D I can explain the impact of the problems the US troops had on their effectiveness in Vietnam. Grade B I can explain and make links between the different problems the US troops faced in Vietnam. Grade A
Starter – How many US soldiers were treated for drug abuse in 1971? How many soldiers were treated for combat wounds in 1971?
Starter – How many US soldiers were treated for drug abuse in 1971? 20,000 soldiers How many soldiers were treated for combat wounds in 1971? 5,000 soldiers
What were the key problems faced by the Americans in Vietnam? Low morale and inexperience Vietnam’s neighbours Winning the ‘hearts and minds’ of the Vietnamese
Issues impacting on morale and inexperience Tour of Duty system Drafting Fragging Drug abuse Racial and class divisions within the US army.
How experienced were the US troops in Vietnam? The average age of a US soldier serving in Vietnam was 19. Many had just left school and had no experience of war. 60% of the 58,000 US troops killed in Vietnam were aged between 17 and 21.
What was a typical one year tour of duty? Around 2.8 million US soldiers served in Vietnam. The average soldier stood a 10% chance of see any combat. The average soldier stood a 2% chance of being killed and a 10% chance of being seriously wounded.
What was a typical one year tour of duty? Westmoreland introduced a one year tour of duty to help morale and combat the growing non-combat US causalties in Vietnam [18% in total] and desertion [500,000 in total]. This strategy backfired as soon as soldiers got experience in combat in Vietnam they were sent home.
What was the impact of drafting soldiers for Vietnam? After 1967, the majority of US soldiers were drafted into the army. Very few believed in or cared in what the US were fighting for in Vietnam which hit morale. Their only aim was to count the day for DEROS [Date Eligible for Return from Overseas]. This made soldiers less effective the nearer they got to DEROS. US soldiers would serve a one year tour of duty. This meant soldiers were constantly changed which hit morale. New soldiers were called ‘Cherries’ and took time to be accepted by experienced soldiers. 43% of cherries died in their first three months of active service.
What was ‘Fragging’? There were tensions between the professional officers and drafted soldiers. Officers wanted promotion and needed a successful combat record while soldiers just wanted to survive and get to DEROS. Tensions in combat could lead to soldiers killing their own officers. Fragging was the term used to describe this. It is estimated that 3% of US officers were killed by his own men.
How did drug abuse impact upon morale? Drug taking became more popular as the war in Vietnam continued and reduced the effectiveness of the US troops. In 1971, 5,000 soldiers were treated for combat wounds compared with 20,000 being treated for drug abuse in Vietnam.
How did racial and class divisions help divide the US troops? The majority of US combat troops were drafted from poor and immigrant backgrounds. Those who had money, influence or going to university were able to delay the draft and many avoided it altogether. This caused huge resentment within the US army.
Where did Vietnam’s neighbours sympathies lie? Vietnam’s neighbours were sympathetic to the VC and, indeed, allowed them into them to use their territory in the Ho Chi Minh Trail as well as sheltering retreating VC troops. US could not send their troops into North Vietnam or their neighbours which gave the VC a huge advantage. Although the US did conduct unofficial bombing missions into Cambodia and Laos.
How successful was the USA in winning ‘hearts and minds’? Winning hearts and minds is an important military strategy of a force fighting in a foreign country. It refers to the outside force winning the support of the indigenous people – in this case the Vietnamese peasants. President Johnson placed winning hearts and minds as core to his strategy – he mentioned it 28 times in speeches between 1964 and 1968. The problem was that from 1964, the US aggressive strategies aimed for high body counts which led to large number of civilian deaths turning the Vietnamese towards the VC.
Tasks Complete the Only Connect worksheet. Before you make your links, write a definition for each term on the worksheet in your exercise book. Extension Write a plan for an answer to the following exam essay question – ‘Low morale amongst the US troops was the most significant problem the US faced in the Vietnam War’ Is this view correct? Explain your answer.
Plenary This word cloud summarises the US tactics in Vietnam. Pick out the three most important words and explain how they link to your learning in this lesson.