It is has been about thirty-five years since the last American soldier set foot on Vietnamese soil, but the Vietnam War still remains to cast a dark shadow on American history. During the war, the United States fought to protect South Vietnam from the terrors of North Vietnam and the threat of turning to communism. Despite America’s valiant efforts, it lost about $150 billion on the war, as well as about 58 thousand American soldiers (Gilbert 377). Many people believed when President Lyndon B.
Johnson stepped down from office in 1969, that the war was coming to an end, however it was far from over.Shortly after Lyndon Johnson stepped down, Richard Milhous Nixon became the president in 1969. Nixon had a policy in mind that would hopefully encourage the South Vietnamese people to take more responsibility for the war (Encyclopedia Britannica). This policy was referred to as “vietnamization. ” The goal was, if successful, to be able to steadily withdraw American troops from Vietnam. To make this possible, the United States would give the South Vietnamese military forces special training, which would enable the government of South Vietnam to take greater control over the war.They also hoped to help them to defeat the North Vietnamese by establishing elections, reforms, and special social services available to citizens of South Vietnam. (Spartacus Educational) In April 1970, Nixon ordered the U.
S. and South Vietnamese troops to invade military supply centers in North Vietnam and set up in Cambodia. They were able to capture large stocks of weapons and supplies and delayed a major enemy attack. Despite the success, people in the U. S. were heavily protesting the war, especially around college campuses and universities.
Nixon knew that if he did not withdraw U. S. troops, things could get worse. In March of 1972, North Vietnam began a huge invasion in South Vietnam. Nixon used American airpower against the enemy and bombed North Vietnam numerous times. The extremely high costs paid by both sides during the fighting in 1972, led to a whole new round of peace negotiations (Gilbert 376).
Nixon had been gradually removing US troops from Vietnam since 1969; however, his advisors warned him that the gradual removal of all troops could lead to a North Vietnamese victory (Spartacus Educational).Therefore, they agreed that the only way they could avoid this was to negotiate a peace agreement between both sides. Peace talks were conducted by Nixon’s chief foreign policy advisor, Henry A. Kissinger and North Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho (Hickman). On January 27, 1973, the United States, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and the Viet Cong signed a cease-fire agreement. This pact benefitted the U. S.
because it allowed for the withdrawal of all U. S. and allied forces from Vietnam within the next 60 days, as well as return of all prisoners. In March 29, 1973, the final U. S. roops left Vietnam, but unfortunately, after they had gone, peace talks soon broke down and the war continued between the two halves of the nation (Gilbert 376). Vietnamization was ultimately a very successful tactic in bringing U.
S. troops home and lessening U. S. involvement in the Vietnam War. By helping the South Vietnamese people with ways to overcome the enemy, President Nixon was able to stabilize the problem of having too much involvement in a war that was not meant for the United States.
The policy enabled South Vietnam to strengthen itself as whole. It became a stronger military force and also political force as well.All in all, it is safe to say that President Nixon’s policy of Vietnamization was our nation’s best bet in getting our troops out of the Vietnam War by turning control over to the government of South Vietnam.