Was the Vietnam War a futile war?

Essay by zha0009University, Bachelor's April 2004

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Was the Vietnam War a futile war?

During the Cold War, the two superpowers, America and Russia fought a continuous diplomatic, economic and military struggle from the beginning of the 1950s until the 1970s. This battle often involved other much smaller and weaker countries to be supported by one of the superpowers to go against the other. In 1965, communist support in Vietnam lead to one of the most futile and costliest wars in modern history.

During the Vietnam War, approximately 3.2 million Vietnamese, 3.5 million Lao and Cambodian, 58000 Americans and over 600 Australians lost their lives. This is just an overview of how costly the war really was. The American government spent over 130 billion dollars directly into the war and at least that amount in indirect costs such as search for MIAs (Missing In Actions) and widow benefits. After all those lives lost and all that money spent, what had America achieved? Absolutely nothing.

Their original aim was to stop communism spreading across Vietnam and by the end of the Vietnam War, communism had taken total control over the whole country, and America had suffered the most embarrassing loss in the whole of American history.

When President Johnson launched a full-scale attack against Vietnam in 1964, there had not been enough time to prepare the combat troops. Apart from that, the American troops sent to Vietnam's hot and wet jungles had been trained in a desert, further impeding the strength of the normally powerful America's army. The main fighting strength that was actually better adapted with the jungle environment was the South Vietnamese Guerrilla fighters and the Australian troops. Unfortunately, the South Vietnamese were too corrupt and there weren't enough Australian troops to compensate. The American government were too confident that they would win this war.