New
New
Year 11
Edexcel

US weaknesses in the Vietnam War

I can assess the role of US weakness in its defeat.

New
New
Year 11
Edexcel

US weaknesses in the Vietnam War

I can assess the role of US weakness in its defeat.

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Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. US strategies in Vietnam were ineffective and often contradictory.
  2. US soldiers did not understand Vietnamese culture, which led to poor decision making.
  3. Communist propaganda painted the US as invaders.
  4. Poor tactics meant that Vietnamese civilians frequently became casualties.
  5. Poor discipline and drug use meant that the effectiveness of the US Army diminished after 1970.

Common misconception

US soldiers are highly trained, highly motivated troops.

Conscription generally offers a larger fighting force at the expense of a decline in quality - not everyone called to serve wants to be there.

Keywords

  • Strategy - a strategy is a plan for directing overall military operations and movements

  • Occupier - an occupier is a member of a group that takes possession of a country by force

  • Tactics - tactics are actions employed by armed forces during contact with the enemy

If possible, show your students videos or transcripts of interviews with Vietnam veterans so that they can view primary sources about how the soldiers felt about being drafted against their will, and how they reacted once they were in Vietnam.
Teacher tip

Content guidance

  • Contains subject matter which individuals may find upsetting.
  • Contains conflict or violence.
  • Contains distressing content.

Supervision

Adult supervision recommended.

Licence

This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).

Video

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6 Questions

Q1.
Complete the sentence: Operation II saw the US fly nearly 2000 missions and drop nearly 35 000 tonnes of bombs on North Vietnam over the course of 12 days in December 1972.
Rolling Thunder
Correct answer: Linebacker
Search and Destroy
Menu
Q2.
When was the Paris Peace Agreement signed?
1st January 1973
Correct answer: 27th January 1973
1st March 1974
13th March 1974
Q3.
Under the terms of the treaty, how would Vietnam be unified?
Correct answer: through elections overseen by independent people to make sure it was fair
the government of the North would assume control over all of Vietnam
the government of the South would assume control over all of Vietnam
unification was not agreed upon by those involved
Q4.
What award were the main negotiators of the treaty - Henry Kissinger of the US and Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam - presented with in 1973?
Correct Answer: Nobel Peace Prize, Nobel peace prize, nobel peace prize
Q5.
How long did the ceasefire between North and South Vietnam last until it was broken?
Correct answer: less than one day
nearly a week
roughly a month
just over a year
Q6.
Why did the US not keep its promise to re-enter the war if North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam after the peace treaty was signed?
The US Army was already engaged in a different war.
There were huge anti-war demonstrations again.
The new US president was a pacifist who did not believe in fighting.
Correct answer: The US Congress refused to grant permission to re-enter the war.

6 Questions

Q1.
Complete the sentence: the US initially tried to win over the of the South Vietnamese people in order to stop them from joining or helping the Vietcong.
towns and cities
men and women
Correct answer: hearts and minds
thoughts and prayers
Q2.
Which are two of the reasons why the Strategic Hamlets Programme failed?
There was nowhere to build the new hamlets.
Correct answer: People were forced to move away from the graves of their ancestors.
The South Vietnamese people did not know how to build the new hamlets.
South Vietnamese peasants attacked US soldiers who tried to force them to move.
Correct answer: Lack of resources in the hamlets led to hunger.
Q3.
Match the US strategy to its purpose.
Correct Answer:Strategic Hamlets Programme,the relocation of peasants away from Vietcong control

the relocation of peasants away from Vietcong control

Correct Answer:Operation Rolling Thunder,the bombing campaign against North Vietnam

the bombing campaign against North Vietnam

Correct Answer:Operation Ranch Hand,the use of chemical weapons to clear jungle terrain and destroy crops

the use of chemical weapons to clear jungle terrain and destroy crops

Correct Answer:Search and Destroy,the airlifting of US troops into Vietcong hotspots

the airlifting of US troops into Vietcong hotspots

Q4.
How many civilians are estimated to have been killed by US bombs in South Vietnam?
500 000
1 million
1.5 million
Correct answer: 2 million
Q5.
What was the average age of a drafted US soldier?
Correct Answer: 19, nineteen, Nineteen, 19 years old, 19 years
Q6.
Complete the sentence: towards the end of the war, the US Army saw an alarming increase in , which is the deliberate wounding or killing of commanding officers.
Correct Answer: fragging, Fragging

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