Imagine this. You come home on a regular evening after work but you notice something is off. Your significant other didn’t lock the door which is something they particularly do. You walk in to see your two innocent children scattered in every direction with your wife next to them. You don’t know what to do. One thing you do know is all hell will break loose when you find who did this. Wars tend to hurt the people who don’t deserve it. The Vietnam war was one of those wars. The Vietnam war failed for the U.S. because it was focused on its horrible and corrupt regime in the south, that would have collapsed once American money and troops were pulled out of the war. The war also failed because of the lack of defense of freedom from communism in Cambodia.
America’s troop pullout and its future drastic cuts in economic aid left the South Vietnamese military weakened and on its own. Richard Nixon saw what was happening and how many U.S deaths this had caused and decided to withdraw and “Vietnamization” U.S troops from the North. Vietnamization was the strategy that reduced U.S troops from the North and transferred them to the South. Once he did this, it gave him the option to bomb the North. He also didn’t take out all of the troops. According to an article called, “Vietnamization”, it states, “At the same time that the Vietnamization plan was put in place, however, the Nixon administration also escalated U.S. military activity in other parts of Southeast Asia.
In April 1970, for example, the president secretly authorized bombing campaigns and a ground invasion of Cambodia, a neutral country” (History.com). He believed this would work in order to keep the pressure off the enemy until the plan was finalized. In the start, there was about 549,000 troops in the North. Once this plan took place, there was only about 69,000 left within a span of three years. According to History.com, “In January 1973, the Nixon administration negotiated a peace agreement with North Vietnamese leaders. Under the terms of the settlement, the U.S. agreed to withdraw its remaining troops within 60 days in exchange for an immediate ceasefire, the return of American prisoners of war, and North Vietnam’s promise to recognize the legitimacy of South Vietnam’s government and submit future disputes to an international commission” (History.com). This was put into place until in 1975 the South fell under the North’s communist ways. This leads to the factor of the U.S not being able to help the communism happening in Cambodia.
These were the refugee camps people would migrate too.
Cambodia started off as a neutral country until it got dragged into this war. According to an Article called, “The Vietnam War and its Impact on Southeast Asia”, is states, “ Neighbouring Cambodia was dragged into the conflict. It was bombed by the US air force in an attempt to stop North Vietnamese communists supplying their southern allies via the Ho Chi Minh Trai which ran through eastern Laos and Cambodia. Shortly before the fall of Saigon in 1975 the Cambodian communists, the Khmer Rouge, captured Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. This was a bitter blow to the Americans. Having tried to stop the spread of communism in the region, it had in fact seen its influence spread” (The Vietnam War and its Impact on Southeast Asia). This proves that the U.S had made matters worse by bombing Cambodia in efforts to stop the North. Not only did this drag Cambodia into the war, it later created refugee problems. Hundreds of thousands of people who supported the United States and South Vietnam during the conflict, migrated to refugee camps in the late 1970s to escape the violence and instability that was left by the U.S. withdrawal of troops. Many people became political refugees and finally settled in communities in California and Minnesota, where they continued to practice their culture and adjust to new circumstances as Americans.
All in all, The Vietnam War had changed the life of many. The war concluded that the North Vietnamese would be Communist and The South Vietnamese would be non-communist. This also lead the neutral country of Cambodia to end up losing everything and everyone. This still lives on today. Our ongoing War with Afghanistan doesn’t have an end in sight. We need to figure it out so the outcomes aren’t the same for the U.S.
Article by Calista Hudson
History.com Staff. “Vietnamization.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2010, www.history.com/topics/vietnam-war/vietnamization.
New American Nation.” Encyclopedia of the New American Nation, www.americanforeignrelations.com/O-W/The-Vietnam-War-and-Its-Impact-Refugees-and-boat-people.html.