Source based questions

a) Does source C show that the anti-war protests described in Source A had an immediate effect on the number of US troops on S.

Vietnam?Source A shows that there were major anti-war protests in the US in November 1965 and a larger one in Washington in May 1970. In source C it shows in 1966, after the first shown protest, there was a massive increase in combat troops committed to S.Vietnam from 60,000 in 1965 to 268,000 in 1966. So initially source C does not show that the anti-war protests had any effect.However, Source C shows after 1970 there was a dramatic decrease in the number of troops in Vietnam, from 415,000 in 1970 to 239,000 in 1971. Source A supports the original claim also because it shows in December of 1970 the US strength was reduced to 335,800 troops in Vietnam.My own knowledge tells me Operation Rolling Thunder began in 1965 and many US troops were needed for this.

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Also there was still a chance of a speedy end to the war in 1965 and the US policy was to win the war outright. As a result of this there was an increase of troops even after the peace protest quoted in source C. However, by 1970 the peace movement in America was massive. President Nixon was elected to office on the promise of getting America out of Vietnam.

He employed a policy of ‘Vietnamization’, which was intended to make the Vietnamese fight it out in Vietnam between themselves, not with America’s help. This policy was probably a direct consequence of the peace movement and led to the dramatic reduction of troops in Vietnam.b) How reliable are sources D,E,F and G as evidence of the importance of the role of women in the war in Vietnam?Source D shows a female Vietcong fighter feeding large ammo into what looks like an anti-aircraft gun.

Source E shows two Vietcong troops on a river in a canoe with a machine-gun. It is obvious that both pictures are posed for the camera and are intended for propaganda purposes as it would be too dangerous to photograph these events in real life. It is useful to show the Vietcong were fighting a ‘complete’ war; they used propaganda to recruit new troops, and specifically women pictures like this that give the impression women are useful and needed in the Vietcong. However, because the pictures are posed they do not give an accurate example of the role women took in the war.Source F shows General Nguyen Thi Dinh, Deputy Commander in Chief of the National Liberation Front, at her desk.

Although the picture may be posed, it does, however, reliably show that women were used all the way up the Vietcong hierarchy and were important to the Vietcong.Source G shows a Vietnamese woman suspected of being VC having a gun pointed to their head by a US soldier. Neither the picture of caption specify if the woman is Vietcong or innocent but it does show (on the basis of my own knowledge) that the US were not biased in their interrogation of suspects according to gender and shows that many women suffered for the VC and so is a little helpful.Although each picture helps to answer the question to an extent, they do not give an overall view of the importance of women during the war; they do not mention American or South Vietnamese women in the war, any real front line fighting nor any figures of the amount of female troops in the VC: the women in the pictures may be exceptions. So, overall, it is definitely not reliable enough to show the importance of women in the Vietnam war.

c) Is there enough evidence in source H,I and J to give us a reliable image of US troops at war in Vietnam?Source H is a drawing of US troops in Vietnam, published in 1990 in a children’s book. These facts are significant: a drawing is not as reliable as a photograph because it is subject to the artist’s impression. It is a children’s book so the drawing maybe child-friendly with no excess blood or disturbing images. It is American and may still, even after 20 years, still be slightly biased towards the great American war machine. My own knowledge tells me that there were many American casualties in Vietnam and the morale of the troops was low. None of this is reflected in the drawing. Also, it only shows one image at one beach in a split second of the war and so it is not very reliable.Source I shows a wounded American soldier in Vietnam.

My own knowledge tells me he has been wounded by a Punji trap or some variant- a set a set of spikes hidden by leaves that wound and sometimes infected the soldier when fallen into. The picture cannot show emotion very well; it cannot convey the pain the soldier must be in.Source J is a letter to a newspaper from a father of a GI. It is extremely biased against the war: ‘I am not very proud of myself, my friends or my country. We burned every hut in sight!’. The letter sent in to the newspaper is only a portion of the whole letter and was edited by the father to give a bad picture of Vietnam because he wanted his son home. The father may have edited out any good aspects of Vietnam and only left the negative areas.

The purpose of the letter is to cast a dim view on Vietnam.The three source do not give enough evidence for a reliable image of US troops at war in Vietnam because they only show aspects of the war, and some of these are biased. My own knowledge tells me moral was low in the later years of the war, there was a big air war and there were many different tactics employed by the US, none of which were reflected in the sources (except the burning of villages in source J).d) Use sources K,L and M and your own knowledge to explain how effective napalm and agent orange were in America’s attempt to win the Vietnam War.Napalm was a petroleum based chemical which, when it came into contact with another material (e.

g. skin, vegetation, wooden buildings) it would stick to the material and burn vigorously. It was used in bombs to destroy mainly villages and vegetation. In the short term Napalm was extremely effective and was widely used by the US.Agent Orange was also used on vegetation. It was a herbicide that could strip trees of their leaves and wipe out whole areas of greenery. IT was sprayed from planes over vast areas and was used to uncover Vietcong positions and expose the Ho Chi Minh trail.

Source M supports this and shows an area of Vietnam before and after being sprayed by Agent Orange. The second picture shows a bare landscape stripped of all vegetation, showing Agent Orange was effective in it’s objective.Although these chemicals were effective in their missions, they caused very bad side effects: When Napalm came into contact with humans (mainly Vietnamese civilians) it clung to the skin and burned holes into it, massively disfiguring the person.

Although the US weren’t too concerned with this, American TV broadcasted pictures of children hit by Napalm and the American public were horrified. Source K is a famous example of this, showing children trying to escape from US Napalm bombing.Many people disagreed with the American tactic of using chemicals to strip the jungle as is supported by Source L which talks about the criticism Agent Orange received.

It destroyed food and cash crops, adding to the food shortage in Vietnam. It caused cancers and other diseases among Americans and Vietnamese alike. All these things culminated with the bad press on Napalm and were a major factor in widening the peace movement and turning the American people against the war in Vietnam. To summarise, the two chemicals were good in the short term but were detrimental to the US war effort in the long term.e) Sources N and P give different interpretations of the importance of the anti-war movement to the ending of the war. What reasons can you give to explain this difference?Source N is a drawing of a US peace protest with a caption talking about how the Peace movement got America out of Vietnam.

It was produced for an American school textbook, published in 1990. It was written 15 years after the war finished and so had hindsight on the situation. It views the peace movement as the main reason why the war ended.Source P is and extract from a history book that gives 5 reasons why America wanted the war to end: Bereavement, inflation, drug addiction, protesters and the possibility of nuclear weapons.

It was written in 1979, just 4 years after the war ended, and it may have still been too early to sort out the most important reasons of the American withdrawl.Source N is from a school textbook and may give a more simplistic view of the events whereas P is a history textbook written for older readers and so may be more complex and give other reasons about the US withdrawl. Also N may shy away from the bad aspects of the war, such as the prospect of Nuclear weapons or the drug addiction whereas these things make interesting and exciting reading in a history book.Source N tell of how they brought Nixon in to rectify the situation, but they do not talk about who was the culprit of Vietnam.

This may be because, as an American school textbook, it does not want to lay blame on a President and undermine the government’s stature and respect. However, the readers of P are likely to already know the government is flawed and it states that ‘Johnson became the culprit of the war’.f) Is there enough evidence in ALL the sources to understand why a superpower like the United States of America failed to defeat the Viet Cong?Source A is fairly helpful in answering this question. It gives a timeline of the major events in the Vietnam war which is helpful in that many of the main reasons I know of that led to the US loss of the war are mentioned: Anti-war protests in the US, the Tet-offensive, the decrease of US troops after 1969, the Paris peace talks and the end of such policys as Rolling Thunder. However, although it mentions these and gives dates, it does not give reasons or in depth analysis so is only helpful to an extent.Source B is also helpful. It backs up Source A, showing the scale of the TET offensive and the ampound of areas covered by it aw well as it’s relation to the Ho Chi Minh trail (this indicates how important the Treail was to defeat the Americans). However, it does not give the results or any other information of the offensive nor any of the details of the fighting.

Source C is less helpful. It shows the nuber of forces committed to Vietnam and the numbers of dead. By showing the gradual withdral of troops after 1969 indicates, but does not state, the US policy of Vietnamisation under Nixon. Also, by showing that 50,000 US troops and 1.35million overal were killed in Vietnam it gives a reason why the Peace Movement began and was so strong. However, without prior knowledge of Vietnam I would not have been able to extract this information.Because sources D and E are likely to have been posed, the only real use they have is to show that the North Vietnamese used propaganda techniques to recruit and support their actions which in turn helped the war effort against America.Source F shows a female general.

This shows the Vietnamese were not afraid or biased in their use of women, pointing to an all out effort by the Vietnamese to get rid of the Americans.Source G, as I interporet it, shows a Vietnamese woman with an American gun to her head. This is an example of an American policy that the American public saw as brutal and led to the war movement and eventually America ‘losing’ the war.Source H isn’t much use to show why America lost the war because it is a biased and not very relevent to why America lost the war, more relevent to the ignorant American attitude.Source I is more helpful. It shows an American soldier wounded by what is probably a punji trap or some varient. It is an example of a method used by the Vietcong to wound American soldiers in a war of attrition to dishearten Americans.

Sources J and K are excellent examples of why the ‘normal’ American public turning against the Vietnam war. Lost sons and images of went a long way to turning the masses agains Vietnam instead of just anti-war protesters.Source L is from a textbook examining the war and therefore is a good, reliable source. It talks about how America was criticised for using chemicals to defoliate the Jungle.

Source M shows the defolients in action. These sources together are a big indicator of another reason why the American public disliked the war.Sources N and P deal with the Anti-war movement specifically. In N, the headline reads ‘AMERICA VOTES FOR PEACE’. This shows peace was a big bargaining tool for presidential candidates and therefore it was realised how unpopular the war was and that America should get out at all costs. Source P basically backs this up but gives more reasons, such as drug addiction and inflation for reasons why the war was so unpoplar.

Whatever the reason, the consequence was that the American people went a long way to lose the war for their own country but, in their view, win the war for humanity.All the sources do help to a large extent to understand why a superpower like the United States of America failed to defeat the Viet Cong but it must be couple with my own knowledge to give it any sort of gravity. My own knowledge gives me a number of reasons why America lost the war: Largely the Peace Movement, where the American public turned against the war spectacularly and pressured the American power base to stop the war by electing Nixon, a ‘peace candidate’.

Russia and China supplied much needed arms and equipment to the NVA and Vietcong. The Americans were not used to the terrain and guerilla warfare but the Vietcong knew these things well. American soldiers were often young, inexperienced, homesick and prone to drug addiction.

All these things contributed to America losing the war in Vietnam.