Why didn't Americans staged a revolt against their government to stop the Vietnam war?

Status
Closed
Jun 2013
469
Connecticut
#21
  • It was ruining the US economy
  • Billions were being spent overseas and very little or nothing was being returned to the US
  • People hated conscription
  • Riots were erupting throughout the country
  • Kent State Massacre
  • Thousands dead

So why didn't Americans do that to stop the war sooner?
Up until maybe 1971, definitely 1973, the US was still riding the post-WW II economic boom. Defense industries were going great guns. Then everything collapsed via an oil crisis and the worst stock market crash since the Great Depression.

The USA didn't have conscription. It had a draft which is a little different.
 

Edratman

Ad Honorem
Feb 2009
6,565
Eastern PA
#22
Many people do believe that, are you telling me that they are wrong?
The answer is both yes and no.

The reasons behind the yes we all know. The no is based on the undeniable fact that the S. Vietnamese government was non-representative of the population, corrupt, ineffective, unreliable and unworthy of US support.
 
Jul 2016
8,950
USA
#24
A short and accurate answer would be, committing a mistake(s). But I'll elaborate.

After the French were defeated in the First Indochina war, the the west could not accept ceding all of Vietnam to the communists. Accordingly, the peace treaty split the country in two with the promise of elections about reuniting the country in two years. During that war, the US was a huge supporter of the French, which it demonstrated by paying 80% of the costs for the French forces. The primary basis for the US support was the Domino Theory, a policy that still had primacy for American motivation right up until the end of the Second Indochina War.

US intentions to support the newly formed S. Vietnamese government were honorable, even if they were mistaken. A huge problem, one that could not be overcome, was that the S. Vietnamese government was comprised of a religious minority and/or former French educated officials, that was totally corrupt and incompetent, with a penchant for persecuting the religion of the majority. Additionally, 80% of the population of S.Vietnam were peasant farmers and the government officials were primarily city folk. The S. Vietnamese government never controlled more than a third of the country and also never made an effective effort to integrate more of the population into government and national supporters. Thus the S. Vietnamese government never had a chance to resist a determined uprising.

The forces of the Domino Theory, communist containment, support for an ally, demonstrating to other US allies, and Russia. that America would truly support allies against communist uprisings combined to compel the US into support for the S. Vietnamese despite those issues. As N. Vietnam ratcheted up the armed effort to topple the S. Vietnamese, the US had to amp up it's military forces because of all the limitations that resulted from the shortcomings of the Saigon meant that the S. Vietnamese responses were always a mere fraction of what was required.

As N. Vietnam continued to further increase its efforts to reunite the country and with the S. Vietnamese government demonstrating that it was both incapable and unworthy of maintaining itself, the US became a bad poker player. The US was holding a bad hand while too proud and too stupid to walk away. The US Presidents, starting with JFK, at least, were aware that the US was backing a losing proposition, but for ........reasons..........continued to throw American treasure and blood into the conflict until sufficient time and bad publicity turned the American public's opinion against continued involvement in Vietnam.

So the long answer is the US was there in an effort to block the spread of international communism in compliance with the principles of the Domino Theory and to demonstrate to the entire world, both communist and non-communist, that it would be a faithful and willing ally with the willpower to spend whatever was necessary.
What I really really hate about discussing tr Vietnam War, and numerous other civil wars or revolutions between "reactionary capitalists" and communists is the former are always judged as unworthy, while the side that has a fixed execution number (1 in 1,000, for total population) gets a pass. So they're not evil, corrupt, incompetent, etc.

There is a thing called lesser or two evils. A new brand new country created by outsiders and almost immediately suffering an outside supported communist insurgency, also supported by the PRC and USSR, to the point that three communist powers, two of them being in the top of the world in terms of power, with a "the ends justify the means" mindset, with only incremental assistance, and we're supposed to believe S Vietnam govt is going to do great, while the communist get their butts kicked?

We now know that the S. Vietnam govt was completely infiltrated by not just sympathizers but outright agents.

Another example. Everyone loves talking about the Tet Offensive. And so many laugh at the idea that media and politics back home lost the war for the US. And yet who was the most respected S. Vietnamese journalist, who helped dictate the narrative? Pham Xuan An, of Times magazine and the New York Daily Tribune. Who was also a spy for the Vietcong, helped run the insurgency, and was made a legit general after the war. So that's the guy Walter Cronkite and many others took their cues from.

Politically and strategically, America got its but kicked. But this idea that it was a lost cause because S. Vietnam wasn't a utopia just shows how naive and ignorant Americans were at the time, willing to believe that tripe, as well as those afterwards. The enemy and his allies was better then and now at propaganda. That's the only reason they won that conflict and many others.
 
Jul 2016
8,950
USA
#25
Up until maybe 1971, definitely 1973, the US was still riding the post-WW II economic boom. Defense industries were going great guns. Then everything collapsed via an oil crisis and the worst stock market crash since the Great Depression.

The USA didn't have conscription. It had a draft which is a little different.
Draft was just nickname for American conscription.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
17,728
SoCal
#29
  • It was ruining the US economy
  • Billions were being spent overseas and very little or nothing was being returned to the US
  • People hated conscription
  • Riots were erupting throughout the country
  • Kent State Massacre
  • Thousands dead

So why didn't Americans do that to stop the war sooner?
There were large-scale anti-war riots in the US during this time, if I recall correctly. The anger over the war also resulted in LBJ declining to seek reelection in 1968 and in Nixon winning in 1968 (though Humphrey was also an anti-war candidate in 1968 in spite of him being LBJ's VP). As for why a military coup or a full-scale revolution never took place in the US, well, Americans probably prefer to resolve their disputes through the ballot box rather than through bullets. After all, why launch a revolution or a coup when another election is right around the corner?
 
Likes: Edratman
Status
Closed