Why the Vietcong Received Support in South Vietnam in the Years, 1964 to 1968

Topics: Vietnam War, South Vietnam, Viet Cong Pages: 2 (722 words) Published: April 22, 2014
Explain why the Vietcong was supported in South Vietnam in the years 1964 to 1968 (12 marks) The Vietcong was supported in the years 1964 to 1968 due to the fact that the Americans had failed to win the hearts and minds of the people. Instead they alienated the people and thought them to be sub-human, destroyed their homes with bombing and unwanted policies such as strategic hamlets. The Vietcong was presented as both nationalist and a communist movement. This enabled it to have a wide appeal amongst the peasant population. This became particularly significant as the Americans were seen as imperialist invaders who were perpetuating a regime in South Vietnam that was unpopular. The Americans had failed to win the hearts and minds of the people. Their use of often indiscriminate violence against suspects and those who appeared to be helping them, alienated the people and moved them firmly into the arms of the anti-US Vietcong forces. Most Vietnamese were peasants, usually living in small villages with small houses made of bamboo with roofs of palm leaves or grass that lacked electricity and running water. American soldiers could not conceive of ‘real’ people living like this, and the resultant sense of alien world goes a little way towards explaining why Americans sometimes treated the Vietnamese peasants as sub-human and consequently unable to win many of them over to their side. Many Americans considered the Vietnamese peasants in particular as less than human. Although the Communists were generally better at winning the hearts and minds of the peasantry, they were ruthless when necessary. During the 1968 Tet offensive, the VC dragged ‘unfriendly’ people out of their houses in Hue and shot them. A judicious mixture of ruthlessness and frequent good behaviour gained the VC the sullen acquiescence or support of the peasants that was vital in guerrilla warfare. Giap’s strategy was to use the Vietcong for incessant guerrilla warfare to wear down Saigon and its...
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