VIETNAM

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Even though President Nixon had effectively removed all US troops from South East Asia during his first term in office, American antiwar activists in Congress were not content. 

 

 

 

President

Political Party

Term of Office

Troops In Vietnam (thousands)

Policy

Eisenhower

Republican

1952-1960

less than 1

No Change

Kennedy

Democrat

1960-1963

1 -> 23

Increased

Johnson

Democrat

1963-1968

23 -> 536

Increased

Nixon

Republican

1968-1974

536 -> 1

Removed

Ford

Republican

1974-1976

1 -> 0

Removed

 

 

What especially angered the liberals was that South Vietnam had successfully withstood large scale Communist assaults and had gained significant ground over the 2-3 years (1972-1975) since US Forces left.  Democrats emboldened by Nixon’s resignation in late 1974 needed to justify their earlier opposition to defending the free societies of Cambodia and South Vietnam against external Communist aggression by "liberating" them to create the long delayed “domino effect”. 

 

To accomplish this, a new democrat majority in 1975 eliminated entirely the military budget of Lon Nol in Cambodia which had been gaining ground over the Communists over five years (1970-1975) of Republican support.  Immediately afterwards, within several months after the cessation of supplies and after stocks of ammunition were exhausted, the right wing free market government collapsed and the Communists took power.

 

And the democrats so drastically reduced funding in South Vietnam that the anti-Communist forces literally ran out of ammunition.  Note that this was while the Communist governments of China and Russia were increasing military support.  Indeed, several thousand North Vietnamese tank crews were being trained in Russia (1973-1975) in the largest exercises since the prior Arab-Israeli war.

 

CONCLUSION

 

But thanks to the democrat “Case-Church” amendment in June, 1973, American air-power which had overwhelmingly destroyed such forces earlier was now forbidden by US law.   Unfortunately it was only this threat which had previously prevented any change in Communist strategy away from the hit and run guerilla insurgency they had been practicing for many decades towards a full scale conventional armored warfare.   And unlike other campaigns of aggression from the North to the South which had uniformly failed, this one was initiated and completed in 1975.