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Huw Thomas 12KE

Explain how Vietnamese beliefs and practices led to Communist triumph? (12 marks)
Historians such as Saunders believe there are a magnitude of reasons to why Vietnamese beliefs and practices led to American failure and Communist triumph. One such reason for the NFLs victory in the Vietnamese war was because the Communists were generally better at winning the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people, especially the peasantry. However, the Vietcong were also ruthless when required and during the 1968 Tet offensive, the Vietcong dragged, unfriendly, people out of their houses in Hue and shot them, clubbed them to death, or buried them alive. Over 3,000 bodies were recovered from the river and jungle during the aftermath of this massacre. Inevitably, 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. Moreover, the Vietcong helped improve the peasants standards of living through the use of Maos Army Code but also through Communal harvesting practices that brought communities together. As a result, many villages adapted with relative ease to the principles of Communism and to the fraternal leadership of cadres, who chivvied, inspired and monitored the people. Inevitably, Communists triumphed in Vietnam as they worked hard to win over the peasantry, offering them a fairer distribution of land and urging Communist soldiers to avoid the rape and pillage characteristic of the AVRN. Another reason for the Communist triumph in Vietnam was because Giaps strategy was to use the Vietcong for incessant guerrilla warfare to wear down Saigon and its American allies. This significantly affected the outcome of the war as the AVRN were reluctant to fight against their comrades in the Vietcong, as seen in the battle of Ap Bac, and American forces were failing in their fight to contain Communism as they continuously continued the relentless bombing of Industrial and Military targets in the North when Vietnam was clearly an agricultural state. Furthermore, this frustrated the US and AVRN forces and resultantly, led to decline morale and secured victory for the Communists. Likewise, the emphasis upon guerrilla warfare meant that the Communists usually obtained a great deal of support from South Vietnams civilians, who often provided them with food, shelter and hiding places from the AVRN and US forces. Even through the Strategic Hamlets Programme, many Vietcong members were able to incorporate themselves into villages and spread hurtful anti-American propaganda. This made it significantly difficult to distinguish between the Vietcong and villagers, adding to the frustration of the AVRN and American forces. Conclusively, there are a multitude of reasons to why Vietnamese beliefs and practices led to a Communist triumph, including the Vietcongs use of the Mao Army Code to help support and improve the standard of living of the peasants of North Vietnam. Additionally, the Cardes inspired and motivated ordinary people, but they also offered a fair distribution of land and improved the image of VC soldiers.