Why Did The US Lose The Vietnam War?


Why Did The US Lose The Vietnam War?

Before starting the Vietnam War, more than 60 percent of the US citizens did never even heard the country’s name.

Similarly, the United States’ military personals never faced that kind of situation before. And therefore they had to pay a big price for the war.

Short Answer:

  • Guerrilla Warfare Techniques Against The US Army By The North Vietnam Soldiers.
  • Complete New War Environment For The US Soldiers. 
  • Internal Pressure In The US – Due To The Inability of Showing The Cause.
  • Support To North Vietnam From The Soviet Union And China.

So let’s discuss in detail, why did the US lose the War of Vietnam? 

Here are the causes below:

Why Did The US Lose The Vietnam War

1. Guerrilla Warfare Techniques Against The US Army By The North Vietnam Soldiers

The Soldiers of North Vietnam already learned a lot about Guerrilla warfare techniques during the First Indochina War (1946-1954) against France.

The First Indochina War already uplifted them to experienced warriors.

In the Second Indochina War (or Vietnam War) locations, where most of the fightings occurred were quite easy to use Guerrilla warfare techniques.

North Vietnam soldiers took full advantage of the situation.

They created hundreds and thousands of tunnels under the conflict locations.

It was very difficult for the American troops to find out these tunnels due to they were fully surrounded by dense jungles and rivers.

Even, they created tunnels in such huge numbers that it had the capability to hide all the soldiers of North Vietnam.

Their soldiers kept hiding until American troops arrived there. Whenever they saw Americans arriving at the jungles, they suddenly attacked and killed them.

This was one of the first biggest drawbacks of why America had to lose the war.

If you want to know how was the war of Vietnam really looked like, you can watch these movies, name ‘We Were Soldiers’ (2002), Platoon (1986).

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Why Did The US Lose The Vietnam War
Why Did The US Lose The Vietnam War

2. A Complete New Combat Environment For The US Soldiers

The 2nd biggest reason was the new combat environment for US soldiers.

The US military has already fought many major battles for a long time. They did some great performances during the first and second World Wars.

But in Vietnam, the situation was completely different.

Because here, the battlegrounds were fully surrounded by dense Jungles and rivers.

The US troops were inexperienced in fighting such ground-level battles.

But at the same time, it was the good luck of North-Vietnam Soldiers that the locations were fully surrounded by Jungles, bogs, and rivers.

It helped them so much.

Because if, the situation were different then perhaps they would not be able to stand in front of the modern warfare techniques of the Americans.

Guerrilla Warfare and this new unfavorable environment were the two main causes why more than 58,000 US soldiers lost their lives and more than 1.2 lakhs soldiers got badly wounded.

Finally, in the end, it obligated the powerful United States to retreat its troops.


3. Internal Pressure In The US – Due To The Inability of Showing The Cause

North Vietnam was a Communist nation and they wanted to unite the whole country by capturing the power of the Southern part also.

(The South was fully supported by the United States)

For them, that was all their internal political matter.

But the US under any circumstances wanted to stop Communism’s expansion in Southeast Asia. Simply, they feared the Domino theory.

They feared that the rise of Communism in Vietnam would contribute to the fall of the Democratic governments in other South and Southeast Asian nations; mainly in India, Laos, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, etc.

Therefore, they didn’t want that to happen. This was all a matter of fact of the cold war era. The USA never wanted the Soviet Union to become more powerful.

But for the citizens of the United States, that couldn’t be an argument for their country to fight against Vietnam and let their soldiers die.

For US citizens, the war was unnecessary.

Especially, when they saw some brutal incidents like the Mai Lai Massacre, they started protesting against the US government’s decision.

Even, the US media abandoned supporting the government.

Finally due to the pressure of protest, in 1973, President Richard Nixon obliged to withdraw American troops from Vietnam.

Many political analyzers also consider this incident a major failure of America’s foreign policy.


4. Support To North Vietnam From The Soviet Union And China

The leading communist nations USSR and China also involved in the Vietnam War against the United States.

Actually, the small country became a battleground for these big powers’ proxy war.

The Soviets didn’t directly fight against US troops, but indirectly they created a lot of difficulties for the Americans.

Especially, they kept supporting North Vietnam by providing funds, military training, weapons, and other necessary supplies.

However, the Chinese send 320,000 troops for combat.

It helped them a lot.

Soviet Russia and China always wanted the country to get unite and become a full communist nation like them.

These two major countries’ support also became a major factor for the defeat of the United States of America.


So, these were the four reasons why did the US lose the Vietnam War.

We hope this answer remained a little helpful to you.


  1. Politics and business interests undermined the military’s ability to effectively strike North Vietnam’s military targets. The end result is “Made in Vietnam” and we support that loss everyday by buying those items. Next time your in a store look at the label and see where it was made and think what it really cost us. How much have you heard about communism?


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