The Vietnamization Plan

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President Nixon's Vietnamization Plan

President Nixon’s plan was referred to as Vietnamization, the strategy aimed at reducing the involvement of America in the Vietnam War by having South Vietnam take all military responsibilities. The inexorably unpopular war had made profound rifts in American culture. President Nixon trusted his Vietnamization plan, which included creating South Vietnam's military and pulling back U.S. troops, would set up the South Vietnamese to fight in their very own protection to counter a North Vietnamese conquest and enable the United States to leave Vietnam with its respect intact.

Success of the Vietnamization Plan

Technically, the Vietnamization plan was successful because its main aim was withdrawing the troops of the US from the war. The fundamental mission of the plan was a policy that would transfer tasks of leading and fighting the war to South Vietnam’s forces and government and with no doubt, the plan was successful because US troops were withdrawn from Vietnam. The war was taken over by the South Vietnamese even though the US provided massive financial aid. By the end of the year 1970, 150,000 military troops had left and by 1971, 140,000 troops left. Additionally, the withdrawal announcement by Nixon prevented the anti-war movement that would have happened. The ARVN grew to 1,000,000 from 850,000 and the Phoenix Program gained more sophistication by capturing the VC leaders.

Flaws in the Vietnamization Plan

Nonetheless, there were some flaws in the plan that originated from the South. The plan somehow failed because the South was not competent enough to take over the war, apart from their dependence on the US, the government was marred by corruption that undermined their effectiveness. During the war, the US provided huge financial aid that the ARVN benefited from but the money was misappropriated, the money was used for personal gains rather than using it for development and funding strategies for the war. When issuing equipment and supplies, money became a real problem and they failed to focus on the war.

Nixon's Concern for South Vietnam

To some extent, Nixon was concerned with the fate of South Vietnam. When Nixon took the presidency seat in 1969, the US had been dispatching troops to the Vietnam War for 4 years and more than 31,000 lives of American soldiers had been lost. Nonetheless, the full commitment of the US military in the war seemed to make little effort in fighting the North Vietnam and its allies the Viet Cong guerrilla. Regardless of the fact that the opposition forces had received massive punishment from the US forces, they were determined to reunite their country under one communist rule by overthrowing South Vietnam. President Nixon would have abandoned the war without doing anything about it but when the anti-war movement called him to order an instant removal of the US troops he resisted and insisted on achieving “peace with honor”. The Vietnamization plan composed programs that were formulated to reinforce the government of South Vietnam and widen its political powers in the area. Additionally, the US helped the South Vietnamese in organizing a local election, the implementation of social reforms and fostering economic development incentives. Additionally, Nixon escalated the activities of the military in other parts of the country and he authorized invasion and bombing campaigns of Cambodia-which was a neutral country, his reason was that it was necessary to keep pressure on their enemies until his strategy of Vietnamization became effective, this is a clear indication that he cared for them.


Willbanks, James H. Abandoning Vietnam: How America Left and South Vietnam Lost Its War. University Press of Kansas, 2008.

November 24, 2023

Military Asia

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