When Richard Nixon became president in 1969, the whole Vietnam war fell on his plate and it was up to him to decide how he was going to handle this issue. When he took office the U. S had been sending troops to Vietnam since 1965, in those 4 years 31 ,OHO American lives had been lost due to the war. Previously before him, President JEFF had plans to take troops out gradually and attempt to strengthen the South Vietnamese army so they could fight the war themselves. But when President Johnson took over, he wanted to keep the troops there.
Nixon created a strategy known as ‘Optimization” which included a lot of he same plans as JEFF had for the war. Richard Nixon believed his Optimization strategy, which involved building up south Vietnamese military strength would prepare them to take their own responsibility for the fight against North Vietnam and allow the US to leave the conflict with our world honor still in tact. However, Nixon differed from Kennedy’s plans in one extremely significant way. In order to end the war, Nixon had to intensify the conflict.
He announced his plan to the nation on November 3, 1969. He stated The defense of freedom is everybody’s business, not just America’s business. And it is particularly the responsibility of the people whose freedom is threatened,” Nixon explained. “In the previous administration, we Americanizes the war in Vietnam. In this administration, we are Epitomizing the search for peace. ” At home, Nixon was facing extreme pressure from the anti-war public that made up the majority of the country.
He had originally campaigned to be the man who was going to end the war and bring peace with honor, and supposedly had a “secret plan” to end it. He wanted to make the public happy, but he couldn’t just abandon South Vietnam. So when the Optimization plan was put in place, he also escalated U. S. Military activity in other parts of Southeast Asia. For example, the president secretly authorized bombing campaigns and a ground invasion of neutral Cambodia.
When his expansion of the war came to public attention, Nixon claimed that the invasion of Cambodia was necessary to keep pressure on the enemy until the Optimization strategy started to work. The president’s actions did not sit well with many Americans and created harsh criticism and caused anti- war demonstrations across America. In 1 969, there was peak of 549,000 U. S troops in Vietnam. By 1972 President Nixon decreased that number to 69,000. However this did not help the effort in ending the war much.
It was shown that the South Vietnamese army was not ready for this responsibility, and still relied on the U. S to help them from the North Vietnamese attacks. While Nixon was attempting to decrease the numbers of troops in Vietnam, he was also trying to strengthen the South Vietnamese government. He offered them the assistance of the U. S. To help their officials organize local elections and create social reforms, also to help develop their economy more. By January of 1 973, Nixon had came up with a peace agreement with North Vietnam leaders.
The terms of this agreement included that the U. S. Had to withdraw the remaining of the troops that still occupied Vietnam, and within 60 days. In exchange for this, there would be an immediate cease-fire, and the return of American prisoners of war. They also promised to recognize South Vietnamese government , and submit any future disputes to an international commission. America left the war feeling confident, and as if they had accomplished the goals they had set. Unfortunately North Vietnamese leader did not honor the agreement, and by 975, South Vietnam had fallen to communism.
Richard Nixon believed his Optimization strategy, which involved building up south Vietnamese military strength would prepare them to take their own responsibility for the fight against North Vietnam and allow the US to leave the conflict with our world honor still in tact. His Strategy worked for a time being, but when South Vietnam was still just unable to hold off North Vietnam and they fell. In conclusion Onion’s strategy failed at stopping the spread of communism in South Vietnam, and suffered 58,000 casualties, along with 03,644 soldiers who were wounded.