The Vietnam War

Vietnamization

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By 1969 much of the American population was against the Vietnam War, so Nixon needed to make a plan to remove American soldiers from Vietnam. Nixon decided to initiate a new policy known as “vietnamization”. This policy stated that it would begin to withdraw 25,000 troops from Vietnam and another 60,000 in December of 1969. The main goal of this policy was to encourage the South Vietnamese to take more responsibility of the war. To increase the size of the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) a draft was put in place so that all South Vietnamese men between seventeen and forty nine must fight in the ARVN.  However Nixon and his advisors still worried that the gradual removal of U.S troops would eventually lead to a Vietcong/North Vietnamese victory. America was determined to avoid any defeat, the only way to accomplish this was to negotiate a peace agreement in Paris. To prove successful in these agreements Nixon and his advisors came up with the “Madman Theory”. The U.S chief Negotiator, Bob Halderman, was told to give an impression that Nixon had become mentally unstable due to his hatred of communism. Due to this hatred Nixon was supposedly contemplating using nuclear weapons on North Vietnam. Negotiations was one tactic pursued by the U.S another tactic was the secret Phoenix Program. The Phoenix Program consisted of detecting Vietcong sympathizers and sending death squads to eliminate the sympathizers. Both of these tactics were put in to effect in an attempt to end the U.S involvement in Vietnam.