Communist Strength, Saigon Weakness

Communist Strength, Saigon Weakness - Early 1960 Initial...

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Early 1960 – Initial balance of military forces favored Saigon Because Saigon was internationally recognized authority in South, Diem could draw on foreign support (including that of the US) o Between 1960-73, US spent 25 times more money on Saigon government than China/USSR spent on Communist government in South But most USSR/China money went to anti-air defenses in North NLF didn’t have a single airplane, Diem had growing fleet of American planes Saigon had a monopoly on advanced communication systems anf mechanized ground transport 7500 communists come down Ho Chi Minh trail (1959-61) 4500 (1962) 6000 (1963) 10000 (1964) US + ARVN vs. PAVN + PLAF Despite this imbalance, 5 years after PLAF founded, Saigon had virtually lost war. o NLF controlled the bulk of the countryside. o Saigon army is disintegrating. o NLF on verge of total victory in South o How? “The Judo Lesson” explains strategy (1961) “It’s in the movement of your enemy, not your own strength.” “Lure enemy into a fall.” "Internal social contradiction crucial.” "When poor peasantry becomes self-aware, things will take off." Sought to capitalize on conflicts within Vietnamese society Intentionally aggravated hatred felt by large sections of peasantry against landlords and middle classes
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Communist Strength, Saigon Weakness - Early 1960 Initial...

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