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Why wasnt nuclear weapons used in Vietnam war?

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  • Why wasnt nuclear weapons used in Vietnam war?

    this is on Yahoo

    not even the small ones. are the Japanese right all along that americans ran out of nuclear bombs after nagasaki and that other place? suzuki? o its hiroshima.

    Please refrain from using proscribed fighting words - ACG Staff
    Last edited by RichardS; 11 May 10, 22:07. Reason: Deleted proscribed fighting words.

  • #2
    What is on Yahoo Answers? But to answer your question. 1) The United States and its people are not animals. 2) We didn't need to use a nuclear weapon in Vietnam. It would be like using a howitzer to kill a fly. 3) The US was not defeated in the field by North Vietnam, but by a political failure at the highest levels.


    Let me ask you a question: Would you have been happy if the US did use a nuclear weapon on North Vietnam?
    Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

    "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

    What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

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    • #3
      I would like to say the answer is much the same as to why nuclear weapons were not employed in Korea.

      A nuclear weapon is just a tool, a dangerous tool, but also just a tool.

      And it is likely more important to say the two nuclear weapons WERE used on Japan for reasons that have not existed since then.
      Life is change. Built models for decades.
      Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
      I didn't for a long time either.

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      • #4
        Aside from that nuclear weapons would not do much to win that war...

        I notice the Yahoo item linked has been deleted. Do I smell a troll?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
          Aside from that nuclear weapons would not do much to win that war...

          I notice the Yahoo item linked has been deleted. Do I smell a troll?
          Possibly. Be aware the staff is watching.
          Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

          "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

          What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

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          • #6
            And about then end of the War in the Pacific...

            ....the US had one bomb ready to use and enough plutonium to make several more rather quickly if needed. I have not checked my references on that so I might be wrong on this so if I am, please correct me, my feelings would not be smashed to smithereens.
            Peace is Our Profession

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            • #7
              "By early March, it appeared as if the North Vietnamese were giving up on Khe Sanh. On March 9, General Westmoreland reported to President Lyndon Johnson that enemy forces in the vicinity of Khe Sanh had fallen to between 6,000 and 8,000 men. On March 10, it was reported that the enemy had stopped repairing their trench system. The fighting was winding down. After succeeding in creating a diversion but failing to overrun the base at Khe Sanh, why would the Communists leave the battlefield at that particular time?

              General Davidson feels that one reason the Communists withdrew their forces from the Khe Sanh area was the fear of nuclear weapons. Senior members of the U.S. military command had been comparing Khe Sanh to Dien Bien Phu. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff asked Westmoreland if there were targets in the vicinity of Khe Sanh that lent themselves to nuclear strikes and asked if contingency nuclear planning would be appropriate. Westmoreland replied that if the situation in the DMZ were to change dramatically he could "visualize that either tactical nuclear weapons or chemical agents should be active candidates for employment." Davidson notes that the issue of the use of nuclear weapons was leaked to the press which published reports that Westmoreland had asked for permission to use nuclear weapons at Khe Sanh.33

              Davidson speculates that Giap was aware of the nuclear weapons issue. Giap must have known that the U.S. considered using nuclear weapons against Viet Minh forces besieging Dien Bien Phu. If the U.S. had been willing to consider the use of nuclear weapons in support of the French, there existed an even greater possibility that the U.S. would use atomic bombs to protect the Marines at Khe Sanh. Davidson notes that the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons must have frightened the North Vietnamese Politburo and thoroughly alarmed the Soviets and the Chinese. Davidson's conclusion is that the North Vietnamese did not consider Khe Sanh to be a goal of sufficient tactical importance to risk World War III. Davidson notes it may have been more than just coincidental that PAVN attacks against the Marine outposts in the vicinity of Khe Sanh ceased at the same time as nuclear weapons were being considered for use in the area.

              It seems that Davidson has over‑emphasized the importance of the nuclear weapons issue at Khe Sanh. If it is correct to assume that the North Vietnamese believed Khe Sanh was not worth the risk of a general nuclear war between the superpowers, then the same logic must hold for the United States. President Johnson was unwilling to mine North Vietnamese ports, strike at lines of communication near the Vietnam‑China border, or bomb North Vietnamese civilian population centers for fear of risking a confrontation with the USSR or China. Certainly the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam would be viewed as a greater provocation by the Russians and Chinese than the other actions which President Johnson was unwilling to implement.34"

              http://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/ce...heSanh1968.htm

              Also see http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...uclear+weapons
              and http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...uclear+weapons
              Last edited by At ease; 11 May 10, 10:45.
              "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
              "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

              "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
              — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

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              • #8
                Like has already been said, nukes would have been like swatting at flies with a sledgehammer. The collateral damage, and the risk of angering the others in the bar with sledgehammers (the Chinese/USSR) were both too great to consider using them.

                Low level chemical weapons (arty shells and the like) would have been a viable option, but we typically consider ourselves too humane for that, and we would have killed a lot of the population for every VC we killed by that route.
                Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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                • #9
                  Also, it would have fuelled anti-American feelings in US allies.

                  And who would the USA have used the nueks against? The Vietcong in South Vietnam? Apart from them lacking for the most part targets worth it, having to fighting an insurgency with nukes says something is really wrong with the government.
                  Against North Vietnam? The United States never were officially at war with Hanoi. And while there was plenty of conventional bombing of North Vietnam, suddenly going nuclear would have been a massive jump forward.
                  The later option especially would also have suggested that the United States would use nukes against any nation opposing it, sounds nice enough, coercing hostile governments into being more conciliatory, but for precisely that reason the USSR and Chine would HAVE HAD to retaliate to tell their friends that they would protect them from American nuclear coercion. Things might easily have went downhill from there.
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                  USA: "We will check people from Germany extra-hard and it is your own damn fault for being so stupid."

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                  • #10
                    Most importantly...

                    In spite of the US casualties incurred in Vietnam; the war just wasn't that important to America. Not important enough to risk all the downsides others have pointed out. Plus, by that time, LBJ was certainly, acutely aware of how "collateral damage" played on the world media stage. Killing hundreds of thousands, if not more, civilians was unthinkable given the possible rewards.

                    In Japan we had a well defined; finite enemy. This enemy had no way to counterattack us. No one else had nukes. The Cold War wasn't there. And we were facing immediate, massive US casualties if we invaded Japan. All in all a pretty unique set of circumstances. Vietnam was in no similar.
                    Save America!! Impeach Obama!!

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                    • #11
                      Because I wasn't in charge

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                      • #12
                        If we nuked Vietnam, we could expect a few thousand or so soviet nuclear missiles flying at us within a day.
                        Standing here, I realize you were just like me trying to make history.
                        But who's to judge the right from wrong.
                        When our guard is down I think we'll both agree.
                        That violence breeds violence.
                        But in the end it has to be this way.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Czin View Post
                          If we nuked Vietnam, we could expect a few thousand or so soviet nuclear missiles flying at us within a day.
                          Do you have any sources you can quote to lend some credibility to your suggestion?
                          "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
                          "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

                          "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
                          — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

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                          • #14
                            Had America actually been planning on winning in Viet Nam, one small nuke on Hanoi would have ended the entire war and achieved all of our alleged objectives in fighting that war in the first place, and we could have done it without destroying a single foot of real estate, either using an enhanced radiation weapon or simply using a powerful EMP pulse to wipe out the entire North Vietnamese electrical grid.

                            Instead we sacrificed 54,000l lives, shattered countless others...and lost to a Third World nation.

                            This is the point at which you should be asking yourself what all the nukes, the missiles and the bombers were for?
                            What is the reason for developing superior technology?

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                            • #15
                              Wow, all these responses to some troller! Niiiiiice!

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