Vietnam: Mao Versus Clausewitz
ARMY WAR COLLEGE CARLISLE BARRACKS PA CARLISLE BARRACKS
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The basic question explored by this research paper is as follows Did the application of the Clausewitzian military strategy by the United States during the Vietnam War to combat a Maoist guerrilla war contribute to the American defeat. The nature of guerrilla warfare is examined using four historical examples. The evolution of modern guerrilla warfare by Mao and Giap is described. The Clausewitzian philosophy of war is examined and its impact on US Army doctrine is developed. Counterinsurgent theory and doctrine is explored and finally the Vietnam War strategy is examined from the perspective of both Generals Giap and Westmoreland. The conclusion is that Clausewitzian doctrine did not contribute to the American defeat but that the misapplication of it did. The concluding observation is that Americans, particularly military men, must study the war to determine its lessons and must not turn their backs on the war or consider it an aberration.