Bizarre Question Regarding Vietnam

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Zipper730

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Nov 9, 2015
This is probalby going to sound awful, but I'm honestly curious how much the death tolls would have varied if we just simply did Vietnam SAC's way (short of nukes) and simply hit all 94 targets on the JCS list and burned down every city in NVN (or until they surrendered) instead of waging a very long, drawn out war that saw (seemingly?) little damage to cities, but saw who knows how many villages burned out of existence?

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It is difficult to estimate due to the circumstances.

WWII saw the destruction of pretty much every major city in Germany, and what effect did that have? The main difference between Germany and North Vietnam was that Germany was an industrialized notion and for the most part manufactured their own war machine, while North Vietnam relied on the Soviet Union and to a lesser degree China for their equipment.

In North Korea we bombed every city, village, and dam, we could see from 20-35,000 ft - most of them in a relatively short time period - resulting in the deaths (directly or indirectly) of somewhere around 2,000,000 NK people MINIMUM, which is around 15%-20% of the population at the time - 95% of whom had nothing to do with the war other than that the NK army and Chinese army came through and took young men and supplies to help fight the war. For a significant % of the NK people the bombs exploding on their village was the first they knew that there was a war. Having said that, if the Chinese had not sent their army into NK the Allies would have won the war when they reached the Yalu.
 
WWII saw the destruction of pretty much every major city in Germany, and what effect did that have? The main difference between Germany and North Vietnam was that Germany was an industrialized notion and for the most part manufactured their own war machine, while North Vietnam relied on the Soviet Union and to a lesser degree China for their equipment.
Would this be similar to North Korea's circumstances in the 1950 period?
In North Korea we bombed every city, village, and dam, we could see from 20-35,000 ft - most of them in a relatively short time period - resulting in the deaths (directly or indirectly) of somewhere around 2,000,000 NK people MINIMUM
2-3 million seem to be common figures; as for the percentage: LeMay in a 1988 interview said the following: "Over a period of three years or so we killed off, what, 20 percent of the population of Korea, as direct casualties of war or from starvation and exposure?"
Having said that, if the Chinese had not sent their army into NK the Allies would have won the war when they reached the Yalu.
Almost certainly: I remember somebody made a silly comment about the war being akin to a game of football, with both sides fumbling in the end zone.

Do you think China would have sent large numbers of people across the border to cause mayhem in North Vietnam, or "reactivate" the Korean Penninsula if the JCS 94-target list was executed?
 
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Do you think China would have sent large numbers of people across the border to cause mayhem in North Vietnam, or "reactivate" the Korean Penninsula if the JCS 94-target list was executed?

Again, it is hard to say. What Shinpachi posted above is the most likely response (I think). In the early 1970s China had no real ability to fight the US in a direct head-on manner - they were too far behind in terms of technology.

China had said at the time of the Korean War that they would not tolerate a 'Western Culture' (this is I think the correct translation for the terms the Chinese Ambassador used) nation directly on their border, and this is a major (the major?) reason for them sending in their army when the Allies reached the Yalu - they had actually warned the US and UN about their probable response. This attitude had not changed at the time of the Vietnam War. They had seen what occurred on the various fronts of the various modern wars over the past century and did not want to put themselves in such a potentially disadvantageous position. The Eastern European satellite/Warsaw Pact nations area were the Russian version of the same attitude. In effect, the USSR and China wanted a buffer zone between themselves and the most likely potential invaders.

Incidentally, this concept is still part of the Chinese rational involved in the Taiwan situation today.

Also maybe see my post in the Arc Light One discussion thread:

"Arc Light One"
 
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