Shape of us military without Vietnam

uk 75

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If the US had not embarked on the Vietnam war its military would have continued to focus on preserving the stable confrontation of the post Cuban missile crisis cold war. Resources would have gone to improving the quality of epuipment with shiny new systems. The next flashpoint would be the Middle East in 1967.
 

stew3

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Without Viet Nam would there have been a Nixon presidency? If no then there is no Chemical weapons treaty in 1972 (although that didn't seem to slow down the Soviet program), or ABM treaty (again, Soviets progressed with SAMs with some ABM capability), and the peace movement wouldn't have had the support it had because of the Viet Nam War. Demoralization that followed Watergate and the Viet Nam pull out would have created a totally different landscape. Carter might not have happened either since I give much credit for his election to the advancement of the left wing politics in the 1960s.

I suspect the US would have been much more powerful relative to the Soviets by the beginning of the 1980s. The US peaked in numbers of total nuclear weapons in 1967, and if it were not for the Viet Nam war we might not have peaked until much later, if at all, until the inevitable Soviet collapse which may have come sooner.
 

bobbymike

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I agree that the nuclear question is interesting. Without the budget constraints imposed due to funding Vietnam maybe the WS-102A large solid ICBM would have been built back in the late 60's although I suspect McNamara would have had similar force structure ideas with or without Vietnam. Johnson more than likely would have just had more "Great Society" spending.
 

Firefly 2

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The 4th gen aircraft as we know them wouldn't have been designed.
Most modern western fighters were designed with the feedback from dogfights over Vietnam kept in mind. Agility was back on the agenda, remember? Thus creating the fighters we know now.
Would the "all missile doctrine" have prevailed?
 

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Without Vietnam, perhaps a military space program would have developed...
 

Orionblamblam

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Without Viet Nam, global thermonuclear war by 1970 would have been much more likely. Viet Nam showed the Soviets that the US was willing to throw away blood and treasure on places that just didn't mean that much in order to stop Communist expansion. When the US Congress bailed on South Viet Nam in 1975 (after having won the damned war... sigh), the Soviets saw that as a sign, and invaded Afghanistan shortly thereafter, resuming their expansionist policies (at some cost to themselves, obviously).

Without US intervention, South Viet Nam and very likely the rest of SEA would have fallen to communism by 1967 or so. This would have emboldened the Soviets; they may have seen South Korea, Phillipines, Japan, Middle East or Western Europe as easy pickings. The Cubans certainly would have ramped up their efforts at communizing Latin America.
 

RyanC

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Without Viet Nam, global thermonuclear war by 1970 would have been much more likely.

I'm not so sure. Without vietnam sucking away the monies; North American Defenses would be much more stronger -- McNamara wouldn't have raided ARADCOM's NIKE battalions for quality manpower to man his huge ground army or closed them to save money to feed his ground army.

Some might quietly be upgraded to NIKE-ZEUS to protect major urban areas.

Likewise; a lot of USAF interceptor squadrons would have remained.
 

Orionblamblam

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RyanCrierie said:
Without Viet Nam, global thermonuclear war by 1970 would have been much more likely.

I'm not so sure. Without vietnam sucking away the monies...

... the Great Society would have gotten it.

I can see a Viet-Nam-less America turning inward in a manner similar to pre-war. Once the US decides that it's ok to let nations fall to the greatest evil of the 20th century, it's easier to just let it keep going, rather than reversing course and standing up to it.
 

sferrin

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Not to derail but how might it have affected NASA?
 

Orionblamblam

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sferrin said:
Not to derail but how might it have affected NASA?

Basically impossible to tell. Apollo was killed in 1968; it's very likely that in a VN-less world, that would not have changed. Shortly thereafter, the OPEC Oil Embargo managed to trash the economy, assuring the end of NASA as an exploratory organization. In the alternate history, with the Soviets on the rampage and the US turning inward... would the Yom Kippur War have happened? With additional Soviet backing, including perhaps Soviet fighters and Soviet fighter pilots, perhaps Israel would have toppled, and the Arabs wouldn't have gotten PO'ed at the US for aiding the Israelies. Or perhaps the Soviets would have appropriated all the Arab oil for themselves, and the US economy would have completely stopped. And at that point... global war for oil. Maybe.
 

Michel Van

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sferrin said:
Not to derail but how might it have affected NASA?

my guess, the Apollo program went on, to mission 20 with landing in crater Tycho in 1974
then Apollo Application Program (Skylab A B), Space Station, Space Base and Shuttel, Mars Voyager, Grand Tour probe
are hit by the OPEC Oil Embargo who trash the US economy

other aerospace stuff
in the Time the first SST Prototype are build
allot US VTOL Programs went on, like Ling-Temco-Vought XC-142 => C-142
MOL in Orbit ?

but i wounder, with No Vietnam war will the US invade some OPEC countries instead in 1974 ?
in order to brake the OPEC Oil Embargo...
 

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The Q is: what if JFK had judged in 1964 that S Vietnam was brewing as a civil war not driven by Sino or Soviet expansion. No re-run of Korea, no domino, but a nasty internal turf war. What, then, if US had ignored it, rather like Yugoslavia and Albania were ignored when Tito & Hoxha fell out with Stalin.

The A depends on your view of where the Vietnamese sat/sit in the tribal stresses of the region. In SE Europe, neighbours of the Albanian/Yugo tribes neither fear, nor regard them. Certainly no transborder influence: Greeks and Italians, frankly my dear, don't give a d...n for these aliens. We Westerners now know that Thais, Chinese, Burmans...similarly care not whether Viets live or die, and feared them not in the slightest. They've put up with those neighbours for millenia.

So: either, the South Viet regime(s) would have won, or would have lost their civil war against Ho. If free Aid from USSR and/or PRC seemed likely to tilt the issue, then US Military Aid (Truman Doctine: money and kit, not men: same as for other friendly nations) and Japanese infrastructure Aid would, or would not, have prevailed. Either way, the position of SE Asia today is likely to be much the same.

What would not have happened is that US (and Oz, Philippines and the other Allies that spent blood and treasure there) would have lower Defence budgets. Internal political divisiveness would not have arisen. USSR's proxy, Castro, would not have played around in the Horn and SW Africa. US NSA Zbig would not have perceived that the pain suffered in US could be replicated by stinging USSR into Afghanistan (really: that is his view: that US trapped USSR and that the Soviet Empire was destroyed by the Afghan excursion). So: today: the Cold War would be ongoing much as through the 50s.
 

Michel Van

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alertken said:
So: today: the Cold War would be ongoing much as through the 50s.

that is a little bit to easy, alertken
there are to much point of divergence (PoD)

-The USA can start in 1973/74 first Gulf war against OPEC in order to break Oil Embargo
with same trauma like Vietnam war?
-Nixon has good chance to become 1968 President without Vietnam War
-Even if H.H.Humphrey is President in 1968 there good chance in 1972 or 1976 for a Republican President
like Ronald Reagan or W.P. Rockefeller, who push the Soviet union to economical collaps
-Soviets will go to Afghanistan, they saw Wat happend to US troop in Vietnam and still they went with open eyes in there trauma
Why ? because the communist government of Afghanistan ask the big Soviet brother for Help
-Soviet union and People's Republic of China can go to War (almost happen over border dispute in 1968)

under Leonid Brezhnev the Soviet union was doom
Brezhnev had the brilliant ability to ignore vital Problems and suppress reforms, Wat let in Soviet union downfall of 1991
but Wat if we was kill in 1969 by Viktor Ilyin ?
in that case Alexei Kosygin & Yuri Andropov had ruled and reform the Soviet union
maybe it would still there today
 

uk 75

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Thanks to everyone for entering into the spirit of the thread. I am also pleased that you bring out both up and down sides of no war in Vietnam. Would the sort of army and navy have also changed. I rather liked the pre Vietnam silver rather than camo aircraft. But the F5 (112?) would have been later and more strike than dogfighter. Might Von Braun have got a Mars mission. Of course it could also have seen more tensions in Europe. Instead of left wing student radicalism focussing on Vietnam the wrath of a generation might have called for an end to Soviet rule in Eastern Europe with western leaders keen to avoid war for Czechoslovakia. Or woud Israel become the focus of Left wing activity after 1967? I suspect the latter.
 

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