冷戰時期，美國擔心圍堵防線出現缺口，因而援助南越共同抵抗北越共黨的侵略。然而，美國自派遣軍事顧問團（Military Assistance Advisory Group，MAAG）進駐南越迄至美軍撤退結束止，前後加起來約莫二十年之久，美國坐擁陸海空的優勢軍力卻不敵這個窮國寡民的北越。針對越戰的研究，國內較缺乏以戰略理論為研究架構的論述。有鑑於此，本論文試圖運用孫子兵法「知戰」、「慎戰」及「善戰」的觀點，分析越南戰爭成敗之因素。
“The Vietnam War” remains not only a historic war during the Cold War, but also the most prolonged and worst international war ever fought by American soldiers. It is for this reason that the Vietnam War bears a legacy worth engaging strategy studies even today. Also owing to recent war-fight dilemmas frequently occurring in Iraq, many American military experts have attempted to look for solutions from the Vietnam War documents to these dilemmas in Iraq. Thus, the Vietnam War once again is brought to our attention.
During the Cold War, the United States, worrying that the containment line could occur a breach, went to South Vietnam’s rescue and assistance to jointly fight against North Vietnam’s Communist invasion. In the 20-year-war, beginning from the first day of stationing Us Military Assistance Advisory Group to the last day when the last American soldier stepped off the Vietnam soil, the Americans could not defeat North Vietnamese armies although the former was far more superior in military force. Since fewer writings or studies featuring the framework of strategy theory about the Vietnam War have been made within the country, this research thesis attempts to analyze the factors that caused the United States to lose the war via applying the viewpoints of “understand the battle,” “careful and well prepared at waging the battle,” and “waging the battle with skill” in Sun Tzu’s Art of War.
Though created in some 2,500 years ago, Sun Tzu’s Art of War remains a classic military book of war-fight for commanders bearing a time-tested academic value, which no other military book of the same nature in the world can compare with. After the Vietnam War, the United States Military, using the use of force notions in Sun Tzu’s Art of War, conducted a review to find out what caused their failure, and further applied the notions learned from Sun Tzu’s Art of War to wage their battles in the Gulf War and won. This shows that no matter how the war evolves in form, the fundamental principles and rules of war-fight remain consistent to those disclosed in Sun Tzu’s Art of War. The implications carried in Sun Tzu’s Art of War shall never become void over time.
Though this thesis applies the viewpoints of Sun Tzu’s Art of War to analyze the Vietnam War, the author has no intention to emphasize how well North Vietnamese Communists waged the battles. It’s merely an in-depth analysis under objective stance to explore how North Vietnamese Communists eventually won the war, which lies the research motive of this thesis. In addition, the Vietnam War proves the “the superior force” many not necessarily be the major winning factor to a battle or war. It’s how a military decision-maker recognizes the notion of “well calculating and recognizing the winning vs. losing factors of both sides, and making the best solution or decision at his command post.” This is the very essence of what Sun Tzu said “if you know both the enemy and yourself, you shall fight a hundred battles without danger of defeat.”
This thesis comprises four chapters, briefly described as follows :
Chapter 1: Briefly introduce the background（1954-1958）of what triggered the Vietnam War, and the underlying cause of the United States becoming involved in the war.
Chapter 2:Analyze the national strategy concepts of North Vietnam and the United States through applying the viewpoint of “well aware of how to wage the battle” in Sun Tzu’s Art of War. And explore the United States National Security Strategy during the President Eisenhower Administration and the President Kennedy Administration.
Chapter 3:Analyze the strategic thinkings of North Vietnam and the United States through applying the viewpoint of “careful and well prepared at waging the battle.”
Chapter 4: Analyze the impact of “North Vietnamese Tet Offensive” on the outcome of Vietnam War through applying the viewpoint of “waging the battle with skill.” And explore President Nixon Administration’s dual use of military force and diplomacy in resolving the Vietnam War issue, and the facilitation of “Vietnamizing the Vietnam War” policy to attain the goal of total US force withdrawal.