Who: South Vietnam vs. North Vietnam
What: A civil war between North Vietnam, supported by China and other communists, and South Vietnam, supported by the United States and other anti-communist countries.
Where: Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos.
Why: North Vietnamese and allies fighting to unify Vietnam under Communism, US and allies entered to fight and contain communism.
When: 1st November 1955 – 30th April 1975.
“Now we have a problem in making our power credible, and Vietnam is the place.” John F. Kennedy
The Vietnam War was not between Vietnam and the US. It was a civil war between the North and the South over the ideology of communism. The North, supported by the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, North Korea, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Burma, sought to spread Communism and unify Vietnam, which had been partitioned in 1954. The South, supported by the United States, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines, Spain and Taiwan, wanted the opposite: to quell communism and stop it spreading. The war resulted in the deaths of between 800,000 and 3 million Vietnamese, 200,000-300,000 Cambodians, 20,000-200,000 Laotians and 58,000 Americans. The use of Agent Orange and napalm left an effect on Vietnam that lasts to this day. The technologically superior US-led anti-communist forces were eventually ousted – the US withdrew in 1973 – and defeated by the North Vietnamese, which led to the fall of Saigon in 1975, unifying Vietnam, which is still Communist today.