Vietnam War America’s Longest War

The Vietnam Conflict, popularly known as the Vietnam War. 1 was a conflict in which the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRVN, or North Vietnam) and its allies fought against the Republic of Vietnam (RVN, or South Vietnam) and its allies.

Many consider the Vietnam conflict a proxy war, one of several that occurred during the Cold War between the United States and its Western allies on the one hand, and the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China on the other (other such wars took place in Korea, Angola and Afghanistan.) Proxy wars occurred because the major players — in particular the United States and the Soviet Union — had a policy of mutually assured destruction (M.A.D.) in which a nuclear strike against one country would result in total nuclear annhilation of the opposing country. Because the superpowers could not afford to fight each other directly, they did so indirectly through proxy wars in which they sought to extend their influence throughout the world.

In the 1950’s the United States began to send troops to Vietnam. During the following 25-years the ensuing war would create some of the strongest tensions in US history. Almost 3 million US men and women were sent thousands of miles to fight for what was a questionable cause. In total, it is estimated that over 2,5 million people on both sides were killed.

North Vietnam’s allies included the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam, the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. South Vietnam’s main allies included the United States and South Korea; South Vietnam’s allies deployed large numbers of troops. US combat troops were involved from 1959, but not in large numbers until 1965. They left the country in 1973. A large number of civilian casualties resulted from the war, which ended on April 30, 1975 with the capitulation of South Vietnam.

The Vietnam War was the longest military conflict in U.S. history. The hostilities in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia claimed the lives of more than 58,000 Americans. Another 304,000 were wounded. The Vietnam War was a military struggle fought in Vietnam from 1959 to 1975, involving the North Vietnamese and the National Liberation Front (NLF) in conflict with United States forces and the South Vietnamese army. From 1946 until 1954, the Vietnamese had struggled for their independence from France during the First Indochina War. At the end of this war, the country was temporarily divided into North and South Vietnam. North Vietnam came under the control of the Vietnamese Communists who had opposed France and who aimed for a unified Vietnam under Communist rule. The South was controlled by Vietnamese who had collaborated with the French. In 1965 the United States sent in troops to prevent the South Vietnamese government from collapsing. Ultimately, however, the United States failed to achieve its goal, and in 1975 Vietnam was reunified under Communist control; in 1976 it officially became the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. During the conflict, approximately 3 to 4 million Vietnamese on both sides were killed, in addition to another 1.5 to 2 million Lao and Cambodians who were drawn into the war.