Vietnam War brief outline
Unstable French colonial rule of Vietnam came to an end in 1954 following French defeat in battle and the taking of 12,000 French prisoners by the Viet Minh Democratic Republic of Vietnam backed by communist China. Following a negotiated ceasefire the country was partitioned and from 1960 to 1975 became the scene of civil war between the communist government of North Vietnam and the US client state of South Vietnam.

The war continued against the backdrop of an intense Cold War between two the global superpowers: the United States and the Soviet Union and expanded as American military involvement increased from 1964.

More than 3 million people (including 58,000 Americans) were killed in the Vietnam War; more than half were Vietnamese civilians. By 1969, at the peak of U.S. involvement in the war, more than 500,000 U.S. military personnel were involved in the Vietnam conflict.

The war was maintained in the face of mounting criticism within the USA and throughout the world and of fading chances of a resolution satisfactory to the US, until the ceasefire agreement in January 1973 ended active American military participation.

The US continued to support the South's forces after a breakdown of the ceasefire until the regime fell in February 1975 when the communist forces seized control of Saigon, ending the War, and the country was unified as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam the following year.

Americas methods did much to damage the country's morale and prestige and contributed to the fall of neighbouring non communist governments in Laos and Cambodia. 'Vietnam' became a byword for wars in which major powers invest massive resources in local conflict on dubious moral and strategic grounds.

America's recent wars in Iran an Afghanistan were though by some as the means to remove the stain of Vietnam from American military but have largely repeated the same errors and end up with a disastrous outcome

See also: Cambodia | Agent Orange | Martin Luther King |

working for peace since 1934