The Vietnam War was a conflict from 1959-1975 in which the Communist North Vietnamese along with the Viet Cong under Ho Chi Minh successfully united Vietnam under a Communist regime. This war was seen as an extension of the Cold War, in that the US supported the South and the Soviet Union supported the Communist North. Shortly after the Vietnamese torpedoed a US ship in the Gulf of Tonkin, the United States decided to get involved.
After a few early victories on the US’s side, the North launched the Tet Offensive. This massive offensive resulted in massive casualties on both sides, the Tet Offensive shook the morale of the US, who believed they were winning the war. When Nixon became president, he promoted Vietnamization, the idea of arming the Southerners so that they could fight for themselves. As the Americans were slowly brought back home, the trust of the American people in the way the US was going about the war diminished with the release of the Pentagon Papers, and the news of the My Lai massacre.
Sadly, the Southern efforts proved fruitless. A peace accord was signed in the beginning of 1974 which was intended to end the war. A few months later, the North Vietnamese recommenced their offensive and eventually captured Saigon, the capital of the South. So, the South was forced to surrender to the Communist regime of the North. To this day, the Vietnam War is a disappointing failure amongst the US’s long list of military successes.
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