The Vietnam war was the longest armed conflict ever fought in United States military history. The war was fought from 1959 to 1975 between North Vietnam supported by the North Vietnamese and The National Liberation Front (NLF) and South Vietnam led by the Southern Vietnamese army and the United State's troops. The aim of the US invasion was part of the US foreign policy of containment, also known as the Domino effect. There was a fear that communist China and Korea would spread Marxist Nationalism to the rest of Asia. The war in Vietnam is possibly the most controversial war ever fought in American history (save maybe the invasion of Iraq 2001-present). In total, 58,000 American soldiers were killed during the invasion, and an estimated 3 to 4 million Vietnamese (Cilivans and combatants included). Also, 1.5 to 2 million Cambodian and Laotions were bombed and killed by the United States to prevent them from supported the Vietnamese forces.

Communist North Vietnam and routes of US aggreasion
North Vietnam had already been under communist controlled when rebel forces led by Ho Chi Minh led a war of independence from the French from 1946 to 1954, eventualy expelling the French from the Northen half of the country. The country was split between the inpendent communist North and the South which was made up of those who colaborated with the French. The people's Republic of China and the Soviet Union both recognize North Vietnam as the legitimate government of Vietnam in Hanoi. This act immediatly put The Northen Vietnam government at odds with the US government who declared their support for the Southern Government then led (1950, nine years before the invasion) by Bao Da in Saigon as the legitimate government. In January 1950, the communist Chinese government began to send arms to the armed unit of the Northen Vietnesse (Viet Minh). The Viet Minh started an offensive against
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Ho Chi Minh
French outposts near the border of China in that same year. The United States which at this time was engulfed in the flames of McCarthysim did not want to appear soft on communism after Senator Joseph McCarthy accused the US congress of harboring communists. Thus, US military invovlment in Vietnam began with President Truman authorizing 1.5 million dollars in aid to the French. Throughout that same year, the US would not only send arms and equipement, but military advisors and set up a group (Military Assistance Advisory Group MAAG) to advise the Southern Government of Saigon. In 1959, Ho Chi Minh begings on armed revolution in an effort to unite all of Vietnam. 4000 Viet Minh guerillas are sent undercover to South Vietnam to inflitrate the South. Two American military advisors are assisinated, the first casualites of the Vietnam war.



North invades South
In 1960, the North began a policy of universal military conscription, with a tour of duty that was indefinite. It was all Ho Chi Minh's idea of a united communist Vietnam, which in his mind was only split up because of French and Japanese imperalism. He saw the South as a US puppet state due to all the military advisors and the unpopular President Diem was heavy supported by Washington. In 1960 the communist government of Hanoi created the National Liberation Front, (NLF) which was the armed section of the larger Viet Cong Southern Vietnam communist group which advocated Ho Chi Minh's united Communist Vietnam.

US involvement during the 60es.
In 1961 the first US military forces to arrive in Vietnam were 400 Green Beret sent by the newly elected President John F. Kennedy to train the South Vietnam army. Fall of that same year saw a massive Viet Cong offensive (estimated 26,000 troops) attacking many southern military outposts. South Vietnamese President Diem requests more military aid from Kennedy. In October of that year, top advisors to the American president visited South Vietnam in order to asses the situation there. Their report claims that if Vietnam is to fall to communism, it would be very hard to hold southest Asia, thus the President sent 4000 regular combat troops and helicopters into Vietnam marking the first time American troops were to be used in combat situation in Vietnam. In March 1962, South Vietnam begins operation Sunrise, a plan to uproot hundred of rural peasants and to place them in fortified villages. These villages were inflitrated by the Viet Cong, turning them into Northen villages. In response to this, the South Vietnamese president Diem ordered the bombing of suspected Viet Cong villages, were a high percent of casualites were civilians. These bombings were not only supported by the US, but were in some cases actually preformed by American pilots. This bombing led to the popular sentiment of anti-americanism in Vietnam, turning much of the citzentry against the South and America. In 1963, internal opposition to president Diem grows public as buddhist monks riot and demostrate in the streets. They are not allowed to wave religieuse flags during Buda's birthday, something they claim is their unalterable right. South Vietnamese police fire on unarmed crowed, eight children are killed. After this incident, the CIA and South Vietnamese military figures begin to plot a coup. Althouh this coup is postponed many times, it is finaly done in November as soliders storm Saigon. He is replaced by General Nguyen Khanh in 1964. In that same year, the United States funds mercaneries flying old American fighter plans to attack the Ho Chi Minh Trial in Laos. This action violates an agreement sign in Geneva stating Laos's neutrality in 1962 specificaly prohibited the United States from bombing the Ho Chi Minh trail. The Ho Chi Minh trail is used by guerillas as a means of recruitment and many troops enter Vietnam from this path. In response to swelling North Vietnamese troops, the US harrasses the Northen Border of Vietnam using warship stationed at the Gulf of Tonkin.

The Gulf of Tonkin incident.
On August 4th, 1964 the U.S.S Maddox reports that it is under attack by North Vietnamese patrol boats, and later a second destroyer the U.S.S C. Turner Joy reports that it was under attack as well. While in light of recent evidence, it has been proved that the Gulf of Tonkin never actually happened, as the destroyers were not even shot at. The attacks were not "unprovoked" as President Johnson told congress, both destroyers were engaged in harrasing North Vietnam forces coming from the Northen border. This incident allowed The United States to justifiy a massive increase in it's military operations, now a full out war. some claim that is was intentionaly, and that this incident bears a similarity to the falsification of a Polish attack on Germany used to justify the Second War World by the Nazis in 1939. Others blame a huge thunder storm that had occured, and that the ship's electronic instruments went haywire makin the crew believe that they were under an attack.