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Vietnam War I Introduction Vietnam War 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 The United States became involved in Vietnam because it believed that if all of the country fell under a Communist government Communism would spread throughout Southeast Asia and beyond This belief was known as the domino theory The US government therefore supported the South Vietnamese government This governments repressive policies led to rebellion in the South and the NLF was formed as an opposition group with close ties to North Vietnam 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 15 to 2 million Lao and Cambodians who were drawn into the war More than 58000 Americans lost their lives II Background From the 1880s until World War II 1939-1945 France governed Vietnam as part of French Indochina which also included Cambodia and Laos The country was under the nominal control of an emperor Bao Dai In 1940 Japanese troops invaded and occupied French Indochina In December of that year Vietnamese nationalists established the League for the Independence of Vietnam or Viet Minh
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