The Vietnam War summary aims to enable readers to find out the brief history of Vietnam war. It may be quite helpful.

The summary of Vietnam War:

1 November 1955 – 15 May 1975 (1975-05-15) (&000000000000001900000019 years, &0000000000000195000000195 days)

Anti Communist: United States, South Vietnam, South Korea, Australia, Philippines, New Zealand, Thailand, Khmer Republic, Republic of Laos, Republic of China (Taiwan), Germany

Communist: North Vietnam, Vietcong, Soviet Union, North Korea, People's Republic of China, Khmer Rogue, Pathet Lao.

Military Forces
Anti Communist:
  • South Vietnam: 850,000
  • United States: 536,100
  • Free World Forces: 65,000
  • South Korea: 312,853,
  • Australia: 49,968 (1962–1973)
  • Thailand, Philippines: 10,450
  • New Zealand: 3,890 (1964–1973)

  • North Vietnam: 340,000
  • PRC: 170,000 (1969)
  • Soviet Union: 3,000
  • North Korea: 300

The causes of the Vietnam War trace their roots back to the end of World War II. A French colony, Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, & Cambodia) had been occupied by the Japanese during the war.

In 1941, a Vietnamese nationalist movement, the Viet Minh, was formed by Ho Chi Minh to resist the occupiers. A communist, Ho Chi Minh waged a guerilla war against the Japanese with the support of the United States. Near the end of the war, the Japanese began to promote Vietnamese nationalism and ultimately granted the country nominal independence.

Following the Japanese defeat, the French returned to take possession of their colony. Their entrance into Vietnam was only permitted by the Viet Minh after assurances had been given that the country would gain independence as part of the French Union. Discussions broke down between the two parties and in December 1946, the French shelled the city of Haiphong and forcibly reentered the capital, Hanoi.

These actions began a conflict between the French and the Viet Minh known as the First Indochina War. The war was ultimately settled by the Geneva Accords of 1954, which temporarily partitioned the country at the 17th parallel, with the Viet Minh in control of the north and a non-communist state to be formed in the south under Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem. This division was to last until 1956, when national elections would be held to decide the future of the nation.

The United States had little interest in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, however as it became clear that the post-World War II world would be dominated by the US and its allies and the Soviet Union and theirs, isolating communist movements took an increased importance.

In 1950, to combat the spread of Communism, the United States began supplying the French military in Vietnam with advisors and funding its efforts against the “red” Viet Minh. These efforts continued in 1956, when advisors were provided to train the army of the new Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). Despite their best efforts, the quality of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) was to remain consistently poor throughout its existence.

On 2 August 1964, the USS Maddox, on an intelligence mission along North Vietnam's coast, allegedly fired upon and damaged several torpedo boats that had been stalking it in the Gulf of Tonkin. Following this attack, Congress passed the Southeast Asia Resolution which allowed President Lyndon Johnson to conduct military operations in the region without a declaration of war. On March 2, 1965, US aircraft began bombing targets in Vietnam and the first troops arrived. Commanded by General William Westmoreland, US troops won victories over Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces around Chu Lai and in the Ia Drang Valley that summer.

Ground War
On 8 March 1965, 3,500 United States Marines were dispatched to South Vietnam. This marked the beginning of the American ground war. U.S. public opinion overwhelmingly supported the deployment. The Marines' assignment was defensive. The initial deployment of 3,500 in March was increased to nearly 200,000 by December.

Test Offensive
The Tet Offensive was a military campaign during the Vietnam War that began on January 31, 1968. Forces of the National Liberation Front for South Vietnam (NLF, or Viet Cong), and the People's Army of Vietnam (the North Vietnamese army), fought against the forces of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the United States, and their allies. The purpose of the offensive was to strike military and civilian command and control centers throughout South Vietnam and to spark a general uprising among the population that would then topple the Saigon government, thus ending the war in a single blow.

Severe communist losses during the Tet Offensive allowed U.S. President Richard M. Nixon to begin troop withdrawals. His plan, called the Nixon Doctrine, was to build up the ARVN, so that they could take over the defense of South Vietnam. The policy became known as "Vietnamization". Vietnamization had much in common with the policies of the Kennedy administration. One important difference, however, remained. While Kennedy insisted that the South Vietnamese fight the war themselves, he attempted to limit the scope of the conflict.

End of The War
The United States began drastically reducing their troop support in South Vietnam during the final years of "Vietnamization". Many U.S. troops were removed from the region, and on 5 March 1971, the United States returned the 5th Special Forces Group, which was the first American unit deployed to South Vietnam, to its former base in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. By March of that year, American combat troops had left the country. After a brief period of peace, North Vietnam recommenced hostilities in late 1974. Pushing through ARVN forces with ease, they captured the Saigon on April 30, 1975, forcing South Vietnam’s surrender and reuniting the country. On 10 March 1975, General Dung launched Campaign 275, a limited offensive into the Central Highlands, supported by tanks and heavy artillery. The target was Ban Me Thuot, in Daklak Province. If the town could be taken, the provincial capital of Pleiku and the road to the coast would be exposed for a planned campaign in 1976.

Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, fell to followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, commonly known as the Khmer Rouge, on 17 April 1975. Over the next four years, the Khmer Rouge enacted a genocidal policy that killed over one-fifth of all Cambodians, or more than a million people. After repeated border clashes in 1978, Vietnam invaded Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia) and ousted the Khmer Rouge in the Cambodian–Vietnamese War.

In the post-war era, Americans struggled to absorb the lessons of the military intervention. As General Maxwell Taylor, one of the principal architects of the war, noted "first, we didn't know ourselves. We thought that we were going into another Korean War, but this was a different country. Secondly, we didn't know our South Vietnamese allies... And we knew less about North Vietnam. Who was Ho Chi Minh? Nobody really knew. So, until we know the enemy and know our allies and know ourselves, we'd better keep out of this kind of dirty business. It's very dangerous."

United States: 58,119 killed, 153,303 wounded, 1,948 missing in action
South Vietnam: 230,000 killed and 1,169,763 wounded (estimated)
North Vietnam: 1,100,000 killed in action (estimated) and an unknown number of wounded