The Vietnam War was a long, complex, and controversial conflict that took place during the [Cold War]( in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1955 to 1975. It was fought between the communist government of North Vietnam, supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other allies on the side of [[Communism]] -- and the non-communist government of South Vietnam, supported by the United States and other anti-communist allies. The war can be understood through several key stages: 1. **Roots of the conflict (1945-1954)**: The origins of the Vietnam War can be traced back to the end of the [[World War II Timeline]], when Vietnam was seeking independence from French colonial rule. The Viet Minh, a nationalist and communist-led coalition, fought against the French in the First Indochina War. The conflict ended with the 1954 Geneva Accords, which temporarily divided Vietnam into a communist North and a non-communist South. 2. **The rise of the insurgency (1955-1964)**: After the division, the North Vietnamese government, led by Ho Chi Minh, sought to reunify Vietnam under communist rule. They supported a communist insurgency in the South known as the Viet Cong, who engaged in guerrilla warfare against the South Vietnamese government. The U.S., fearing the spread of [[Communism]] in Southeast Asia, provided military and financial support to the South Vietnamese government. 3. **Americanization of the war (1964-1969)**: Following the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964, the U.S. escalated its involvement in the war, deploying hundreds of thousands of troops and initiating large-scale bombing campaigns against North Vietnam. Under President Lyndon B. Johnson, the U.S. aimed to prevent the fall of South Vietnam to communism and protect American interests in the region. 4. **Vietnamization and U.S. withdrawal (1969-1973)**: In response to growing anti-war sentiment and mounting casualties, President [[Richard Nixon]] pursued a policy of Vietnamization, which aimed to transfer responsibility for the war to South Vietnamese forces while gradually withdrawing U.S. troops. The U.S. also expanded its bombing campaigns in Cambodia and Laos in an effort to disrupt North Vietnamese supply lines. 5. **End of the war and its aftermath (1973-1975)**: In 1973, the Paris Peace Accords were signed, leading to a ceasefire and the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam. However, fighting between North and South Vietnamese forces continued. In April 1975, North Vietnamese forces captured Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, leading to the fall of the South Vietnamese government and the official end of the war. The Vietnam War had lasting consequences for all parties involved. Over a million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians were killed, and the war left the country devastated and divided. The U.S. suffered over 58,000 military casualties and faced significant social and political upheaval at home as a result of its involvement in the war. The conflict also had a profound impact on U.S. foreign policy and military strategy in the decades that followed.