Vietnam War History

The Vietnam War has its roots in French colonialism and World War II. The French pull-out of Vietnam after their defeat at Dien Bien Phou left the country divided between the Communist North and Western-backed South. The United States became increasingly involved as the North threatened to take over the South. In May of 1961, President Kennedy sent 400 military advisors to South Vietnam to train their soldiers. Regular United States’ ground troops began arriving in 1965 under President Johnson’s administration. From 1965 to 1969 approximately 800,000 U.S. military personnel were involved in the war in an attempt to stop this communist aggression. Fifty-eight thousand Americans gave their lives. More than three million people, many Vietnamese citizens, also died between 1955 and 1975. The war ended in 1975 after communist forces seized control of Saigon. The country was then unified as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The following year, with the name of the City of Saigon changed to Ho Chi Minh City.