Q:

Why did the Vietnam War start?

A:

Quick Answer

The Vietnam War began as a civil conflict that pitted the North Vietnamese Communist government and the South Vietnamese Communist rebels known as the Viet Cong against the non-Communist South Vietnamese government. The plan was to overthrow the South Vietnamese government and unite Vietnam as a communist state.

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Full Answer

The United States first became involved in military combat against the North Vietnamese in 1965, although military advisers from the United States were sent there beginning in 1950. As part of a larger strategy to contain communism, the U.S. objective in Vietnam was to prevent a Communist takeover of South Vietnam. The objectives of the U.S. were never achieved, and the American public was disillusioned with what became the longest war in American history, as of 2014.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, 8.7 million U.S. troops served worldwide during the Vietnam conflict, with 3,403,000 serving in Southeast Asia and 2,594,000 serving in South Vietnam. The U.S. lost 47,434 men in battle and 10,786 in non-battle situations for a total loss of 58,220 personnel in the conflict. All told, the total military deaths for all countries involved in the Vietnam War totaled 1.3 million, with an additional 1 million civilian deaths. In addition, there are 1,642 U.S. military personnel listed as prisoners of war or missing in action as of 2014. Direct U.S. military involvement in the war ended in August of 1973 with the passage of the Case-Church Amendment.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    When did the Vietnam War start and end?

    A:

    Armed conflict in Vietnam began in 1945, but the official starting point of the Vietnam War was the fraudulent election of Ngo Dinh Diem in 1955. The United States backed and advised Diem, who struggled to repress a Communist insurgency.

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  • Q:

    How did the Vietnam War start?

    A:

    No single incident marked the beginning of the American war in Vietnam, though several watershed moments passed between the 1954 defeat of the French occupying force and the negotiated end of hostilities in 1973. The 1954 Geneva agreement, which ended the French presence in Indochina, called for a referendum on the form of government Vietnam would adopt in 1956. The United States cancelled the vote, and hostilities began.

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  • Q:

    When was the Vietnam War?

    A:

    The commonly accepted dates for the Vietnam conflict are 1954 to 1975. Most of the military fighting occurred between 1957 and 1973. Because Congress never officially passed a vote to declare a war, the United States was never technically at war with North Vietnam.

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  • Q:

    How many Vietnamese died during the Vietnam War?

    A:

    In figures released in 1995, Vietnam claimed 2 million civilians died on both sides, while 1.1 million North Vietnamese soldiers and between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers lost their lives in the war. Roughly 58,200 American soldiers died during the United States' involvement in the conflict.

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