In the beginning, Vietnam was one country but later it was separated into North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was Communist, and South Vietnam was Democratic.
The French occupied Vietnam for many years and in the 1940s, America began sending help to the French Army fighting in North Vietnam. France was defeated by the Communist Rebels and then North Vietnam began to attack South Vietnam. America began to send financial help and military advisors to help the Army of South Vietnam. North Vietnam wanted to unite the two parts into one country and create a communist state.
North Vietnam was supported by Russia and China and other communist countries. Australia, England and America were involved because they wanted to stop the spread of Communism. The area where Vietnam is located is called Indochina and it was considered a very strategic point.
At first, the war was a fight between the Army of South Vietnam and the Viet Cong.
The Viet Cong were Communist rebels specialized in guerilla warfare.
In 1964, a US warship was attacked by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. After this attack, the United States military began bombing targets in Vietnam and the first troops arrived.
Then the Viet Cong attacked a Marine barracks and killed many American soldiers. The US Air Force and Navy began intensive bombing thinking that the Viet Cong would stop their attacks in South Vietnam. However, it seemed to have the opposite effect because the fighting became more intense. By 1968, there were more than 500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand) American soldiers fighting in Vietnam. Near the end of the war more than 2.5 million (two point five million) American soldiers were involved.
In 1969, the United States slowly began to bring their soldiers home.
In January 1973, there was a cease-fire. The war officially ended on April 30th, 1975, when South Vietnam surrendered to North Vietnam.
The price of the war was very high. Millions of soldiers and civilians died. Millions of people were seriously injured and innocent people suffered. The Vietnam War was a terrible thing.