Vietnam, along with Cambodia and Laos, used to be a French colony. In World War II, Japanese soldiers had occupied it. It was during this time, the Viet Minh league, led by its communist leader Ho Chi Minh, declared Vietnam independent from France. And that’s why… the war.
Soon after the world war, in 1946, another war erupted in Vietnam. It was between Ho Chi Minh’s nationalists and French troops. It was a long struggle. In 1954, the communist Vietnamese defeat the French and the country got divided into North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
In 1961, the South Vietnam asked fir military advice from USA to fight the communist North Vietnam, which had the backing of USSR. So basically, by 1965, it was USA and USSR fighting in the guise of North and South Vietnam.
Vietnam war was among the first wars to be covered on television. This spread a massive awareness around the world and protests were held – almost everywhere – to bring peace. In 1969, USA started withdrawing its troops, and by 1973 it had completely withdrawn. The communists, however, did not stop and seized control of the South Vietnam in 1975. Soon after this, Vietnam was officially reunited under a Communist government.