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This victory led to the Geneva Conference where the French and Viet Minh negotiated a ceasefire agreement. Civilians were able to move freely between two states for a day period. However, the accords apparently did not please the United States. Second and most importantly, if the communists won in Vietnam, communism could spread throughout Southeast Asia and become a greater threat to the U.

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Eisenhower promised American support to his government to ensure a non-communist Vietnam. Following through on that commitment, American aid to South Vietnam began as early as in January, By early , Diem had consolidated his power and control over South Vietnam. He also launched many political repression and anti-communist campaigns across the country, in which 25, anti-government activists and communists were arrested and more than 1, killed as claimed by the communists.

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In return, communist insurgents also assassinated hundreds of South Vietnamese officials. Realizing the increasingly unpopularity of Diem regime, Hanoi established the National Liberation Front NLF , better known as the Viet Cong , on December 20, , which consisted of all anti-government activists — both communists and non-communists, as a common front to fight against Diem.

In spite of spending a great deal of time and efforts against the Viet Cong and anti-government activists, Diem did not show that he was capable of defeating the communist insurgency. As a matter of fact, some policy makers in Washington even suspected that he might be in contact with Ho Chi Minh.

On November 2, , Diem and his brother Nhu were assassinated in a coup to overthrow him.

55. The Vietnam War

Taking the advantage, North Vietnam decided to pursue a more aggressive policy in South Vietnam as suggested by First Secretary Le Duan and quickly increased their support for the Viet Cong. A Vietnamese Buddhist monk self-immolates in protest in On November 24, , Lyndon B. On March 2, , the Johnson administration launched a strategic bombing campaign known as Operation Rolling Thunder in response to a Viet Cong attack on a U.

On March 8, , 3, U. Marines were sent to South Vietnam marking the start of American ground war. The number of U. He lit himself on fire to protest alleged persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government.

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A father holds the body of his child as South Vietnamese Army Rangers look down from their armored vehicle in March The child was killed as government forces pursued guerrillas into a village near the Cambodian border. The U. After U. President Lyndon Johnson falsely claimed that there had been a second attack on the destroyer, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, which authorized full-scale U. Johnson ordered the bombing of North Vietnam in retaliation for the Tonkin attack.

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A South Vietnamese reconnaissance unit walks hip-deep in water as a U. They were on the lookout for Viet Cong guerrillas. Injured people receive medical aid after an explosion at the U. Embassy in Saigon on March 30, The prisoner was one of 15 captured in a raid near Xom Chua. Women and children crouch in a muddy canal as they take cover from intense Viet Cong fire at Bao Trai, about 20 miles west of Saigon, in January Staff Sgt.

Harrison Pell, a wounded American soldier, drinks from a comrade's canteen during a January firefight between U. A Viet Cong soldier holds an anti-tank gun during the Tet Offensive, a massive surprise attack launched in by the North Vietnamese. The attack hit 36 major cities and towns in South Vietnam.

Both sides suffered heavy casualties. South Vietnamese Gen. A young refugee carries an elderly woman on his back while crossing a bridge in Hue, Vietnam, in Troops look at the aftermath of an attack on the U. Embassy in Saigon in Army first sergeant guides a medevac helicopter through the jungle to pick up casualties suffered near Hue in April A South Vietnamese woman mourns over the body of her husband, which was found with 47 others in a mass grave near Hue in April President Richard Nixon points to a map in the White House after telling the nation that American troops have attacked, at his order, a communist complex in Cambodia in April Nixon ordered troops to invade border areas in Cambodia and destroy supply centers set up by the North Vietnamese.

The shots killed four students and wounded nine others.

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Anti-war demonstrations and riots occurred on hundreds of other campuses throughout May. In February , U. This action, ordered by President Nixon, was done without consent of Congress, and it led to more anti-war protests. South Vietnamese forces follow after terrified children after a napalm attack on suspected Viet Cong hiding places in June A South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped napalm on South Vietnamese troops and civilians.

The terrified girl in the center had ripped off her burning clothes while fleeing. The last American ground troops left in March of that year.

Vietnam War Fast Facts

Air Force Lt. Robert L. Stirm, a released prisoner of war, is greeted by his family in Fairfield, California, as he returns home on March 17, A cargo net lifts refugees from a barge so they can be evacuated from the city of Da Nang, Vietnam, on April 1, Mobs of Vietnamese people scale the wall of the U.

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  • Embassy in Saigon on April 29, , trying to get to a helicopter pickup zone. Embassy in Saigon on April 29, Near the war's end, about Marine, Air Force and Air America choppers evacuated an estimated 7, Americans and South Vietnamese out of the South Vietnamese capital in under 24 hours. It was the largest helicopter airlift in history. The black granite memorial bears the names of more than 58, Americans killed in the Vietnam War.