When the French troops left Vietnam in 1954, the country was partitioned along the 17th parallel. The plan was to have elections in 1956 in order to unify the country, but Ngo Dinh Diem, the Prime Minister of South Vietnam, declared that South Vietnam rejected the Geneva Accords, documents written up in Geneva outlining the French withdrawal and the future of Vietnam, and said that there would be no election taking place. Diem then went on to create the Anti-Communist state known as the Republic of Vietnam. At this point, Eisenhower sent in military advisers. During the Kennedy administration more military advisers were sent to Vietnam. In 1963 Diem and Kennedy were both assassinated and this further escalated the situation.
On August 4, 1964 the USS Maddox and USS Joy Turner were shot at in the Gulf of Tonkin. The U.S. retaliated with air strikes, and congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, which allowed the U.S. to conduct military operations in Vietnam without declaring a war. From this point on the war escalated.The goal of the U.S. was to win by attrition. This policy was known as search and destroy.
One of the major battles of the war was known as the Tet Offensive. On January 3l, 1968, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces attacked American, South Vietnamese, and allied bases and command centers throughout South Vietnam. All of the communist attacks were repelled. Because of massive communist losses, and dwindling U.S. support for the war, Nixon began a plan of Vietnamization. This was a plan to withdraw troops and train the ARVN, the South Vietnamese army, to fight the north and the Viet Cong. One major problem for U.S. forces during the Vietnam War was the Ho Chi Minh Trail. This was a trail that snakes through Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. It was the main supply route for the enemy forces. In 1971 the U.S. and ARVN forces entered Laos and Cambodia to try and find enemy bases and to try and cut off supply lines into Vietnam. This caused outrage and Nixon promised only to go 30 miles into Laos and Cambodia. On January 27, 1973, the Paris Peace Accords were officially signed and the U.S. ended its involvement in Vietnam.