Indochina Wars

The Indochina Wars (Vietnamese: Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia from 1946 until 1979, between communist Indochinese forces against French, South Vietnamese, American, Cambodian, Laotian and Chinese forces. The term "Indochina" originally referred to French Indochina, which included the current states of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. In current use, it applies largely to a geographic region, rather than a political area. The four wars were:

  • The First Indochina War (called the Indochina War in France and French War in Vietnam) began after World War II ended and lasted until the French defeat in 1954. After a long campaign of resistance Viet Minh forces had claimed a victory after Japanese and Vichy French forces surrendered in the North at the end of World War II. During World War II, the South was temporarily occupied by British forces, who restored French Republic colonial control. In the United Nations and alliance with the British and U.S., the French demanded return of their former Indochina colony prior to agreeing to participate in the NATO alliance opposing Soviet expansion beyond the Warsaw Pact countries in the Cold War. The communist/nationalist Viet Minh, whom the Allies had supported during the war, continued fighting the French with support from China and the USSR, ultimately driving the NATO-backed French out of Indochina.
  • The Second Indochina War (called the Vietnam War in the West or the American War in Vietnam) began as a conflict between the United States-backed South Vietnamese government and its opponents, both the South Vietnamese-based communist Viet Cong (National Liberation Front) and the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), now known as the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN). It began in the late 1950s and lasted until 1975. The United States, which supported France in the first war, backed the South Vietnam government in opposition to the National Liberation Front and the Communist-allied NVA. The North benefited from military and financial support from China and the Soviet Union, members of the Communist bloc. Fighting also occurred during this time in Cambodia between the US-backed government, the NVA, and the Communist-backed Khmer Rouge (known as the Cambodian Civil War, 1967–1975) and in Laos between the US-backed government, the NVA, and the Communist-backed Pathet Lao (known as the Laotian Civil War or Secret War, 1962–1975).
  • The Cambodian–Vietnamese War followed the Second Indochina War. Vietnam invaded Cambodia and deposed the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. The war lasted from May 1975 to December 1989.
  • The Sino-Vietnamese War was a short war fought in February-March 1979 between the People's Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The Chinese invaded Vietnam as "punishment" for the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, and withdrew a month later to prewar positions.
See also: Indochina War timeline

Read more about Indochina Wars:  Colonization, The First Indochina War, The Second Indochina War, The Third Indochina War

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