The conflict in Vietnam was a Cold War military conflict. The war was between North Vietnam, being supported by communist regimes, and South Vietnam, supported by the United States including other nations which were anti-communist.
The United States government decided to get involved in the war. They believed it was a way of preventing South Vietnam from being taken over by communist ideas. It was part of a wider strategy of containment by the United States. However, the North Vietnamese government saw it as a colonial war. They regarded South Vietnam as a United States puppet nation. The beginning of 1950 saw U.S. military advisors arriving in the country (Christian 2008).
Ten years later, United States' troop levels increased tremendously. A large number of United States Combat units were deployed in the year 1965. Other countries nearby, Cambodia and Laos, were also heavily bombed. The United States' involvement reached its peak at the Tet Offensive in the year 1968. It was after this that a policy known as Vietnamization, kicked off. The United States ground forces were withdrawn. However, much of the fighting continued to take place despite the Paris Peace Accords (Christian 2008).
The conflict ended after Saigon was captured in 1975. A year later, North and South Vietnam were reunified. There were several attacks on a number of United States Air Force bases in South. To ensure they were secured, thousands of U.S. Marines were dispatched to guard the bases because the South Vietnamese army seemed incapable of securing them. This was of course the beginning of the American ground war. Back at home, most of the Americans supported the idea.
The Tet Offensive saw sever communist losses. This allowed the beginning of troop withdrawals by the Richard Nixon, the U.S. president at the time. This was called Vietnamization; South Vietnamese army was to take over the defense matters of their country while the United States troops withdraw. The U.S. convinced the Soviet Union that they were capable of doing anything so as to see the end of the war (Christian 2008).
President Nixon pursued several policies with the Soviets and China to aid in decreasing the rising global tensions. The policy, known as Détente, led to a reduction in the nuclear arms. However, the communists continued supplying North Vietnam with fire arms.