GCSE History Revision - Vietnam MapAlthough in most people’s minds the Vietnam War is associated with the 1960s, the conflict began much earlier. There were shenanigans involving communists and their enemies in the country from the moment the Japanese, who invaded during World War 2, left the country. The causes of the conflict are numerous and complex. Luckily for you, the main thing you need to know about is what happened once the United States began to use its full military might there from 1964. The main pieces of background that you need to know to understand the conflict are these:

* Since the 1950s Vietnam had been divided into a North and a South.

* The North came under communist control in the 1950s, led by a man called Hoi Chi Minh.

* There were armed communist forces in the South, known as the Viet Cong (or the National Liberation Front), who were intent on overthrowing the American-backed dictatorship there.

* The Americans were prepared to go to great lengths to prevent the spread of communism in Vietnam, because they feared that all the other countries in the region would also become communist.

* In August 1964 an American navy vessel in the region reported that it had come under attack from North Vietnamese naval forces. The US Congress gave the President, Lyndon B. Johnson, the go-ahead to send America to war against the North Vietnamese.