The Vietnamese saw the Japanese defeat as an opportunity to claim independence from the French. The French, however, wouldn't budge. A war broke out among the two sides that lasted for 8 years. The U.S. put all it's money on France, hoping that by doing so, they'd be stopping the spread of communism. In the end, however, the Vietnamese won.
An international conference was held in Geneva, Switzerland. This conference was meant to determine the fate of Vietnam. It was decided after much negotiation that Vietnam would be divided into 2 states. North Vietnam, with its capital at Hanoi, was under the communist rule of Ho Chi Minh. The South, with its capital at Saigon, was governed by Ngo Dinh Diem.
My Lai Massacre
In August of 1964 there was a reported attack on American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin, off the coast of North Vietnam. The next day, there was a second attack reported. However, Captain John J. Herrick later called in to say that freakish weather may have caused his men to over react about the "second attack". President Lyndon B. Johnson was still determined to retaliate. The U.S. sent air strikes against North Vietnam, which is how they got involved in the war.
The War Ends
During the Vietnamese holiday "Tet" (a celebration of the lunar new year), North Vietnam organized a series of attacks on more than 100 South Vietnamese towns and outposts. This was particularly deadly because of the amount of people who were out celebrating. The U.S. was shocked by how far North Vietnam was willing to go.
On March 16, 1968, U.S. soldiers attacked the Vietnamese village of My Lai, killing more than 500 civilians. Women, children, and the elderly alike, it was indiscriminate slaughter. Some of the women and young girls were raped and mutilated before being killed. The U.S. tried to cover up the massacre, and they were successful for almost a year. When the truth eventually came out, the support for the war dropped dramatically.
President Nixon promised to bring an end to the Vietnam War, and that's exactly what he did. On January 27, 1973, the Paris Peace Accords were signed. After months of negotiation, all sides finally reached a consensus. In October of the year prior, an agreement was almost reached. However, South Vietnam, who hadn't been consulted, rejected the agreement. The Paris Peace Accords were very similar to this vetoed agreement.