Known by the common person as an American defeat, the Vietnam War has scarred our country with past mistakes but necessary lessons learned. Although not technically a declared war, it was the longest conflict in the United States history. We failed to accomplish the goals we created in the beginning. We wanted to help ensure that South Vietnam had a separate, independent, and noncommunist government. Not only were the Vietnamese affected but the American citizens her at home. It was the first war televised, making people more aware of what was happening overseas. This war caused a major division among the people and between the people and the United States government. The debate over Vietnam occurred when this highly sensitive mixture of ideas seemed, to large numbers of Americans, to divide into its component parts, the parts each drawing the nation toward differing courses of action. Never in history has so much power been used so ineffectively as in the war in Vietnam. .
The conflict in Vietnam started well before the United States got involved. Vietnam was part of Indochina which also includes Cambodia and Laos. These countries were under French colonial rule. Wanting their freedom and independence from the French, the Vietnam communist-nationalist, better known as the Vietminh, rebelled and fought back. The French were losing and were not able to control the communist North Vietnamese from invading South Vietnam. The United States originally tried to help the French by giving them financial aid to fight off the communist attackers. .
There was a meeting between the major powers at the time to try and come to an agreement as to what to do with Indochina. This was called the Geneva Conference which occurred in 1954. "Participants in the Geneva Conference were the four parties that had called for the meeting, France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States; also present were China, Cambodia, and Laos; and representing elements within Vietnam itself were spokesmen Bao Dai's government and for the Vietminh.