When people talk about the Vietnam war, more often than not, they are referring to the war between the U.S.A. and the North Vietnamese Forces, led by Ho Chi Minh. Although the U.S.A. played a major part in opposing the Vietcong, this was just one significant part a larger conflict which had it's origins in the French colonization of South-East Asia in the late 19th century.
At this time, France's colonial ambitions led it to take over Vietnam and some of it's neighboring countries - Laos and Cambodia. In 1930, the "Indochinese Communist Party" was formed by Ho Chi Minh, and during the Second World War he formed an independence movement called the Vietminh. After WWII, the Vietminh wanted Vietnam as an independent country and began a campaign to remove the French. Eventually this led to armed conflict between France and Vietnam, the French were defeated in 1954. After the war, the Vietminh controlled north Vietnam while an unpopular government setup by the French with it's capital in Saigon controlled the South. After many years of political disagreement, a civil war broke out. The North (the communist Vietcong) and the South (the capitalist French and USA). .
1965. With Australia allied to America, it began sending in conscripts (young men forced to join the armed services) and thousands of troops to Saigon to assist the U.S.A. The Australian Government setup a propaganda campaign that the Vietnam war was a simple struggle between freedom and communism, and that free nations had to stop communism from spreading around the world. But this was not the first time the Australian Army had been involved in Vietnam. In 1962 a team of 30 Australian military instructors was sent to Saigon. .
It was not just the persistence and determination of the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese which ended the war, it was public opinion in the United States and all of the countries assisting them in the war. The unpopularity of America's participation in the war grew as it went on and towards the end of the war, very few people were for any involvement in Vietnam.