The Vietnam War was a military struggle fought in Vietnam from 1959 to 1975. It began as a determined attempt by Communist society (called Vietcong) in the South, backed by Communist North Vietnam, to overthrow the government of South Vietnam. The struggle widened into a war between South Vietnam and North Vietnam and eventually into an international conflict. The United States and about 40 other countries supported South Vietnam by supplying troops and munitions for their fight, and the USSR and the People's Republic of China supplied munitions to North Vietnam and the Vietcong. On both sides, however, the consequences of the war fell mainly on the civilians. The war developed as a sequel to the struggle between the French, and the Communist-led Vietminh, founded and headed by the revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh.

Having emerged as the strongest of the nationalist groups that fought the Japanese occupation of French Indochina during World War II, they were determined to resist the reestablishment of French colonial rule and to implement political and social changes. Now the United States involvement was inevitable. Communism was making its move to infect the rest of Vietnam, and the United States didn t want to watch that happen. In December of 1961, President John F. Kennedy pledged to help South Vietnam maintain its independence. Subsequently, U.S. economic and military assistance to the Diem government increased significantly.

In December 1961, the first U.S. troops, consisting of 400 uniformed army personnel, arrived in Saigon in order to operate two helicopter companies; the U.S. proclaimed, however, that the troops were not combat units as such. A year later, U.S. military involvement in Vietnam stood at 11,200 men. The war began to escalate in the first week of August 1964, when North Vietnamese torpedo boats were reported to have attacked two U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. Acting on the resolution passed on August 7 by the U.S. Senate (the so-called Tonkin Gulf Resolution), authorizing increased military involvement, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered jets to South Vietnam and the retaliatory bombing of military targets in North Vietnam. The war escalated to full involvement of the United States and its resources. Unfortunately, unlike conventional wars, the war in Vietnam had no defined front lines.

Much of it consisted of hit-and-run attacks, with the guerrillas striking at government outposts and retreating into the jungle. In February 1965, U.S. planes began regular bombing raids over North Vietnam. A halt was ordered in May in the hope of initiating peace talks, but when North Vietnam rejected all negotiations, the bombings were resumed. With the incorporation of the Vietnamese, the marines, the first U.S. combat ground-force units to serve in the country, brought the number in the U.S. military forces in Vietnam to some 27,000.

By year's end American combat strength was nearly 200,000. Platoon was an excellent representation of this war as a whole. Torn between two leaders, the men did not know which side was right, which side they were on. Many men that were involved in the war, look back even now, and don t know what they were fighting for. In the movie, there were two sides that the men fell into, they either felt no respect for the veitnameese people, or there was a great respect for not just them, but all creatures of this earth.

This created great division within the platoon, and consequently made it hard for them to fight side by side. By: Megan.