In figures released in 1995, Vietnam claimed 2 million civilians died on both sides, while 1.1 million North Vietnamese soldiers and between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers lost their lives in the war. Roughly 58,200 American soldiers died during the United States' involvement in the conflict.
Other countries suffered heavy casualties in the Vietnam War as well. New Zealand fought for South Korea and lost about three dozen soldiers, Australia lost more than 500 soldiers and South Korea lost 3,000 troops in the war.
The Vietnam War started as a result of the Cold War. before World War II, Vietnam was part of France. During the war, the country was taken over by the Japanese but when the retreated, South Vietnam returned to French control while North Vietnam became property of the non-Communist Chinese. During its time with China, support grew for Chinese leader Ho Chi Minh, and when the French declared their intention on taking North Vietnam back, those who supported Ho Chi Minh would have to fight to retain their independence. The North Vietnam military was known as the Viet Minh.
The U.S. sent its first wave of troops to Vietnam in March of 1965 and, by 1968, more than 540,000 troops were stationed throughout the area. The troops remained in the area until President Richard Nixon began ordering their withdrawal in 1969. U.S. soldiers remained in the area until 1973.