The Vietnam War began in 1954 and ended in 1975. The war started soon after the Geneva Conference, which divided Vietnam into two nations at the 17th parallel.
The Vietnam War centered on the desire of North Vietnam to create a unified communist government in the country. South Vietnam's leader, President Ngo Dinh Diem, canceled elections concerning reunification and was denounced by the leader of North Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh. The conflict escalated, and South Vietnam signed a treaty with the United States in 1961 for military and economic aid. Diem was executed after a coup in 1963; however, the war continued until U.S. combat units withdrew in 1973, and South Vietnam fell to an invasion by the North in 1975.