The Vietnam War officially started in 1954 after Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh party rose to power in North Vietnam. The war ended in 1975 when communist forces invaded Saigon, ending in the unification of the country as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1976.
The conflict that led to the war in Vietnam began in the mid-1940s. In 1945, after creating a provisional government, Ho Chi Minh declared the independence of Vietnam upon the surrender of Japan to Allied forces at the end of WW II. President Eisenhower pledged U.S. support in 1955, joining the conflict between the Viet Minh and the anti-communist Ngo Dinh Diem, who occupied South Vietnam. President Nixon ordered the withdraw of U.S. troops in 1973.