I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons. — Will Rogers

Wars in Korea and Vietnam

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War in Korea

When World War II ended, Korea became a divided nation. North of the 38th parallel, a line that crosses Korea at 38 degrees north latitude, the Japanese surrendered to the Soviets. South of that line, the Japanese surrendered to the Allies.

As in Germany, two nations developed. The Soviet Union supported a Communist government in North Korea. The United States supported a non-Communist government in South Korea. On June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea. President Truman fought this move with help from the UN. The United States and other countries sent troops to assist South Korea. At first, the North Korean army captured almost all of South Korea.

Then the UN army made a bold counterattack. The attack was led by General Douglas MacArthur. In 1953, the two Koreas agreed to a cease-fire. The earlier boundary splitting North and South Korea remained the same.

North Korea had a Communist government. It had a strong army and tight government control, but it also had many economic problems. For more than 30 years, dictators ruled South Korea. But its economy grew, in part because it received U.S. aid. Free elections were held in South Korea after a new constitution was adopted in 1987.

How was Korea divided?
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War Breaks Out in Vietnam; The United States Get Involved

A nationalist named Ho Chi Minh drove the French out of Vietnam. This worried the United States because Ho had turned to the Communists for help. Many Americans thought if one country became Communist, others would also, like a row of dominoes. This idea is known as the domino theory. A peace conference split Vietnam in two, with Ho taking charge of North Vietnam. The country had a Communist government. Communist rebels - the Vietcong - stayed active in the South.

The non-Communist government of the South had been set up by the United States and France. Its leader was Ngo Dinh Diem. When his government was threatened by Communists, the United States began to send troops. When they could not win the war on the ground, they tried bombing. Many people in the United States came to oppose the war.

How did the United States get involved in Vietnam?
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Postwar Southeast Asia

In the late 1960s, President Richard Nixon began a plan called Vietnamization. This plan called for a gradual pullout of U.S. troops. At the same time, the South Vietnamese increased their combat role. The last American troops left in 1973. Two years later, North Vietnam overran the South and made Vietnam one country again. Today, Vietnam remains Communist but is looking for other nations to invest in its economy.

Fighting in Vietnam spilled over into Vietnam's neighbor, Cambodia. Rebels there were known as the Khmer Rouge. They set up a brutal Communist government. The Khmer Rouge killed 2 million people. In 1978, the Vietnamese invaded the country. They overthrew the Khmer Rouge. Vietnam withdrew in 1989. In 1993, Cambodia held free elections for the first time.

What happened in Vietnam after the United States withdrew?
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In which year was the number of U.S. troops in Vietnam the highest?
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What is the greatest number of troops the South Vietnamese army had at one time?
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