The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Battle of Xuân Lộc
The Battle of Xuan Loc was the last major battle of the Vietnam War in which the Army of the Republic of Vietnam committed all their remaining mobile forces the ARVN 18th Infantry Division, under General Lê Minh Đảo to the defence of Xuân Lộc, hoping to stall the advance of the People's Army of Vietnam. The battle was fought between April 9 and 21, 1975, ended when the town of Xuân Lộc was captured by the PAVN 4th Army Corps; this was the ARVN III Corps' last defensive line of Saigon. The line connected the city of Bình Dương, Bien Hoa Air Base, Vũng Tàu, Long An and the lynchpin centered on the strategic city of Xuân Lộc, where both the ARVN-JGS and RVNAF-JGS committed the nation's final reserve forces in Saigon's defense. Once Xuân Lộc fell on 21 April 1975, the PAVN battled with the last remaining elements of III Corps Armored Task Force, remnants of the 18th Infantry Division, depleted ARVN Marine and Ranger Battalions in a fighting retreat that lasted nine days, until they reached Saigon and PAVN armored columns crashed throughout the gates of South Vietnam's Presidential Palace on 30 April 1975 ending the war.
From the beginning of 1975, PAVN forces swept through the northern provinces of South Vietnam unopposed. In the Central Highlands, South Vietnam's II Corps Tactical Zone was destroyed, whilst attempting to evacuate to the Mekong Delta region. In the cities of Huế and Da Nang, ARVN units dissolved without putting up resistance; the devastating defeats suffered by the ARVN prompted South Vietnam's National Assembly to question President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu's handling of the war, thereby placing him under tremendous pressure to resign. In the last-ditch effort to save South Vietnam, President Thiệu ordered his last military units, namely the ARVN 18th Infantry Division, to hold Xuân Lộc at all cost; the PAVN 4th Army Corps, on the other hand, was ordered to capture Xuân Lộc in order to open the gateway to Saigon. During the early stages of the battle, the ARVN 18th Infantry Division managed to beat off early attempts by the PAVN to capture the town, forcing PAVN commanders to change their battle plan.
However, on April 19, 1975, Dao's forces were ordered to withdraw after Xuân Lộc was completely isolated, with all remaining units badly mauled. The 18th disintegrated shortly afterward; this defeat marked the end of Thiệu's political career, as he resigned on 21 April 1975. In the first half of 1975, the government of the Republic of Vietnam was in deep political turmoil, which reflected the military situation on the battlefield. At least two assassination attempts targeting President Thiệu were foiled. On January 23, an ARVN officer failed; the officer was subsequently tried by a military court. On April 4, South Vietnamese pilot Nguyen Thanh Trung bombed the Independence Palace with his F-5 Tiger, it turned out that the pilot had been an undercover member of the Viet Cong since 1969. Following those failed assassination attempts, President Thiệu grew suspicious of his own military commanders. On April 2, the South Vietnamese Senate recommended the formation of a new government with Nguyễn Bá Cẩn as the new leader.
As a result, Prime Minister Trần Thiện Khiêm resigned from his position. President Thiệu, in response to the Senate's recommendations approved Tran Thien Kiem's resignation and swore in Nguyen Ba Can as the new Prime Minister. On April 4, while announcing the changes of government on Saigon television, President Thiệu requested the arrest of three army commanders. General Ngô Quang Trưởng, commander of I Corps Tactical Zone, was spared as he was undergoing medical treatment. During a meeting with U. S. General Frederick C. Weyand on April 3, President Thiệu outlined his final strategy to defend South Vietnam, vowing to hold what was left of his country against North Vietnam. In his strategy, President Thiệu decided that Xuan Loc would be the center of his country's resistance, with Tây Ninh and Phan Rang on either side; the meeting became more intense when Thiệu produced a letter written by former U. S. President Richard Nixon, which promised military retaliation against North Vietnam if they violated the terms of the Paris Peace Accords.
The meeting concluded with Thiệu accusing the United States Government of selling out his country the moment they signed the Paris Peace Accords. In contrast to the situation faced by their opponents in Saigon, the North Vietnamese government were buoyed by the victories achieved by their armies since December 1974. By April 8, 1975, the PAVN had captured all the provinces in South Vietnam's I and II Corps Tactical Zones, as well as Phước Long Province. While the South Vietnamese army were disintegrating all over the battlefield, North Vietnam had two army corps moving towards the last South Vietnamese stronghold at Xuan Loc; the PAVN 4th Army Corps, which overran Phước Long several months earlier, approached Xuan Loc from the north-east after they conquered Tây Ninh, Binh Long and Long Khánh. The 3rd Army Corps, on the other hand, moved towards Xuan Loc from the north-west after they defeated the ARVN in the Central Highlands. On April 8, 1975, the ARVN 18th Infantry Division was the main unit defending Xuan Loc, which had three regiments.
There were five armoured brigades, four regional force battalions, two artillery units equipped with forty-two artillery guns, tw
18th Division (South Vietnam)
The 18th Division was an infantry division in the III Corps of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. The U. S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam considered the 18th as undisciplined and was well known throughout the ARVN for its "cowboy" reputation. In 1975 the 18th was made famous for its tenacious defense of Xuân Lộc, the last major battle before the Fall of Saigon. During the last major battle of the Vietnam War, the vastly outnumbered 18th Division stood and fought at Xuân Lộc, 38 miles northeast of Saigon; this battle is considered the last stand of ARVN forces, where the 18th earned the name "The Supermen". It was commanded by General Lê Minh Đảo; the 18th fought against communist forces in Xuân Lộc, a city strategically important for intersecting five main routes. The fierce fighting raged for two weeks; the 18th Division, outnumbered 7:1 by the People's Army of Vietnam forces, destroyed all but three PAVN divisions before being overwhelmed by superior numbers. The division was forced to evacuate from the city on April 21, 1975, nine days before the fall of Saigon.
Upon learning the 18th had lost Xuân Lộc that afternoon at 3:00pm President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu made a tearful televised speech, broadcast around the world in which he blamed the United States for abandoning South Vietnam. The 18th was destroyed while defending Bien Hoa Air Base. South Vietnam surrendered on the afternoon of 30 April 1975. Web site of veterans of the 18th Division Battle of Xuan Loc
The Associated Press is a U. S.-based not-for-profit news agency headquartered in New York City. Founded in 1846, it operates as a unincorporated association, its members are U. S. newspapers and broadcasters. Its Statement of News Values and Principles spells out its practices; the AP has earned 52 Pulitzer Prizes, including 31 for photography, since the award was established in 1917. The AP has counted the vote in U. S. elections since 1848, including national and local races down to the legislative level in all 50 states, along with key ballot measures. AP collects and verifies returns in every county, parish and town across the U. S. and declares winners in over 5,000 contests. The AP news report, distributed to its members and customers, is produced in English and Arabic. AP content is available on the agency's app, AP News. A 2017 study by NewsWhip revealed that AP content was more engaged with on Facebook than content from any individual English-language publisher; as of 2016, news collected by the AP was published and republished by more than 1,300 newspapers and broadcasters.
The AP operates 263 news bureaus in 106 countries. It operates the AP Radio Network, which provides newscasts twice hourly for broadcast and satellite radio and television stations. Many newspapers and broadcasters outside the United States are AP subscribers, paying a fee to use AP material without being contributing members of the cooperative; as part of their cooperative agreement with the AP, most member news organizations grant automatic permission for the AP to distribute their local news reports. The AP employs the "inverted pyramid" formula for writing which enables the news outlets to edit a story to fit its available publication area without losing the story's essentials. Cutbacks at rival United Press International in 1993 left the AP as the United States' primary news service, although UPI still produces and distributes stories and photos daily. Other English-language news services, such as the BBC, Reuters and the English-language service of Agence France-Presse, are based outside the United States.
The Associated Press was formed in May 1846 by five daily newspapers in New York City to share the cost of transmitting news of the Mexican–American War. The venture was organized by Moses Yale Beach, second publisher of The Sun, joined by the New York Herald, the New York Courier and Enquirer, The Journal of Commerce, the New York Evening Express; some historians believe. The New York Times became a member shortly after its founding in September 1851. Known as the New York Associated Press, the organization faced competition from the Western Associated Press, which criticized its monopolistic news gathering and price setting practices. An investigation completed in 1892 by Victor Lawson and publisher of the Chicago Daily News, revealed that several principals of the NYAP had entered into a secret agreement with United Press, a rival organization, to share NYAP news and the profits of reselling it; the revelations led to the demise of the NYAP and in December 1892, the Western Associated Press was incorporated in Illinois as The Associated Press.
A 1900 Illinois Supreme Court decision —that the AP was a public utility and operating in restraint of trade—resulted in AP's move from Chicago to New York City, where corporation laws were more favorable to cooperatives. When the AP was founded, news became a salable commodity; the invention of the rotary press allowed the New York Tribune in the 1870s to print 18,000 papers per hour. During the Civil War and Spanish–American War, there was a new incentive to print vivid, on-the-spot reporting. Melville Stone, who had founded the Chicago Daily News in 1875, served as AP General Manager from 1893 to 1921, he embraced the standards of accuracy and integrity. The cooperative grew under the leadership of Kent Cooper, who built up bureau staff in South America, Europe and, the Middle East, he introduced the "telegraph typewriter" or teletypewriter into newsrooms in 1914. In 1935, AP launched the Wirephoto network, which allowed transmission of news photographs over leased private telephone lines on the day they were taken.
This gave AP a major advantage over other news media outlets. While the first network was only between New York and San Francisco AP had its network across the whole United States. In 1945, the Supreme Court of the United States held in Associated Press v. United States that the AP had been violating the Sherman Antitrust Act by prohibiting member newspapers from selling or providing news to nonmember organizations as well as making it difficult for nonmember newspapers to join the AP; the decision facilitated the growth of its main rival United Press International, headed by Hugh Baillie from 1935 to 1955. AP entered the broadcast field in 1941. In 1994, it established a global video newsgathering agency. APTV merged with WorldWide Television News in 1998 to form APTN, which provides video to international broadcasters and websites. In 2004, AP moved its world headquarters from its longtime home at 50 Rockefeller Plaza to a huge building at 450 West 33rd Street in Manhattan—which houses the New York Daily News and the studios of New York's public television station, WNET.
In 2009, AP had more than 240 bureaus globally. Its mission—"to gather with economy and efficiency an accurate and impartial report of the news"—has not changed since its founding, but digital technology has made the distribution of the AP news report an interact
Army of the Republic of Vietnam
The Army of the Republic of Vietnam known as the South Vietnamese army, were the ground forces of the South Vietnamese military from its inception in 1955 until the Fall of Saigon in 1975. It is estimated to have suffered 1,394,000 casualties during the Vietnam War; the ARVN began as a post-colonial army trained and affiliated with the United States and had engaged in conflict since its inception. Several dramatic changes occurred throughout its lifetime from a'blocking-force' to a more modern conventional force using helicopter deployment in combat. During the U. S. intervention, the role of the ARVN was marginalised to a defensive role with an incomplete modernisation, transformed again most notably following Vietnamization as it was up-geared and reconstructed to fulfil the role of the departing U. S. forces. By 1974, it had become much more effective with foremost counterinsurgency expert and Nixon adviser Robert Thompson noting that Regular Forces were well-trained and second only to U. S. and IDF forces in the free world and with General Creighton Abrams remarking that 70% of units were on par with the U.
S. Army. However, the withdrawal of American forces through Vietnamization meant the armed forces could not fulfil all the aims of the program and had become dependent on U. S. equipment, given it was meant to fulfill the departing role of the United States. At its peak, an estimated 1 in 9 citizens of South Vietnam were enlisted and it had become the fourth-largest army in the world composed of Regular Forces and more voluntary Regional Militias and Village-level militias. Unique in serving a dual military-civilian administrative purpose in direct competition with the Viet Cong political and armed wing, the PLAF; the ARVN had in addition became a component of political power and notably suffered from continual issues of political loyalty appointments, corruption in leadership, factional in-fighting and occasional open conflict between itself. After the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese army, the ARVN was dissolved. While some high-ranking officers had fled the country to the United States or elsewhere, thousands of former ARVN officers were sent to reeducation camps by the communist government of the new, unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Five ARVN generals commit suicide on Black April to avoid captured by PAVN/VC. On March 8, 1949, after the Élysée Accords the State of Vietnam was recognized by France as an independent country ruled by the Vietnamese Emperor Bảo Đại, the Vietnamese National Army was soon created; the VNA fought in joint operations with the French Union's French Far East Expeditionary Corps against the Viet Minh forces led by Ho Chi Minh. The VNA fought in a wide range of campaigns including but not limited to the Battle of Nà Sản, Operation Atlas and the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Benefiting from French assistance, the VNA became a modern army modelled after the Expeditionary Corps, it included infantry, signals, armored cavalry, airforce, navy and a national military academy. By 1953 troopers as well as officers were all Vietnamese, the latter having been trained in Ecoles des Cadres such as Da Lat, including Chief of Staff General Nguyễn Văn Hinh, a French Union airforce veteran. After the 1954 Geneva agreements, French Indochina ceased to exist and by 1956 all French Union troops had withdrawn from Vietnam and Cambodia.
In 1955, by the order of Prime Minister Diệm, the VNA crushed the armed forces of the Bình Xuyên. On October 26, 1955, the military was reorganized by the administration of President Ngô Đình Diệm who formally established the Army of the Republic of Vietnam on December 30, 1955; the air force was known as the Vietnamese Air Force. Early on, the focus of the army was the guerrilla fighters of the Vietnam National Liberation Front, formed to oppose the Diệm administration; the United States, under President John F. Kennedy sent advisors and a great deal of financial support to aid the ARVN in combating the insurgents. A major campaign, developed by Ngô Đình Nhu and resurrected under another name was the "Strategic Hamlet Program", regarded as unsuccessful by Western media because it was "inhumane" to move villagers from the countryside to fortified villages. ARVN leaders and President Diệm were criticized by the foreign press when the troops were used to crush armed anti-government religious groups like the Cao Đài and Hòa Hảo as well as to raid Buddhist temples, which according to Diệm, were harboring NLF guerrillas.
The most notorious of these attacks occurred on the night of August 21, 1963, during the Xá Lợi Pagoda raids conducted by the Special Forces, which caused a death toll estimated to range into the hundreds. In 1963 Ngô Đình Diệm was killed in a coup d'état carried out by ARVN officers and encouraged by American officials such as Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. In the confusion that followed, General Dương Văn Minh took control, but he was only the first in a succession of ARVN generals to assume the presidency of South Vietnam. During these years, the United States began taking more control of the war against the NLF and the role of the ARVN became less and less significant, they were plagued by continuing problems of severe corruption amongst the officer corps. Although the US was critical of the ARVN, it continued to be US-armed and funded. Although the American news media has portrayed the Vietnam War as a American and North Vietnamese conflict, the ARVN carried the brunt of the fight before and after large-scale American involvement, participated in many major operations with American troops.
The Vietnam War known as the Second Indochina War, in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or the American War, was an undeclared war in Vietnam and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union and other communist allies; the war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war from some US perspectives. It lasted some 19 years with direct U. S. involvement ending in 1973 following the Paris Peace Accords, included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975. American military advisors began arriving in what was French Indochina in 1950 to support the French in the First Indochina War against the communist-led Viet Minh. Most of the funding for the French war effort was provided by the U. S. After the French quit Indochina in 1954, the US assumed financial and military responsibility for the South Vietnamese state.
The Việt Cộng known as Front national de libération du Sud-Viêt Nam or NLF, a South Vietnamese communist common front aided by the North, initiated a guerrilla war against the South Vietnamese government in 1959. U. S. involvement escalated in 1960, continued in 1961 under President John F. Kennedy, with troop levels surging under the MAAG program from just under a thousand in 1959 to 16,000 in 1963. By 1964, there were 23,000 U. S. troops in Vietnam, but this escalated further following the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which a U. S. destroyer was alleged to have clashed with North Vietnamese fast attack craft. In response, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave President Lyndon B. Johnson broad authorization to increase U. S. military presence, deploying ground combat units for the first time and increasing troop levels to 184,000. Past this point, the People's Army of Vietnam known as the North Vietnamese Army engaged in more conventional warfare with US and South Vietnamese forces; every year onward there was significant build-up of US forces despite little progress, with Robert McNamara, one of the principal architects of the war, beginning to express doubts of victory by the end of 1966.
U. S. and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces and airstrikes. The U. S. conducted a large-scale strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam. The Tet Offensive of 1968, proved to be the turning point of the war; the Tet Offensive showed that the end of US involvement was not in sight, increasing domestic skepticism of the war. The unconventional and conventional capabilities of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam increased following a period of neglect and became modeled on heavy firepower-focused doctrines like US forces. Operations crossed international borders. S. forces. Gradual withdrawal of U. S. ground forces began as part of "Vietnamization", which aimed to end American involvement in the war while transferring the task of fighting the communists to the South Vietnamese themselves and began the task of modernizing their armed forces. Direct U. S. military involvement ended on 15 August 1973 as a result of the Case–Church Amendment passed by the U.
S. Congress; the capture of Saigon by the NVA in April 1975 marked the end of the war, North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year. The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities. Estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from 966,000 to 3.8 million. Some 275,000–310,000 Cambodians, 20,000–62,000 Laotians, 58,220 U. S. service members died in the conflict, a further 1,626 remain missing in action. The Sino-Soviet split re-emerged following the lull during the Vietnam War and confllict between North Vietnam and its Cambodian allies in the Royal Government of the National Union of Kampuchea, the newly-formed Democratic Kampuchea begun immediately in a series of border raids by the Khmer Rouge and erupted into the Cambodian–Vietnamese War, with Chinese forces directly intervening in the Sino-Vietnamese War; the end of the war and resumption of the Third Indochina War would precipitate the Vietnamese boat people and the bigger Indochina refugee crisis, which saw an estimated 250,000 people perish at sea.
Within the US the war gave rise to what was referred to as Vietnam Syndrome, a public aversion to American overseas military involvements, which together with Watergate contributed to the crisis of confidence that affected America throughout the 1970s. Various names have been applied to the conflict. Vietnam War is the most used name in English, it has been called the Second Indochina War and the Vietnam Conflict. As there have been several conflicts in Indochina, this particular conflict is known by the names of its primary protagonists to distinguish it from others. In Vietnamese, the war is known as Kháng chiến chống Mỹ, but less formally as'Cuộc chiến tranh Mỹ', it is called Chiến tranh Việt Nam. The primary military organizations involved in the war were as follows: One side consisted of th
South Vietnam the Republic of Vietnam, was a country that existed from 1955 to 1975, the period when the southern portion of Vietnam was a member of the Western Bloc during part of the Cold War. It received international recognition in 1949 as the "State of Vietnam", a constitutional monarchy; this became the "Republic of Vietnam" in 1955. Its capital was Saigon. South Vietnam was bordered by North Vietnam to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, Thailand across the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia across the South China Sea to the east and southeast; the Republic of Vietnam was proclaimed on 26 October 1955, with Ngô Đình Diệm as its first president, after having served as premier under Emperor Bao Dai, exiled. Its sovereignty was recognized by the United States and 87 other nations, it had membership in several special committees of the United Nations, but its application for full membership was rejected in 1957 because of a Soviet veto.
South Vietnam's origins can be traced to the French colony of Cochinchina, which consisted of the southern third of Vietnam, Cochinchina, a subdivision of French Indochina, the southern half of Central Vietnam or Annam, a French protectorate. After the Second World War, the anti-Japanese Viet Minh guerrilla forces, led by Ho Chi Minh, proclaimed the establishment of a Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi in September 1945, issuing a Declaration of Independence modeled on the U. S. one from 1776. In 1949, anti-communist Vietnamese politicians formed a rival government in Saigon led by former emperor Bảo Đại. Bảo Đại was deposed by Prime Minister Ngô Đình Diệm in 1955, who proclaimed himself president after a referendum. Diệm was killed in a military coup led by general Dương Văn Minh in 1963, a series of short-lived military governments followed. General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu led the country after a U. S.-encouraged civilian presidential election from 1967 until 1975. The beginnings of the Vietnam War occurred in 1959 with an uprising by the newly organized National Liberation Front for South Vietnam and supported by the northern Democratic Republic of Vietnam, with other assistance rendered by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact communist satellites, along with neighboring People's Republic of China and North Korea.
Larger escalation of the insurgency occurred in 1965 with the landing of United States regular forces of Marines, followed by Army units to supplement the cadre of military advisors guiding ARVN southern forces. A regular bombing campaign over North Vietnam was conducted by offshore U. S. Navy airplanes and aircraft carriers joined by Air Force squadrons through 1966 and 1967. Fighting peaked up to that point during the Tet Offensive of February 1968, when there were over a million South Vietnamese soldiers and 500,000 U. S. soldiers in South Vietnam. On the war turned into a more conventional fight as the balance of power became equalized. An larger, armored invasion commenced during the Easter Offensive following US ground-forces withdrawal, had nearly overran some major northern cities until beaten back. Despite a truce agreement under the Paris Peace Accords, concluded in January 1973, after a torturous five years of on and off negotiations, fighting continued immediately afterwards; the North Vietnamese regular army and Viet Cong launched a major second combined-arms invasion in 1975, termed the Spring Offensive.
Communist forces overran Saigon on 30 April 1975. On the day President Duong Van Minh declared RVN cease to exist, five ARVN generals, one Saigon police chief, numbers of ARVN soldiers and officers commit suicide to avoid being humiliated surrender. On July 2, 1976, the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam merged to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; the official name of the South Vietnamese state was Việt Nam Cộng hòa and the French name was referred to as République du Viêt Nam. The North was known as the "Democratic Republic of Vietnam". Việt Nam was the name adopted by Emperor Gia Long in 1804, it is a name used in ancient times. In 1839, Emperor Minh Mạng renamed the country Đại Nam. In 1945, the nation's official name was changed back to "Vietnam"; the name is sometimes rendered as "Viet Nam" in English. The term "South Vietnam" became common usage in 1954, when the Geneva Conference provisionally partitioned Vietnam into communist and non-communist parts.
Other names of this state were used during its existence such as Free Vietnam and the Government of Viet Nam. Before World War II, the southern third of Vietnam was the concession of Cochinchina, administered as part of French Indochina. A French governor-general in Hanoi administered all the five parts of Indochina while Cochinchina was under a French governor, but the difference from the other parts was that most indigenous intellensia and wealthy were naturalized French The northern third of Vietnam (then the colony of Tonkin was under