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For the war fought between China and India, see Sino-Indian War.

The Indochina Wars (Vietnamese: Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia from 1946 until 1989, between communist Indochinese forces against mainly French, South Vietnamese, American, Cambodian, Laotian and Chinese forces. The term "Indochina" originally referred to French Indochina, which included the current states of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. In current use, it applies largely to a geographic region, rather than to a political area. The wars included:

  • The First Indochina War (called the Indochina War in France and the French War in Vietnam) began after World War II ended in 1945 and lasted until the French defeat in 1954. After a long campaign of resistance against the French and the Japanese, Viet Minh forces had claimed a victory (the August Revolution) after Japanese and Vichy French forces surrendered in the North on 15 August 1945. In the War in Vietnam (1945–1946), British forces temporarily occupied the South, starting from 13 September 1945, only to restore French colonial control in 1946. In the United Nations and through their alliance with the United Kingdom and the United States, the French demanded return of their former Indochina colony prior to agreeing to participate in the NATO alliance (founded in 1949) opposing Soviet expansion beyond the countries of the Warsaw Pact (founded in 1955) in the Cold War. The communist/nationalist Viet Minh, whom the Allies had supported during the war, continued fighting the French with support from China and the Soviet Union, ultimately forcing the NATO-backed French out of Indochina (1954).
  • The Second Indochina War (called the Vietnam War in the West or the American War in Vietnam) began as a conflict between the United States-backed South Vietnamese government and its opponents, both the North Vietnamese-based communist Viet Cong (National Liberation Front) and the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), known officially in North Vietnam from 1950 as the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN). The conflict began in the late 1950s and lasted until 1975 when the North Vietnamese came to a peace agreement ending the war. The United States, which had supported France during the first Indochina war, backed the South Vietnam government in opposition to the National Liberation Front and the Communist-allied NVA. The North benefited from military and financial support from China and the Soviet Union, members of the Communist bloc. Fighting also occurred during this time in Cambodia between the US-backed government, the NVA, and the Communist-backed Khmer Rouge (known as the Cambodian Civil War, 1967–1975) and in Laos between the US-backed government, the NVA, and the Communist-backed Pathet Lao (known as the Laotian Civil War or Secret War, 1962–1975).
  • The Third Indochina War a period of prolonged conflict followed the Vietnam War, in which several wars were fought:
  • The Communist Party of Thailand fought an insurgency from 1965-1989. They received backing from Laos and Vietnam from 1975-1979, however were expelled from their bases and lost most of their supply lines after they sided with the Cambodian-Chinese aligned forces, rather than the pro-Soviet Vietnamese and Laotian regimes.

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