The Indochina War refers to the Fallout universe's analogue to the Vietnam War. The French colony of Indochina achieved independence in the early 1950s, but soon found itself entangled in a bloody civil war, with the western-allied southern state battling the Chinese-allied north.
This culminated with the United States led invasion of North Indochina in 1965, ordered by President Nixon in response to an alleged assault on U.S. warships by communist forces. The communist guerrilla forces of the north proved to be no match for the American-led coalition, and the war ended in 1967 with the capture of Hanoi, the communist capitol.
The swift American victory, coupled with the strong patriotic sentiment stirred up by the success in the conflict are often credited with holding the nation together during a turbulent period, and keeping the optimistic spirit of the 1950s alive. The war was also notable for its role as the first major conflict to involve the relatively new technologies of energy weapons and powered exoskeletons (Although the latter would not truly catch on until the Sino-American war of the 2060s).
After World War II, the French regained all of their conquered colonial possessions, including their east Asian colony of French Indochina. However, nationalist sentiment had grown strong during the Japanese occupation, and soon, the nation erupted into civil war, with communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh leading a coup against the French leaders. The Soviet Union, fearing nuclear war with the United States, and the Chinese, with the fresh specter of the Korean War over their heads, secretly supplied the communists with military hardware and advisors, while maintaining official stances of neutrality.
By 1955, the communists had taken over most of Laos and Northern Vietnam, while the French held onto the remainder of those nations, as well as Cambodia (It was rumored that the French had tested primitive, low yield neutron bombs on several towns that had been communist holdouts). That November, French Indochina was split into the northern People's Republic of Indochina, and the western-allied Republic of Indochina in the south (With the stipulation that all French troops be removed by January 1st, 1956). For the next two years, sporadic fighting occurred along the border, until February 12th, 1958, when the north launched a three-pronged offensive into the south. American president Dwight D. Eisenhower approved the deployment of military advisors to the south, but kept his promise to avoid direct conflict.
By 1960, many major cities from Ba Ria-Vung Tau to Samraong had fallen under control of the Northern Indochinese. The Southern Indochinese had been pushed all the way to the sea, and, with no escape, dug their heels in for a fight. Morale was low, but for two years, the Southern Indochinese made a stand at the Mekong river, holding back the Northerners during each of their attacks. Gradually, using supplies from the Americans, they fortified the river, creating a nearly impenetrable line of military bases and checkpoints.
In 1962, Eisenhower's successor, president Richard M. Nixon approved of strategic B-52 bombing runs on major communities controlled by the North. Then, in the late summer of 1964, the American CIA staged a false-flag attack on two U.S. Navy destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. This helped to distract the American public from any dissent with the recently passed Commonwealth Reorganization Act of 1964, and that September, the "Indo-China Resolution" was approved by congress, allowing the president to deploy ground troops to aid the South.
The initial results were far beyond what was hoped. Using new VTOL aircraft, the Americans and SIA could bypass the NIA and capture major cities within a matter of hours. Breaking up the NIA forces was a key priority, and as such, a vice movement between the Southern forces located south of the Mekong river and American forces who had landed to the north commenced. Although meeting much resistance from Northern forces, the Americans and SIA forces made a large amount of headway, effectively disbanding much of the North's infantry and armor. Only the mainland North remained out-of-reach by air, due to a large amount of Soviet and Chinese-supplied anti-aircraft guns and the range limitations of VTOL aircraft.
By late 1965, American troops were helping the Republic of Indochina Army fight the People's Republic of Indochina. Along with these troops was the M1 De-Atomizer Pistol;and the M18 Energy Rifle, which put fear into the hearts of both the NIA (National Indochinese Army) and the NLF (National Liberation Front). By early 1966, the NIA and the NLF forces were being pushed back by America's new energy weapon technology, which was capable of turning a full-bodied man into dust in seconds.
U.S. and the Republic of Indochina forces began to push past the former DMZ which divided the country, and began to capture the cities of the North week by week. Using air-craft carriers, the Americans launched an all-out offensive on the Vietnam portion of Northern Indochina in 1966, code-named Operation Hastings. Ho Chi Minh himself retreated from the city of Hanoi, and went further up north near the border of China in hiding.
The immediate aftermath of the Indochina war was, most evidently, the establishment of a Western-leaning Indochinese nation, known as the Unified State of Indochina. Armed in a similar manner to the United States, and in a position to strike at southern China, Indochina became the location of both major U.S. military installations and bomber squadrons, the perfect location to keep China and other communist forces from expanding their sphere of influence.
In response to the defeat of the Northern Indochinese, Chinese special forces instigated several communist revolts in Thailand and Burma, intent on surrounding Indochina with hostile neighbours. In response, the War of South-East Asia began in 1969, in which Indochina, backed by both the United States and her allies, invaded Thailand and subsequently Burma. The War was over by 1970 with both Thailand and Burma still being Western allied, and the Chinese eventually pulled back in their efforts to make South-East Asia Communist.