The United States has fought in several wars, and each one has its own distinct characteristics. Everyone knows we fought the British in the American Revolutionary War. America was torn apart in the Civil War. Several countries fought head-to-head in both World Wars. But what about the Vietnam War?

For many, the Vietnam War was the most politically driven, violent war for the U.S. But for others, it was the most successful war in our nation’s history, which is highly debatable.

A long, divisive conflict

The Vietnam War was one of the most divisive wars in military history. The war pitted the communist government of North Vietnam against South Vietnam and its ally, the United States. Unfortunately, three million soldiers were killed during the war.

The war greatly divided the U.S., between those who supported President Nixon’s actions and those who rebelled against the war. It became a violent debate, in which many citizens were furious the U.S. even entered the war. However, others say it was a successful war.

Breaking up powerful leaders

At the beginning of the Vietnam War, China and the Soviet Union (now Russia) were allies. Together, they were considered to be the strongest military power, way more powerful than the U.S.

However, the countries began to dispute during the war. Tensions worsened throughout the year, changing the relationship to near enemies. Their military power weakened, allowing the U.S. to step up.

Improving the economy

During the war, the economies of many Asian countries had improved dramatically due to the protection from the U.S. Again, the aggression of China and the Soviet Union allowed the U.S. to shine, contributing to the stability of the region.

America’s own economic status also rose, due to the country’s increased trade with many of these Asian countries. In 1973, U.S. military forces exited the war after President Nixon ordered the withdrawal of all U.S. soldiers. So was the Vietnam War the United States’ most successful? The answer to this question is still up for debate.