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Laos - OZY

The Laotian Civil War was fought between the Communist Pathet Lao and the Royal Lao Government, with both sides receiving heavy external support in a proxy war between the global Cold War superpowers. It is called the Secret War among the CIA Special Activities Division and Hmong veterans of the conflict.

Laotian Civil War
Part of the Vietnam War, the Indochina Wars, and the Cold War
La-map.png
Laos
Date 9 November 1953 – 2 December 1975
(22 years, 3 weeks and 2 days)
Location Kingdom of Laos
Result

Pathet Lao and North Vietnam victory

Belligerents
Anti-communist forces:
Laos Kingdom of Laos
South Vietnam South Vietnam
 Thailand
 United States
Supported by:
 Philippines
Taiwan Republic of China
 British Empire
European Union European Economic Community
Communist forces:
Laos Pathet Lao
North Vietnam North Vietnam
Supported by:
Soviet Union Soviet Union
China People's Republic of China
 North Korea
Commanders and leaders
Laos Souvanna Phouma
Laos Phoumi Nosavan
Laos Vang Pao
Laos Boun Oum
Laos Souphanouvong
Laos Kaysone Phomvihane
Laos Phoumi Vongvichit
North Vietnam Võ Nguyên Giáp
Casualties and losses

~15,000 Royal Lao Army

~20,000+ Hmong irregular forces
3,000+ North Vietnamese troops
Unknown Pathet Lao casualties
20,000-70,000 total dead

The Laotian Civil War (1953–75) was fought between the Communist Pathet Lao (including many North Vietnamese of Lao ancestry) and the Royal Lao Government, with both sides receiving heavy external support in a proxy war between the global Cold War superpowers. It is called the Secret War among the CIA Special Activities Division and Hmong veterans of the conflict.

The Kingdom of Laos was a covert theatre for other belligerents during the Vietnam War. The Franco–Lao Treaty of Amity and Association (signed 22 October 1953) transferred remaining French powers to the Royal Lao Government (except control of military affairs), establishing Laos as an independent member of the French Union. However, this government did not include representatives from the Lao Issara anti-colonial armed nationalist movement.

The following years were marked by a rivalry between the neutralists under Prince Souvanna Phouma, the right wing under Prince Boun Oum of Champassak, and the left-wing Lao Patriotic Front under Prince Souphanouvong and half-Vietnamese future Prime Minister Kaysone Phomvihane. Several attempts were made to establish coalition governments, and a "tri-coalition" government was finally seated in Vientiane.

The actual fighting in Laos involved the North Vietnamese Army, U.S., Thai, and South Vietnamese forces directly and through irregular proxies in a struggle for control over the Laotian Panhandle. The North Vietnamese Army occupied the area to use for its Ho Chi Minh Trail supply corridor and as staging area for offensives into South Vietnam. There was a second major theater of action on and near the northern Plain of Jars.

The North Vietnamese and Pathet Lao eventually emerged victorious in 1975, as part of the general communist victory in all of former French Indochina that year.

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