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.
The Kingdom of Laos was a covert theatre for other belligerents during the Vietnam War. The Franco–Lao Treaty of Amity and Association transferred remaining French powers to the Royal Lao Government, 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.