The Vietnam War

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    French Colonizes Indochina

    In 1941, the Viet Minh — a communist and nationalist liberation movement — emerged under Ho Chi Minh to seek independence for Vietnam from France as well as to oppose the Japanese occupation.
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    First Indochina War

    This was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East Expeditionary Corps, led by France and supported by Emperor Bao Dai's Vietnamese National Army against the Viet Minh, led by Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap. Most of the fighting took place in Tonkin in Northern Vietnam, although the conflict engulfed the entire country and also extended into the neighboring French Indochina countries of Laos and Cambodia.
  • Dien Bien Phu

    Dien Bien Phu
    This is a major battle where the French were defeated by Vietnamese forces.
  • Geneva Conference

    Geneva Conference
    This meeting between France, Great Britian, the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China and the United States needed to solve two problems; unify Korea and promote peace in Indochina.
  • French Leave Vietnam

    French Leave Vietnam
    The French Soldier leaves Vietnam.
  • Communism Spreads

    Communism Spreads
    There was a big communist insurgency into South Vietnam during this year. Guerilla warfare also begins. 400+ South Vietnamese officials are assasinated. Terrorists begin bombing Saigon, South Vietnam's capital, where Americans were wounded.
  • Republic of Vietnam

    Republic of Vietnam
    Leader Bao Dai of South Vietnam gets deposed by prime minister Ngo Dinh Diem, creating the Republic of Vietnam. The armed revolution begins as Ho Chi Minh declares a People's War to unite all of Vietnam under his leadership. Thus begins the Second Indochina War.
  • Ho Chi Minh Trail

    Ho Chi Minh Trail
    North Vietnamese establish the Central Office of South Vietnam (COSVN) to oversee the coming war in the South. Construction of the Ho Chi Minh trail now begins.
  • Vietcong is created

    Vietcong is created
    Hanoi creates the NLF (National Liberation Front). Diem coins the phrase "Vietcong" which he calls the NLF. President Kennedy is also elected into office on this year.
  • JFK's Attributes to Vietnam War

    JFK's Attributes to Vietnam War
    President Kennedy sends more help for South Vietnam. He sends equiptment and 3,000 advisors. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson visits President Diem in South Vietnam and hails the embattled leader as the 'Winston Churchill of Asia.'
  • America Intervenes

    America Intervenes
    Operation Chopper and Operation Ranch-Hand are acted upon. This introduced Agent Orange, which a herbicide used in the Vietnam War to defoliate forest areas. The NLF also strengthens their hold on Saigon.
  • Dead Leaders

    Dead Leaders
    Diem was overthrown and murdered. On Nov 22, Kennedy was also shot and killed. His vice-president, LBJ would take over.
  • America Protests

    America Protests
    This year introduced teach-in's and anti-war rallies. Teach-in's were usually radio or television shows addressing the war. They were mostly liberal. Many veterans organized anti-war rallies protesting the govornment's involvement in Vietnam.
  • Failed Efforts

    Failed Efforts
    Operation Cedar Falls was a conserted effort to take down the Vietcong military base in Saigon, but the Vietnamese just melted away into the jungle. Secretary McNamara also came out and said the air bombing wasn't effective.
  • America Comes Back

    America Comes Back
    This was an attack on the Vietcong by Americans that attacked the connecting tunnels underneath the cities. This was also the year of the My Lai Massacre where American soldiers searched and destroyed the My Lai village, and raped and killed the villagers.
  • Secret Bombings of Cambodia

    Secret Bombings of Cambodia
    President Nixon authorizes Operation Menu, the secret bombing of Cambodia by B-52s, targeting North Vietnamese supply sanctuaries located along the border of Vietnam.
  • Richard Nixon is Elected President

    Richard Nixon is Elected President
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    "Boat People" Flee Vietnam

    Swarms of Vietnamese refugees take to the sea in overcrowded and unsafe boats in search of a better life. The ranks of the "boat people" include individuals deemed enemies of the state who've been expelled from their homeland.
  • The Fall of President Nixon

    The Fall of President Nixon
    The New York Times begins publication of the 'Pentagon Papers,' a secret Defense Department archive of the paperwork involved in decisions made by previous White House administrations concerning Vietnam. Publication of the classified documents infuriates President Nixon and helps lead to his resignition.
  • The Continuing Fall of President Nixon

    The Continuing Fall of President Nixon
    Nixon visits the People's Republic of China, becoming the first President to do so. He also cuts troop levels by 70,000. His secret peace talks are revealed and so his the Watergate Conspiracy. Even after that, Nixon still gets re-elected.
  • Cease-Fire

    Cease-Fire
    A cease-fire is agreed upon and the last American troops leave Vietnam.
  • War is Renewed and Nixon Resigns

    War is Renewed and Nixon Resigns
    The Vietnamese renew the war against each other and President Nixon resigns, making Gerald Ford as the new President and the 6th President to have to deal with the Vietnam War
  • President Thieu Resigns

    President Thieu Resigns
    President Nguyen Van Thieu resigns in Saigon and condems the United States for failing to provide South Vietnam the materiel to keep fighting.
  • President Ford says "The War is Over"

    President Ford says "The War is Over"
    In a speech at Tulane University President Gerald Ford announced that "The war is finished as far as America in concerned."
  • Fall of Saigon

    Fall of Saigon
    South Vietnamese President Duong Van Minh delivers an unconditional surrender to the Communists in the early hours of April 30. North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin accepts the surrender and assures Minh that, "...Only the Americans have been beaten. If you are patriots, consider this a moment of joy." As the few remaining Americans evacuate Saigon, the last two US servicemen to die in Vietnam are killed when their helicopter crashes.
  • Pham Van Dong Heads Socialist Republic of Vietnam

    Pham Van Dong Heads Socialist Republic of Vietnam
    As the National Assembly meets in July of 1976, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam names Pham Van Dong its prime minister. Van Dong and his fellow government leaders, all but one of whom are former North Vietnamese officials, take up residence in the nation's new capital--Hanoi.
  • Jimmy Carter

    Jimmy Carter
    Carter was elected over Gerald Ford in 1976.
  • Vietnam Granted Admission to United Nations

    Vietnam Granted Admission to United Nations
  • Vietnam Invades Cambodia

    Vietnam Invades Cambodia
    Determined to overthrow the government of Pol Pot, Vietnam invades Cambodia. Phnompenh, Cambodia's capital, falls quickly as Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge followers flee into the jungles.
  • US GAO Issues Report on Agent Orange

    US GAO Issues Report on Agent Orange
    After years of Defense Department denials, the US General Accounting Office releases a report indicating that thousands of US troops were exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange. Thousands of veterans had demanded a government investigation into the effect that dioxin, a chemical found in Agent Orange, had on the human immune system.
  • Ronald Reagan Elected US President

    Ronald Reagan Elected US President
  • Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC Dedicated

    Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC Dedicated
    Designed by Maya Ying Lin, a 22 year-old Yale architectural student, the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial opens in Washington, DC. The quiet, contemplative structure consisting of two black granite walls forming a "V", lists the names of the 58,183 Americans killed in the Vietnam War. The memorial itself stirred debate as some thought its presentation was too muted and somber, lacking the familiar elements of war-time heroics found in most war memorials.
  • Reagan Promises to Make MIAs "Highest National Priority

    Reagan Promises to Make MIAs "Highest National Priority
    For the family members of those still listed as Missing-In-Action, the war is not over. In an address to the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, President Ronald Reagan pledges to make the finding of these individuals one of the "highest national priority."
  • Dow Chemical Knowledge of Dioxin Revealed

    Dow Chemical Knowledge of Dioxin Revealed
    Documents used as part of a lawsuit brought by 20,000 Vietnam veterans against several chemical companies reveal that Dow Chemical had full knowledge of the serious health risks posed by human exposure to dioxin, a chemical found in the herbicide Agent Orange. Evidence indicated that despite this information, Dow continued to sell herbicides to the US military for use in Vietnam.
  • Vietnamese Forces Defeat Khmer Rouge Rebels

    Vietnamese Forces Defeat Khmer Rouge Rebels
    An offensive launched against refugee Khmer Rouge rebels spills over the Thai border and eventually comes to involve Thai troops. The Vietnamese are successful in suppressing the rebels and solidify their hold on Cambodia despite criticism from neighboring countries and the United Nations.
  • Vietnamese Troops Leave Cambodia

    Vietnamese Troops Leave Cambodia
    All Vietnamese troops exit Cambodia by September of 1989, paving the way for UN-sponsored elections in 1993. As a result of the elections, a coalition government is formed and work on a new constitution begins.
  • George Bush Elected US President

    George Bush Elected US President
  • Bill Clinton Elected US President

    Bill Clinton Elected US President
  • Washington Restores Diplomatic Ties with Hanoi

    Washington Restores Diplomatic Ties with Hanoi
    As Communist Vietnam inched toward market reforms and pledged full cooperation in finding all Americans listed as still missing-in-action, the United States restores diplomatic ties with its former enemy in 1995.
  • McNamara Calls Vietnam Policy "Wrong, Terribly Wrong"

    McNamara Calls Vietnam Policy "Wrong, Terribly Wrong"
    Former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, one of the key architects of the US's war policy in Vietnam, admits grave mistakes in that policy in his 1995 memoir, In Retrospect. McNamara, in his book, says that "...We were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why."
  • US and Vietnam Exchange Ambassadors

    US and Vietnam Exchange Ambassadors
    Ushering in a new era of cooperation between the two former enemies, the United States and Vietnam exchange ambassadors. Douglas "Pete" Peterson, a prisoner of war for 6 years during the Vietnam War, is named US envoy to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, while H.E. Le Van Bang assumes the position of Vietnamese ambassador to the United States.