Presidential Timeline

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    First IndoChina War

    The First Indochina War began because Vietnamese forces launched a rebellion against the French authority governing the colonies of French Indochina.
    President's Reaction- Eisenhower coins one of the most famous Cold War phrases phrases when he suggests the fall of French Indochina to the communists could create a "domino" effect in Southeast Asia. The so-called "domino theory" dominated U.S. thinking about Vietnam for the next decade.
  • Election of 1952

    Election of 1952
    The presidential election of 1952 took place in an era when Cold War tension between the United States and the Soviet Union was escalating rapidly. Democrats nominated Adlai E. Stevenson to run for the presidency in the election of 1952. Republicans chose General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Richard M. Nixon was chosen for vice-president to satisfy the anticommunist wing of the Republican Party. Dwight Eisenhower won the election of 1952 by a large majority.
  • President Eisenhower inaugurated

    President Eisenhower inaugurated
    The inauguration marked the commencement of the first four-year term of Dwight D. Eisenhower as President and Richard Nixon as Vice President. Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson administered the Oath of office to Eisenhower.
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    Presidency of Eisenhower

  • Korean Armistice signed

    Korean Armistice signed
    Korean peace talks- UN negotiators refused to agree to return Communist prisoners of war who did not want to go back to the North. N. Korea and Chinese negotiators insisted that all prisoners be returned regardless of their wishes. Eisenhower reacted and stepped up aerial bombardment of N. Korea and threaten to use atomic warfare. Negotiations moved quickly towards an armistice along the established border just above the 38th parallel and toward a complicated arrangement for an exchange of...
  • Korean Armistice Signed Continuation

    Korean Armistice Signed Continuation
    of prisoners that allowed captives to accept or refuse repatriation. The armistice, signed on July 27, established a committee of representatives from neutral countries to decide the fate of the thousands of prisoners of war on both sides.A new border between North and South Korea was drawn, which gave South Korea some additional territory and demilitarized the zone between the two nations.
  • The Army-McCarthy Hearings

    The Army-McCarthy Hearings
    Convinced that the government was infested with Communists & spies, the Wisconsin senator, Joseph McCarthy launched a one-man hunt to root them out. McCarthy finally overreached himself when he made the absurd change that the U.S. Army itself was soft on communism. From April 22 to July 17, 1954, the Army-McCarthy hearings were televised.
  • The Vietnam War

    The Vietnam War was a long, costly armed conflict that pitted the communist regime of North Vietnam and its southern allies, known as the Viet Cong, against South Vietnam and its principal ally, the US. After the rise to power of Ho Chi Minh and his communist Viet Minh party in North Vietnam, and continued against the backdrop of an intense Cold War between two global superpowers: the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • IndoChina War Continuation

    IndoChina War Continuation
    President Eisenhower decided not to intervene, wary of another war right after Korea. Dienbienphu fell to the nationalists and the conference at Geneva halted Vietnam at the 17th parallel. The pro-Western government in the south, led by Ngo Dinh Diem, was entrenched at Saigon as Vietnam-wide elections, which were promised by Ho Chi Minh, were never held. President Eisenhower promised economic and military aid to the Diem regime of the south.
  • The IndoChina War

    The IndoChina War
    In the early 1950s, nationalist movements had sought to throw the French out of Indochina. The leaders of the Indochina countries, including Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh, became increasingly communist as America became increasingly anticommunist. In May 1954, a French garrison was trapped in the fortress of Dienbienphu in northwestern Vietnam. President Eisenhower decided not to intervene, wary of another war right after Korea. Dienbienphu fell to the nationalists and the conference at Geneva
  • Civil Rights- Brown v Board of Education

    Civil Rights- Brown v Board of Education
    In the Supreme Court a case with the NAACP led by Thurgood Marshall, fought to have the 1896 Plessy vs. Furgeson ruling overturned. U.S. Supreme Court ended federally sanctioned racial segregation in the public schools by ruling unanimously that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." Eisenhower refused to force states to comply w/ the Court's decisions.
  • Protecting Taiwan

    Protecting Taiwan
    Chinese artillery began shelling the islands of Quemoy & Matsu, in Taiwan Strait, held by Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalists. Secretary of State Dulles stopped in Taipei, Taiwan's capital, & worked out a mutal defense treaty the bound the US to defend Taiwan.
    President's Reaction- Eisenhower secures a congression resolution giving him full power to defend Taiwan & the Pescadores & authorizing him to secure & protect "related positions of that area now in friendly hands" in order to defend Taiwan,
  • Fall of McCarthyism

    Fall of McCarthyism
    After trying to smear one of Joseph Welch's young associates, the Senate voted sixty-seven to twenty-one to condemn McCarthy for contempt of the Senate. McCarthy's political career collapsed.
    President Reaction- Eisenhower worked resolutely behind the scenes to discredit McCarthy during the hearings, Eisenhower also silently pressured Republican senators to go forward with a censure of McCarthy
  • Civil Rights- Rosa Parks/ Montgomery Bus Boycott

    Civil Rights- Rosa Parks/ Montgomery Bus Boycott
    An African-American civil rights activist refused to give up her seat to a white passenger and therefore was arrested. Rosa Parks's arrest for breaking Montgomery segregation laws started a boycott of the city bus line that lasted 381 days. This eventually led to the 1956 Supreme Court ruling declaring segregation illegal on public buses. To keep the movement of bus boycott alive, MLK and a group of associates organized the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
  • Repression in Hungary

    Repression in Hungary
    Fighting broke out in Budapest, followed by the installation of Imre Nagy, a moderate Communist, as head of the government. Soviets seemed content & withdrew its forces. But Nagy's announcement that Hungary would withdraw from the Warsaw Pact, brought Soviets tanks back into Budapest, The Soviets installed Janos Kadar, a more compliant leader.
    President's Reaction- Eisenhower said there was little that the US could do, but he sympathized with the Hungarians
  • The Suez Canal Crisis

    The Suez Canal Crisis
    Gamal Abdel Nasser, the president of Egypt, wanted money to build a dam on the upper Nile for irrigation and power. Great Britain and France sent money. Israeli armed forces pushed into Egypt hurt West Europe's oil supply . France and Great Britain assumed that the US would give them oil while their their Middle East supplies were disrupted. Eisenhower refused.The Israeli, French, and British troops withdrew in late 1956.
  • The Suez Canal Continuation

    The Suez Canal Continuation
    President's Reaction- In 1957, Congress proclaimed the Eisenhower Doctrine, pledging U.S. military and economic aid to Middle Eastern nations threatened by communist aggression.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1957

    Despite Eisenhower's reluctance to take the lead in desegregationg schools, he supported the African Americans right to vote. Eisenhower proposed legislation that became the Civil Rights Act of 1957. The Act established the Civil Rights Commision.
  • Civil Rights- Little Rock Nine

    Civil Rights- Little Rock Nine
    Arkansas governor Orval Faubus called out the national guard to prevent nine black students from entering the Little Rock's Central High School under a federal court order. When the students tried to enter, a hysterical white mob forced local authorities to remove them. Eisenhower ordered 1,000 paratroopers to Little Rock to protect the black students, and he placed the national guard on federal service.
  • Russians launch Sputnik

    Russians launch Sputnik
    The Soviets launch the first satellite, called Sputnik. The Soviet Union's success with Sputnik led to efforts in the US to increase defense spending, offer NATO allies ICBMs, set up a new agency to coordinate space efforts, & establish a program in science education and military research. The Soviet success in space also shocked Americans and created concerns about a missile gap.
  • Crisis in the Middle East

    A leftist coup in Iraq, supposedly insprired by Nasser and the Soviets, threw out the pro-Western government and killed the king, the crown prince, and the premier. In Lebanon, the governemnt appealed to the US for support to fend off a similar fate. Eisenhower ordered 5,000 marines in Lebanon.
  • Creation of NASA

    Creation of NASA
    In response to the Russian's sputnik, Eisenhower authorized the creation of NASA to coordinate research & development in the field.
  • Crisis in East Asia

    East Asia heated up again when the People's Republic of China renewed its shelling of the Chinese Nationalists on the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu. The US Seventh Fleet began to escort Nationalist convoys but stopped short of entering Chinese territorial waters. Eisenhower suggested a cease-fire and then China ordered a cease-fire, The tensions between Communist China and Taiwan continued to fester.
  • The Berlin Crisis

    The Berlin Crisis
    Nikita Krushchev threatened to give East Germany control of East Berlin and the air lines into West Berlin. After the deadline he set, May 27, 1959, Western occupation authorities would have to deal w/ the East German government or face a possible blockade. Eisnhower refused to budge from his position on Berlin. There was little hope of resolving the conflicting views on Berlin and German reunification.
  • Regime of Fidel Castro

    Regime of Fidel Castro
    Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba. He planned a social and agrarian revolution & opposed foreign control of the Cuban economy. Castro's programs of land redistribution & nationalization of foreign-owned property worsened relations with the US. Castro embraced Soviet support and Eisenhower suspended diplomatic relations with Cuba. Eisenhower also authorized the CIA to begin secretly training a force of Cuban refugees to oust Castro.
  • Civil Rights- Sit-ins

    Civil Rights- Sit-ins
    Four black college students sat down and demanded service at a "whites-only" counter in Greensboro, NC. Within a week the "sit-ins" movement had spread to more towns. Black & White, student activist, formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, to broaden the civil rights movement. The sit-ins became used at segregated public places. During the sit-ins many student activist spent time in jail.
  • U-2 Spy Incident

    U-2 Spy Incident
    USSR shot down an American U-2 spy plane in Soviet air space and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers. Confronted with the evidence of his nation's espionage, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was forced to admit to the Soviets that the U.S. CIA had been flying spy missions over the USSR for several years. The Soviets convicted Powers on espionage charges and sentenced him to 10 years in prison. The U-2 spy plane incident raised tensions between the U.S. and the Soviets during the Cold War.
  • The New Frontier

    The New Frontier
    JFK's New Frontier program was intended to boost the economy, provide international aid, provide for national defense, and to boost the space program. Kennedy made a point to control monopoly prices. He also was an advocate of civil rights & introduced the Peace Corps. Kennedy's New Frontier Program was successful in boosting the economy, as well as paving the way for many political, international and social reforms.
  • John F. Kennedy inaugrated

    John F. Kennedy inaugrated
    The inauguration marked the commencement of the term of John F. Kennedy as President (which lasted until his assassination two years, ten months, and two days later on November 22, 1963) and Lyndon B. Johnson as Vice President. JFK was sworn in by Chief Justice of the United States Earl Warren, and Johnson was sworn in by Sam Rayburn, the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
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    Presidency of JFK

  • Bay of Pigs

    Bay of Pigs
    1,200 exiles landed at Cuba's Bay of Pigs. President Kennedy was against the direct intervention of the overthrow of Fidel Castro in Cuba, failing to provide air support for the exiles.The invasion therefore failed as the exiles were forced to surrender.The Bay of Pigs blunder pushed the Cuban leader further into the Soviet embrace.
  • Civil Rights- Freedom Rides

    Civil Rights- Freedom Rides
    The Congress of Racial Equality sent a group of black and white "freedom riders" on buses ro test a federal court ruling that had banned segregation on buses & trains & in terminals. In Alabama, white mobs attacked the travelers. JFK preoccupied with the Berlin Crisis left it to Attorney General Robert Kennedy to use federal marshalls to protect the freedom riders during the summer of 1961.
  • Soviets construct the Berlin Wall

    Soviets construct the Berlin Wall
    President Kennedy met with Soviet leader Khrushchev at Vienna in June 1961. After making numerous threats, the Soviets finally acted. In August 1961, the Soviets began to construct the Berlin Wall, which was designed to stop the large population drain from East Germany to West Germany through Berlin.
  • Ole Miss Integration

    Ole Miss Integration
    Governor Ross Barnett defied a court order and refused to allow James Meredith, an african-american student, to enroll at the University of Mississippi. Attorney General Robert Kennedy intervened and dispatched federal marshals to enforce the law.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis

    Cuban Missile Crisis
    US officials feared that Soviet missiles in Cuba represented a treat to the American security. US intelligence discovered Soviet missile sites under construction in Cuba. JFK opted for a blockade (quarantine). US Navy prepared to prevent the ships from USSR coming to Cuba in the Atlantic Ocean.Khrushchev offered to remove the missiles in return for an American pledge not to invade Cuba and remove their missile base in Turkey.
  • March on Washington

    March on Washington
    Over 200,000 blacks and whites marched down the Mall in Washington, D.C., toward the Lincoln Memorial, for a political rally known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Organized by a number of civil rights and religious groups, the event was designed to shed light on the political and social challenges African Americans continued to face across the country. The march, which became a key moment in the growing struggle for civil rights in the US, culminated in MLK's "I Have A Dream".
  • Kennedy and Vietnam

    The doctrine of "flexible response" provided a mechanism for a progressive, and possibly endless, stepping-up of the use of force (Vietnam). In 1961, Kennedy increased the number of "military advisors" in South Vietnam in order to help protect Diem from the communists long enough to allow him to enact basic social reforms favored by the Americans. In November 1963, after being fed up with U.S. economic aid being embezzled by Diem, the Kennedy encouraged a successful coup and killed Diem.
  • President Johnson inaugrated

    President Johnson inaugrated
    The inauguration marked the commencement of the first term (which lasted a year and two months) of Lyndon B. Johnson as President, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
  • JFK's Assassination

    JFK's Assassination
    President Kennedy was shot and killed as he was riding in an open limousine in Dallas, Texas. The alleged gunman was Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald was shot and killed by self-appointed avenger, Jack Ruby. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn into office, retaining most of Kennedy's cabinet. Kennedy was acclaimed more for the ideals he had spoken and the spirit he had kindled for the goals he had achieved.
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    Presidency of Johnson

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964
    Congress passed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, banning racial discrimination in most private facilities open to the public. It strengthened the federal government's power to end segregation in schools and other public places. It also created the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to eliminate discrimination in hiring. In 1965, President Johnson issued an executive order requiring all federal contractors to take "affirmative action" against discrimination.
  • Great Society

    Great Society
    The Big Four legislative achievements that crowned LBJ's Great Society program were: aid to education, medical care for the elderly and poor, immigration reform, and a new voting rights bill. Johnson gave educational aid to students, not schools, avoiding the issue of separation of church and state.
  • Vietnam

    Viet Cong guerrillas attacked an American air base at Pleiku, South Vietnam, prompting Johnson to send retaliatory bomb raids and, for the first time, order attacking U.S. troops to land.
  • Malcolm X Assassinated

    Malcolm X Assassinated
    Malcolm X deepened the division among black leaders. He was first inspired by the militant clack nationalists in the Nation of Islam. He rallied black separatism and disapproved of the "blue-eyed white devils." In 1965, he was shot and killed by a rival Nation of Islam.
  • Operation Rolling Thunder

    Operation Rolling Thunder
    , U.S. military aircraft attacked targets throughout North Vietnam from March 1965 to October 1968. This massive bombardment was intended to put military pressure on North Vietnam's Communist leaders and reduce their capacity to wage war against the U.S.
  • Troops in Dominican Republic

    Troops in Dominican Republic
    In an effort to forestall what he claims will be a "communist dictatorship" in the Dominican Republic, President Lyndon B. Johnson sends more than 22,000 U.S. troops to restore order on the island nation. Johnson's action provoked loud protests in Latin America and skepticism among many in the United States. Johnson claimed, with shaky evidence, that the Dominican Republic was the target of a Castrolike coup.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Voting Rights Act of 1965
    President Johnson realized the problem that few blacks were registered to vote. The 24th Amendment, passed in 1964, abolished the poll tax in federal elections, yet blacks were still severely hampered from voting. Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, banning literacy tests and sending federal voter registers into several southern states.
  • Watts Riot

    Watts Riot
    bloody riot erupted in Watts, a black ghetto in Los Angeles. Blacks were enraged by police brutality and burned and looted their own neighborhoods for a week. The Watts explosion marked increasing militant confrontation in the black struggle.
  • Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965

    Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965
    Abolished the quota system that had been in place since 1921. It also doubled the number of immigrants allowed to enter the country annually. The sources of immigration shifted from Europe to Latin American and Asia.
  • Tet Offensive

    Tet Offensive
    70,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces launched the Tet Offensive, a coordinated series of fierce attacks on more than 100 cities and towns in South Vietnam. American military leaders responded to the attacks for a request of 200,000 more troops.
  • Martin Luther King Assassinated

    Martin Luther King Assassinated
    Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed by a sniper in Memphis, Tennessee. His assassination led to an outpouring of anger among blacks, as well as a period of national mourning that helped speed the way for an equal housing bill that would be the last significant legislative achievement of the civil rights era.