Search and Destroy Timeline/Vietnam

By 2015044
  • Ho CHi Minh Provisional Goverment

    People's Congress create the National Liberation Committee of Vietnam to form a provisional government, following the surrender of Japanese allied forces. (no exact date)
  • President Franklin Roosevelt Dies

  • U.S. Drops Atomic Bombs on Japan

    Harry Truman authorizes the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan, On
  • Atomic Bomb Dropped on Hiroshima

  • Bomb Dropped on Nagasaki

  • Marshall Plan Announced

    Speaking at Harvard commencement exercises, Secretary of State George C. Marshall lays out the details of a Truman administration plan to assist Europe in rebuilding in the aftermath of World War II.
  • Jackie Robinson Signs with Brooklyn Dodgers

  • Volkswagen Introduced in U.S.

  • Truman Commits U.S. Troops to Korea

    When Communist forces from North Korea invade the Republic of South Korea on June 25, President Truman appeals to the United Nations to take action. The U.N. quickly brands North Korea the aggressor, and Truman immediately follows up by sending U.S. air and naval support to Korea.
  • Alger Hiss Found Guilty of Perjury

  • U.S. Pledges $15M to Aid French

    The United States sends $15 million dollars in military aid to the French for the war in Indochina. Included in the aid package is a military mission and military advisors.
  • Chinese, Soviets Offer Weapons to Vietminh

  • Ho Chi Minh Creates Workers' Party

  • Truman Dismisses General Douglas MacArthur

  • Worst Floods in U.S. History Inundate Kansas and Missouri

  • "Sugar Ray" Robinson Beats Jake LaMotta for Middleweight Crown

  • Battle of Dienbienphu Begins

    A force of 40,000 heavily armed Vietminh lay siege to the French garrison at Dienbienphu. Using Chinese artillery to shell the airstrip, the Vietminh make it impossible for French supplies to arrive by air. It soon becomes clear that the French have met their match.
  • French Defeated at Dienbienphu

  • Geneva Agreements Announced

    Vietminh General Ta Quang Buu and French General Henri Delteil sign the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in Vietnam. As part of the agreement, a provisional demarcation line is drawn at the 17th parallel which will divide Vietnam until nationwide elections are held in 1956. The United States does not accept the agreement, and neither does the government of Bao Dai.
  • Geneva Meeting Begins

    Delegates from nine nations convene in Geneva to start negotiations that will lead to the end of hostilities in Indochina. The idea of partitioning Vietnam is first explored at this forum.
  • Ford Introduces Thunderbird

  • Diem Becomes President of Republic of Vietnam

  • Diem Urged to Negotiate with North

    Britain, France, and United States covertly urge Ngo Dinh Diem to respect the Geneva accords and enter discussions with the North.
  • China and Soviet Union Pledge Additional Financial Support to Hanoi

  • Diem Rejects Geneva Accords, Refuses Nationwide Elections

  • French Leave Vietnam

  • U.S. Training South Vietnamese

    The U.S. Military Assistance Advisor Group (M.A.A.G.) assumes responsibility from the French for training South Vietnamese forces.
  • Khrushchev Warns, "We Will Bury You!"

    Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union heat up as Nikita Khrushchev announces to Western ambassadors, "History is on our side. We will bury you!"
  • Election Deadline Passes

    The deadline for nationwide elections in Vietnam that was set at the Geneva meeting passes. No elections are held.
  • Communist Insurgency in South Vietnam

    Communist insurgent activity in South Vietnam begins. Guerrillas assassinate more than 400 South Vietnamese officials. Thirty-seven armed companies are organized along the Mekong Delta.
  • Soviets Launch Sputnik I

  • "West Side Story" Opens on Broadway

  • Terrorist Bombings Rock Saigon

    Thirteen Americans working for M.A.A.G. and the U.S. Information Service are wounded in terrorist bombings in Saigon.
  • Communist Forces Settle Along Mekong Delta

  • Brooklyn Dodgers Move to Los Angeles

  • First U.S. Earth Satellite Launched

  • Weapons Moving Along Ho Chi Minh Trail

    North Vietnam forms Group 559 to begin infiltrating cadres and weapons into South Vietnam via the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Trail will become a strategic target for future military attacks.
  • Buddy Holly Dies in Plane Crash

  • U.S. Servicemen Killed in Guerrilla Attack

    Major Dale R. Buis and Master Sergeant Chester M. Ovnand become the first Americans to die in the Vietnam War when guerillas strike at Bienhoa.
  • Soviets Shoot Down U.S. Spy Plane, Capture Pilot

    On the eve of a U.S.-Soviet summit, U2 pilot Frances Gary Powers is shot down while flying a spy mission over the Soviet Union. Powers is taken prisoner, the Eisenhower administration is forced to own up to the mission, and Khrushchev cancels the summit.
  • Kennedy Elected President

    John F. Kennedy narrowly defeats Richard Nixon for the presidency. In his inaugural address, Kennedy declares that Americans will be ready to "...bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
  • Vietcong Formed

    Hanoi forms the National Liberation Front for South Vietnam. The Diem government dubs them "Vietcong."
  • Vice President Johnson Tours Saigon

    During a tour of Asian countries, Vice President Lyndon Johnson visits Diem in Saigon. Johnson assures Diem that he is crucial to U.S. objectives in Vietnam and calls him "the Churchill of Asia.
  • Bay of Pigs Debacle

    A plot to invade Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castro goes miserably wrong when air support at the Bay of Pigs fails to materialize. Kennedy's leadership skills are called into question, and Kennedy himself develops doubts about heeding the advice of the military.
  • Peace Corps Program Launched

  • Kennedy Authorizes Geen Berets

    President Kennedy authorizes the "Green Berets" -- a Special Forces operation activated at Fort Bragg, NC. They will specialize in counterinsurgency.
  • U.S. Military Employs Agent Orange

    The U.S. Air Force begins using Agent Orange -- a defoliant that came in metal orange containers-to expose roads and trails used by Vietcong forces.
  • Diem Palace Bombed in Coup Attempt

  • U.S.-Soviet Showdown Over Cuban Missile Crisis

    Photos taken from a U.S. spy plane reveal the Soviets placing offensive missiles on Cuban soil. Sensing a direct challenge to U.S. resolve, Kennedy orders a naval quarantine around Cuba to prevent the Soviets from delivering additional missiles. In the tense days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the world comes the closest it's ever been to nuclear annihilation.
  • Battle of Ap Bac

  • Buddhists Protest Against Diem

    Tensions between Buddhists and the Diem government are further strained as Diem, a Catholic, removes Buddhists from several key government positions and replaces them with Catholics. Buddhist monks protest Diem's intolerance for other religions and the measures he takes to silence them. In a show of protest, Buddhist monks start setting themselves on fire in public places.
  • President Kennedy Assassinated in Dallas

    Kennedy's death puts the problem of how to proceed in Vietnam on the shoulders of his vice president, Lyndon Johnson.
  • Debate on Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

    The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution is approved by Congress on August 7 and authorizes President Lyndon Johnson to "take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression." The resolution passes unanimously in the House, and by a margin of 82-2 in the Senate. The Resolution allows Johnson to wage all out war against North Vietnam without ever securing a formal Declaration of War from Congress.
  • Vietcong Attack Bienhoa Air Base

  • LBJ Defeats Goldwater

    Lyndon Johnson is elected president in a landslide over Republican Barry Goldwater of Arizona. During the campaign, Johnson's position on Vietnam appeared to lean toward de-escalation of U.S. involvement, and sharply contrasted with Goldwater's more militant views
  • Gulf of Tonkin Incident

    On August 2, three North Vietnamese PT boats allegedly fire torpedoes at the U.S.S. Maddox, a destroyer located in the international waters of the Tonkin Gulf, some thirty miles off the coast of North Vietnam. The attack comes after six months of covert U.S. and South Vietnamese naval operations. A second, even more highly disputed attack, is alleged to have taken place on August 4.
  • Vietnam "Teach-In" Broadcast to Nation's Universities

    The practice of protesting U.S. policy in Vietnam by holding "teach-ins" at colleges and universities becomes widespread. The first "teach-in" -- featuring seminars, rallies, and speeches -- takes place at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in March. In May, a nationally broadcast "teach-in" reaches students and faculty at over 100 campuses.
  • Heavy Fighting at Ia Drang Valley

    The first conventional battle of the Vietnam war takes place as American forces clash with North Vietnamese units in the Ia Drang Valley. The U.S. 1st Air Cavalry Division employs its newly enhanced technique of aerial reconnaissance to finally defeat the N.V.A., although heavy casualties are reported on both sides.
  • Marines Arrive at Danang

    The first American combat troops, the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, arrive in Vietnam to defend the U.S. airfield at Danang. Scattered Vietcong gunfire is reported, but no Marines are injured.
  • Operation "Rolling Thunder" Deployed

    Sustained American bombing raids of North Vietnam, dubbed Operation Rolling Thunder, begin in February. The nearly continuous air raids will go on for three years.
  • B-52 Bombs North Vietnam

    In an effort to disrupt movement along the Mugia Pass -- the main route used by the N.V.A. to send personnel and supplies through Laos and into South Vietnam -- American B-52s bomb North Vietnam for the first time.
  • LBJ Meets With South Vietnamese Leaders

    President Lyndon Johnson meets with South Vietnamese premier Nguyen Cao Ky and his military advisors in Honolulu. Johnson promises to continue to help South Vietnam fend off aggression from the North, but adds that the U.S. will be monitoring South Vietnam's efforts to expand democracy and improve economic conditions for its citizens.
  • C.O.R.E. Cites "Burden On Minorities and Poor" in Vietnam

    The Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.) issues a report claiming that the U.S. military draft places "a heavy discriminatory burden on minority groups and the poor." The group also calls for a withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Vietnam.
  • Martin Luther King Speaks Out Against War

    Calling the U.S. "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world," Martin Luther King publicly speaks out against U.S. policy in Vietnam. King later encourages draft evasion and suggests a merger between antiwar and civil rights groups.
  • Operation Cedar Falls Begins

    In a major ground war effort dubbed Operation Cedar Falls, about 16,000 U.S. and 14,000 South Vietnamese troops set out to destroy Vietcong operations and supply sites near Saigon. A massive system of tunnels is discovered in an area called the Iron Triangle, an apparent headquarters for Vietcong personnel.
  • Dow Recruiters Driven From Wisconsin Campus

    University of Wisconsin students demand that corporate recruiters for Dow Chemical -- producers of napalm -- not be allowed on campus.
  • LBJ announces he won't run

    With his popularity plummeting, and dismayed by Senator Eugene McCarthy's strong showing in the New Hampshire primary, President Lyndon Johnson stuns the nation and announces that he will not be a candidate for re-election.
  • News of My Lai Massacre Reaches U.S.

    Through the reporting of journalist Seymour Hersh, Americans read for the first time of the atrocities committed by Lt. William Calley and his troops in the village of My Lai. At the time the reports are made public, the Army has already charged Calley with the crime of murder.
  • Nixon begins secrety bombings of Cambodia

    In an effort to destroy Communist supply routes and base camps in Cambodia, President Nixon gives the go-ahead to "Operation Breakfast." The covert bombing of Cambodia, conducted without the knowledge of Congress or the American public, will continue for fourteen months.
  • Policy of "Vietnamization" Announced

    Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird describes a policy of "Vietnamization" when discussing a diminishing role for the U.S. military in Vietnam. The objective of the policy is to shift the burden of defeating the Communists onto the South Vietnamese Army and away from the United States.
  • Ho Chi Minh Dies at Age 79

  • Kent State Incedent

    National Guardsmen open fire on a crowd of student antiwar protesters at Ohio's Kent State University, resulting in the death of four students and the wounding of eight others. President Nixon publicly deplores the actions of the Guardsmen, but cautions: "when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy." Several of the protesters had been hurling rocks and empty tear gas canisters at the Guardsmen.
  • Sihanouk Ousted in Cambodia

    Prince Sihanouk's attempt to maintain Cambodia's neutrality while war wages in neighboring Vietnam forces him to strike opportunistic alliances with China, and then the United States. The vacillating weakens his government, leading to a coup orchestrated by his defense minister, Lon Nol.
  • Pentagon Papers Published

    The New York Times publishes the Pentagon Papers, revealing a legacy of deception concerning U.S. policy in Vietnam on the part of the military and the executive branch. The Nixon administration, eager to stop leaks of what it considers sensitive information, appeals to the Supreme Court to halt the publication. The Court decides in favor of the Times and the First Amendment right to free speech.
  • Nixon Announces Plans to Visit China

    In a move that troubles the North Vietnamese, President Nixon announces his intention to visit the People's Republic of China. Nixon's gesture toward China is seen by the North Vietnamese as an effort to create discord between themselves and their Chinese allies
  • Nixon Cuts Troop Levels by 70,000

    Responding to charges by Democratic presidential candidates that he is not moving fast enough to end U.S. involvement in Vietnam, President Nixon orders troop strength reduced by seventy thousand.
  • B-52s Bomb Hanoi and Haiphong

    In an attempt to force North Vietnam to make concessions in the ongoing peace talks, the Nixon administration orders the heavy bombing of supply dumps and petroleum storage sites in and around Hanoi and Haiphong. The administration makes it clear to the North Vietnamese that no section of Vietnam is off-limits to bombing raids.
  • Kissinger Says "Peace Is At Hand"

    Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho reach agreement in principle on several key measures leading to a cease-fire in Vietnam. Kissinger's view that "peace is at hand" is dimmed somewhat by South Vietnamese president Nguyen Van Thieu's opposition to the agreement.
  • Cease-fire is signed in Paris

    A cease-fire agreement that, in the words of Richard Nixon, "brings peace with honor in Vietnam and Southeast Asia," is signed in Paris by Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho. The agreement is to go into effect on January 28.
  • Kissinger and Le Duc Tho Win Peace Prize

    The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Henry Kissinger of the United States and Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam. Kissinger accepts the award, while Tho declines, saying that a true peace does not yet exist in Vietnam.
  • End of Military Draft Announced

  • Hearings on Secret Bombings Begin

    The Senate Armed Services Committee opens hearing on the U.S. bombing of Cambodia. Allegations are made that the Nixon administration allowed bombing raids to be carried out during what was supposed to be a time when Cambodia's neutrality was officially recognized. As a result of the hearings, Congress orders that all bombing in Cambodia cease effective at midnight, August 14.
  • Nixon Resigns

  • Report Cites Damage to Vietnam Ecology

    According to a report issued by the National Academy of Science, use of chemical herbicides during the war has caused long-term damage to the ecology of Vietnam. Subsequent inquiries will focus on the connection between certain herbicides, particularly Agent Orange, and widespread reports of cancer, skin disease, and other disorders in individuals exposed to them.
  • Nixon Impeachment Hearings Begin

    In May, the House Judiciary Committee begins impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon. Among the articles of impeachment is a resolution condemning Nixon for the secret bombing of Cambodia.
  • Vietnam Ends

  • Last Americans Evacuate as Saigon Falls to Communists

    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, "...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 U.S. servicemen to die in Vietnam are killed when their helicopter crashes.
  • Communist Forces Capture Phuoc Long Province

    The South Vietnamese Army loses twenty planes in a failed effort to defend Phuoc Long, a key province just north of Saigon. North Vietnamese leaders will interpret the U.S.'s complete lack of response to the siege as an indication that they can move more aggressively in the South.