The Vietnam War

  • Truman Adminisration Agrees to Help France

    Truman Adminisration Agrees to Help France
    The fall of China to communism and the outbreak of the Korean war convinced the Truman Empire to help France. Korea, convinced American officials that the Soviet Union had begun a major push to impose communism.
  • French Vietminh War Begins

    French Vietminh War Begins
    Hoping to regain their colonial empire in Southeast Asia, French troops return to Vietnam and drive the Vietminh forces into hiding on the countryside. As fighting between the two countries intensifies, France appeals to the United States for help.
  • Battle at Dien Bien Phu

    Battle at Dien Bien Phu
    The French commander orders his forces to occupy Dien Bien Phu attempting to sieze the town. A huge Vietminh forces surrounds the town and attacks.
  • Defeat at Dien Bien Phu

    Defeat at Dien Bien Phu
    The French forces fall to the Vietminh. The defeat convinces the French to make peace and withdraw from Indochina.
    (The picture is the French troops leaving Dien Bien Phu)
  • Overthrow of Diem

    Overthrow of Diem
    When North Vietnemese leader Diem banned the traditional religious flags for Buddha's birthday, A Buddhist monk sets himself on fire in response. American ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge arrives and the American generals launch a military coup. They seized power and executed Diem shortly afterward.
  • The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

    The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
    President Johnson announces that North Vietnamese torpedo boats had fired on two American destroyers in the Gulf of tonkin. Two days later, the president reports that another similar attack had occured. He insisted that the attacks were unprovoked and ordered that American aircrafts attack North Vietnamese ships and naval facilities. Johnson then asks Congress to authorize the use of force to defend American forces. The Senate and the House passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
  • The United States Gets Involved

    The United States Gets Involved
    After Vietcong attacks a base at Pleiku, leaving 7 Americans dead and more than 100 wounded, President Johnson responds by sending American aircrafts to attack North Vietnam.
  • Operation Rolling Thunder

    Operation Rolling Thunder
    Johnson had expanded American involvment by shifting his policy to a sustained bombing campaign against North Vietnam. (Operation Rolling Thunder) He also orderd the first combat troops into Vietnam. American soldiers were now fighting alongside the South Vietnamese troops against the Vietcong.
  • Protests and Teach-Ins

    Protests and Teach-Ins
    A group of faculty members and students at the University of Michigan abandoned their classes and joined in a teach-in. They would informally discuss the wat issues and why they opposed it. Colleges even held a "National Teach-In" by radio, in which 122 colleges held.
  • The Tet Offensive

    The Tet Offensive
    During the Vietnamese New year (aka Tet) the Vietcong and North Vietnamese launched a massive surprise attack on practically all American air bases and most of the South's major cities and provincial capitals. Public no longer favored the president.
  • Massacre at My Lai

    Massacre at My Lai
    An American platoon under the command of Lieutenant William Calley had massacred possibly more than 200 unarmed South Vietnamese citizens in My Lai. Calley went to prison for the killing.
  • Johnson Withdraws from the Presidential Race

    Johnson Withdraws from the Presidential Race
    MacCarthy and Kennedy enter the race for president. With the division of the country, Johnson addressed on TV that he would not be running for another term as president. Nixon would win the election.
  • Earl Ray is Arrested

    Earl Ray is Arrested
    James Earl Ray is arrested for killing Dr. Martin Luther King. This assasination led to riots in several major cities. Shortly after ( 2 months later) Kennedy is shot.
  • Nixon Cuts Back American Troops in Vietnam:

    Nixon Cuts Back American Troops in Vietnam:
    President Nixon had began to gradually cut back the number of American troops in Vietnam. On this date he announced the withdrawal of 25,000 soldiers and refused to view the withdrawl as surrender. He then increased air strikes against North Vietnam and began bombing Vietcong sanctuaries in Cambodia.
  • Kent State University Protests

    Kent State University Protests
    When Nixon orders troop to invade Cambodia it sparked many protests. One at Kent State University had soldiers armed with rifles and tear gas fire on demonstrators without an order to do so. Four students were killed and nine others were wounded. 10 days later police killed 2 African Americans during a demonstration at Jackson State College in Mississippi,
  • The Pentagon Papers

    The Pentagon Papers
    The Gulf of Tonkin is repealed in Deceber of 1970. Support for the war weakens more when Danial Ellsburg leaks The Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. They revelead that many government officials during the Johnson Administrative privately questioned war while publicly defending it. They confimed that the goverment had not been honest with them.
  • "Peace is at hand"

    "Peace is at hand"
    By 1971, polls showed that nearly two-thirds of Americans wanted to end the Vietnam war ASAP. In October less than a month before the 1972 presidential election, Henry Kissinger emerged from his secret talks with Le Duc Tho to announce that "peace is at hand". Nixon wins the re-election in landslide a month later.
  • Peace Negotiations Break Down:

    Peace Negotiations Break Down:
    Just weeks after the presidential election, the peace negotiations broke down. South Vietnam's president Nguyen Van Thiee refused to agress to any plan that left North Vietnamese troops in the South. Kissringer tried to win additional concessions from the Communists but talks broke off.
  • "Christmas Bombings"

    "Christmas Bombings"
    The day after the Communist and Kissringer's talks broke, to force North Vietnamese targets to resume negotiations, the Nixon administration began destrcutive air raids known as the "Christmas Bombings". During these attacks American B-25's dropped tousands of bombs for 11 straight days, only pausing for Christmas Day.
  • The War Ends

    The War Ends
    In wake of the bombing campaign, the United States and North Vietnam returned to the bargaining table. . Thieu finally gave in and on this date, the two sides signed an agreement "ending war and restoring the peace in Vietnam." Both sides agreed to exchange of prisoners of war and the US agreed to withdraw the rest of the troops.
  • The War Powers Act

    The War Powers Act
    Congress passed this act in order to reestablish some limits on executive power. The acts required the president to inform Congress of any commitment of troops abroad within 48 hours and to withdraw them in 60 to 90 days unless Congree explicably approved the troop committment.
  • The Peace Agreement Fails

    The Peace Agreement Fails
    The US had barely pulled out its last troops from Vietnam when the peace agreement fell. In March 1975, the North Vietnamese army launched a full-scale of the South. Thieu desperately tries to appeal to Washington, D.C. His requests eventually were denied despite Nixons promise to Thieu.
  • North Vietnam Captures Saigon.

    North Vietnam Captures Saigon.
    On April 30, 1975, the North Vietnamese captures Saigon, South Vietnam's capital, and united Vietnam under Communist rule. They renamed Saigon Ho Chi Minh City.
  • The Vietnam Memorial

    The Vietnam Memorial
    The nation finally came to terms with the war nearly a decade later. In 1982, the nation dedicated the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is a large black wall enscribed with all the names of those killed or missing in action during the war.