France had declarde Vietnam a "free state" within the French Union. However, relations had been deteriating between the French and the Viet Minh, the communist-led forces of later North Vietnam. Late in December, Viet Minh launches its first attack on French troops.
The Battle of Dien Bien Phu
Viet Minh forces attack the French at Dien Bien Phu and cut off air supplies to the French troops. This leaves the French weak and vulnerable.
The Domino Theory
"You have a row of dominoes set up. You knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly."
Eisenhower believed if one state fell to communism, then the surrounding areas would as well. It was out job to prevent communism from spreading.
Defeat at Dien Bien Phu
The French are finally defeated at Dien Bien Phu by Viet Minh
The agreements made at the Geneva Convention divided Vietnam into North and South with Ho Chi Minh leading the communistic North and Ngo Dinh Diem in the republican South. This seperation was supposed to be temporary until the elections in 1956.
First Indochina War Ends
The settlement at the Geneva Convention and the separation of North and South Vietnam appeases Ho Chi Minh for the time being, ending the First Indochina War. The Vietnam War would become the second.
U.S. Trains South Vietnam
M.A.A.G. or The US Military Assistance Advisor Group replaces Fance and trains South Vietnamese troops.
The Vietnam War Begins
The official beginning of the Vietnam War.
Bombing in Saigon
M.A.A.G. and the USIA (United States Information Agency) installation in Saigon are bombed, wounding 13 Americans.
First Americans Killed
Viet Minh attacks M.A.A.G. in Bien Hoa. Major Dale Richard Buis and Master Sergeant Chester M. Ovnand become the first American soldiers killed in the Vietnam War.
Viet Cong is Formed
A communist military force is formed in South Vietnam. They battled and attacked the United States and South Vietnamese forces with guerilla warfare.
From Eisenhower to Kennedy
President Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidency ends and John F. Kennedy follows as the new U.S. President.
The Battle of Ap Bac
The Viet Cong defeat the South Vietnamese army at the Battle of Ap Bac.
Ngo Dinh Diem
Ngo Dinh Diem, the first President of the Republic of South Vietnam, is assassinated in a coup orchestrated within the south Vietnamese government. Diem was a unstable leader who rigged the election giving him the presidency and was oppressing the Buddhist community.
From Kennedy to Johnson
John F. Kennedy is assassinated and Lydon B. Johnson, his Vice President, take the seat.
The Gulf of Tonkin Incident
Three North Vietnamese boats torpedo the U.S.S. Maddox about thirty miles off the shore of north Vietnam in international waters.
The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution is passed by Congress as states that Pres. Lyndon Johnson is authorized to "take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression." Johnson can now confront North Vietnam in all out with without a Declaration of War from Congress
The first American combat troops, the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, are deployed to help defend the U.S. airfield at Danang.
Protests Against the War
For the next several years there are numerous protests against America's involvement in Vietnam throughout the country
Ia Drang Valley
First conventional battle of the Vietnam War in the Ia Drang Valley with American forces battling against North Vietnamese units.
Johnson meets with South Vietnamese leaders in Honolulu and promises the U.S.'s continued efforts to aid South Vietnam.
McNamara Speaks in the Senate
Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, states that the bombings of North Vietnam have been ineffective. Supplies to the Viet Cong had not been reduced, and the economy and morale of North Vietnam had not been broken.
Nixon becomes President
Richdard Nixon is elected President of the United States.
Paris Peace Accord
A ceasefire is signed in Paris by all the warring parties.This will soon lead to the pulling of American soldiers from Vietnam.
Americans Pulled Out of Vietnam
The last of the American troops are pulled out of Vietnam after efforts of trying to shift the responsibility of fending off North Vietnam from the U.S. to the South Vietnamese forces.
South Vietnam Surrenders
The President, at the time, of South Vietnam, Duong Van Minh, surrenders to the communistic North accepting the fall of Saigon, the capital. The war is over for America, and American troops are puuled out of Vietnam.