Vietnam Timeline

  • Daniel Ellsberg

    Daniel Ellsberg formulated an important example in decision theory, known as the Ellsberg paradox.
  • Eisenhower Administration

    Eisenhower avoided direct military intervention in Indochina, and the French defeated the Communists in Vietnam. After Vietnam was split into North Vietnam and South Vietnam, Eisenhower spent a lot of money and resources to turn South Vietnam into a pro-American guard against Communism.
  • Dien Bien Phu

    This was the decisive engagement in the first Indochina War. When French forces occupied the Dien Bien Phu, Viet Minh commander Vo Nguyen Giap and his troops were able to overrun the the base with Chinese aid.
  • Geneva Accords

    This was an outline for reunification and peace in Vietnam. The Geneva Accords also discussed Berlin and Korea. The Geneva Accords called for a ceasefire in Vietnam along the 17th parallel and it gave time for troops to be stationed on each side of their line. This caused Vietnam to be divided into North and South Vietnam.
  • Kennedy Administration

    Kennedy believed that political reform in South Korea and increasing the military advisor program would strengthen South Korea enough to win the war. The "Strategic Hamlet" program was created and relocated South Vietnamese commoners to strategic hamlets, but this program failed and was later abandoned.
  • Johnson Administration

    Johnson wanted to focus on implementing "Great Society" programs in the United States, but he still had the Vietnam War to manage. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution removed most restrictions from Johnson in relations to Vietnam. Johnson escalated the war because he hoped it would bring it to an end quicker, but North Vietnam also started escalating the war from their side.
  • Tonkin Resolution

    The Tonkin Resolution gave President Johnson the power to take any measure he believed necessary to promote and maintain international peace and security in southeast Asia.
  • Gulf of Tonkin

    This was a naval event that took place in the Gulf of Tokin which is off of the coast of Vietnam, and was presented to the United States. Two North Vietnamese ships attacked the US Seventh Fleet which led to America's full scale involvement in the Vietnam War.
  • Fulbright Commission

    This was televised, public hearings that investigated the Vietnam War.
  • Tet Offensive

    This was a series of North Vietnamese attacks on more than 100 cities and outposts in South Vietnam. The Tet Offensive was an attempt to provoke rebellion among South Vietnam and motivate the United States to lessen its involvement in the Vietnam War.
  • Vietnamization

    Vietnamization was a strategy that included transporting all military's to South Vietnam in order to reduce American involvement in the war. This allowed thousands of US troops to go home.
  • My Lai Massacre

    This was when a group of American soldiers horrendously killed majority of the people in the village of My Lai. Many women and girls were raped and mutilated before being murdered. US Army officers covered the massacre up for a year before reporting it to American Press.
  • Nixon Administration

    During the Vietnam War, Nixon used a tactic he called "Vietnamization" which was having South Vietnamese soldiers bear more of the ground fighting in order to reduce American casualties. Nixon also ended the draft in hopes of ending anti-war protests. Nixon tried to scare North Vietnam by demonstrating his willingness to bomb urban areas.
  • Invasion of Cambodia

    Richard Nixon ordered US troops to invade Cambodia because North Vietnamese moved supplies and arms through the northern part. It was also suspected that communist base camps were set up in Cambodia.
  • Pentagon Papers

    This was a strict secret Department of Defense study of US military and political involvement in Vietnam from the 1940s to the 1960s. In June of 1971, small portions of the report were leaked to the press.
  • Christmas Bombing

    During this time, talks of peace between North Vietnam and the United States were collapsing. North Vietnam and America argued back and forth over who was to blame. Nixon then dropped over 20,000 tons of bombs on the cities of Hanoi and Haiphong. The bombing continued until December 29, then North Vietnam agreed to continue talks of peace.
  • Paris Peace Conference

    The Paris Peace Conference officially ended the Vietnam War and included a ceasefire throughout Vietnam. The United States agreed to withdraw all US troops and dismantle all US bases. The North Vietnamese agreed to release all prisoners of war.
  • War Powers Act

    This is a congressional resolution designed to limit the presidents ability to initiate or escalate military actions overseas. This act required that the president alert Congress after deploying the armed forces, and it limits how long units can remain engaged without Congress approval. The purpose of this act was to avoid another long conflict like the Vietnam War.
  • Ford Administration

    Ford kept Nixon's chief foreign policy advisors on his administration, then later changed his administration around. Ford mostly supported Nixon's goals of détente with the Soviet Union, improving relations with China, and supporting South Vietnam.
  • Fall of Saigon

    Saigon fell to the People's Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong after the rapid advancement of the North Vietnamese. The United States did nothing to help Saigon in this situation because Ford could not convince Congress to agree to help Saigon after Nixon resigned.