Vietnam Timeline

By 15AnVos
  • Geneva Conference

    Geneva Conference
    World leaders met in Geneva to discuss the issues in Asia. The United States was supporting the French in the fear that communism would spread if Vietnam won, but they refused to get directly involved. At the Geneva conference, it was decided that the French would withdraw from Vietnam and it would be divided along the 17th parallel for two years until elections in could determine a leader, and in addition no foreign troops could enter Vietnam during that time.
  • French Surrender

    French Surrender
    On March 13, 1954, the first assault was launched by Viet Minh forces on the French. This bloody battle lasted roughly two months. The French surrendered to the Viet Minh on May 7, 1954 after devastating losses.
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  • Use of Agent Orange

    Use of Agent Orange
    Agent orange was a potent mix of chemicals designed to eliminate the forest cover in Vietnam to make combat easier for US forces and also to make it hard for the North Vietnamese to grow crops and feed troops. The harsh effects of agent orange included: birth defects, tumors, cancer, and psychological defects.
  • Tonkin Resolution

    Tonkin Resolution
    The senate and the House of Representatives authorized the President to ““take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression” after North Vietnamese torpedo boats had fired on two American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. The North Vietnamese attack was likely due to the Americans helping the South Vietnamese to conduct electronic and spying commando raids against North Vietnam, but he did not reveal this at the time.
  • Operation Rolling Thunder

    Operation Rolling Thunder
    This was a United States bombing campaign against North Vietnam. It was initiated on March 2, 1965, by President Johnson and was the beginning of the United States’ attacks on North Korea in the war.
  • Beginning of Teach-Ins

    Beginning of Teach-Ins
    At the University of Michigan, students and teachers met to discuss the war and their opposition towards it. This inspired a nation-wide emergence of teach-ins, and in May of 1965, a “National Teach-In” was held over the radio for 100,000 plus anti-war demonstrators.
  • Operation Cedar Falls

    Operation Cedar Falls
    This was a major offensive attack conducted by United States and South Vietnam forces near Saigon with the forest preserve and the iron triangle, which was supposedly a forested area that contained supplies and base camps of North Vietnam. While they were fighting, United States troops discovered a tunnel system through Saigon, which was promptly destroyed. The allied forces suffered significantly fewer losses than their enemies.
  • Tet Offensive

    Tet Offensive
    General Vo Nguyen Giap, leader of the Communist Army’s people of Vietnam, organized a series of offensive attacks against South Vietnam in order to stop them from rebelling and in hopes of decreasing US support of South Vietnam. The attack is named after a phase of the moon in which a new lunar year begins. This major North Vietnam win decreased support of the war in America and is considered a turning point because Americans began their slow withdrawal from Vietnam after this event.
  • Massacre at My Lai

    Massacre at My Lai
    On this day, an American platoon massacred roughly 200 unarmed Vietnamese people, most of whom were elderly, women, and children in the settlement of My Lai. Lieutenant William Calley was the commander of the massacre, and he was sent to prison. The public, however, did not learn of this until November of 1969.
  • Doves and Hawks

    Doves and Hawks
    In America, those in support of the Vietnam war were referred to as Hawks, while those who wished for the United States to withdraw from Vietnam were coined as Doves. In 1967, more people were in favor of the war, but by 1968 they were roughly even and the debates between the two groups led to major conflict within the United States.
  • Vietnamization

    Vietnamization was the process of slowly withdrawing American troops from Vietnam. It began on June 8, 1969 when President Nixon announced the withdrawal of 25,000 troops. It ended on March 29, 1973.
  • Kent State

    Kent State
    At Kent State University in Ohio, the national guard used tear gas and rifles on anti-war demonstrators, even though they had no order to take those measures. Four students were killed and nine were injured.
  • 26th Amendment

    26th Amendment
    The 26th Amendment stated that it is the right of US citizens 18 and older to vote, as opposed to 21 which was the required age previous to the amendment. This came about because people were upset they could be conscripted to Vietnam at 18, yet they could not vote.
  • Protest March

    Protest March
    In Washington, D.C., roughly 200,000 people joined together to march to show their opposition to the Vietnam war. Roughly 40 events were organized for the day of the march, including sitting on the capitol steps and singing hymns and songs the night before to the day of the march.
  • Pentagon Papers

    Pentagon Papers
    Daniel Ellsberg, a delusional former Defense Department worker, released documents to the New York time that revealed many government workers privately opposed the war while they publicly defended it. The papers came to be known as the Pentagon Papers.
  • Easter Offensive

    Easter Offensive
    On March 30, 1972, North Vietnam forces crossed the demilitarized zone into Quang Tri province in hopes of winning a major victory over South Vietnam. South Vietnam and the United States, however, were expecting an offensive movement by the North. They were initially driven out of Quang Tri City, but successfully defended the next town, Hue. On September 15,1972, South Vietnamese forces regained Quang Tri City.
  • U.S. Withdrawal of Troops

    U.S. Withdrawal of Troops
    The US withdrawal of troops was a slow and painful process. On January 27, 1963, the United States signed an agreement after bargaining with North Vietnam to end the war and restore peace in Vietnam. The United States agreed to withdraw all troops and both sides agreed to exchange prisoners of war. Since the agreement did not cover the issue of South Vietnam’s political future, however, United States troops remained in Vietnam until March 29, 1973
  • War Powers Act

    War Powers Act
    This act required the president to notify congress of the deployment of troops to foreign countries within 2 days, and to withdraw them within 60-90 days unless congress gives the approval to keep them deployed longer. Congress passed this act in an attempt to limit executive power after they had previously allowed the president to take any measures he deemed necessary in war.
  • South Vietnam Surrender

    South Vietnam Surrender
    The North Vietnamese army set up for an attack on Saigon, and The president of South Vietnam, Nguyen Van Thieu, resigned and transferred authority to Vice President Tran Van Huong, who also transferred the authority to Gen. Duong Van Minh after only one day in power. On April 30th, North Vietnamese forces crashed through the Presidential Palace with little resistance from South Vietnam forces and accepted surrender from Minh.
  • Vietnam Memorial

    Vietnam Memorial
    On November 13, 1982, a memorial in Washington D.C. was dedicated to the veterans of the Vietnam War. The memorial, named the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, is a wall listing all 58,000 United States troops who lost their lives in the war.