Vietnam War

  • Period: to


  • Start

    When we first got involved.
  • Support

    The U.S. is providing increasing support for the French effort in Indochina, supplying 80% of the dollar cost. A December Viet Minh offensive cuts Vietnam in two near the 17th parallel.
    Prince Norodom Sihanouk gains independence for Cambodia from France.
  • Denied

    The Diem regime begins to consolidate its position. By mid May South Vietnam formally requests U.S. instructors for its army, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). Hanoi brings forth a proposal to normalize relations in order to prepare for the elections scheduled by the Geneva Accords. However, on July 20th, backed by Washington, Diem announces his refusal to take part in the general elections scheduled for the following year by the Geneva Agreements.
  • Fail

    The International Control Commission declares that both North and South Vietnam had failed to comply with the Geneva Agreements.
  • Help on the way

    Help on the way
    J. F. K. sends 400 American combat troops to South Vietnam as advisors. Foreign military aid to both sides (U.S. aid to the South, and Soviet and Chinese aid to the North) increases; Hanoi makes public a policy to liberate the South by force. Diem announces an ambitious program of reform.
    In January, Kennedy is warned by Eisenhower that Indochina is a growing problem. In reponse Kennedy approves secret military plan for Vietnam and Laos.
  • Shock

    Kennedy signs National Security Memorandum No. 263 that is a plan to “Vietnamize” the war - and withdraw U.S. troops from Vietnam by 1965. However, after JFK’s assassination on November 22, this executive order is rescinded by the new president, Lyndon Johnson in NSM No. 273. This is the first step toward full-scale war.
  • Attack

    The destroyer U.S.S. Maddox fires on North Vietnamese PT boats that were responding to Oplan 34A attacks on North Vietnamese territory. Two days later, despite lack of evidence, the U.S.S. Turner Joy reports being attacked as well. On August 5th LBJ orders Seventh Fleet carrier aircraft to retaliate by attacking the bases used by the torpedo boats and other military targets in North Vietnam.
  • Massacre

    U.S. Army unit massacres hundreds of unarmed villagers in My Lai, South Vietnam, though the Army will conceal this fact for more than a year, claiming it as a significant “victory” over the NLF. Ultimately a letter from former GI Ron Ridenhour to his congressman causes the truth to be revealed.
    March 22 General William Westmoreland is relieved of command of MACV.
  • Nixon

    Nixon announces new troop withdrawals and reveals that there are secret talks being conducted with the North Vietnamese, and discloses his peace proposals. In March the formal talks in Paris are broken off. The North Vietnamese begin a major offensive across the DMZ. This is the biggest battle of the war. In April bombing near Hanoi resumes. In May Nixon orders the mining of Haiphong harbor.
  • Loss

    Thieu resigns on April 20th. The government is turned over to a neutralist Duong Van Minh. Saigon falls to NVA and NLF forces on April 30th and U.S. personnel leave in panic in an emergency helicopter airlift.