Vietnam War 1954-1975

  • Eisenhower Rejects Troop Committment

    Eisenhower Rejects Troop Committment
    President Eisenhower refused to commit American troops to be a part of the Franco-Vietnamese War. During a press conference he stated that, "I cannot conceive of a greater tragedy for America than to get heavily involved now in an all-out war in any of those regions."
  • French Surrender

    French Surrender
    The French surrendered to the Viet Minh at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. French prisoners taken.
    Also, the Geneva Conference on the status of Indochina began.
  • Battle of Dien Bien Phu Begins

    Battle of Dien Bien Phu Begins
    The Viet Minh launched first assault on French forces at Dien Bien Phu. The battle raged for more than two months.
  • VIetnam Divided

    VIetnam Divided
    France and Ho Chi Minh sign the Geneva Accords, which divided Vietnam at the seventeenth parallel until elections were held in 1956 to reunify the country.
    The South Vietnamese government and the United States refused to sign, but both promise to abide by this agreement.
  • Vietnamese Emigration

    Vietnamese Emigration
    After the temporary boundary between North and South Vietnam was created, about 850,000 North Vietnamese emigrated to South Vietnam; 80,000 of the South residents, mostly Viet Minh sympathizers, moved to the North.
  • Republic of Vietnam and New President

    Republic of Vietnam and New President
    South Vietnam declared itself the Republic of Vietnam with Ngo Dinh Diem elected as the new president.
  • First American Deaths

    First American Deaths
    Two military advisors are killed by Viet Minh guerilla soldiers in South Vietnam; the first American deaths (non-combat) reported in Vietnam.
  • South Army Coup Fails

    South Army Coup Fails
    President Ngo Dinh Diem defeated an attempted coup by his own South Vietnamese government forces, also known as the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN).
  • National Liberation Front (NLF) Formed

    National Liberation Front (NLF) Formed
    The National Liberation Front (NLF), also known as the Viet Cong, is established to crush Diem's regime in South Vietnam.
    It is funded by the North Vietnamese government and staffed by Southern Ex-Viet Minh guerilla soldiers.
  • First US Combat Death

    First US Combat Death
    American serviceman, James T. Davis, died in Vietnam; this was the first combat death reported. For many Americans, this death was the mark of the beginning of the Vietnam War.
  • Buddhist Monks Self-Immolate

    Buddhist Monks Self-Immolate
    Thich Quang Duc, a 66-year-old Buddhist monk, set himself on fire in protest of the South Vietnamese government for its religious intolerance and discriminatory policies.
    In the months following, other Buddhists also self-immolate to demonstrate against the regime.
    Quang Duc's suicide, captured in an iconic Life magazine photograph, shocked and confused many Americans. The event underscored the problems with America's support for the South.
  • Ngo Dinh Diem Death

    Ngo Dinh Diem Death
    South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem is executed during a coup.
  • Gulf of Tonkin Incident: Part 1

    Gulf of Tonkin Incident: Part 1
    The North Vietnamese attack a U.S. destroyer, the USS Maddox, sitting in international waters, the Gulf of Tonkin.
  • Gulf of Tonkin Incident: Part 2

    Gulf of Tonkin Incident: Part 2
    The USS Maddox reported another assault by North Vietnamese gunboats, though now evidence of such an attack is inconclusive. President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered retaliatory strikes and the U.S. bombed North Vietnam for the first time.
  • Tet Offensive

    Tet Offensive
    The North Vietnamese joined forces with the Viet Cong to launch Tet Offensive and attacked about 100 South Vietnamese towns and cities. The Tet Offensive was catastrophe for the NLF and the Viet Cong, with a loss of 37,000 fighters. It was also a serious blow for the United States, who lost 2,500 men causing public support for the war in the U.S. to plummet,
  • My Lai Massacre

    My Lai Massacre
    American soldiers massacred hundreds of civilians, mostly women, children, and elderly men, in My Lai in South Vietnam. Later, a military court sentenced First Lieutenant William Calley to life in prison for the murders of 22 Vietnamese civilians.
  • America's Longest War

    America's Longest War
    The war in Vietnam, its beginning marked by the first death of an American serviceman reported on 22 December 1961, became the longest war in American history.
  • Kent State Killings

    Kent State Killings
    The Ohio National Guard attemptedto disperse a growing crowd during anti-war protests at Kent State University.
    When the demonstrators refused to follow orders, members of the Guard shoot into the crowd, killing 4 and wounding 9.
    Of the 4 killed, 2 had been protestors and other 2 had just been walking to class.
    Photographs were printed worldwide, only intensifying the already growing sentiment against the American aggression in Cambodia and the Vietnam War.
  • Paris Peace Accords

    Paris Peace Accords
    South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and United States representatives signed a peace agreement that declared a ceasefire.
    The U.S. agreed to withdraw troops and the government of South Vietnam promised to hold free elections to allow their people to decide their future. On March 29, 1973 the last of the U.S. troops were withdrawn from Vietnam marking the end of the Vietnam war for the U.S.
    All U.S. troops are withdrawn by March 29, 1973.
  • Easter Offensive

    Easter Offensive
    The North Vietnamese crossed the demilitarized zone at the 17th parallel and attacked South Vietnam in what has become known as the Easter Offensive. President Nixon ordered a massive bombing of North Vietnam in response to the Easter Offensive launched by the NLF in South Vietnam.
  • Saigon Falls; End of Vietnam War

    Saigon Falls; End of Vietnam War
    In March, 1975 North Vietnam launched a massive assault on South Vietnam. On April 30, 1975, the North Vietnamese took Saigon (South Vietnam surrendered to the communists) and the war in Vietnam ended.