Vietnam War Escalation

  • Truman sends advisers to Vietnam

    Truman sends advisers to Vietnam
    President Harry Truman sent US Military advisers to Vietnam in order to support the French during the first Indochina war. The US had the choice to either support communist North Vietnamese who were supported by the Viet Minh and China, or support the South Vietnamese and the French.
  • Battle of Dien Bien Phu

    Battle of Dien Bien Phu
    The Vietnamese defeated the French at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, leading to the end of French colonial rule in Vietnam.
    This abrupt turn of events was a high priority topic at the Geneva Conference, and it ultimately led to the US supporting South Vietnam. Vietnam was very susceptible to communism, and nations around the world eventually created the Geneva Accords.
  • Geneva Conference splits Vietnam

    Geneva Conference splits Vietnam
    The Geneva Accords were created at the Geneva Conference in order to unify Vietnam. The agreement temporarily split Vietnam at the 17th parallel into north and south, and an election was set to be held 2 years later in order to create a common government. The US and South Vietnam were not in agreement with the Accords.
  • Eisenhower and the "Domino Theory"

    Eisenhower and the "Domino Theory"
    President Dwight D. Eisenhower created the "Domino Theory" which means that if one country falls to communism, then the neighboring countries will also fall and communism will take over Southeast Asia. The US could not let this come true. Eisenhower used this theory to back up support for Diem's efforts in South Vietnam, and he increased the number of US advisers to around 1,000. He supplied them with weapons and $2 billion in aid. (1955-1960)
  • JFK increase US aid to Vietnam

    JFK increase US aid to Vietnam
    John F. Kennedy increased the number of US advisers in Vietnam to around 16,000. Kennedy authorized the use of napalm, and provided South Vietnam with tools of war, including helicopters and jet fighters.
  • Buddhist monk burned himself to death

    Buddhist monk burned himself to death
    Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk, protesting the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government led by Ngo Dinh Diem, who was a Roman Catholic. The picture of the burning monk provoked JFK to reassess the US policy on Vietnam, and he ultimately increased the number of US troops in Vietnam.
  • Ngo Dinh Diem assassinated by coup backed by US

    Ngo Dinh Diem assassinated by coup backed by US
    The Kennedy administration sanctioned a coup in South Vietnam in order to overthrow the Diem regime. Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother were arrested and brutally killed. The US knew that the coup was happening, however nothing was done to stop the effort. Diem was despised by his people, and the US wasn't able to fully trust him.
  • North Vietnamese attack US in Gulf of Tonkin

    North Vietnamese attack US in Gulf of Tonkin
    The North Vietnamese first shot at the US on August 2nd, 1964, and another attack was reported on August 4th. However, the August 4th attack was merely speculation of an attack, but Lyndon B. Johnson viewed it as a deliberate assault made by the North Vietnamese.
  • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

    Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
    Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which gave the president limitless power to take any precaution necessary to stop the Communist North Vietnamese. LBJ used it to significantly increase US troops in Vietnam to about 500,000.
  • Operation Rolling Thunder

    Operation Rolling Thunder
    The United States launched the bombing campaign in order to destroy North Vietnamese military buildings and to show US superiority. However, the North Vietnamese rebuilt the buildings that were bombed, and they continued to receive outside support from China and the Soviet Union. Overall, the operation was unsuccessful, and failed to achieve the intended result of damaging Vietnamese forces and morale.
  • US troops arrive in Vietnam

    US troops arrive in Vietnam
    The first US combat troops arrived in Vietnam near Da Nang, South Vietnam. President Johnson sent the troops in order to keep the South Vietnamese government and army from collapsing.
  • Battle of Ia Drang

    Battle of Ia Drang
    The Battle of Ia Drang was the first major battle between US combat troops and the North Vietnamese. The US dropped troops into remote areas in order to close in on North Vietnamese forces. Geographic gain couldn't be counted as progress for the US, so body counts gave the allusion that overall the US was winning the war.