Vietnam War

  • May 1, 1428


    In the 1400s China tried to gain control over Vietnam. A Vietnamese military leader named Le Loi had rebels that worked as peasants all day and then took up arms to attack the Chinese at night. By 1428 the rebels had driven the Chinese from the country and won independence for Vietnam.
  • 1940

    In 1940 the Japanese army occupied all of Indochina and threatened the rest of Southeast Asia.
  • 1946

    The French and Vietnamese engaged in battle again. President Truman ignored a cry for help from Vietnam and defended the French.
  • 1950

    China had been helping aid Vietnam and hoped to limit US influence. US however wanted to get involved so Vietnam was not handed over to communists.
  • 1954

    May 7, 1954 was the day Vietnam defeated the French and forced their surrender after a battle at Dien Bien Phu planned by the French. Some 13,000 French soldiers soon found themselves surrounded by more than 50,000 Vietminh troops. (US did not come to help the French as they thought would happen)
  • 1954

    An international conference to settle the Indochina conflict began on May 8, 1954 in Geneva, Switzerland. Representatives of the French and the Vietminh attempted to map out Indochina's future. Cambodia, Great Britain, Laos, the People's Republic of China, the Soviet Union, and the United States were also there.
  • 1956

    The French regained control and general elections to reunify the country were scheduled for July 1956. The United States refused to support the agreement fearing that the Communists would win a nationwide election.
  • 1959

    In 1959, military went from the north to the south in Vietnam. The southern Vietminh formed a Nation Liberation Front which was meant to over throw the Diem government.
  • 1963

    Secretary of Defense advised president to increase the military commitment to South Vietnam to prevent a communist victory
  • 1964

    President Lyndon Johnson appeared on TV to announce about the US involvement in the Vietnam War.
  • 1965

    In order to keep up with the US forces in Vietnam, 13,700 draftees were notified to serve through the selective service.
  • 1965

    In 1965, many African Americans and Hispanics served in the war in the most dangerous ground units. They accounted for 24% of all battle deaths even though they only made up 11% of US population.
  • 1965

    The first national antiwar demonstration where more than 20,000 people participated. They signed petitions to immediately end the war.
  • 1968

    While Vietnamese and American soliders slept, communist soldiers attacked more than 100 cities, and 12 military bases. But by the time the assault was done, over 40,000 communist soldiers were dead.
  • 1969

    The beginning of US troop withdrawals began. They planned to move them to neutral Cambodia to cut of North Vietnamese supplies. Later following the US order a widespread bombing to show that they were still willing to use force.
  • 1970

    National Guard troops that were sent to control demonstrators shot randomly into a large group of students at Kent State University in Ohio to get rid of the protesters against the Cambodian invasion.
  • 1970

    Congress repealed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution in December 1970. Congress leaders soon developed plans to stop the war by cutting off funding once U.S. troops were withdrawn.
  • 1971

    To continue the antiwar movement, the Pentagon Papers, were documents that revealed that the government had frequently misled the American people about the course of the war.
  • 1972

    North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam taking more territory than they have ever had. South Vietnam tried to counter with a heavy bombing of North Vietnam but it did not work.
  • 1973

    The negotiators in Paris announced a cease fire. US had to withdraw remaining forces and had to help rebuild instead. Also, there was a prisoner exchange agreement between the opposing sides.
  • 1975

    The South Vietnam’s military government collapsed allowing the North to overrun the northern part of South Vietnam. Troops retreated in panic.
  • 1975

    South Vietnam surrendered unwilling and US’ efforts to save them from communism failed. The war spread to Cambodia and Laos but the predicted domino theory, never occurred.