Vietnam War

  • Japan Invades Vietnam

    Japan Invades Vietnam
    In September of 1940, Japan invaded Vietnam and remained there for the duration of World War II. This was the result of the ongoing war between China and Japan beginning in 1937. By occupying Vietnam, Tokyo hoped to close off China’s southern border, halting its supply of weapons and materials. The ultimate goal was to create a peaceful, coexisting sphere of Asian nations to expel Western imperialists.
  • Viet Minh Established

    Viet Minh Established
    The Viet Minh, created by Ho Chi Minh, was a national independence movement formed to seek Vietnamese independence from France. Founded in South China, the Viet Minh opposed Japan when the Japanese occupation began with support from the U.S. and China. During the Vietnam War, it opposed the reoccupation of the French Empire, and later opposed the U.S. during the same war.
  • Vietnam Proclaims Independence

    Vietnam Proclaims Independence
    Merely hours after Japan's surrender in World War II, Ho Chi Minh declares Vietnam's independence from France. Then, French forces seized southern Vietnam and opened talks with the Vietnamese Communists. These talks collapsed in 1946, and French warships bombarded Haiphong, killing thousands.
  • Dien Bien Phu

    Dien Bien Phu
    The French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 signalled the end of French influence in Indochina, which was also the last major campaign of a European state in that region. The French attempted to establish a major force at Dien Bien Phu but had little luck; every one of the French's battle plans were countered by the Viet Minh. On November 20th 1953, the first French troops arrived at Dien Bien Phu. The last French position was captured at nightfall on May 7th.
  • Geneva Conference Begins

    Geneva Conference Begins
    Representatives from the world's powers met in Geneva to resolve problems in Asia, includint the war between the French and Vietnamese nationalists in Indochina. The conference marked a turning point in the United States' involvement in Vietnam. The French agreed to withdraw their troops from northern Vietnam, and Vietnam would be temporarily divided at the 17th parallel, pending elections within two years to choose a president. In July 1954, the Geneva Agreements were signed.
  • National Liberation Front Formed

    National Liberation Front Formed
    The National Liberation Front, or the NLF, was designed to replicate the success of the Viet Minh, the nationalist organization that successfully liberated Vietnam from the French. The NLF reached out to the parts of South Vietnamese society who were displeased with the government and policies of President Ngo Dinh Diem. The NLF served as the North's shadow government in South Vietnam. It was later called "Viet Cong," a contraction of 'Viet Nam Cong San, which means 'Vietnamese Communists.'
  • Ngo Dinh Diem Assassinated

    Ngo Dinh Diem Assassinated
    President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother were captured and killed by a group of soldiers the day after he was overthrown of his government by South Vietnamese forces. His death caused celebration among many people in South Vietnam, but also lead to political chaos in the nation. Consequently, the U.S. became more involved in Vietnam in an attempt to stabilize their government and prevent communist rebels from gaining power.
  • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

    Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
    The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was put before Congress on August 5th in reaction to two unprovoked attacks from North Vietnamese tornado boats. Its stated purpose was to approve the determination of the president in taking all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the the United States and to prevent further aggression. It also declared that the maintenance of international peace and security in Southeast Asia was vital to American interests and to world peace.
  • Gulf Of Tonkin Video

  • Operation Rolling Thunder

    Operation Rolling Thunder
    A strategic bomb campaign known as Operation Rolling Thunder took place from March 1965 to October 1968. The U.S.'s military aircraft attacked targets throughout Vietnam to put military pressure on North Vietnam's Communist leaders and reduce their capacity to wage war against South Vietnam. This became a major event of U.S. expansion and involvement during the war. It began partly in response to a Viet Cong attack on a U.S. airbase in Pleiku.
  • Tet Offensive

    Tet Offensive
    70,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces launched a coordinated series of attacks on over 100 cities in Vietnam. General Vo Nguyen Giap planned the offensive in an attempt to instigate rebellion in the South Vietnamese population.The Tet Offensive marked a turning point in the war, a victory for North Vietnam, and the beginning of American forces to withdraw from the region.
  • Vietnamization

    Although there is no specific date on when Vietnamization first occurred, the term was first coined by Nixon as a strategy to provide for a gradual withdrawal of American troops from the war combined with an expanded effort to equip South Vietnam with it's own military defense responsibilities. In effect, a peace treaty was devised: The U.S. would withdraw its remaining troops for a cease-fire.
  • Antiwar Demonstrations

    Antiwar Demonstrations
    On April 5th, approximately 100,000 antiwar demonstrators marched in New York City to demand that the United States withdraw from Vietnam. Parades were held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and other major cities as well. The demonstrations were directed by the National Mobilization Committee, the Student Mobilization Committee, and the Socialist Workers Party.
  • Nixon Sends Secret Letter

    Nixon Sends Secret Letter
    During July of 1969, President Nixon sends a secret letter to Ho Chi Minh through a French missionary. The letter urged Ho Chi Minh to settle the war; at the same time, Nixon threatened to resume bombing if peace talks stalled as of November 1st. In August, Hanoi responds by repeating earlier demands for Viet Cong participation in a coalition government in South Vietnam.
  • Kent State Incident

    Kent State Incident
    On April 31st, 1970, President Nixon announced that American military forces would extend the Vietnam War into Cambodia. As a result, millions of citizens in the U.S. were outraged, especially among the youth. On May 4th, 2,000 students gathered at Kent State to protest. The National Guard was called in to maintain control. Students began launching rocks at the soldiers; the tear gas was ineffective due to wind, so soldiers began shooting, causing four deaths and serious wounds to nine others.
  • 26th Amendment

    26th Amendment
    The debate over lowering the voting age intensified during the Vietnam War. Young men were denied the right to vote yet were being drafted to fight for their country. In the court case Oregon vs. Mitchell, the ruling was made that the government had a right to control the minimum age for federal elections, but not on state or local levels. 18- to 20-year-olds became eligible to vote for president and vice president, but not for state officials up for election at the same time.
  • Easter Offensive

    Easter Offensive
    The Easter Offensive was a massive invasion by North Vietnamese forces that attacked the Nguyen Hue Offensive. The force included 14 infantry divisions and 26 separate regiments, which is more than 120,000 troops, and approximately 1,200 tanks.The main North Vietnamese objectives were Quang Tri in the north and Kontum in the Central Highlands.
  • B-52's Begin Bombing North Vietnam

    B-52's Begin Bombing North Vietnam
    In April of 1972, U.S. B-52 bombers began bombing North Vietnam for the first time since November 1967.The bombers struck near Vinh, which was145 miles north of the Demilitarized Zone. It was later reported that target priority during these attacks had been given to SAM-2 missile sites, which had made raids over North Vietnam increasingly hazardous.
  • U.S. Withdraws Troops from Vietnam

    U.S. Withdraws Troops from Vietnam
    The last U.S. combat troops leave South Vietnam as Hanoi frees the remaining American prisoners of war that were held in North Vietnam. This occurrs two months after the Vietnam peace agreement is signed. Withdrawals of troops began in the early 1970's and ended on April 30th when the last few Americans remaining in Vietnam were airlifted out of the country.
  • Wars Power Act

    Wars Power Act
    The Wars Power Act was a reaction to the Vietnam war passed by Congress in 1973 after the United States fully withdrew from combat operations. It was also passed in an attempt to correct excessive war-making powers in the hands of the president. The War Powers Act says that a president has the power to commit troops to combat zones, but, within 48 hours of doing so he must formally notify Congress and provide his explanation for doing so.
  • South Vietnam Surrenders

    South Vietnam Surrenders
    Southern Vietnam surrendered to North Vietnam's rapid advancements. Northern Vietnamese tanks crashed through the gates of the Preidential Palace in Saigon early that morning, and Duong Van Minh surrendered. He was put into power after both the president and vice president fled the city a few days prior.