Untitled

Vietnam War

  • The People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union recognize Ho Chi Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

    China then begins sending military advisors and modern weapons to the Viet Minh including automatic weapons, mortars, howitzers, and trucks. Much of the equipment is American-made and had belonged to the Chinese Nationalists before their defeat by Mao. With the influx of new equipment and Chinese advisors, General Giap transforms his guerrilla fighters into conventional army units including five light infantry divisions and one heavy division.
  • State in U.S.

    In America, the era of 'McCarthyism' erupts as Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin gives a speech claiming the U.S. State Department harbors Communists. As a consequence of McCarthyism, no U.S. politician is willing to appear to be 'soft' on Communism.
  • U.S. and U.K involvement

    The United States and Britain recognize Bao Dai's French-controlled South Vietnam government.
  • New strategy

    Viet Minh begin an offensive against French outposts in North Vietnam near the Chinese border
  • Soldiers sent to Korea

    President Harry S. Truman orders U.S. ground troops into Korea following Communist North Korea's invasion of the South. In his message to the American people, Truman describes the invasion as a Moscow-backed attack by "monolithic world Communism."
  • U.S. involevement in the Vietnam War begins

    United States military involvement in Vietnam begins as President Harry Truman authorizes $15 million in military aid to the French. American military advisors will accompany the flow of U.S. tanks, planes, artillery and other supplies to Vietnam. Over the next four years, the U.S. will spend $3 Billion on the French war and by 1954 will provide 80 percent of all war supplies used by the French.
  • Main Attacks begin

    General Giap begins his main attack against French outposts near the Chinese border. As the outposts fall, the French lose 6000 men and large stores of military equipment to the Viet Minh.
  • MAAG

    The U.S. establishes a Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) in Saigon to aid the French Army.
  • The battle

    At 5:30 p.m., 10,000 French soldiers surrender at Dien Bien Phu. By now, an estimated 8000 Viet Minh and 1500 French have died. The French survivors are marched for up to 60 days to prison camps 500 hundred miles away. Nearly half die during the march or in captivity. France proceeds to withdraw completely from Vietnam, ending a bitter eight year struggle against the Viet Minh in which 400,000 soldiers and civilians from all sides had perished.
  • Diplomacy

    The Geneva Conference on Indochina begins, attended by the U.S., Britain, China, the Soviet Union, France, Vietnam (Viet Minh and representatives of Bao Dai), Cambodia and Laos, all meeting to negotiate a solution for Southeast Asia
  • Turn around

    The deadline passes for the unifying elections set by the Geneva Conference. Diem, backed by the U.S., had refused to participate.
  • Revolution

    The armed revolution begins as Ho Chi Minh declares a People's War to unite all of Vietnam under his leadership. His Politburo now orders a changeover to an all-out military struggle. Thus begins the Second Indochina War.
  • COSVN

    The trail will eventually expand into a 1500 mile-long network of jungle and mountain passes extending from North Vietnam's coast along Vietnam's western border through Laos, parts of Cambodia, funneling a constant stream of soldiers and supplies into the highlands of South Vietnam. In 1959, it takes six months to make the journey, by 1968 it will take only six weeks due to road improvements by North Vietnamese laborers, many of whom are women. In the 1970s a parallel fuel pipeline will be added
  • Death

    Two U.S. military advisors, Maj. Dale Buis and Sgt. Chester Ovnand, are killed by Viet Minh guerrillas at Bien Hoa, South Vietnam. They are the first American deaths in the Second Indochina War which Americans will come to know simply as The Vietnam War.
  • Infiltration

    4000 Viet Minh guerrillas, originally born in the South, are sent from North Vietnam to infiltrate South Vietnam.
  • State of the Union adress

    During his State of the Union address, President Kennedy states, "Few generations in all of history have been granted the role of being the great defender of freedom in its maximum hour of danger. This is our good fortune..."
  • Press

    During a press conference, President Kennedy is asked if any Americans in Vietnam are engaged in the fighting. "No," the President responds without further comment.
  • MACV

    MACV, the U.S. Military Assistance Command for Vietnam, is formed. It replaces MAAG-Vietnam, the Military Assistance Advisory Group which had been established in 1950.
  • A BOMB

    The presidential palace in Saigon is bombed by two renegade South Vietnamese pilots flying American-made World War II era fighter planes. President Diem and his brother Nhu escape unharmed. Diem attributes his survival to "divine protection."
  • Operation Sunrise

    Operation Sunrise begins the Strategic Hamlet resettlement program in which scattered rural populations in South Vietnam are uprooted from their ancestral farmlands and resettled into fortified villages defended by local militias. However, over 50 of the hamlets and are soon infiltrated and easily taken over by Viet Cong who kill or intimidate village leaders. As a result, Diem orders bombing raids against suspected Viet Cong-controlled hamlets. The air strikes by the South Vietnamese Air Force.
  • Optimism

    Defense Secretary McNamara visits South Vietnam and reports "we are winning the war."
  • Battalion

    Viet Cong organize themselves into battalion-sized units operating in central Vietnam.
  • Declaration

    The Declaration on the Neutrality of Laos signed in Geneva by the U.S. and 13 other nations, prohibits U.S. invasion of portions of the Ho Chi Minh trail inside eastern Laos.
  • Foreign Assistance Act

    President Kennedy signs the Foreign Assistance Act of 1962 which provides "...military assistance to countries which are on the rim of the Communist world and under direct attack."
  • Diem

    Lodge has a routine meeting with Diem from 10 a.m. until noon at the presidential palace, then departs. At 1:30 p.m., during the traditional siesta time, the coup begins as mutinous troops roar into Saigon, surround the presidential palace, and also seize police headquarters. Diem and his brother Nhu are trapped inside the palace and reject all appeals to surrender. Diem telephones the rebel generals and attempts, but fails, to talk them out of the coup. Diem then calls Lodge and asks "...what i
  • assassination

    At 3 a.m., one of Diem's aides betrays his location to the generals. The hunt for Diem and Nhu now begins. At 6 a.m., Diem telephones the generals. Realizing the situation is hopeless, Diem and Nhu offer to surrender from inside a Catholic church. Diem and Nhu are then taken into custody by rebel officers and placed in the back of an armored personnel carrier. While traveling to Saigon, the vehicle stops and Diem and Nhu are assassinated.
  • Kennedy

    resident John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas. Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as the 36th U.S. President. He is the fourth President coping with Vietnam and will oversee massive escalation of the war while utilizing many of the same policy advisors who served Kennedy.
  • It's over

    President Johnson declares he will not "lose Vietnam" during a meeting with Ambassador Lodge in Washington.
  • MADDOX

    hree North Vietnamese patrol boats attack the American destroyer U.S.S. Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin ten miles off the coast of North Vietnam. They fire three torpedoes and machine-guns, but only a single machine-gun round actually strikes the Maddox with no causalities. U.S. Navy fighters from the carrier Ticonderoga, led by Commander James Stockdale, attack the patrol boats, sinking one and damaging the other two.
  • U.S.S

    The Maddox, joined by a second destroyer U.S.S. C. Turner Joy begin a series of vigorous zigzags in the Gulf of Tonkin sailing to within eight miles of North Vietnam's coast, while at the same time, South Vietnamese commandos in speed boats harass North Vietnamese defenses along the coastline. By nightfall, thunderstorms roll in, affecting the accuracy of electronic instruments on the destroyers. Crew members reading their instruments believe they have come under torpedo attack from North Vietna
  • Attack

    Viet Cong guerrillas attack the U.S. military compound at Pleiku in the Central Highlands, killing eight Americans, wounding 126 and destroying ten aircraft.
  • Bomb

    A thousand tons of bombs are dropped on Viet Cong positions by U.S. and South Vietnamese fighter-bombers.
  • Protests

    In Washington, 15,000 students gather to protest the U.S. bombing campaign. Student demonstrators will often refer to President Johnson, his advisors, the Pentagon, Washington bureaucrats, and weapons manufacturers, simply as "the Establishment."
  • attack

    20,000 NVA troops under the command of Gen. Giap attack the American air base at Khe Sanh. A 77 day siege begins as 5000 U.S. Marines in the isolated outpost are encircled. The siege attracts enormous media attention back in America, with many comparisons made to the 1954 Battle of Dien Bien Phu in which the French were surrounded then defeated.
  • Dewey Canyon

    Operation Dewey Canyon, the last major operation by U.S. Marines begins in the Da Krong valley.
  • attack

    Viet Cong attack 110 targets throughout South Vietnam including Saigon
  • killed

    36 U.S. Marines are killed by NVA who raid their base camp near the Demilitarized Zone.
  • protests

    At Kent State University in Ohio, National Guardsmen shoot and kill four student protesters and wound nine. In response to the killings, over 400 colleges and universities across America shut down. In Washington, nearly 100,000 protesters surround various government buildings including the White House and historical monuments. On an impulse, President Nixon exits the White House and pays a late night surprise visit to the Lincoln Memorial and chats with young protesters
  • Nixon

    President Nixon warns Hanoi that more bombing raids may occur if North Vietnamese attacks continue against the South.
  • Washington

    The Capitol building in Washington is damaged by a bomb apparently planted in protest of the invasion of Laos.
  • 101

    The U.S. 101st Airborne Division is withdrawn from Vietnam.
  • boom

  • almost over

    he Paris Peace Accords are signed by the U.S., North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the Viet Cong. Under the terms, the U.S. agrees to immediately halt all military activities and withdraw all remaining military personnel within 60 days. The North Vietnamese agree to an immediate cease-fire and the release of all American POWs within 60 days. An estimated 150,000 North Vietnamese soldiers presently in South Vietnam are allowed to remain. Vietnam is still divided. South Vietnam is considered to be on
  • last man killed

    The last American soldier to die in combat in Vietnam, Lt. Col. William B. Nolde, is killed.
  • 55 days

    NVA general staff plan for the invasion of South Vietnam by 20 divisions is approved by North Vietnam's Politburo. By now, the Soviet-supplied North Vietnamese Army is the fifth largest in the world. It anticipates a two year struggle for victory. But in reality, South Vietnam's forces will collapse in only 55 days.
  • The war is over

    At 8:35 a.m., the last Americans, ten Marines from the embassy, depart Saigon, concluding the United States presence in Vietnam. North Vietnamese troops pour into Saigon and encounter little resistance. By 11 a.m., the red and blue Viet Cong flag flies from the presidential palace. President Minh broadcasts a message of unconditional surrender. The war is over.