Vietnam War Timeline

  • Domino Theory Coined

    Domino Theory Coined
    The domino theory was a Cold War policy that suggested a communist government in one nation would quickly lead to communist takeovers in neighboring states, each falling like a perfectly aligned row of dominos. In the end, the domino theory was important because it explained American foreign policy at the time and saw the United States become involved in two major wars.
  • Assassination of Diem

    Assassination of Diem
    Following the overthrow of his government by South Vietnamese military forces the day before, President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother are captured and killed by a group of soldiers. The death of Diem caused celebration among many people in South Vietnam, but also lead to political chaos in the nation.
  • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

    Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
    Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, authorizing President Johnson to take any measures he believed were necessary to retaliate and to promote the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution effectively launched America's full-scale involvement in the Vietnam War. They were there as part of an effort to support South Vietnamese military raids on what was then the North Vietnamese coast.
  • LBJ Ordered 1st troops to Vietnam

    LBJ Ordered 1st troops to Vietnam
    Acting on the belief that Hanoi would eventually weaken when faced with stepped-up bombing raids, Johnson and his advisers ordered the U.S. military to launch Operation Rolling Thunder, a bombing campaign against the North. The purpose of sending troops to Vietnam was because China had become communist in 1949 and communists were in control of North Vietnam. The USA was afraid that communism would spread to South Vietnam and then the rest of Asia.
  • Tet Offensive

    Tet Offensive
    The Tet Offensive played an important role in weakening U.S. public support for the war in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh and leaders in Hanoi planned the Tet Offensive in the hopes of achieving a decisive victory that would end the grinding conflict that frustrated military leaders on both sides.
  • My Lai Massacre

    My Lai Massacre
    U.S. Army officers covered up the carnage for a year before it was reported in the American press, sparking a firestorm of international outrage. The brutality of the My Lai killings and the official cover-up fueled anti-war sentiment and further divided the United States over the Vietnam War.
  • Nixon’s Vietnamization policy

    Nixon’s Vietnamization policy
    Vietnamization was a policy of the Richard Nixon administration to end U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War through a program to "expand, equip, and train South Vietnamese forces and assign to them an ever-increasing combat role, at the same time steadily reducing the number of U.S. combat troops". Vietnamization was a strategy that aimed to reduce American involvement in the Vietnam War by transferring all military responsibilities to South Vietnam.
  • Nixon sends troops into Cambodia

    Nixon sends troops into Cambodia
    The bombing of Cambodia was part of Nixon's "madman theory" that was meant to intimidate North Vietnam by showing that he was a dangerous leader capable of anything. By seeking advice from high administration officials, Nixon had delayed any quick response that could be explicitly linked to the provocation.
  • Kent State shooting

    Kent State shooting
    The shootings turned the tide of public opinion against the Vietnam War, and some political officials even argued that it played a role in the downfall of the Nixon administration. Today, the incident symbolizes the political and social divides brought on by the Vietnam War.
  • Hard Hat Riot

    Hard Hat Riot
    The riot, first breaking out near the intersection of Wall Street and Broad Street in Lower Manhattan, led to a mob scene with more than 20,000 people in the streets, eventually leading to a siege of New York City Hall, an attack on the conservative Pace University, and lasted more than three hours.
  • War Powers Act

    War Powers Act
    War Powers Act was created to limit the power of the president after the Vietnam war. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 (also known as the War Powers Act) "is a congressional resolution designed to limit the U.S. president's ability to initiate or escalate military actions abroad.”
  • Nixon’s Christmas bombing (What was its effect?)

    Nixon’s Christmas bombing (What was its effect?)
    The impact of the so-called “Christmas Bombings” on the final agreement was difficult to assess. Some historians have argued that the bombings forced the North Vietnamese back to the negotiating table. Others have suggested that the attacks had little impact, beyond the additional death and destruction they caused.
  • Paris Peace Accords

    Paris Peace Accords
    The Paris Peace Accords End Direct Combat Role of United States in the Vietnam War. In January of 1973, the Paris Peace Accords were signed after four years of negotiations, with the intent to establish peace in Vietnam and end the war. The Accords were signed by the United States, and North and South Vietnam.
  • Saigon Falls

    Saigon Falls
    The fall of Saigon effectively marked the end of the Vietnam War. After the introduction of Vietnamisation by President Richard Nixon, US forces in South Vietnam had been constantly reduced leaving the military of South Vietnam to defend their country against the North.