The Vietnam War

Event Date Location Significance
Democratic Republic of Vietnam established 1945 Vietnam With defeat and withdrawal of Japanese, Ho Chi Minh leads new state with 15,000 French soldiers present
Ho retreats to hills 1947 Vietnam French seek to depose Ho who leads Viet Minh troops in opposition to French colonial presence
French suffer huge defeat as 12,000 troops surrender and withdraw from Indochina May 7, 1954 Dienbienphu Although U.S. paid 80% of French costs, Eisenhower refused to send troops to Vietnam
Geneva Accords establish temporary division of Vietnam at 17th parallel July 1954 Geneva, Switzerland Vietnam is divided into two nations with Ho leading the north and Ngo Dinh Diem leading the "free" South. Promise of free elections in 1956
Diem opponents form National Liberation Front (NLF) 1960 South Vietnam Communists and others attempt to overthrow Diem and unify Vietnam
Diem overthrown and assassinated November 2, 1963 Saigon With U.S. approval and support, Diem is replaced with military junta. 16,000 American military advisors in Vietnam
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution August 5, 1964 Washington, D.C. Following conflict between U.S. destroyers and North Vietnamese gunboats, Pres. Johnson is given authority to "prevent further aggression." Measure passes Congress 416-0 in House and 88-2 in Senate
Johnson defeats Goldwater for presidency November 1964 U.S. Portrayed as peace candidate, Johnson scores huge victory with 61% of the vote
Johnson orders bombing of North Vietnam after attack at Pleiku kills 7 U.S. soldiers February 1965 Vietnam In retaliation for Communist attack on U.S. unit, LBJ authorizes attack, but stops short of all-out bombing
20,000 U.S. troops sent to support South Vietnam April 1, 1965   Violating his promises, LBJ raises U.S. troop level to 100,000 to fight Viet Cong
Tet Offensive begins January 31, 1968 Vietnam Viet Cong forces launch massive attack on American positons throughout Vietnam. LBJ's popularity ratings drop to 35%
My Lai Massacre March 16, 1968 Vietnam Lt. William Calley leads unit which kills at least 175 unarmed Vietnamese civilians. Calley is later court-martialed and convicted, though none of his superiors are charged
LBJ announces withdrawal from 1968 presidential race March 31, 1968 White House, Washington, D.C. Johnson announces end of bombing and calls for peace talks after embarassing performance in New Hampshire primaries
Paris Peace talks begin May 1968 Paris Longest war in U.S. history begins winding down
Nixon defeats Humphrey and Wallace November 1968 U.S. Nixon wins with 43.4% of popular vote
U.S. begins secret bombing of North Vietnam and Cambodia March 1969   Nixon avoids antiwar protests by not telling Congress or people about bombings
Nixon announces withdrawal of 60,000 U.S. ground troops September 1969   First reduction of U.S. troops since start of war
U.S. troops enter Cambodia April 1970 Cambodia Despite Nixon pledges that U.S. troops were withdrawing from Vietnam, Cambodia invasion and bombing brought huge domestic opposition
Kent State Massacre May 4, 1970 Ohio National Guard forces kill four students protesting Vietnam involvement
Congress repeals Tonkin Gulf Resolution June 24, 1970 Washington, D.C. In 81-10 vote, Senate repeals authorization of U.S. involvement
Laos invaded February 1971 Laos U.S. and South Vietnamese forces make incursion to "protect withdrawal of U.S. forces"
Pentagon Papers released June 1971 New York New York Times begins publication of secret war study
North Vietnamese troops invade South March 1972 Vietnam U.S. responds by widespread bombing of North, including bombing of Hanoi and mining of Haiphong Harbor
Largest bombing of North Vietnam December 17, 1972 North Vietnam American B-52s begin largest bombing of war, losing 15 B-52s
Cease-fire accord achieved January 27, 1973 Paris All fighting to stop and American prisoners of war to be released by North Vietnam
Nixon resigns presidency August 1974 White House, Washington, D.C. Under pressure from members of his own party, Nixon ceases fight over Watergate scandal
North Vietnamese forces take Saigon April 30, 1975 Saigon, South Vietnam Communist forces occupy South, renaming Saigon Ho Chi Minh City. U.S. troops evacuate American embassy as South Vietnamese flee  

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Title:  "U.S. History Resources" (Directory)
Author: Feldmeth, Greg D.
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