Vietnam Timeline Brooke Harmer


1945 - Ho Chi Minh announces Vietnam's independence

Ho Chi Minh

1946 - French forces attack Viet Minh in Haiphong in November, sparking the war of resistance against the colonial power

September 1950 - The U.S. military advisory effort in Vietnam had a modest beginning in when the United States Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), Vietnam, was established in Saigon. Its mission was to supervise the issuance and employment of $10 million of military equipment to support French legionnaires in their effort to combat Viet Minh forces.

1954 - Dwight D. Eisenhower refuses to send American troops to the Franco-Vietnamese war, stating, "I cannot conceive of a greater tragedy for America than to get heavily involved now in an all-out war in any of those regions"

1954 - Viet Minh forces attack an isolated French military outpost in the town of Dien Bien Phu. The attempt to take the outpost lasts two months, during which time the French government agrees to peace talks in Geneva.

Delegates from nine nations convene in Geneva to start negotiations that will lead to the end of hostilities in Indochina. The idea of partitioning Vietnam is first explored.

1954 - Vietnam is split into North and South at Geneva conference.

Vietcong - member of the communist guerrilla movement in Vietnam that fought the South Vietnamese government forces 1954–75

Northern Vietnam is governed under a communist regime, while Southern Vietnam is a democracy supported by the United States. The US government justified defending South Vietnam by implementing the Domino Theory (that one communist victory in a nation would lead to the spread of communism around the world)

Ngo Dinh Diem

Diem refused to carry out the 1954 Geneva Accords, which had called for free elections to be held throughout Vietnam in 1956 in order to establish a national government.

1956 - South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem begins campaign against political dissidents.


Lyndon B. Johnson visiting Vietnam

During a tour of Asian countries, Vice President Lyndon Johnson visits Diem in Saigon. Johnson assures Diem that he is crucial to US objectives in Vietnam and calls him "the Churchill of Asia."

Agent Orange- another form of weapon was Napalm (petroleum bombs)

1962 - US Air Force begins using Agent Orange - a defoliant that came in metal orange containers to expose roads and trails used by Vietcong forces.

1963 - Kennedy's death meant that the problem of how to proceed in Vietnam fell squarely into the lap of his vice president, Lyndon Johnson.


Johnson wins over Goldwater

1964 - Lyndon Johnson is elected in a landslide over Republican Barry Goldwater of Arizona. During the campaign, Johnson's position on Vietnam appeared to lean toward de-escalation of US involvement, and sharply contrasted the more militant views held by Goldwater.

Two U.S. destroyers stationed in the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam radioed that they had been fired upon by North Vietnamese forces, triggering a response from President Johnson

August 7, 1964 - Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, granting President Johnson permission from the U.S. Congress to increase the U.S. military presence in Indochina (became the legal basis for the Johnson and Nixon Administrations prosecution of the Vietnam War)

1968 - In a show of military might that catches the US military off guard, North Vietnamese and Vietcong forces sweep down upon several key cities and provinces in South Vietnam

The Tet Offensive was taxing on Southern Vietnam and the American soldiers fighting there

January 31, 1968, some 70,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces launched the Tet Offensive (named for the lunar new year holiday called Tet), a coordinated series of fierce attacks on more than 100 cities and towns in South Vietnam.

Guerrilla warfare continues as troops on both sides try to strategize killing one another.

1969 - Ho Chi Minh dies. President Nixon begins to reduce US ground troops in Vietnam as domestic public opposition to the war grows.

1975 - North Vietnamese troops invade South Vietnam and take control of the whole country after South Vietnamese President Duong Van Minh surrenders.

Created By
Brooke Harmer

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