Vietnam War Timeline

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution- August 2, 1964

A torpedo was fired by a North Vietnatmese patrol boat at an American destroyer. The destroyer was patrolling the Gulf of Tonkin, off the North Vietnamese coast. Although the target was missed, the Maddox returned fire, inflicting heavy damage on the patrol boat.

Due to the alleged strike on the U.S. ships, President Johnson was allowed to launch bombing strikes on North Vietnam. The significance was that LBJ planned for this bombing, as the Maddox was sent to retrieve information about raids that were hidden from the public.

Anti-Vietnam War Protest Washington D.C.- Oct. 21, 1967

In Washington D.C. many American citizens protested the war efforts in Vietnam. This was a big step as it showed American support falling below 50%. Many of the protesters were not only questioning America's intervention in Vietnam, but the overall idea of the nation’s Cold War foreign policy. At this point, much of Johnson's support is gone, leading to him stepping away from running for a second term.

Tet Offensive- Jan. 31, 1968

The Vietcong led a series of attacks on more than 100 cities and towns in South Vietnam. Although U.S. and South Vietnamese forces managed to hold off the Communist attacks, the American public was shocked. The significance was that the attacks marked a turning point in the Vietnam War and the beginning of the American withdrawal from the region.

My Lai Massacre- Nov. 1968

In the most horrific violent incident on civilians, over 500 woman, children, and the elderly where killed. The massacre sparked international outrage and led to a special investigation. Cover-up caused antiwar sentiment back in America and further divided the nation over the continuing American presence in Vietnam.

Richard Nixon wins presidency- Nov. 1968

Winning one of the closest elections in presidential history, Nixon was planned on bring us together. Into his presidency, Nixon promised to find a way to "peace and honor" in Vietnam. The American people, wanting to find a way out of the Vietnam, were ready to give the Republican an opportunity to do so. His promise to bring peace with honor in Vietnam, was more difficult to accomplish. American troops were not taken out of Vietnam until 1973, and South Vietnam fell to communist forces in 1975.

Nixon and Cambodia- April 1970

Nixon proceeded to allow U.S. troops into Cambodia even though we had no jurisdiction there. Nixon believed that this operation was needed as a pre-emptive strike against North Vietnamese attacks from Cambodia into South Vietnam. When Nixon publicly announced the Cambodian incursion on April 30, a wave of antiwar demonstrations where evident. A protest at Kent State University resulted in the killing of four students by Army National Guard troops. These series of events, that was slowly pushing out into an illigelly widened war, led Congress to congressional resolutions and legislative initiatives that would severely limit the power of the president.

Kent State Shooting- May 1970

President Nixon appeared on national television, where he announced the U.S. invasion in Cambodia. Saying that 150,000 more people would be drafted, it provocted massive protests on campuses throughout the country. At Kent State University in Ohio, people demonstrated their protest by setting fire to the ROTC building. During one of the altercations, guard men opened fire on a crowd, killing four students and wounding nine. The charges on the guards were put down as there was lack of evidence. The Kent state shooting escalated protest as it was evident that anti war protesters were not only hippies, or drug addicts, but also middle and upper class educated people.

Pentagon Papers- June 1971

After increasing troops in Vietnam, Daniel Ellsberg began to disagree with the U.S. being at war, and decided that the classified information from the Pentagon should be more widely available to the American public. False accusations where brought to attention from the time of Truman, stirring uproar. The government tried to block publication of the papers but were unsuccessful. This scandal further decreased American support and U.S. was pulled out of Vietnam.

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