Vietnam Web Project

Timeline created by bhyland
  • Battle of Dienbienphu Begins

    Battle of Dienbienphu Begins
    A force of 40,000 heavily armed Vietmin lay seige to the French garrison at Dienbienphu. Using Chinese artillery to shell the airstrip, the Vietmin make it impossible for French supplies to arrive by air
  • Diem Becomes President of Republic of Vietnam

    Diem Becomes President of Republic of Vietnam
    Diem defeats Bao Dai in the election and proclaims himself President of Republic of Vietnam.
  • Terrorist Bombings Rock Saigon

    Terrorist Bombings Rock Saigon
    Thirteen Americans working for MAAG and US Information Service are wounded in terrorist bombings in Saigon.
  • Weapons Moving Along Ho Chi Minh Trail

    Weapons Moving Along Ho Chi Minh Trail
    North Vietnam forms Group 559 to begin infiltrating cadres and weapons into South Vietnam via the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Trail will become a strategic target for future military attacks.
  • Kennedy Elected President

    Kennedy Elected President
    John F. Kennedy narrowly defeats Richard Nixon for the presidency.
  • US Military Employs Agent Orange

    US Military Employs Agent Orange
    US Air Force begins using Agent Orange - a defoliant that came in metal orange containers-to expose roads and trails used by Vietcong forces.
  • Battle of Ap Bac

    Battle of Ap Bac
    Vietcong units defeat South Vietnamese Army in the Battle of Ap Bac
  • President Kennedy Assassinated in Dallas

    President Kennedy Assassinated in Dallas
    Kennedy's death meant that the problem of how to proceed in Vietnam fell squarely into the lap of his vice president, Lyndon Johnson.
  • Diem Overthrown, Murdered

    Diem Overthrown, Murdered
    With tacit approval of the United States, operatives within the South Vietnamese military overthrow Diem. He and his brother Nhu are shot and killed in the aftermath.
  • Gulf of Tonkin Incident

    Gulf of Tonkin Incident
    three North Vietnamese PT boats allegedly fire torpedoes at the USS Maddox, a destroyer located in the international waters of the Tonkin Gulf, some thirty miles off the coast of North Vietnam. The attack comes after six months of covert US and South Vietnamese naval operations. A second, even more highly disputed attack, is alleged to have taken place on August 4.
  • LBJ Defeats Goldwater

    LBJ Defeats Goldwater
    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.
  • Operation "Rolling Thunder" Deployed

    Operation "Rolling Thunder" Deployed
    Sustained American bombing raids of North Vietnam, dubbed Operation Rolling Thunder. The nearly continuous air raids would go on for three years
  • Operation Cedar Falls Begins

    Operation Cedar Falls Begins
    In a major ground war effort dubbed Operation Cedar Falls, about 16,000 US and 14,000 South Vietnamese troops set out to destroy Vietcong operations and supply sites near Saigon. A massive system of tunnels is discovered in an area called the Iron Triangle, an apparent headquarters for Vietcong personnel.
  • Martin Luther King Speaks Out Against War

    Martin Luther King Speaks Out Against War
    Calling the US "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world," Martin Luther King publicly speaks out against US policy in Vietnam. King later encourages draft evasion and suggests a merger between antiwar and civil rights groups.
  • North Vietnamese Launch Tet Offensive

    North Vietnamese Launch Tet Offensive
    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, including its capital, Saigon. Within days, American forces turn back the onslaught and recapture most areas. From a military point of view, Tet is a huge defeat for the Communists, but turns out to be a political and psychological victory. The US military's assessment of the war is questioned and the "end of tunnel" seems ver
  • LBJ announces he wouln't run

    LBJ announces he wouln't run
    With his popularity plummeting and dismayed by Senator Eugene McCarthy's strong showing in the New Hampshire primary, President Lyndon Johnson stuns the nation and announces that he will not be a candidate for re-election.
  • Richard Nixon Elected President

    Richard Nixon Elected President
    Running on a platform of "law and order," Richard Nixon barely beats out Hubert Humphrey for the presidency. Nixon takes just 43.4 percent of the popular vote, compared to 42.7 percent for Humphrey. Third-party candidate George Wallace takes the remaining percentage of votes.
  • Policy of "Vietnamization" Announced

    Policy of "Vietnamization" Announced
    Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird describes a policy of "Vietnamization" when discussing a diminishing role for the US military in Vietnam. The objective of the policy is to shift the burden of defeating the Communists onto the South Vietnamese Army and away from the United States.
  • Nixon Announces Plans to Visit China

    Nixon Announces Plans to Visit China
    In a move that troubles the North Vietnamese, President Nixon announces his intention to visit The People's Republic of China. Nixon's gesture toward China is seen by the North Vietnamese as an effort to create discord between themselves and their Chinese allies.
  • Hearings on Secret Bombings Begin

    Hearings on Secret Bombings Begin
    The Senate Armed Services Committee opens hearing on the US bombing of Cambodia. Allegations are made that the Nixon administration allowed bombing raids to be carried out during what was supposed to be a time when Cambodia's neutrality was officially recognized. As a result of the hearings, Congress orders that all bombing in Cambodia cease effective at midnight, August 14.
  • Last Americans Evacuate as Saigon Falls to Communists

    Last Americans Evacuate as Saigon Falls to Communists
    South Vietnamese President Duong Van Minh delivers an unconditional surrender to the Communists in the early hours of April 30. North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin accepts the surrender and assures Minh that, "...Only the Americans have been beaten. If you are patriots, consider this a moment of joy." As the few remaining Americans evacuate Saigon, the last two US servicemen to die in Vietnam are killed when their helicopter crashes.