Vietnam War Timeline

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1858-1884 - France invades Vietnam and makes Vietnam a colony.

October 1930 - Ho Chi Minh helps found the Indochinese Communist Party.

September 1940 - Japan invades Vietnam.

May 1941 - Ho Chi Minh establishes the Viet Minh (League for the Independence of Vietnam).

September 2, 1945 - Ho Chi Minh declares an independent Vietnam, called the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

January 1950 - The Viet Minh receive military advisors and weapons from China.

July 1950 - The United States pledges $15 million worth of military aid to France to help them fight in Vietnam.

May 7, 1954 - The French suffer a decisive defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu.

July 21, 1954 - The Geneva Accords creates a cease-fire for the peaceful withdrawal of the French from Vietnam and provides a temporary boundary between North and South Vietnam at the 17th parallel.

October 26, 1955 - South Vietnam declares itself the Republic of Vietnam, with newly elected Ngo Dinh Diem as president.

December 20, 1960 - The National Liberation Front (NLF), also called the Viet Cong, is established in South Vietnam.

November 2, 1963 - South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem is executed during a coup.

August 2 and 4, 1964 - North Vietnamese attack two U.S. destroyers sitting in international waters (the Gulf of Tonkin Incident).

August 7, 1964 - In response to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the U.S. Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

March 2, 1965 - A sustained U.S. aerial bombing campaign of North Vietnam begins (Operation Rolling Thunder).

March 8, 1965 - The first U.S. combat troops arrive in Vietnam.

January 30, 1968 - The North Vietnamese join forces with the Viet Cong to launch the Tet Offensive, attacking approximately one hundred South Vietnamese cities and towns.

March 16, 1968 - U.S. soldiers kill hundreds of Vietnamese civilians in the town of Mai Lai.

July 1968 - General William Westmoreland, who had been in charge of the U.S. troops in Vietnam, is replaced by General Creighton Abrams.

December 1968 - U.S. troops in Vietnam reaches 540,000.

July 1969 - President Nixon orders the first of many U.S. troop withdrawals from Vietnam.

September 3, 1969 - Communist revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh dies at age 79.

November 13, 1969 - The American public learns of the Mai Lai massacre.

April 30, 1970 - President Nixon announces that U.S. troops will attack enemy locations in Cambodia. This news sparks nationwide protests, especially on college campuses.

June 13, 1971 - Portions of the Pentagon Papers are published in The New York Times.

March 1972 - The North Vietnamese cross the demilitarized zone (DMZ) at the 17th parallel to attack South Vietnam in what became known as the Easter Offensive.

January 27, 1973 - The Paris Peace Accords are signed that provide a cease-fire.

March 29, 1973 - The last U.S. troops are withdrawn from Vietnam.

March 1975 - North Vietnam launches a massive assault on South Vietnam.

April 30, 1975 - South Vietnam surrenders to the communists.

July 2, 1976 - Vietnam is unified as a communist country, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

November 13, 1982 - The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. is dedicated.

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Your Citation
Rosenberg, Jennifer. "Vietnam War Timeline." ThoughtCo, Dec. 16, 2014, Rosenberg, Jennifer. (2014, December 16). Vietnam War Timeline. Retrieved from Rosenberg, Jennifer. "Vietnam War Timeline." ThoughtCo. (accessed April 21, 2018).