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Timeline of the Vietnam War

Timeline of the Vietnam War

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1862: Vietnam became part of the French Empire

1890: Ho Chi Minh was born

1930: Ho Chi Minh helped to form the Indo-Chinese Communist Party

1941: Vietminh formed to counter Japanese invasion of Vietnam

1945: Japan handed Vietnam to the Vietminh; Ho Chi Minh declared the

Democratic Republic of Vietnam (September); French troops arrived back in Vietnam

1946: war broke out between the French and the Vietminh

1949: Communist China came into being allowing the Vietminh to train in

China away from French attacks

1950: Truman refused to recognise the Democratic Republic of Vietnam

Communist China + USSR did recognise Ho's state

1954: The Battle of Dien Bien Phu - Giap defeated the French force based there; a ceasefire was agreed at Geneva that split Vietnam at the 17th Parallel; France withdrew her military from Vietnam; US promises aid worth $100 million to the anti-communist Diem

1955: The pro-American Ngo Dinh Diem became President of South Vietnam in October. America agreed to train Diem's army.

1956: Diem started to arrest anyone suspected of being in the Vietminh

1957: the Vietminh started a campaign of guerrilla warfare in South Vietnam

1959: American military advisors were killed in Vietnam - the first US

casualties; the Ho Chi Minh Trail was first used

1960: the National Liberation Front (NLF) was formed in Hanoi though in the South, they were known as the Vietcong (VC)

1961: US President Kennedy pledged extra aid to South Vietnam

1962: The number of US military advisors increased from 700 to 12,000

1963: President Diem was killed in a military coup

15,000 US military advisors were in South Vietnam

1964: the Gulf of Tonkin incident; Congress passed the 'Gulf of Tonkin

Resolution'; America bombs targets in North Vietnam; NLF attacked US air bases

1965: 'Operation Rolling Thunder' started; first US combat troops were sent to Vietnam in March; by the end of the year there were 200,000 US troops there; first major conventional clash between USA and NVA at Ia Drang

1966: 400,000 US troops were in Vietnam

1967: 490,000 US troops in Vietnam; Nguyen Van Thieu became President of South Vietnam

1968: Tet Offensive; demonstrations against the war started in America; My Lai massacre; peace talks began in Paris; 540,000 US troops in

Vietnam; anti-Vietnam War riots in Chicago (August)

1969: Nixon ordered the secret bombing of Cambodia; 'Vietnamization'

started; Nixon announced the start of US troop withdrawals; Ho Chi

Minh died; 480,000 US troops in Vietnam; My Lai massacre made

public in November

1970: Four student demonstrators shot dead at Kent State University;

280,000 US troops in Vietnam; secret peace talks held in Paris; large scale anti-war demonstrations throughout USA

1971: 140,000 US troops in Vietnam; Lt. William Calley convicted of murder at My Lai and jailed

1972: Haiphong harbour mined (May); “Peace is at hand” - Dr Kissinger

1973: ceasefire signed in Paris; last US troops left Vietnam; US POW's


1975: Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia; NLF captured Saigon

1982: Vietnam Veterans Memorial unveiled in Washington DC

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