1945Ho Chi Minh and his People’s Congress create the National Liberation Committee of Vietnam to form a provisional government following the surrender of Japan to Allied forces and Japan transfers all power to Ho’s Vietminh.President Roosevelt diesMaking good on his threat to unleash “.
..a rain of ruin the like of which has never been seen on earth…,” President Harry Truman authorizes the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan — one on Hiroshima on August 6, and a second on Nagasaki on August 9.
The Japanese surrender.Ho Declares Independence of Vietnam.British Forces Land in Saigon, Return Authority to French.1946France recognizes Vietnam as a “free state” within the French Union. French troops replace Chinese in the North.
Negotiations Between French and Vietminh Breakdown.Indochina War begins.1947Vietminh move north of Hanoi.
Marshall Plan announced.French General Etienne Valluy attempts, and fails, to wipe out the Vietminh in one stroke. 1949Bao Dai and President Vincent Auriol of France sign the Elysee Agreement. As part of the agreement the French pledge to assist in the building of a national anti-Communist army.
NATO formed.Volkswagen introduced in US.1950Chinese and Soviets offer Weapons to Vietminh.Record heist in Brink’s robbery.
When Communist forces from North Korea invade the Republic of South Korea on June 25, President Truman appeals to the United Nations to take action. The UN quickly brands North Korea the aggressor, and Truman follows up by sending US air and naval support to Korea immediately thereafter.The United States sends $15 million dollars in military aid to the French for the war in Indochina. Included in the aid package is a military mission and military advisors. 1951Ho Chi Minh creates Workers’ Party.Truman dismisses General Douglas MacArthur .
Worst floods in US History inundate Kansas and Missouri.1953France grants Laos full independence.Rosenbergs executed for Espionage.Vietminh forces push into Laos.1954A force of 40,000 heavily armed Vietminh lay siege to the French garrison at Dienbienphu. Using Chinese artillery to shell the airstrip, the Vietminh make it impossible for French supplies to arrive by air. It soon becomes clear that the French have met their match.
Supreme Court rules on Brown v. Board of Education.Responding to the defeat of the French by the Vietminh at Dienbienphu, President Eisenhower outlines the Domino Theory: “You have a row of dominoes set up. You knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly.”Senate condemns McCarthy for misconduct.French defeated at Dien Bien Phu.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 at this forum.Vietminh General Ta Quang Buu and French General Henri Delteil sign the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in Vietnam. As part of the agreement, a provisional demarcation line is drawn at the 17th parallel which will divide Vietnam until nationwide elections are held in 1956. The United States does not accept the agreement, neither does the government of Bao Dai. 1955Diem rejects conditions of Geneva Accords and refuses to participate in nationwide elections.China and Soviet Union pledge additional Financial support to Hanoi.
Britain, France, and United States covertly urge Diem to respect Geneva accords and conduct discussions with the North.Ford introduces Thunderbird.Disneyland opens in Anaheim, CA.Diem defeats Bao Dai in rigged election and proclaims himself President of Republic of Vietnam. 1956French leave Vietnam.The US Military Assistance Advisor Group (MAAG) assumes responsibility, from French, for training South Vietnamese forces.
Eisenhower defeats Stevenson.Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union heat up as Nikita Khrushchev announces to Western ambassadors, “History is on our side. We will bury you!”Deadline for nationwide elections set at Geneva Convention passes. No elections are held. 1957Communist insurgent activity in South Vietnam begins. Guerrillas assassinate more than 400 South Vietnamese officials.
Thirty-seven armed companies are organized along the Mekong Delta.Eisenhower Sends Federal Troops to Little Rock, AK.”West Side Story” opens on Broadway.
1958Communist forces settle along Mekong Delta.Brooklyn Dodgers move to Los Angeles.First US Earth satellite launched.1959North 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.Buddy Holly Dies in Plane Crash (Bye, bye Miss American Pie).vice-president Nixon engages Khrushchev in “Kitchen Debate”.
1960Sit-in Demonstrations Begin at Greensboro, North Carolina Lunch Counters.John F. Kennedy narrowly defeats Richard Nixon for the presidency. In his inaugural address, Kennedy declares that Americans will be ready to “…
bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”Hanoi forms National Liberation Front for South Vietnam. Diem government dubs them “Vietcong.” 1961Battle of Kienhoa Province.Peace Corps Program launched.A plot to invade Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castro goes miserably wrong when air support at the Bay of Pigs fails to materialize.President Kennedy authorizes “Green Berets,” — a Special Forces operation activated at Fort Bragg, NC.
The Special Forces will specialize in counterinsurgency. 1962US Military employs Agent Orange.1963Vietcong units defeat South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) in Battle of Ap Bac.Martin Luther King Delivers his “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, DC.
President Kennedy Assassinated in Dallas. Kennedy’s death left the problem of how to proceed in Vietnam in the lap of vice president, Lyndon Johnson.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.1964General Nguyen seizes control in Saigon.LBJ defeats Goldwater.
1965Operation “Rolling Thunder” is deployed.Marines arrive at Danang.The practice of protesting US policy in Vietnam by holding “teach-ins” at colleges and universities becomes widespread. The first “teach-in” — featuring seminars, rallies, and speeches — takes place at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in March. In May, a nationally broadcast “teach-in” reaches students and faculty at over 100 campuses.1966B-52s bomb North Vietnam.Veterans from World Wars I and II, along with veterans from the Korean war stage a protest rally in New York City.
1967Operation Cedar Falls Begins.Bunker replaces Cabot Lodge as ambassador of South Vietnam.1968The Battle for Hue wages for 26 days as US and South Vietnamese forces try to recapture the site seized by the Communists during the Tet Offensive.
Paris Peace Talks begin.My Lai Massacre.Following a lengthy period of debate and discussion, North Vietnamese and American negotiators agree on a location, Paris, and start date, May 1, peace talks.Richard Nixon Elected President.1969Nixon Begins Secret Bombing of Cambodia.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.Ho Chi Minh dies at age 79.1970National Guardsmen open fire on a crowd of student antiwar protesters at Ohio’s Kent State University, resulting in the death of four students and the wounding of eight others. President Nixon publicly deplores the actions of the Guardsmen, but cautions: “.
..when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy.
” Several of the protesters had been hurling rocks and empty tear gas canisters at the Guardsmen.Kissinger and Le Duc begin secret peace talks.1971A legacy of deception, concerning US policy in Vietnam, on the part of the military and the executive branch is revealed as the New York Times publishes the Pentagon Papers. The Nixon administration, eager to stop leaks of what they consider sensitive information, appeals to the Supreme Court to halt the publication. The Court decides in favor the Times and allows continued publication.