The Vietnam War timeline
Date: 30/11/2012 | View(s): 927 times
The Vietnam War timeline
Vietnamese children gaze at an American paratrooper near Saigon in 1966 - Horst Faas
Since the late 19th century Vietnam was a French colony. During World War II, Japan sent troops to Vietnam and forced Fance to accept its supervision in Indochina (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia) with ultimate power. In 1941, Viet Minh was founded as a league for independence from France and Japanese occupation. A broad front of Vietnamese patriots and nationalists, Viet Minh was controlled by Ho Chi Minh’s Communist Party.
When Japan surrendered to the Allies in 1945, a power vacuum emerged in Vietnam. Viet Minh took the opportunity to seize power and announced an independent republic. French forces began to attack Viet Minh to reclaim power. After the decisive defeat at Dien Bien Phu, France signed the Geneva Agreements in 1954. The French had to withdraw their troops from northern Vietnam and the country was temporarily split into communist North and non-communist South at the 17th Parallel, pending elections within two years to reunite the country.
Fearing the communists might win, the U.S. refused to agree to the election and viewed involvement in the war as a part of their wider strategy of containment of communism.
South Vietnam declared itself the Republic of Vietnam, with newly elected Ngo Dinh Diem as president. The U.S. launched a massive military training mission worth of USD 414 millions for the South.
South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem began a bloody campaign against communists and other anti-government elements.
Men and weapons from North Vietnam began infiltrating the South with the construction of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Supported by North Vietnam, the communist National Liberation Front (NLF), also known as Viet Cong, was established and began guerrilla warfare against the South Vietnamese regime.
President John F. Kennedy decided to increase U.S. financial and military aid to South Vietnam. Chemical defoliants, mostly Agent Orange, were first used by the U.S. to clear hiding areas of North Vietnam’s troops.
U.S. Huey helicoter spaying Agent Orange over Vietnam
Number of US military advisors in South Vietnam rose to 12,000.
Viet Cong defeated units of ARVN, South Vietnamese Army. Ngo Dinh Diem was executed during a coup supported by the U.S.
Two U.S. destroyers were allegedly attacked by North Vietnamese patrol boats, which triggered start of pre-planned American bombing raids on North Vietnam.
U.S. President Lyndon Johnson ordered 200,000 combat troops to arrive in South Vietnam.
U.S. troop numbers in Vietnam rose to 400,000, then to 580,000 two years later. The U.S. intensified raids on North Vietnam with B-52 bombers.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara built an electronic anti-infiltration barrier to block the North Vietnam’s flow of arms and troops into the South.
Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army launched a combined assault on dozens of US positions during the Tet holidays (lunar new year). More than 500 Vietnamese civilians died in My Lai massacre by U.S. troops.
President Richard Nixon drew back first US ground troops from Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh died in Hanoi.
Nixon's National Security advisor Henry Kissinger and North Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho started secret talks in Paris.
Nixon announced plans to visit China, a move seen by the North Vietnamese as an effort to create discord between themselves and their Chinese allies.
In order to force North Vietnam to make concessions in the ongoing peace talks, Nixon ordered heavy bombing in Hanoi and Haiphong. Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho reached principal agreements on key measures leading to a ceasefire in Vietnam.
Terrified Vietnamese children run down a road near Trang Bang after an aerial napalm attack by U.S. troops in 1972 - Nick Ut
The U.S. and North Vietnam signed a ceasefire agreement in Paris. US troop pull-out completed by March.
A report by U.S.’s National Academy of Science said the use of chemical herbicides during the Vietnam war caused long-term damage to the ecology of Vietnam. More inquiries would focus on the connection between certain herbicides, particularly Agent Orange, and reports of skin disease, cancer and other disorders on victims exposed to them.
North Vietnam launched a massive assault on South Vietnam and Saigon fell to communists on April 30.
The Vietnamese government claimed that its military forces suffered 1.1 million dead and 600,000 wounded during the Vietnam war. Civilian deaths were put at two million. Between 250,000 and 315,000 South Vietnamese soldiers were estimated to die. More than 58,000 Amerians were killed or missing in action.
From 1961 to 1972 the U.S. sprayed more than 80 million liters of herbicides over 3,06 million hectares of land in Vietnam. Containing the chemical dioxin, Agent Orange was the most effective among herbicide mixtures, and the most commonly used.
The Vietnam War timeline (AidViet.com)