1950 July 26, 1950- President Harry Truman authorizes $15 million in military aid to the French. This event is important because it begins the United States military involvement in Vietnam. 1953 January 20, 1953- Former five-star Army general, Dwight D. Eisenhower, becomes the 34th U.S President. This event is important because he becomes America’s new President and because he does a lot with the Vietnam War. 1954 April 7, 1954- President Eisenhower introduced the Domino Theory in response to a news conference. This event is important because it was a reason for war in the 1950’s. It speculated that if one state in a region became under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a “domino effect.” May 7, 1954- 10,000 French soldiers surrender at Dien Bien Phu. This event is important because after this, the French proceed to withdraw completely from Vietnam, ending their eight year struggle. May 8, 1954- The Geneva Conference on Indochina begins. It is attended by the U.S., Britain, China, the Soviet Union, France, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. This event is important because it decides on a solution for Southeast Asia. July 21, 1954- The Geneva Accord divides Vietnam in half at the 17th parallel, with the communist in the North end and the others at the South end. This event is important because it splits Vietnam in half. October 1954- Ho Chi Minh returns and takes control of North Vietnam. This event is important because he was the principal force behind the Vietnamese struggle against the French. 1955 October 26, 1955- Ngo Dinh Diem proclaims himself President of the Republic of South Vietnam. This event is important because he becomes South Vietnams first President. 1956 January 1956- Diem launches a brutal crackdown against Vietminh suspects in the countryside. April 28, 1956- The last French solider departs from Vietnam. This event is important because the struggle between Vietnam and the French is now over. 1957 April 1957- A Communist opposition group in the South, known as the Vietcong, begun attacks on the Diem government. This attack assassinated thousands of South Vietnamese government officials. 1959 May 1959-Construction of the Ho Chi Minh Trail begins. The trail is along the borders of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. This event is important because this trial supplied arms to the Vietcong. 1961 January 20, 1961- John Fitzgerald Kennedy becomes the 35th U.S. President. This event is important because J.F.K had a big impact on America and all though he wasn’t in office for long; he had a lot to do with the Vietnam War. “We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to insure the survival and the success of liberty.” -JFK May 1961-President Kennedy sends 400 American Green Beret “Special Advisors” to South Vietnam to train South Vietnamese soldiers. This event is important because it helps the South Vietnamese fight against the Vietcong. 1962 August 1, 1962-President Kennedy signs the Foreign Assistance Act of 1962. This event is important because it provides “military assistance to countries which are on the rim of the Communist world and under direct attack.” 1963 November 2, 1963 -Ngo Dinh Diem is assassinated while traveling to Saigon. November 22, 1963- President Kennedy is assassinated when in Dallas, Texas. November 22, 1963-Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as the 36th U.S. President. This event is important because he is the fourth President coping with Vietnam. End of 1963- There is 16,300 American military advisors in South Vietnam. "We are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves."- President Johnson 1964 August 4, 1964- Two American destroyers were of the North Vietnamese coast, where the crew reported enemy torpedoes which made the American destroyers to begin firing. This event is important because the alleged attacks on the ships prompted President Johnson to launch bombing strikes on North Vietnam. August 7, 1964- The Tonkin Gulf Resolution is adopted. This event is important because it granted President Johnson broad military powers in Vietnam. November 3, 1964- Lyndon B. Johnson is re-elected as the President of the United States. 1965 February 24, 1965- President Johnson unleashed “Operation Rolling Thunder.” This event is important because it was the first sustained bombing of North Vietnam. March 8, 1965- The first American combat troops began arriving in South Vietnam. March 9, 1965- President Johnson authorizes the use of Napalm. This event is important because it was key ingredient in defeating the Vietcong, and it was America’s attempt to expose Vietcong tunnels and hideouts. November 27, 1965- 35,000 anti-war protesters circle around the White House and then march on to the Washington Monument for a rally. 1966 May 1966- Buddhist monks and nuns were burning themselves in protest against the South Vietnamese government. End of 1966- There is 389,000 military advisors in South Vietnam. 1967 August 1967- President Johnson asked for a tax increase to help fund the war and to keep inflation in check. 1968 January 31, 1968-The Vietcong and the North Vietnamese army have a surprise attack on the South Vietnamese. This day is known as the Tet offensive. This event is important because it destroyed hundreds of cities and towns throughout South Vietnam. March 16, 1968-Over 300 Vietnamese civilians were killed in the My Lai Massacre. American troops got warning that the Vietcong were hiding out in the village of My Lai. When they arrived, there wasn’t any Vietcong in sight, so they American troops killed every Vietnamese civilian in sight. This event is important because it gave American civilians a different perspective of the war. April 4, 1968- Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. This event is important because he was key person in the Civil Rights movement and because after his assassination, racial unrest erupted in over 100 American cities. June 5, 1968- Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated. This event is important because he was a shoe in for American’s 37th President. 1969 January 20, 1969- Richard M. Nixon becomes the 37th U.S. President. “The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker. This honor now beckons America..." -President Nixon 1970 April 30, 1970- President Nixon announced that U.S. troops had invaded Cambodia to clear out North Vietnamese and Vietcong supply centers. This event is important because after he announced this, college students all over the country burst out into protest. May 4, 1970- A massive student protest broke out at Kent State University in Ohio. The protest led to the burning of the ROTC building. The National Guard was called in and fired live ammunition into the crowd of college students. The gunfire wounded nine people and killed four. This event is important because it shows how violent protest can get and it shows how strongly people opposed the war. December 31, 1970- Congress repealed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. This event is important because it took the Vietnam War power away from the President. 1971 June 13, 1971-The New York Times begins publication of the Pentagon Papers, which were leaked classified documents of the Vietnam War. This event is important because it proved that the government has been lying to the American people about what was really going on in the war. December 17, 1971- U.S. troops in Vietnam drop to 156,800.
1972 November 7, 1972- Richard M. Nixon wins the presidential election. 1973 January 27, 1973- The United States signed an “Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam.” This event is important because under the agreement, North Vietnamese troops would remain in South Vietnam and it was the start of the end of the war. March 29, 1973- The last U.S. combat troops left for home. This event is important because it marks the end of America’s involvement in the war. 1974 August 9, 1974-Gerald R. Ford becomes America’s 38th President. 1975 April 30, 1975-South Vietnam surrenders to North Vietnam. This event is important because the war is now over.