History of War

IN THE 20TH CENTURY

 

Vietnam War: Timeline (1955-1975)

Vietnam War Statistics

American military deaths: 58,220

American soldiers killed at less than 20 years old: 11,465

South Vietnamese civilian deaths: 195,000–430,000

North Vietnamese civilian deaths: 50,000–65,000

North Vietnamese military deaths/missing: 400,000–1,100,000

Peak American troop strength: 326,863

Peak North Vietnamese troop strength: 287,465

Total Deaths: 1,102,000–3,886,026

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), referred to as the Viet Cong or Charlie by the American Army, is established in South Vietnam. The Viet Cong were essentially communist rebels in the Democratic State of South Vietnam and became known for their guerrilla war tactics against the Americans.

November 2, 1963
South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem is executed during a coup twenty days before President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in the United States.

August 2 and 4, 1964
The North Vietnamese Army allegedly 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 that calls for American military escalation in Vietnam.

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

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

March 16, 1968
U.S. soldiers kill between 347 and 504 unarmed civilians in My Lai, a Vietnamese village. This event became known as the My Lai massacre and resulted in massive public outrage and fueled the already strong anti-war movement in the US when the news became public.

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

July 1969
Vietnam War map President Nixon orders the first of many U.S. troop withdrawals from Vietnam in an exit strategy known as Vietnamization.

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

April 30, 1970
President Nixon announces that American troops will attack enemy locations in Cambodia, which sparks nationwide protests in the US, particularly on college campuses.

June 13, 1971
Portions of the Pentagon Papers, which detail how the Johnson Administration expanded the scale of the Vietnam War to the borders of Cambodia and Laos in bombing campaigns without public knowledge, 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 temporary cease-fire between North and South Vietnam.

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 communist forces, officially ending the Vietnam War. The following year, Vietnam is unifed as a communist country, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.