May 7, 1954: Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh forces defeat the French at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, effectively ending the 7 ½-year Indochina War.
July 1954: At a conference in Geneva, world powers agree to a divided Vietnam.
Communists, led by Ho Chi Minh, control the North. The United States eventually supports an anticommunist government led by Ngo Dinh Diem in the South.
Sept. 10, 1960: Le Duan replaces Ho Chi Minh as First Secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party in Hanoi.
Nov. 8, 1960: John F. Kennedy beats Richard Nixon in the U.S. presidential election; Lyndon B. Johnson is vice president.
Dec. 20, 1960: Southern revolutionaries, backed by the North Vietnamese Communist Party, form the National Liberation Front, known in Saigon and Washington as the Viet Cong.
June 11, 1963: Self immolation of Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc in Saigon sparks outrage around the world and brings attention to the developing conflict.
Nov. 1-2, 1963: President Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu are murdered during a coup by dissident generals of the South Vietnamese army.
Nov. 22, 1963: Kennedy is assassinated and Johnson is sworn in as president.
Aug. 2-4, 1964: Two supposed incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin lead Johnson to seek congressional approval for direct U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
March 8, 1965: First Marines land in Danang.
Nov. 14-18, 1965: In the Ia Drang Valley, American troops fight their first large scale battles against the North Vietnamese Army.
April 15 and Oct. 21, 1967: Hundreds of thousands of antiwar protesters gather for demonstrations in New York’s Central Park and in Washington.
Summer 1967 to Spring 1968: During a series of “border battles” in the remote locations of Dak To, Con Thien and Khe Sanh, U.S. Army and Marines face relentless onslaughts from North Vietnamese.
Jan. 31, 1968: During the Tet Offensive, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops launch surprise attacks against targets throughout South Vietnam.
February 1968: In the ancient imperial capital of Hue, communist forces execute at least 2,800 people, mostly South Vietnamese civilians.
March 16, 1968: Over the course of four hours, American soldiers kill more than 500 unarmed civilians in and around the hamlet of My Lai.
March 31, 1968: Johnson announces he will not run for re-election.
Nov. 5, 1968: Nixon is elected president, promising to end the war in Vietnam.
Oct. 15, 1969: The first Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam, a series of mass demonstrations across the United States, take place; a second happens on Nov. 15.
Nov. 3, 1969: Nixon goes on television to call for national solidarity on the Vietnam War effort, appealing to a “silent majority” to support his policies.
May 4, 1970: Four days after Nixon announced the expansion of the war into Cambodia, four students at Kent State are shot by National Guardsmen during a protest.
Feb. 8 – March 25, 1971: The South Vietnamese launch operation Lam Son 719 against North Vietnamese forces in Laos, which ends in their hasty retreat and defeat.
March 30 – Oct. 22, 1972: The Easter Offensive invasion by North Vietnamese forces is successfully repelled by South Vietnamese.
Jan. 27, 1973: Cease-fire agreement is reached between U.S. and North Vietnam, U.S. POWs begin to return home.
March 29, 1973: Last U.S. combat troops leave South Vietnam.
Aug. 9, 1974: Nixon leaves office.
April 30, 1975: Saigon falls.
Nov. 13, 1982: Opening of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall.
July 1995: Under President Bill Clinton, the U.S. normalizes relations with Vietnam.
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