Cold War
Timeline
1945
September 2 Vietnamese nationalist leader Ho Chi Minh proclaimed independent Vietnam after the defeat of Japanese.
  September 22 French forces returned to Vietnam to re-establish their control of the region.
1946 December 20 Viet Minh forces (led by Ho Chi Minh) began 8-year Indochina war to remove French from Vietnam.
1950 May 9 Truman announced massive U.S. military aid to French in Indochina.

1954 May 8 French army suffered major defeat by Viet Minh at Dien Bien Phu. At the peace talks that followed, Vietnam was divided into (Communist) North Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh and (non-Communist) South Vietnam.
  September 7 SEATO Alliance founded - Australia, Britain, France, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand, and the United States form an anti-communist alliance against "massive military aggression."
1959 December 20

Ho Chi Minh, leader of the Republic of North Vietnam, formed the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (known as NLF and also as Viet Cong). Its aims were:

overthrow of the U.S.-supported Ngo Dinh Diem regime in South Vietnam

removal of U.S. advisers

unification of Vietnam.

1961 May 11 Kennedy authorized American military advisers to aid South Vietnam, against the forces of North Vietnam.
1962 May President Kennedy ordered 5000 US troops to border of Thailand to counter Communist attacks in Laos and movement toward the Thailand border.
1963 November 1 South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem assassinated.
  November 22 President Kennedy assassinated.
1964 August 2 US warships attacked in Gulf of Tonkin by North Vietnamese patrol boats.
  August 7 US Congress approved Gulf of Tonkin Resolution giving President Johnson power to take "all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States, and to prevent further aggression."
  November 3 Lyndon B. Johnson re-elected President.
1965 March 8 U.S. Marines landed at Da Nang - first official combat troops in Vietnam.
  November Battle of the Ia Drang Valley, the first major clash between the United States and North Vietnamese Army.
  December 24 Vietnam: U.S. forces in Vietnam number 184,300.
1966 February US Senate began hearings on the Vietnam War chaired by Senator Fulbright.
  March 16 10,000 Buddhists march in Saigon protesting against U.S. support for corrupt South Vietnamese regime.
  March 25 Anti-Vietnam War rallies in seven United States and European cities.
  December U.S. forces number 362,000 in Vietnam.
1967 December Vietnam: U.S. forces number 485,000 in Vietnam.
1968 January 30 Tet Offensive, attacks on South Vietnamese cities by North Vietnamese and NLF troops.
  March 16 My Lai massacre in Vietnam.
  March 31 Johnson announced he would not stand for President again, mainly because of the Vietnam War.
  December Vietnam: U.S. forces number 535,000 in Vietnam.
1969 March United States began bombing of Cambodia.
  June 8 Nixon Doctrine and "Vietnamization" begins. Nixon orders first troops out of Vietnam. U.S. forces number 475,200.
  July Nixon Doctrine: Nixon reaffirmed U.S. commitment to defend its allies, but called on developing nations to take the lead role to defend themselves.
  September 3 Death of Ho Chi Minh.
  November 15 March on Washington draws record 250,000 anti-war protesters.

1970 February Paris Peace Talks begin between Kissinger and Vietnamese negotiator Le Duc Tho.
  April 29 U.S. troops invaded Cambodia.
 

May 4

Four Kent State University students killed by National Guardsmen while protesting against Vietnam War.
  December Vietnam: U.S. forces number 334,600 in Vietnam.
1972 February 17-27 Nixon visits China, pledges to withdraw U.S. forces from Taiwan.
  May 8 Vietnam: Nixon ordered the mining of Haiphong Harbor and intensive bombing of all military targets in North Vietnam.
  May 29 Nixon and Brezhnev sign agreement on the "basic principles of detente" which improved superpower relations.
  August 12 U.S. bombers carried out largest 24-hour bombing of the Vietnam War on North Vietnam.
  December 13 Paris Peace Talks break down.
  December Nixon ordered renewed bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong, North Vietnam.
1973 January 23 Nixon announced Vietnam War will end on January 28 and troops will be removed within 60 days.
  January 27 Paris Accords established cease-fire and political settlement of Vietnam War.
  March 29 Military Assistance Command Vietnam closes, last U.S. soldiers leave.
  August 15 U.S. bombing of Cambodia ends.
1975 April 12 United States ends official presence in Cambodia as Marines evacuate diplomats in wake of Khmer Rouge victory.
  April 30 Saigon falls to North Vietnamese troops as Americans evacuate.