Vietnam

Why the Battle for Hamburger Hill Was So Controversial

For almost 11 days in May 1969, American troops waged a deadly battle for control of a 3,000-foot-tall hill in a remote valley in South Vietnam. Famously known as “Hamburger Hill,” the battle launched the first phase of Operation Apache Snow, a coordinated attack by the U.S. Army …read more

Vietnam War Timeline

The Vietnam War started in the 1950s, according to most historians, though the conflict in Southeast Asia had its roots in the French colonial period of the 1800s. The United States, France, China, the Soviet Union, Cambodia, Laos and other countries would over time become …read more

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U.S. establishes diplomatic relations with Vietnam

Two decades after the Fall of Saigon, President Bill Clinton establishes full diplomatic relations with Vietnam, citing Vietnamese cooperation in accounting for the 2,238 Americans still listed as missing in the Vietnam War. Normalization with America’s old enemy began in early …read more

Vietnam declares its independence from France

Hours after Japan’s surrender in World War II, Vietnamese communist Ho Chi Minh declares the independence of Vietnam from France. The proclamation paraphrased the U.S. Declaration of Independence in declaring, “All men are born equal: the Creator has given us inviolable rights, …read more

French defeated at Dien Bien Phu

In northwest Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh forces decisively defeat the French at Dien Bien Phu, a French stronghold besieged by the Vietnamese communists for 57 days. The Viet Minh victory at Dien Bien Phu signaled the end of French colonial influence in Indochina and cleared …read more

Viet Minh take control in the north

The Viet Minh formally take over Hanoi and control of North Vietnam. The Vietnam Doc Lap Dong Minh (Vietnam Independence League), or Viet Minh as it would become known to the world, was a Communist front organization founded by Ho Chi Minh in 1941 to organize resistance against …read more

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President Eisenhower pledges support to South Vietnam

President Eisenhower pledges support to Diem’s government and military forces. Eisenhower wrote to South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and promised direct assistance to his government. Eisenhower made it clear to Diem that U.S. aid to his government during Vietnam’s “hour …read more

SEATO established

Having been directed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to put together an alliance to contain any communist aggression in the free territories of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, or Southeast Asia in general, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles forges an agreement establishing a …read more

Radio Hanoi announces the death of Ho Chi Minh

Radio Hanoi announces the death of Ho Chi Minh, who died two days earlier, proclaiming that the National Liberation Front will halt military operations in the South for three days in mourning for Ho.  Ho had been the spiritual leader of the communists in Vietnam since the …read more

South Vietnamese President Thieu turns down peace proposal

In Saigon, Henry Kissinger meets with South Vietnamese President Thieu to secure his approval of a proposed cease-fire that had been worked out at the secret peace talks with the North Vietnamese in Paris. The proposal presumed a postwar role for the Viet Cong and Thieu rejected …read more

Paris peace talks break down

For the first time since the Paris peace talks began in May 1968, both sides refuse to set another meeting date for continuation of the negotiations. The refusal to continue came during the 138th session of the peace talks. U.S. delegate William Porter angered the communist …read more

President Nixon announces Vietnam War is ending

At a news conference, President Richard Nixon says that the Vietnam War is coming to a “conclusion as a result of the plan that we have instituted.” Nixon had announced at a conference in Midway in June that the United States would be following a new program he termed …read more

Vietnamese president and communist icon Ho Chi Minh dies

President Ho Chi Minh of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam dies of a heart attack in Hanoi. North Vietnamese officials announced his death the next day. Ho Chi Minh had been the heart and soul of Vietnamese communism since the earliest days of the movement. Born in 1890, he …read more

Ho Chi Minh responds to Nixon letter

Ho Chi Minh’s reply to President Nixon’s letter of July 15 is received in Paris. Ho accused the United States of a “war of aggression” against the Vietnamese people, “violating our fundamental national rights” and warned that “the longer the war goes on, the more it accumulates …read more

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Ho Chi Minh buried in Hanoi

Funeral services, attended by 250,000 mourners, are held for Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh Square. Among those in attendance were Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin, Chinese Vice-Premier Li Hsien-nien and Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia. Ho had established the Indochinese …read more

General Minh takes over leadership of South Vietnam

In the aftermath of the November 1 coup that resulted in the murder of President Ngo Dinh Diem, Gen. Duong Van Minh, leading the Revolutionary Military Committee of the dissident generals who had conducted the coup, takes over leadership of South Vietnam. U.S. Ambassador Henry …read more

American forces suffer first casualties in Vietnam

U.S. military personnel suffer their first casualties in the war when 13 Americans are wounded in three terrorist bombings of Military Assistance Advisory Group and U.S. Information Service installations in Saigon. The rising tide of guerrilla activity in South Vietnam reached …read more

President Clinton ends trade embargo of Vietnam

President Bill Clinton lifts a 19-year-old trade embargo of the Republic of Vietnam. The embargo had been in place since 1975, when North Vietnamese forces captured the city of Saigon in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. President Clinton lifted the embargo primarily to …read more

Ngo Dinh Diem assassinated in South Vietnam

Following the overthrow of his government by South Vietnamese military forces the day before, President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother are captured and killed by a group of soldiers.  The death of Diem caused celebration among many people in South Vietnam, but also lead to …read more

Battle of Dien Bien Phu

The Battle of Dien Bien Phu was the decisive engagement in the first Indochina War (1946–54). After French forces occupied the Dien Bien Phu valley in late 1953, Viet Minh commander Vo Nguyen Giap amassed troops and placed heavy artillery in caves of the mountains overlooking the …read more

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