Part of the Cold War
A UH-1D helicopter climbs skyward after discharging a load of US infantrymen on a search and destroy mission.
Date September 26, 1959 – April 30, 1975
Location South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos
Result North Vietnamese victory
Eventual communist takeover of South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
changes Unification of North and South Vietnam
Kingdom of Laos
Republic of China
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Ho Chi Minh announces independence.
1946 - French forces attack Viet Minh in Haiphong in November sparking the war of resistance against France.
1950 - Democratic Republic of Vietnam is recognised by China and USSR.
1954 - At Geneva Conference Vietnam is split into North and South at the 17th Parallel.
1956 - South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem begins campaign against political dissidents.
1957 - Beginning of communist insurgency in the South.
1959 - Weapons and men from North Vietnam begin infiltrating the South.
1960 - American aid to Diem increased.
1962 - Number of US military advisors in South Vietnam rises to 12,000.
1963 - Viet Cong, the communist guerrillas operating in South Vietnam, defeat units of ARVN, South Vietnamese Army. President Diem overthrown.
1964 - US destroyer allegedly attacked by North Vietnamese patrol boats. This triggers start of pre-planned American bombing raids on North Vietnam.
1965 - 200,000 American combat troops arrive in South Vietnam.
1966 - US troop numbers in Vietnam rise to 400,000, then to 500,000 the following year.
1968 - Tet Offensive - a combined assault by Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army on US positions - begins. More than 500 civilians die in My Lai massacre.
1969 - President Nixon draws back US ground troops from Vietnam.
1970 - Nixon's National Security advisor, Henry Kissinger, and Le Duc Tho, for the Hanoi government, start talks in Paris.
1973 - Ceasefire agreement in Paris, US troop pull-out completed by March.
1975 - North Vietnamese troops invade South Vietnam and take control of the whole country after South Vietnamese President Duong Van Minh surrenders.
Reasons for outbreak:
• To stop the spread of communism.
• Ngo Dinh Diem had a corrupt government.
• The US wanted to help France and South Vietnam
• For the Vietnamese to become an independent nation (they had to fight the French who were supported by the U.S.)
• The elections (promised by the Geneva Convention in July, 1954) were never held - Ho Chi Minh would have won
• For the Vietnamese to unify the country (they had to fight the corrupt dictator Diem's corrupt regime - "South Vietnam)
• The United States increased its military presence after the Gulf of Tonkin (a trumped-up incident which gained President Johnson the approval of Congress to fight an undeclared war)
• After the founding of the People's Republic of China, and the Korean War in 1950, the U.S. drastically changed its foreign policy towards Asia
• The "Domino Theory" (By the late 1950’s the Americans developed the “Domino Theory” as a justification for the involvement. This theory stated, “If South Vietnam falls to the Communist, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, India and Pakistan would also fall like dominos. The Pacific Islands and even Australia could be at risk”).