Christian Appy: Vietnam Historical Timeline, American Reckoning

This page is copied from which is a page on Professor Appy’s site publicising his book American Reckoning. I have read the book and completely agree with Nick Turses review below.  I have also read Turse’s book “Kill Anything That Moves” and heartily recommend it as well.

Nick Turse on American Reckoning:

“A triumph of originality. Appy weaves together a rich tapestry of sources into a completely innovative, eye-opening, and compulsively readable account of the Vietnam War and its far-reaching consequences. American Reckoning offers a fresh lens for understanding the United States in the context of its most controversial conflict as well as its 21st century wars. It’s an impressive, valuable book.”
-Nick Turse, author of the New York Times bestseller Kill Anything That Moves

I have taken the liberty of copying Professor Appy’s page because in its original form it is difficult to read, and it is by far the best succinct Vietnam timeline I have seen which takes the reader from 1883 to the rise of ISIS in 2013.

 Timeline for American Reckoning
1883: France tales control of Vietnam
1919: Vietnamese nationalist Ho Chi Minh tries unsuccessfully to meet with President Woodrow Wilson at the Versailles conference to seek support for his nation’s
 struggle for self-determination
1938: Munich Agreement with Hitler fails to preserve peace
1939: World War II begins with German invasion of Poland
1940: Japan takes control of Indochina under French administration
1941: (December) U.S. enters war against Japan, Germany, and Italy. Ho and Vo Nguyen Giap found the League for the Independence of Vietnam (Viet Minh) to fight French colonialists and Japanese occupiers
1938: Munich Agreement with Hitler fails to preserve peace
1939: World War II begins with German invasion of Poland
1940: Japan takes control of Indochina under French administration
1941: (December) U.S. enters war against Japan, Germany, and Italy Ho and Vo Nguyen Giap found the League for the Independence of Vietnam (Viet Minh) to fight French colonialists and Japanese occupiers
1945: (July) U.S. sends small team from the Office of Strategic Services to ally with anti-French, anti-Japanese forces under Ho Chi Minh (August 6 and 9). U.S. drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki(August 14) Japan surrenders(September) Ho Chi Minh declares Vietnamese independence from French colonial rule
1946: The U.S. refuses to recognize Vietnamese independence and supports the French reconquest of Vietnam The French Indochina War begins and continues until 1954
1947: James Michener publishes Pulitzer Prize  –  winning “Tales of the South Pacific”
  Jackie Robinson breaks color line in baseball
1948: Truman orders the desegregation of the military (but not fully implemented until Vietnam War)
U.S. begins funding the French war against the Vietnamese revolution 1949: Chinese Communist revolution comes to power under Mao Tse-tung
1950: Communist North Korea invades South Korea. The U.S. leads United Nations forces in defense of Syngman Rhee’s regime. War soon stalemates  but continues until 1953.
1952: Revised Standard Version of Bible sells 26 million copies in its first year
1953: President Eisenhower stresses the economic significance of Southeast Asia at Governors’ Conference in Seattle.
1954: Eisenhower fails to persuade Churchill to support French war against anti-colonial forces in Vietnam. Eisenhower decides against military intervention. French defeated at Dien Bien Phu ending French-Indochina War. In final years of war, the U.S. was paying 78 percent of the French war expenses. Supreme Court declares segregated schools unconstitutional. Eisenhower sends CIA to Guatemala to launch secret plan to overthrow democratically elected president. ―”Under God” added to the Pledge of Allegiance
 Geneva Accords  — major powers agree that Vietnam should be temporarily divided at the 17th  parallel with the Viet Minh under Ho Chi Minh in control of the North and
Operation Passage to Freedom  — U.S. Navy transports hundreds of thousands of northern Vietnamese, mostly Catholic, to the south
1955: Ngo Dinh Diem becomes president of Vietnam in referendum guaranteed to produce an all-but-unanimous election
Fourteen-year-old Emmett Till murdered after reportedly flirting with a white woman
1956: Thomas Dooley’s Deliver Us from Evil casts Vietnam as a place where selfless Americans are helping desperate refugees flee from godless Communism American Friends of Vietnam sponsors its first public conference to pledge support to South Vietnam under Ngo Dinh Diem 
Senator John F. Kennedy calls South Vietnam ―our offspring.
 Diem and U.S. call off the nationwide elections called for by the Geneva Accords to reunite Vietnam because of Ho Chi Minh was almost certain to win. 
Dooley secretly dismissed from the U.S. Navy for being a homosexual but supported by CIA to continue work in Southeast Asia
1957: President Diem receives red carpet treatment on visit to U.S.
1958: Two black boys (ages 9 and 7) charged and convicted of molestation in “Kissing Case” after a white girl kisses them
1959: Ngo Dinh Diem’s  harsh rule becomes ever more draconian with creation of roving tribunals that execute people considered a threat to  “national security ‘
Southern Vietnamese revolutionaries called the People’s Liberation Armed
Forces, dubbed Viet Cong , take arms against American-backed government
North Vietnam begins to send soldiers through Truong Son mountain range into South Vietnam
1960: JFK elected president of the United States Walt Whitman Rostow publishes The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non Communist Manifesto
1961:  Two days before Kennedy’s inauguration, Dooley dies of cancer at 34
 C.I.A. launches the Bay of Pig invasion, a failed attempt to overthrow Castro
Kennedy begins to raise U.S. troop levels from under 1000 to more than 16,000 by the time of his assassination in 1963. Project Beefup 
Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson visits South Vietnam and calls Ngo Dinh Diem the Winston Churchill of Asia
  The Green Berets become a media sensation Launch of  Strategic Hamlet Program that forced rural villagers out of their homes and into armed camps in a failed attempt to isolate them from Viet Cong
U.S. begins secret war against North Vietnam
1962: U.S. and South Vietnamese forces begin bombing and napalming South Vietnamese villages that show signs of supporting the Viet Cong. Also begin using chemical defoliants (Agent Orange) MACV, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam is established in Saigon.Cuban Missile Crisis (October)
1963:(January) Life magazine runs cover story on war that includes a two-page color photo taken of orange and black napalm fireball rising from Vietnamese lowlands (June) Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc sets himself on fire in Saigon to demonstrate opposition to the U.S.-backed of Ngo Dinh Diem
 (August) Civil Rights ―March on Washington‖ and M.L. King’s ―I Have a Dream‖
(September) CBS becomes the first of the three TV networks to expand nightly news coverage from fifteen to thirty minutes 
Diem overthrown and murdered (along with his brother Nhu) by a junta of his own military officers. U.S. supported the leaders of the coup. Hours before his assassination, President Kennedy speaks in Ft. Worth saying that without the United States, South Vietnam would collapse overnight
(November 22) President Kennedy assassinated; Lyndon Johnson sworn in
(November 25) 93 percent of Americans tune in to watch JFK’s funeral
 1964:(February) Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show ; 73 million Americans tune in
Mississippi Freedom Summer  — young civil rights activists organize for African American voting rights
(July) Four South Vietnamese patrol boats are sent by the United State to attack some coastal islands of North Vietnam, U.S. ship Maddox went along to collect electronic data
(July)  New York Times  runs front-page story citing Air Commodore Nguyen Cao Ky’s claim that U.S. had waged clandestine military missions against North Vietnam for at least three years. Media does nothing to follow up; story disappears.
(August 2) North Vietnamese boats speed toward S.S. Maddox, Maddox fires first;the North Vietnamese launch several torpedoes, all of them missing
(August 4) LBJ goes on TV to announce, without solid evidence, that a second North Vietnamese PT attack on U.S. destroyers (which never happened) required him to launch ―retaliatory airstrikes.
 (August 7) Congress passes the Tonkin Gulf Resolution with only two dissenting votes, giving LBJ a blank check to escalate the war without a formal declaration
(Fall and Winter) Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley,seeks right to do political organizing on campus and criticizes universities as “knowledge factories”.
 (November) Lyndon Johnson wins the presidency in a landslide over Republican Barry Goldwater. LBJ promised not to send  “American boys” to fight in Vietnam
 1965: (January) Bob Hope Christmas Special , a popular yearly TV show features Hope’s comedy shows for GIs in Vietnam. Runs every year until 1973.
(February 7): Viet Cong pulls attacks U.S. airbase in Pleiku, killing 9. U.S.responds with 132 carrier-based warplanes bombing North Vietnam (February 8) National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy completes a memo calling for systematic bombing of North Vietnam (―sustained reprisal)
 (March 2) Operation Rolling Thunder the bombing of North Vietnam begins and continues until October 31, 1968.
(March 8) 3500 U.S. Marines land in Danang, South Vietnam (the first officially acknowledged combat troops sent to Vietnam) raises U.S. troop presenceto 24,000.(March) I. F. Stone publishes weekly newsletter debunking White House claim that North Vietnam is the overwhelming aggressor in South Vietnam
Robin Moore’s novel, The Green Berets  becomes best seller Popular magazines like
Time  and Newsweek celebrate the skill, professionalism,and high morale of the
“American Fighting Man”
 (June) Operation Arc Light, U.S. carpet bombing by B-52 bombers, begins in South Vietnam Journalist Bernard Fall expresses profound moral objections to the U.S. bombing of South Vietnam, one of the first journalists to do so
1966: Barry Sadler’s ―The Ballad of the Green Berets is Billboard’s number one pop song of the year(February) William Fulbright, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,begins public televised hearings on the war. Project 100,000 launched by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to admit 100,000 men into the military every year who would once have been excluded For poor scores on the military’s mental aptitude test.
 1967: (January) Martha Gellhorn publishes article on Vietnamese civilian casualties in
Ladies’ Home Journal. Green Beret Donald Duncan publishes antiwar memoir,The New Legions 
  American troops force 6,000 people off their land in Operation Cedar Falls oneof the largest forced relocations in history (April 4) Martin Luther King Jr. speaks against the war in front of an audience of4,000 people packed into Riverside Church in Manhattan
Time article (May 26) describes the contribution of Negro soldiers as evidence of American exceptionalism. George Daniels and William Harvey imprisoned for raising questions about the Vietnam War among fellow African American Marines. Four antiwar American sailors from aircraft carrier Intrepid  desert while their ship is in Japan. United States quadruples air war against North Vietnam but fails to crush its will or ability to continue waging war in the South. Phoenix Program (program of political assassinations) begins
1968: (January 31) Tet Offensive begins. Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops launch a coordinated, surprise attack on major cities and U.S./South Vietnamese bases throughout South Vietnam.Communist forces hold Hue for a month and kill an unknown number of civilians U.S. counter offensive employs massive bombing and artillery fire against urban areas to drive out enemy forces. Many thousands of civilians are killed. (February) Orangeburg Massacre. Highway patrolmen shoot at crowd of black demonstrators from South Carolina State University, killing three and wounding twenty-eight.  (March 31) LBJ drops out of the presidential race (April 4) Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated (June 6) Presidential candidate Senator Robert Kennedy is assassinated in Los Angeles after winning the California Democratic primary(November) Republican Richard Nixon is elected president in a narrow victory over the Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey. Brothers Daniel and Philip Berrigan, antiwar priests, convicted of burning draft records 1969: Nixon initiates secret bombing of Cambodia. Operation Speedy Express in the Mekong Delta kills at least 5000 Vietnamese civilians
Cleveland Plain Dealer and Life are first to publish photos of mass murders of over 500 women, children, babies, and older men in My Lai; the army had covered this up for a year and a half  Draft lottery system instated to answer mounting criticism
1970: Bob Hope Christmas Special watched by 46.6 percent of American households

(April) Nixon announces that United States will invade Cambodia Crowd of young antiwar protesters burn down a Bank of America in Isla Vista, California (May 4) Kent State University. Ohio National Guard shoots at unarmed students, killing 4 and wounding 9. (May 8) Bloody Friday hard-hats beat up antiwar protesters in New York City (May 14) Jackson State College: Two unarmed young men killed by Mississippi state troopers
(May 21) Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young record ―Ohio‖
 (July 4) Honor America Day, Washington, D.C. (August 29) Chicano Moratoriam “Against the War” East Los Angeles. Police tear-gas crowd, prompting riot in which police kill two men. Later sheriff deputies fire into a bar and kill distinguished Latino journalist Ruben Salazar 1971:  Vietnam Veterans Against the War meets in Detroit to testify about atrocities they had witnessed or committed Former Defense Department analyst Daniel Ellsberg releases the Pentagon Papers Seventy-one percent of Americans consider war in Vietnam a ―mistake‖; 58 percent consider it immoral  Army-commissioned survey finds that 47 percent of troops admitted to acts of dissent or disobedience Brown and Root win contract to rebuild infamous prison on Con Son Island Lt. William Calley,
is the only American convicted of war crimes in My Lai.  Though given a life sentence, Nixon approves a reduced sentence. Calley released after three and a half years
1972: Jane Fonda visits Hanoi and records propaganda broadcast calling U.S. leaders war criminals
1973:Paris Peace Accords signed (January) calling for a stand-still ceasefire, the return
of U.S. POWs and the withdrawal of all U.S. military forces. The Draft is replaced by the All-Volunteer Force The Watergate Scandal dominates public attention
1974:(August 9) Nixon resigns under pressure of a looming impeachment trial. Gerald Ford becomes president and pardons Nixon
1975: Communist forces launch Final Offensive Operation Baby Lift (April 23) President Gerald Ford speaks at Tulane University one week before the fall of Saigon suggesting that the only thing for Americans to do now is move on (April 30) Communist forces take control of Saigon bringing an end to the war and national reunification. Death toll — 
roughly 58,000 Americans and three million Vietnamese(May 14) U.S. cargo ship the S. S.
 Mayaguez  seized by newly victorious CambodianCommunists; all 40 men on board captured. Ford orders rescue mission that he and the media celebrate as a victory although 41 American troops are killed in an operation that was not necessary to secure the release of the captives.
1979: Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua overthrows right-wing dictator right-wing Anastasio Somoza Iranian revolution overthrows the Shah and fundamentalist Muslims seize power. (November) Radical Iranian students storm U.S. embassy in Tehran and take Americans hostage
1981: President Reagan becomes the first president to utter ―Vietnam in an inaugural
1982: Vietnam Veterans Memorial is completed and dedicated. Murder of Chinese American man by two white, unemployed men points to growing xenophobia in United States
1983: (October 23) Truck with explosives enters U.S. barracks in Beirut Lebanon and detonates, killing 241 soldiers (October 25) United States invades Grenada, purportedly to rescue 800 American medical students
1984: Bruce Springsteen releases―Born in the USA –  a searing song about the life of a homeless and unemployed Vietnam veteran President Reagan orders a military withdrawal from Lebanon; when safely offshore, the U.S. launches devastating naval artillery strikes
1986: Top Gun  opens in the United States Chrysler launches ―Born in America‖ series of ads to capitalize on the chorus of Bruce Springsteen’s popular song ―Born in the USA
 Congress passes $100 million aid bill for the Contras. World Court rules that U.S. acts of war against Nicaragua are in violation of international law. Iran-Contra scandal. Public revelation that Reagan administration secretly sold weapons to Iran and used the profits to help the Contras fight the Sandinista government of Nicaragua.
1987: Brian Willson, Vietnam veteran and antiwar activist, loses both legs when struck by a munitions train. His act of civil disobedience spurs a permanent occupation of the weapons depot tracks.
1989: President George H. W. Bush orders 25,000 troops to invade Panama to arrest General Manuel Noriega 1990: (August 2) Iraq invades Kuwait
1991: (January 17-February 28) Persian Gulf War — 
Operation Desert Storm —  successfully drives Iraqi forces out of Kuwait
President George H.W. Bush declares: ―By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all
1992: Bosnian war begins and continues until 1995
1993: U.S. military intervention in Somalia, begun as a humanitarian mission turns deadly when American forces seek to defeat warlords and get caught in a bloody ambush in Mogadishu. President Clinton withdraws forces
1994: Rwandan genocide kills some 800,000 people U.S. lifts postwar economic embargo of Vietnam and moves toward normalized relations
2001: (September 11) Nineteen al-Qaeda terrorists hijack four U.S. passenger airliners and crash them into New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Almost 3000 people are killed.(September 14) Congress passes the Authorization for Use of Military Force, a resolution authorizing the president to use military force against any nation, organization, or person ―he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorists attacks‖ of 9/11. Only Rep. Barbara Lee of California voted against the resolution.(October 7) U.S. launches Operation Enduring Freedom with The UK to attack al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan and drive the Taliban from power. U.S. and NATO remained to defend the government of Hamid Karzai in the faceof a persistent insurgency.
2002: (October 16) Congress passes the Iraq Resolution — 
the Authorization for Use ofMilitary Force Against Iraq
2003: U.S. invades Iraq. After quickly toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein American forces are the target of a sustained insurgency that also evolves into a bloody civil war.
2004: Photos published showing U.S. guards abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq
2005: (August) Cindy Sheehan, a member of Gold Star Families for Peace, leads
protest near President Bush’s Texas ranch.
2007: President Bush orders a ―surge‖ of 35,000 additional troops to Iraq
The U.S. Army and Marine Counterinsurgency Field Manual  published General David Petraeus takes command of U.S. forces in Iraq
2008: Senator Barack Obama defeats Senator John McCain for the presidency
2009: President Obama escalates the war in Afghanistan and drone attacks on terrorists suspects in several countries
2010: Bitexco Financial Tower completed in downtown Ho Chi Minh City
2011: (May 2) U.S. Navy SEALs kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.(December) U.S. forces withdraw from Iraq
2012: President Obama re-elected
2013: Boston Marathon bombing kills three and wounds dozens
2014: President Obama announces that the war in Afghanistan is coming to a
―responsible conclusion.
 Some 3000 U.S. troops are redeployed to Iraq in response to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria