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Indochinese Communist Party, opposed to French rule, organized by Ho Chi Minn and his followers.





Bao Dai returns from France to reign as emperor of Vietnam under the French. September, 1940


Japanese troops occupy Indochina, but allow the French to continue their colonial administration of the area.




An OSS (Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA) team parachutes into Ho Chi Minh's jungle camp in northern Vietnam and saves Ho Chi Minh who is ill with malaria and other tropical diseases.


August, 1945


Japan surrenders. Ho Chi Minh establishes the Viet Minh, a guerilla army. Bao Dai abdicates after a general uprising led by the Viet Minh.


September, 1945


Seven OSS officers, led by Lieutenant Colonel A. Peter Dewey land in Saigon to liberate Allied war prisoners, search for missing Americans, and gather intelligence.


September 2, 1945


Ho Chi Minh reads Vietnam's Declaration of Independence and establishes the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi. Vietnam is divided.


September 26. 1945


OSS Lieutenant Dewey killed in Saigon, the first American to be killed in Vietnam. French and Vietminh spokesmen blame each other for his death.




Ho Chi Minh attempts to negotiate the end of colonial rule with the French without success. The French army shells Haiphong harbor in November, killing over 6.000 Vietnamese civilians, and, by December, open war between France and the Viet Minh begins.




The U.S. recognizing Bao Dai's regime as legitimate, begins to subsidize the French in Vietnam: the Chinese begin to supply weapons to the Viet Minh.


August 3. 1950


A U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) of 35 men arrives in Saigon. May 7, 1954


The French are defeated at Dien Bien Phu. General Vo Nguyen Giap commands the Vietnamese forces.


July 20, 1954


The Geneva Conference on Indochina declares a demilitarized zone at the 17th parallel. October 24, 1954.


President Eisenhower pledges support to Diem's government and military forces.




Ngo Dinh Diem organizes the Republic of Vietnam as an independent nation: declares himself president.


July 8, 1959


The first American combat death in Vietnam occurs.




The National Liberation Front (NLF) — called the Viet Cong — is founded in South Vietnam.


June 16, 1963


A Buddhist monk immolates himself in Saigon.


May 4, 1964


Trade embargo imposed on North Vietnam in response to attacks from the North on South Vietnam.


August 2 and 4, 1964


The Gulf of Tonkin Incident. North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the U.S. destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin. A second attack allegedly occurs on August 4.


August 5, 1964


President Lyndon Johnson asks Congress for a resolution against North Vietnam following the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Congress debates.


August 7, 1964


Congress approves the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which allows the president to take any necessary measures to repel further attacks and to provide military assistance to any SEATO member.


June, 1965


Generals Ку and Thieu seize the South Vietnamese government.


March 8, 1965


First U.S. combat troops reach South Vietnam.


September, 1967


Thieu is elected president of South Vietnam.


Oct 21-23. 1967


50,000 people demonstrate against the war in Washington, D.C.


January 21, 1968


The battle of Khe Sanh begins, ending six months later.


January 31, 1968 The Tet Offensive


May 10-20. 1969


The battle for Hamburger Hill


May 20, 1969 Paris peace talks begin.


July 8. 1969


President Richard Nixon announces the first troop withdrawals from South Vietnam


September 3, 1969 Ho Chi Minh dies.


November 15. 1969


250.000 people demonstrate against the war in Washington, D.C. April 30, 1970


The armies of the U.S. and South Vietnam invade Cambodia.


February, 1971 Laos invaded.


December1972 Christmas bombing of Hanoi


January 27, 1973


United States and North Vietnam sign Paris Peace Accords, ending American combat role in war, U.S. military draft ends.


March 29, 1973


Last U.S. combat troops leave Vietnam. February 12-27, 1973


POWs begin to come home as part of Operation Homecoming. April 1, 1973


Hanoi releases last 591 acknowledged American POWs. April 29, 1975


Saigon falls: last Americans evacuated; last American combat death. April 30, 1975


North Vietnamese forces take over Saigon, South Vietnam surrenders to North Vietnam, ending the war and reunifying the country under communist control. Washington extends embargo to all of Vietnam.


December, 1978


Vietnam invades Cambodia and topples Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge government, ending its reign of terror.




Western European countries and non-communist Asian nations support U.S.-led embargo against Vietnam, in protest against invasion of Cambodia.


November 13, 1982


The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, "The Wall", is erected in Washington, D.C.




Vietnam begins cooperation with United States to resolve fate of American servicemen missing in action (MIA).


September / October 1988


United States and Vietnam conduct first joint field investigations on MIAs.


September 1989


Vietnam completes Cambodia withdrawal.


April 21, 1991


United States and Vietnam agree to establish U.S. office in Hanoi to help determine MIAs' fate. Washington presents Hanoi with a roadmap for phased normalization of relations and the lifting of the embargo.


October, 1991


Vietnam supports U.N. peace plan for Cambodia. Secretary of State James Baker says Washington is ready to take steps towards normalizing relations with Hanoi. Washington presents Hanoi with "roadmap" plan for phased normalization of relations and lifting of U.S. embargo.


December, 1991


Washington lifts ban on organized U.S. travel to Vietnam.




Vietnam's Constitution adopted.


April 29, 1992


Washington eases trade embargo by allowing commercial sales to Vietnam that meet basic human needs, lifts restrictions on projects by American nongovernmental and non-profit groups, and allows establishment of telecommunications links with Vietnam.


October, 1992


Retired General John Vèssey, the U.S. presidential envoy on MIA issue, makes sixth trip to Hanoi, obtains Vietnamese agreement on wider MIA cooperation, which Washington describes as a breakthrough.


December 14, 1992


President George Bush grants permission for U.S. companies open offices, sign contracts and do feasibility studies in Vietnam.


July 2, 1993


President Bill Clinton ends U.S. opposition to settlement of Vietnam's 140 million areas to the International Monetary Fund, clearing the way for the resumption of international lending to Vietnam.


September 13, 1993


President Clinton eases economic sanctions against Vietnam to allow American firms to bid on development projects financed by international banks, another step toward normalization. January 16, 1994.


Admiral Charles Larson, head of U.S. Pacific Command visits Vietnam, the highest-ranking active-duty U.S. military officer to do so since the war's end. He concludes that lifting the trade embargo would help efforts to account for Americans missing from the war.


January 27, 1994


Backed by broad bipartisan support, the Senate approves non-binding resolution urging President Clinton to lift embargo, a move they felt would help get a full account of Americans still listed as missing in the Vietnam War.


February 3, 1994


President Clinton announces the lifting of the trade embargo.


October 5, 1994


House passes bill saying MIA accounting should remain central to U.S. policy in Vietnam and the main function of a U.S. liaison office in Vietnam.


January 27, 1995


U.S. and Vietnam sign agreements settling old property claims and establishing liaison offices in each other's capitals.


April 30, 1995


Vietnam celebrates the 20 th anniversary of the end of the war.


May 15, 1995


Vietnam gives U.S. presidential delegation batch of documents on missing Americans, later hailed by Pentagon as most detailed and informative of their kind.


May 23, 1995


Senators John Kerry (D. Mass) and John McCain (R. Ariz.), both Vietnam veterans, urge Clinton to normalize relations.


May 31, 1995


Vietnam turns over 100 pages of maps and reports about U.S. servicemen killed or captured during the war. An American veteran's map helps locate a mass grave of communist soldiers killed during the war.


June 1995


Senators Kerry and McCain say they plan to offer a Senate resolution approving normalized relations with Vietnam. Secretary of State Warren Christopher recommends to President Clinton that the United States establish formal diplomatic relations with Vietnam. State Department praises Hanoi authorities for increasing counter-narcotics cooperation with the United States. Vietnamese President Le Due Anh announces he will visit the United States in October for a celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.


July 11, 1995


President Clinton announces normalization of relations with Vietnam, saying the time has come to move forward and bind up the wounds from the war.


July 2, 1995


Vietnam becomes a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).


August 5, 1995


Secretary of State Warren Christopher opens U.S. embassy in Hanoi.


September 4. 1995


Former President George Bush visits Vietnam.


November 7-10, 1995


Former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara visits Vietnam.


July 12, 1996


U.S. National Security Adviser Anthony Lake visits Hanoi to mark the first anniversary of normalization of relations.


April 10, 1997


Former POW Douglas Peterson is confirmed by the Senate as the first ambassador to Vietnam since the end of the war and the first ever to be posted to Hanoi. Vietnam's Le Van Bang is confirmed as Vietnam's ambassador to the United States.


April 16, 1997


The US and Vietnam reach copyright protection agreement, a step toward Most Favored Nation status.


May 9, 1997


Ambassador Peterson arrives in Hanoi to take up his new post. Ambassador Le Van Bang arrives in Washington on May 7.


June 24, 1997


Secretary of State Madeline Albright arrives in Vietnam on an official visit. March 10, 1998


President Clinton waives the Jackson-Vanik Amendment for Vietnam, allowing American investors in Vietnam to compete more effectively in Vietnam to receive financial help from U.S. government agencies such as the ExportImport Bank.


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