Vietnam declares it’s independence from France


After WWI France didn’t want to give up Vietnam, so they fought the French and achieved victory at Dien Bien Phu

Vietnam divided itself into 2 parts


Ngo Dinh Diem became South Vietnam's leader


The Diem regime was supported by the US and didn’t hold elections, going against the Geneva Accords. He cracked down on communists in the south causing them to form a group called the Vietcong. Then the Vietcong declared war on the Diem Regime. Diem took away the rights of people in S. Vietnam, and favorited the Catholics.

Vietcong began war against Diem Regime


Vietcong, on orders from Ho Chi Minh, began a war against the Diem regime

US becomes more involved in the Vietnam conflict


Vietnam was having issues and the US joined the South’s side to prevent the spread of communism

Kennedy withdraws support with Diem Regime


horrifying protests made it hard for Kennedy to continue to support Diem

Kennedy's death


16000 troops


At the time of Kennedy's death, the United States had nearly 16,000 troops in Vietnam

South Vietnamese army overthrew the government.

November, 1963

They assassinated Ngo Dinh Diem. The United States supported the government takeover—but did not support the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem. Days later, Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The question of what to do in Vietnam fell to the succeeding president, Lyndon B. Johnson

North Vietnamese patrol boats had attacked American ships

May 1964

North Vietnamese patrol boats had attacked American ships in the Gulf of Tonkin near North Vietnam. Congress acted quickly. It passed a resolution that allowed the president to "take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States." The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave Johnson broad power to use American forces.

Troop Numbers Rise

1965 - 1968

About 180,000 U.S. soldiers were in Vietnam by the end of 1965. Almost 400,000 were there by the end of 1966 and more than 500,000 by 1968.

Bombing increases

1965 - 1968

During this time, American planes dropped more bombs on North Vietnam than they dropped on the Axis powers during World War II.

Operation Rolling Thunder

March 1965

The United States began a bombing campaign called Operation Rolling Thunder in March 1965. Planes attacked the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a network of roads, paths, and bridges from North Vietnam through Cambodia and Laos into South Vietnam. North Vietnamese troops used this route to bring equipment south. Other planes targeted bridges, docks, factories, and military bases in the North.