Vietnam War in History

Historical Events

  • 1956-06-08 Richard B. Fitzgibbon, Jr. killed by another USAF airman in Vietnam, becoming the first American killed in the Vietnam War
  • 1962-01-12 Operation Chopper begins, America's first combat mission in the Vietnam War
  • 1963-06-11 Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức immolates himself at a Saigon intersection, creating one of the Vietnam War's most iconic images
  • 1964-08-02 North Vietnam fires on a US destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin incident which would eventually escalate US involvement in the Vietnam War
  • 1964-12-05 Captain Roger Donlon is awarded the first Medal of Honor of the Vietnam War for successfully repelling a large Viet Cong attack
  • 1965-03-30 Vietnam War: A car bomb explodes in front of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, killing 22 and wounding 183 others
  • 1965-06-10 Vietnam War: Battle of Dong Xoai begins, a major engagement between the Viet Cong and South Vietnamese forces
  • 1965-06-13 Vietnam War: Battle of Dong Xoai ends in a Viet Cong victory
  • 1966-01-10 The Georgia House of Representatives votes 184-12 to deny Julian Bond his seat as a result of his opposition to the Vietnam War
  • 1966-03-26 Large-scale anti-Vietnam War protests take place in the United States, including in New York, Washington D.C. and Chicago
  • 1966-06-29 Vietnam War: US planes bomb the North Vietnamese capital Hanoi and the port city of Haiphong for the first time

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1967-04-24 Vietnam War: American General William Westmoreland says in a news conference that the enemy had "gained support in the United States that gives him hope that he can win politically that which he cannot win militarily."

  • 1967-10-21 Tens of thousands of anti-Vietnam War protesters march on the Pentagon, besieging the military headquarters for two days
  • 1967-11-03 Vietnam War: The Battle of Dak To begins, becoming one of the bloodiest battles of the war
  • 1967-11-21 Vietnam War: American General William Westmoreland tells news reporters: "I am absolutely certain that whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing."

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1967-11-30 Senator Eugene McCarthy announces he will run for the US presidency on an anti-Vietnam war platform

Politician and Presidential Candidate Eugene McCarthy
Politician and Presidential Candidate
Eugene McCarthy

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1967-12-05 Pediatrician Benjamin Spock and poet Allen Ginsberg arrested in New York while protesting against the Vietnam War

Pediatrician Benjamin Spock
Pediatrician
Benjamin Spock
Beat Poet Allen Ginsberg
Beat Poet
Allen Ginsberg
  • 1968-01-21 The Battle of Khe Sanh - one of the most publicized and controversial battles of the Vietnam War - begins at the Khe Sanh Air Base
  • 1968-01-24 Operation Coburg, an Australian and New Zealand military action during the Vietnam War, begins
  • 1968-02-18 Thousands of people in West Berlin demonstrate against US involvement in the Vietnam War

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1968-02-27 CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite delivers a scathing editorial on America's chances of winning the Vietnam War

Broadcast Journalist Walter Cronkite
Broadcast Journalist
Walter Cronkite
  • 1968-03-16 My Lai massacre occurs when American soldiers kill ~400 unarmed Vietnamese civilians, in one of the most controversial incidents of the Vietnam War
  • 1969-04-03 Vietnam War: U.S. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird announces that the United States will start a policy of "Vietnamization", reducing American involvement
  • 1969-04-05 Massive anti-Vietnam War demonstrations occur in many U.S. cities.

/flags/vietnamVietnam War Moratorium Demonstration

1969-11-15 An estimated 2 million people take part in the Vietnam War Moratorium demonstration across the United States

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1969-11-25 John Lennon returns OBE to protest against UK's support for Vietnam War

Musician and Beatle John Lennon
Musician and Beatle
John Lennon
  • 1970-04-29 US and South Vietnamese forces launch an incursion into Cambodia, expanding the Vietnam War
  • 1970-05-08 Thousands of students protest against the Vietnam War following the Kent State shootings in Ohio
  • 1971-04-25 About 200,000 anti-Vietnam War protesters march on Washington, D.C.
  • 1972-12-18 US launches Operation Linebacker II, its heaviest bombing of North Vietnam, as negotiations to end the Vietnam War collapse

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1973-01-23 US President Richard Nixon announces an accord has been reached to end Vietnam War

37th US President Richard Nixon
37th US President
Richard Nixon
  • 1973-02-05 Funeral for LC William Nolde, last US soldier killed in Vietnam War
  • 1974-02-05 John Murtha becomes the first Vietnam War veteran elected to the United States Congress

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1974-09-16 US President Gerald Ford announces conditional amnesty for US Vietnam War deserters

38th US President Gerald Ford
38th US President
Gerald Ford
  • 1975-04-02 Vietnam War: Thousands of civilian refugees flee from the Quang Ngai Province in front of advancing North Vietnamese troops.

Victory in battleThe Fall of Saigon

1975-04-29 Vietnam War: US begins to evacuate its citizens from Saigon in Operation Frequent Wind in response to advancing North Vietnamese forces, bringing an end to US involvement in the war

  • 1975-04-29 Charles McMahon and Darwin Judge are the last two United States servicemen killed in Vietnam during the Vietnam War
  • 1975-04-30 North Vietnamese troops capture Saigon, ending the Vietnam War
  • 1976-07-20 Vietnam War: The US military completes its troop withdrawal from Thailand.

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1977-01-21 US President Jimmy Carter pardons almost all Vietnam War draft evaders

39th US President Jimmy Carter
39th US President
Jimmy Carter
  • 1981-06-06 Maya Yang Lin wins competition to design the Vietnam War Memorial

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2000-11-16 Bill Clinton becomes the first U.S. President to visit Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War

42nd US President Bill Clinton
42nd US President
Bill Clinton

Famous Birthdays


Person of interestPerson of Interest

1914-03-26 William Westmoreland, American general (commander of American forces in the Vietnam War, 1964-68) born in Saxon, South Carolina (d. 2005)

  • 1914-09-15 Creighton Abrams, American general (commander of American forces in the Vietnam War, 1968-72), born in Springfield, Massachusetts (d. 1974)
  • 1921-05-09 Daniel Berrigan, American Jesuit priest and peace activist (Vietnam War), born in Virginia, Minnesota (d. 2016)
  • 1922-07-14 Robin Olds, American World War II and Vietnam War ace fighter pilot (d. 2007)
  • 1932-02-14 Leo Thorsness, American Vietnam War pilot (Medal of Honor), born in Walnut Grove, Minnesota (d. 2017)

Famous Deaths

  • 1959-07-08 Dale Buisand & Chester Ovnand killed in Viet Cong attack, becoming the second and third Americans killed in the Vietnam War
  • 1995-02-09 J William Fulbright, American senator (D-AR, known for opposition to the Vietnam War), dies at 89

Person of interestPerson of Interest

2005-07-18 William Westmoreland, US general during the Vietnam War, dies at 91

  • 2006-01-06 Hugh Thompson, Jr., American Vietnam War veteran (played a major role in ending the My Lai massacre), dies of cancer at 62
  • 2016-04-30 Daniel Berrigan, American Jesuit priest and peace activist (Vietnam War), dies at 94
  • 2017-05-02 Leo Thorsness, American Vietnam War pilot (Medal of Honor), dies at 85