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Time Line

1960's Vietnam Time Line

Note: This is a partial outline of the events of the time. It is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather to provide context for students studying social protest in this decade.


U. S. military advisors arrive in Vietnam.


Tonkin Gulf Incident: The U. S. government claims that two U. S. Navy destroyers were fired upon by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. In retaliation, President Johnson orders the bombing of North Vietnamese industrial targets.

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution: Congress passes a resolution giving the President the power to take any steps necessary to safeguard United States interests in Southeast Asia.

Bombing of North Vietnam increases.


Antiwar march on Washington D.C. 25,000 people attend.

Nationwide, there are 80,000 separate demonstrations protesting U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war.

During this year, the number of U. S. troops in Vietnam totals 385,000. The average age of a soldier is 19.


100,000 people gather in Washington D.C. to conduct a peace rally.


Tet Offensive: The North Vietnamese and the Vietcong conduct a surprise attack on various points in South Vietnam, even threatening the U. S. Embassy in the capital, Saigon. Although the attack is immediately repelled, media images of the enemy in the streets of Saigon influence public opinion so that more than fifty percent of Americans now oppose the war.

In the wake of the Tet Offensive, Johnson refuses to run for re-election.

My Lai Massacre: United States troops participate in a search and destroy mission where Vietnamese civilians are killed.

Peace talks begin in Paris.

Richard M. Nixon elected President.


543,400 U. S. troops are in Vietnam. Troop withdrawal begins.

25 million protestors march on Washington D.C.


The U. S. commences bombing of Cambodia, located directly to the west of Vietnam. The goal was to stop the movement of supplies from North to South Vietnam along the Ho Chi Minh trail, which ran through Laos and Cambodia.

National Guardsmen fire on student protestors at Kent State University, killing four.