Selected Events for Vietnam

YearMonthDayEventRelated Resource
1964August Congress passes the Tonkin Gulf Resolution giving the President the power to take "all necessary measures" to "prevent further (Communist) aggression" in South Vietnam. 
November03Lyndon Johnson is elected President in a landslide victory over Barry Goldwater. 
1965March08In U.S. v. Seeger the Supreme Court extended conscientious objector status to those who do not necessarily believe in a supreme being, but who oppose war based on sincere beliefs that are equivalent to religious faith.Link
March08President Johnson sends the first U.S. ground troops into action, a crucial turning point in the American involvement in the Vietnam War. At the beginning of the year there are 25,000 American troops; by the end of that year there are 185,000. 
March24The first antiwar teach-in is held at the University of Michigan. At first, both supporters and opponents of the war attend the teach-ins. Before long, the campus teach-ins become anti-war rallies. 
April1715,000 students march in Washigton during a VietNam War protest sponsored by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) 
1966March2620,000 - 30,000 people demonstrate against the Vietnam War in New York City. 
May16Martin Luther King, Jr. presents an antiwar statement at a Washington DC Vietnam protest rally. King agrees to serve as a co-chairman of Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. 
1967April04Martin Luther King, Jr delivers an antiwar address, "Beyond Vietnam: Time to Break the Silence" at a meeting of the Clergy and Laity Concerned About Vietnam at Riverside Church in New York City.Link
October22100,000 people March on the Pentagon to protest the Vietnam War. The March includes appearances by Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman, author Norman Mailer, poet Robert Lowell and pediatrician Benjamin Spock. This is one of many demonstrations during the year. 
1968January15The Jeanette Rankin Brigade, a coalition of women's peace groups, demonstrates at the opening of the U.S. Congress against the Vietnam War. 
January30North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front forces launch the Tet Offensive. The savage attacks on the cities of South Vietnam are designed to destroy the South Vietnamese army, force the U.S. to withdraw from Vietnam, and topple the Saigon regime. 
March16An army platoon led by Lieutenant William Calley massacres hundreds of South Vietnamese civilians in the hamlet of My Lai.Link
April30More than 1,000 protesting students occupy five buildings in the last week of April 1968, effectively shutting down Columbia University until they are forcibly removed by the New York City police. 
August05Richard Nixon is chosen the Presidential nominee by the Republicans. 
August26Hubert Humphrey is chosen as the Democratic Presidential nominee. 
December31During the year, over 14,000 Americans are killed in Vietnam combat, 150,000 are wounded.. 
1969April30U.S.forces reach their combat peak in Vietnam at 543,000 troops. 
November15250,000 people march in the largest anti-war demonstration in the history of Washington DC. Another 200,00 people gather in the Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. 
December01The first draft lottery since 1942 begins. This event determined the order of call for induction during calendar year 1970, that is, for registrants born between January 1, 1944, and December 31, 1950.Link
1970March10Captain Ernest Medina is charged with murder for his participation at My Lai. This event leads to the My Lai Courts-Martial. On March 29, 1970 Lt. William L. Calley Jr. is convicted of premeditated murder in the My Lai massacre.Link
April30President Richard Nixon announces to a national television audience that US troops are invading Cambodia, the country west of Vietnam through which the North Vietnamese military is supplying their troops in the South. In fact, the US has been conducting bombing raids in Cambodia for over a year. The invasion initiates campus protests.Link
May04Four students are killed by National Guardsmen at Kent State University in Ohio. The killings shocked the American public and generated hundreds of protest activities across college campuses in the United States. 
May04The Cambodian invasion leads to campus protests. Four demonstrating students are killed and 10 wounded by National Guardsmen at Kent State University in Ohio. The killings shocked the American public and increase protest activities across college campuses in the United States. 
June30Invasion of Cambodia ends. 
1971February South Vietnam and the U.S. invade Laos in an attempt to sever the Ho Chi Minh Trail. 
June13The New York Times begins publishing the top-secret Pentagon Papers, which explore the U.S. decision-making process regarding South Vietnam.Link
July President Nixon certifies the 26th Amendment, lowering the voting age to 18.Link
1972November President Nixon wins second term, defeating Democrat George S. McGovern. 
December18U.S. bombing of Hanoi and North Vietnam begins. 
December28The North Vietnamese announce that they will return to Paris if Nixon ends the bombing. The bombing campaign is halted and the negotiators met during the first week of January, 1973. 
1973January23United States, South Vietnam, and North Vietnam sign the Paris Peace Accords, ending the American combat role in war. The U.S. military draft ends. A cease-fire goes into effect 5 days later.Link
February12POWs begin to come home as part of Operation Homecoming. 
March29Last U.S. combat troops leave Vietnam. 
April01North Vietnam releases the last 591 acknowledged American POWs. 
November Congress overrides presidential veto of War Powers Act, which limits president's ability to wage war without congressional approval. 

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