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Friday, 13 March, 1998, 13:17 GMT
Vietnam 1945 to 1975: timeline
Key events in the background to the Vietnam war:

1945 - Viet Minh - a broad front of Vietnamese patriots and nationalists controlled by the Communist Party - seize power. Ho Chi Minh announces independence.

1946 - French forces attack Viet Minh in Haiphong in November sparking the war of resistance against France.

1950 - Democratic Republic of Vietnam is recognised by China and USSR.

1954 - At Geneva Conference Vietnam is split into North and South at the 17th Parallel.

1956 - South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem begins campaign against political dissidents.

1957 - Beginning of communist insurgency in the South.

1959 - Weapons and men from North Vietnam begin infiltrating the South.

1960 - American aid to Diem increased.

1962 - Number of US military advisors in South Vietnam rises to 12,000.

1963 - Viet Cong, the communist guerrillas operating in South Vietnam, defeat units of ARVN, South Vietnamese Army. President Diem overthrown.

1964 - US destroyer allegedly attacked by North Vietnamese patrol boats. This triggers start of pre-planned American bombing raids on North Vietnam.

1965 - 200,000 American combat troops arrive in South Vietnam.

1966 - US troop numbers in Vietnam rise to 400,000, then to 500,000 the following year.

1968 - Tet Offensive - a combined assault by Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army on US positions - begins. More than 500 civilians die in My Lai massacre.

1969 - President Nixon draws back US ground troops from Vietnam.

1970 - Nixon's National Security advisor, Henry Kissinger, and Le Duc Tho, for the Hanoi government, start talks in Paris.

1973 - Ceasefire agreement in Paris, US troop pull-out completed by March.

1975 - North Vietnamese troops invade South Vietnam and take control of the whole country after South Vietnamese President Duong Van Minh surrenders.

See also:

13 Mar 98 | Asia-Pacific
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