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Timeline of the Vietnam War, 1963-1964

Assassinations and Viet Cong Victories


The Vietnam War took a turn for the worse in 1963-1964. Both President Kennedy and South Vietnam's President Diem were assassinated, and a string of Viet Cong victories turned the war's momentum decidedly in the communist force's favor. The United States was not fully committed to fighting the war, but refused to walk away from it, either.

Jan. 3, 1963- Battle of Ap Bac; 350 Viet Cong defeat much larger Southern force

May-Aug., 1963- Anti-Diem demonstrations; first Buddhist monk's self-immolation

Nov. 1, 1963- Assassination of President Diem, with hesitant U.S. approval

Nov. 22, 1963- Assassination of President Kennedy; Johnson vows to fight on

Dec. 31, 1963- 16,300 U.S. military advisors in South Vietnam by year's end

March 1964- Secret U.S. bombing of Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos begins

May 4, 1964- International community imposes trade embargo on North Vietnam

Summer 1964- 56,000 Viet Cong reinforced by N. Vietnam regulars sweep south

June 20, 1964- Gen. William Westmoreland appointed to head U.S. forces

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