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Timeline of Vietnam, 1951-1958

Frances Loses the First Indochina War, and America Gets Involved


Even as France realized that it would lose the First Indochina War, and have to give up its colonial presence in Southeast Asia, the United States became more and more involved in events in the region. Anti-communist feelings in America, and the U.S. government's policy of "containment," led the U.S. to intervene against Ho Chi Minh's communist forces.

Jan.-June, 1951- French fortify "De Lattra Line" at Red River Delta

Dec. 1951- Viet Minh Gen. Giap loses 20,000 men, switches to guerrilla tactics

May 1954- Dien Bien Phu: 10,000 French overwhelmed by 50,000 Viet Minh

May 1954- French pull out of Vietnam. Total dead on both sides: 400,000

June 1954- U.S. CIA sends military mission to Saigon

June 1954- Bao Dai appoints Ngo Dinh Diem as Prime Minister in South Vietnam

July 1954- Geneva Conference set 17th Parallel as DMZ between halves of Vietnam

Oct. 1954- President Eisenhower pledges support for Diem's regime

Oct. 1955- Diem ousts Bao Dai with U.S. help, declares himself president

Oct. 1957- Viet Minh assassinate 400+ South Vietnamese officials, set bombs

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