May 7, 1954: Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh forces defeat the French at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, effectively ending the 7 ½-year Indochina War.
July 1954: At a conference in Geneva, world powers agree to a divided Vietnam.
Reading: Vietnam war years
Communists, led by Ho Chi Minh, control the North. The United States eventually supports an anticommunist government led by Ngo Dinh Diem in the South.
Sept. 10, 1960: Le Duan replaces Ho Chi Minh as First Secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party in Hanoi.
Nov. 8, 1960: John F. Kennedy beats Richard Nixon in the U.S. presidential election; Lyndon B. Johnson is vice president.
Dec. 20, 1960: Southern revolutionaries, backed by the North Vietnamese Communist Party, form the National Liberation Front, known in Saigon and Washington as the Viet Cong.
June 11, 1963: Self immolation of Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc in Saigon sparks outrage around the world and brings attention to the developing conflict.
Nov. 1-2, 1963: President Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu are murdered during a coup by dissident generals of the South Vietnamese army.
Nov. 22, 1963: Kennedy is assassinated and Johnson is sworn in as president.
Aug. 2-4, 1964: Two supposed incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin lead Johnson to seek congressional approval for direct U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
March 8, 1965: First Marines land in Danang.
Nov. 14-18, 1965: In the Ia Drang Valley, American troops fight their first large scale battles against the North Vietnamese Army.
April 15 and Oct. 21, 1967: Hundreds of thousands of antiwar protesters gather for demonstrations in New York’s Central Park and in Washington.
Summer 1967 to Spring 1968: During a series of “border battles” in the remote locations of Dak To, Con Thien and Khe Sanh, U.S. Army and Marines face relentless onslaughts from North Vietnamese.
Jan. 31, 1968: During the Tet Offensive, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops launch surprise attacks against targets throughout South Vietnam.
February 1968: In the ancient imperial capital of Hue, communist forces execute at least 2,800 people, mostly South Vietnamese civilians.
March 16, 1968: Over the course of four hours, American soldiers kill more than 500 unarmed civilians in and around the hamlet of My Lai.
March 31, 1968: Johnson announces he will not run for re-election.
Nov. 5, 1968: Nixon is elected president, promising to end the war in Vietnam.
Oct. 15, 1969: The first Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam, a series of mass demonstrations across the United States, take place; a second happens on Nov. 15.
Nov. 3, 1969: Nixon goes on television to call for national solidarity on the Vietnam War effort, appealing to a “silent majority” to support his policies.
May 4, 1970: Four days after Nixon announced the expansion of the war into Cambodia, four students at Kent State are shot by National Guardsmen during a protest.
Feb. 8 – March 25, 1971: The South Vietnamese launch operation Lam Son 719 against North Vietnamese forces in Laos, which ends in their hasty retreat and defeat.
March 30 – Oct. 22, 1972: The Easter Offensive invasion by North Vietnamese forces is successfully repelled by South Vietnamese.
Jan. 27, 1973: Cease-fire agreement is reached between U.S. and North Vietnam, U.S. POWs begin to return home.
March 29, 1973: Last U.S. combat troops leave South Vietnam.
Aug. 9, 1974: Nixon leaves office.
April 30, 1975: Saigon falls.
Nov. 13, 1982: Opening of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall.
July 1995: Under President Bill Clinton, the U.S. normalizes relations with Vietnam.
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