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Donster

This Month in the Vietnam War: April 1965 -1975

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Seabees-Enlistment.jpgU.S Navy Recruitment Poster-1960's

 

April 1, 1965 - At the White House, President Johnson authorizes sending two more Marine battalions and up to 20,000 logistical personnel to Vietnam. The President also authorizes American combat troops to conduct patrols to root out Viet Cong in the countryside. His decision to allow offensive operations is kept secret from the American press and public for two months.


April 7, 1965 - President Johnson delivers his "Peace Without Conquest" Speech at Johns Hopkins University offering Hanoi "unconditional discussions" to stop the war in return for massive economic assistance in modernizing Vietnam. "Old Ho can't turn that down," Johnson privately tells his aides. But Johnson's peace overture is quickly rejected.


April 15, 1965 - A thousand tons of bombs are dropped on Viet Cong positions by U.S. and South Vietnamese fighter-bombers.


April 17, 1965 - In Washington, 15,000 students gather to protest the U.S. bombing campaign. Student demonstrators will often refer to President Johnson, his advisers, the Pentagon, Washington bureaucrats, and weapons manufacturers, simply as "the Establishment."


April 20, 1965 - In Honolulu, Johnson's top aides, including McNamara, Gen. Westmoreland, Gen. Wheeler, William Bundy, and Ambassador Taylor, meet and agree to recommend to the President sending another 40,000 combat soldiers to Vietnam.


April 24, 1965 - President Johnson announces Americans in Vietnam are eligible for combat pay.

 

chrisnoel1.jpgChris Noel

 

April 12, 1966 - B-52 bombers are used for the first time against North Vietnam. Each B-52 carries up to 100 bombs, dropped from an altitude of about six miles. Target selections are closely supervised by the White House. There are six main target categories; power facilities, war support facilities, transportation lines, military complexes, fuel storage, and air defense installations.


April 13, 1966 - Viet Cong attack Tan Son Nhut airport in Saigon causing 140 casualties while destroying 12 U.S. helicopters and nine aircraft.

 

Jets1.jpg

 

April 6, 1967 - Quang Tri City is attacked by 2500 Viet Cong and NVA.


April 14, 1967 - Richard M. Nixon visits Saigon and states that anti-war protests back in the U.S. are "prolonging the war."


April 15, 1967 - Anti-war demonstrations occur in New York and San Francisco involving nearly 200,000. Rev. Martin Luther King declares that the war is undermining President Johnson's Great Society social reform programs, "...the pursuit of this widened war has narrowed the promised dimensions of the domestic welfare programs, making the poor white and Negro bear the heaviest burdens both at the front and at home."


April 20, 1967 - U.S. bombers target Haiphong harbor in North Vietnam for the first time.


April 24-May 11, 1967 - Hill fights rage at Khe Sanh between U.S. 3rd Marines and the North Vietnamese Army resulting in 940 NVA killed. American losses are 155 killed and 425 wounded. The isolated air base is located in mountainous terrain less than 10 miles from North Vietnam near the border of Laos.


April 24, 1967 - General Westmoreland condemns anti-war demonstrators saying they give the North Vietnamese soldier "hope that he can win politically that which he cannot accomplish militarily." Privately, he has already warned President Johnson "the war could go on indefinitely."


April 30-May 3, 1967 - The Battle of Dai Do occurs along the Demilitarized Zone as NVA troops seek to open an invasion corridor into South Vietnam. They are halted by a battalion of U.S. Marines nicknamed "the Magnificent Bastards" under the command of Lt. Col. William Weise. Aided by heavy artillery and air strikes, NVA suffer 1568 killed. 81 Marines are killed and 297 wounded. 29 U.S. Army are killed supporting the Marines and 130 wounded. For the time being, this defeat ends North Vietnam's hope of successfully invading the South. They will wait four years, until 1972, before trying again, after most of the Americans have gone. It will actually take seven years, until 1975, for them to succeed.

 

Chris%20Noel%20-%20Vietnam%20Long%20BinhChris Noel - Long Binh, Vietnam -1968

 

April 9, 1969 - 300 anti-war students at Harvard University seize the administration building, throw out eight deans, then lock themselves in. They are later forcibly ejected.


April 30, 1969 - U.S. troop levels peak at 543,400. There have been 33,641 Americans killed by now, a total greater than the Korean War.

 

Phantoms-April.JPG

 

April 20, 1970 - President Nixon announces the withdrawal of another 150,000 Americans from Vietnam within a year.


April 30, 1970 - President Nixon stuns Americans by announcing U.S. and South Vietnamese incursion into Cambodia "...not for the purpose of expanding the war into Cambodia but for the purpose of ending the war in Vietnam and winning the just peace we desire." The announcement generates a tidal wave of protest by politicians, the press, students, professors, clergy members, business leaders, and many average Americans against Nixon and the Vietnam War. The incursion is in response to continuing Communist gains against Lon Nol's forces and is also intended to weaken overall NVA military strength as a prelude to U.S. departure from Vietnam.

 

chrisnoel2.jpgChris Noel

 

April 1, 1971 - President Nixon orders Calley released pending his appeal.


April 19, 1971 - 'Vietnam Veterans Against the War' begin a week of nationwide protests.


April 24, 1971 - Another mass demonstration is held in Washington attracting nearly 200,000.


April 29, 1971 - Total American deaths in Vietnam surpass 45,000.


April 30, 1971 - The last U.S. Marine combat units depart Vietnam.

 

A4C_VA146_1964-1.jpg

 

April 2, 1972 - In response to the Eastertide Offensive, President Nixon authorizes the U.S. 7th Fleet to target NVA troops massed around the Demilitarized Zone with air strikes and naval gunfire.


April 4, 1972 - In a further response to Eastertide, President Nixon authorizes a massive bombing campaign targeting all NVA troops invading South Vietnam along with B-52 air strikes against North Vietnam. "The bastards have never been bombed like they're going to bombed this time," Nixon privately declares.


April 10, 1972 - Heavy B-52 bombardments ranging 145 miles into North Vietnam begin.


April 12, 1972 - NVA Eastertide attack on Kontum begins in central South Vietnam. If the attack succeeds, South Vietnam will effectively be cut in two.


April 15, 1972 - Hanoi and Haiphong harbor are bombed by the U.S.


April 15-20, 1972 - Protests against the bombings erupt in America.


April 19, 1972 - NVA Eastertide attack on An Loc begins.


April 27, 1972 - Paris peace talks resume.


April 30, 1972 - U.S. troop levels drop to 69,000.

 

chrisnoel3.jpgChris Noel

 

April 1973 - President Nixon and President Thieu meet at San Clemente, California. Nixon renews his earlier secret pledge to respond militarily if North Vietnam violates the peace agreement.


April 1, 1973 - Captain Robert White, the last known American POW is released.


April 30, 1973 - The Watergate scandal results in the resignation of top Nixon aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman.

 

chrisnoel4.jpgChris Noel

 

April 9, 1975 - NVA close in on Xuan Loc, 38 miles from Saigon. 40,000 NVA attack the city and for the first time encounter stiff resistance from South Vietnamese troops.


April 20, 1975 - U.S. Ambassador Graham Martin meets with President Thieu and pressures him to resign given the gravity of the situation and the unlikelihood that Thieu could ever negotiate with the Communists.


April 21, 1975 - A bitter, tearful President Thieu resigns during a 90 minute rambling TV speech to the people of South Vietnam. Thieu reads from the letter sent by Nixon in 1972 pledging "severe retaliatory action" if South Vietnam was threatened. Thieu condemns the Paris Peace Accords, Henry Kissinger and the U.S. "The United States has not respected its promises. It is inhumane. It is untrustworthy. It is irresponsible." He is then ushered into exile in Taiwan, aided by the CIA.


April 22, 1975 - Xuan Loc falls to the NVA after a two week battle with South Vietnam's 18th Army Division which inflicted over 5000 NVA casualties and delayed the 'Ho Chi Minh Campaign' for two weeks.


April 23, 1975 - 100,000 NVA soldiers advance on Saigon which is now overflowing with refugees. On this same day, President Ford gives aspeech at Tulane University stating the conflict in Vietnam is "a war that is finished as far as America is concerned."

 

chrisnoel5.jpgChris Noel

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28 minutes ago, Donster said:

April 7, 1965 - President Johnson delivers his "Peace Without Conquest" Speech at Johns Hopkins University offering Hanoi "unconditional discussions" to stop the war in return for massive economic assistance in modernizing Vietnam. "Old Ho can't turn that down," Johnson privately tells his aides. But Johnson's peace overture is quickly rejected.

Peace without conquest; yeah, how'd that work out for ya?

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Looking back, if Vietnam had accepted Johnson's proposal, it would have saved a great deal of blood and money, regardless of how much it cost.  And Hanoi might easily have wound up better off than they are today.  Still, who could see it then?  I wonder if Ho even considered it?  If he had accepted would the Chinese have invaded North Vietnam to make them toe the Communist line?  Given that they were in the middle of ripping their own society apart at the time, I doubt it. 

 

Still, if it had happened, people would have pilloried Johnson for spending all that money on a Red Enemy.  It would have taken decades, if not a century, for the wisdom of the deal to be seen and appreciated.

 

OG

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Had the leadership of North Vietnam accepted Johnson's proposal, North Vietnam would have been far better.  The entire nation of Vietnam would have been better, but it would have much influence from the west.  Ho Chi Minh wanted a socialist nation, free of anyone other than native Vietnamese.  He fought to oust the Japanese in WW II, then fought to free Vietnam from French control, then when the U.S. stepped in to stop the communist tide as the French fled from the battle, Old Ho simply had a new enemy.  He was not interested in help from the U.S., he did not want influence or control from the U.S., he wanted Vietnam to be his Democratic Republic of Vietnam.  I am not sure if Johnson was that naive about the desires of Ho Chi Minh or if he was speaking purely as a politician, attempting to placate his audience.

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