1954—South Vietnam becomes independent state, “granted” by Geneva Convention, which they did not attend; Diem appointed Prime Minister by Emperor Bao Dai. Ho Chi Minh grabs North Viet Nam for himself, a gift from the Japanese who ‘owned’ it briefly in WW II.
Communist forces in South Vietnam begin terrorist attacks on civilians in South Vietnam, escalating to skirmishes and platoon/company-size battles. South Vietnamese forces keep Communists from any significant military victories.
1956—South Vietnam doesn’t vote to turn itself into a communist-ruled slave state irritating Europeans and the American left.
1957—The UN Security Council votes 8 to 1 (the Soviet Union vetoing) and the General Assembly votes 49 to 9 to admit South Vietnam. It becomes a member of every UN agency from which it could not be barred by Soviet veto. Becomes first UN “Almost” Nation.
1959—Communists in Hanoi pledge to conquer South Vietnam and begin sending troops to invade Laos and Cambodia to secure highway right-of-way (Ho Chi Minh Trail) having been given ‘free pass’ by Kennedy administration’s settlement with Communists in Laos.
1962—JFK backs up ‘bear any burden’ speech and approves small U.S. advisory force in Vietnam.
1963—Weasels in U.S. government, uncertain and with weak leadership, acquiesce to coup against South Vietnamese leader, Diem, who is assassinated after JFK administration forgot to arrange transportation out of the country following coup.
1965—U.S. Marines arrive in Danang. Followed by U.S. troop build-up to over 500,000 with 20% actual combat troops. Kill ratio (U.S. to Communist) remains above 10 to 1 for duration of war. ARVN fight valiantly, independently and alongside U.S. forces, losing over a million dead and wounded (over course of war) in defense of their homeland.
1968—TET ’68 Offensive. Communists lose 50,000 to 75,000 soldiers in ten days. No South Vietnamese join offensive on side of Communists. No South Vietnam cities are held by Communist invaders with exception of Hue where Communists held long enough to slaughter 3,000 to 4,000 civilians before being defeated by U.S. and ARVN forces.
US media declares resounding US defeat, primarily based on reports that Viet Cong sappers had completely destroyed flowerbeds in US embassy grounds during their final few hours before being shot. Media claims U.S. government didn’t tell them the war was still going on and begins five year pout.
Siege of Khe Sanh lifted, fewer than 300 Americans dead, between 5,000 and 15,000 Communists dead. Media decides it was ‘almost Dien Bien Phu’ except that US won, killed thousands of enemy, was never in danger of being overrun, had overwhelming airpower available as well as tens of thousands of troops in reserve.
North Viet Nam claims they never meant to overrun Khe Sanh anyway. Just a brilliant ploy to lose a few thousand men so as to divert attention from chance to lose 50,000 men in TET offensive.
1968-1975—Hoards of leftist journalists, academics, peace-activists, politicians, movie stars, folk singers, radical war-protesters, and various charlatans, fools and frauds descend on North Vietnam, reporting breathlessly that U.S. bombing is causing damage and that the North Vietnamese people don’t like it. After photo-ops and notes for books complete, all return to lives of relative luxury and safety in U.S.
Richard Nixon elected president of U.S., proving populace and media not 100% in synch.
1969—America begins to withdraw troops. Europe and NATO throw fit that Nixon won’t reveal his withdrawal plan completely. Administration suggests they subscribe to New York Times if they want U.S. military secrets.
1972—North Vietnam joins in the debate over effectiveness of American air power and launches Communist “Easter Offensive” on South Vietnamese towns. Lose 100,000 soldiers before scrambling back into North Vietnam and Cambodia/Laotian sanctuaries.
Communists walk out of Paris Peace talks. Nixon bombs be-Jesus out of Hanoi. Communists scurry back into Paris Peace talks.
1973—Paris Peace Accord signed in January. All U.S. combat troops out. Democratically elected SVN government is non-Communist. Internationally sanctioned cease fire in place. U.S. POWs released. Viet Cong army no longer exists. North Vietnamese army decimated. North Vietnam economy in ruins. US starts chats with new best friends China and Russia. American War in Vietnam Over!
U.S. Democrat Congress, not realizing U.S. had won, seizes opportunity to surrender. Votes Case-Church Amendment barring US naval forces from sailing on seas surrounding, US ground forces from operation on the land of, and US air forces from flying in the air over, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Nullifies Paris Peace agreement (which pledges support to enforce the treaty) before North Vietnam has a chance to do it for itself. (*)
1973-1974—North Vietnam rebuilds army. Receives massive aid from Communist godfathers. Begins military probe of South Vietnam, testing waters with attacks in Phouc Binh province.
US Congress debates break-in of Democratic office in Watergate complex in Washington DC and its implications for humanity, God, and future elections.
North Vietnam leaders begin planning full scale attack on South Vietnam. Discuss their fear and hatred of Nixon. (Ditto U.S. Congress) The Vietnam propaganda machine prevails after 1973, convincing the world that North Vietnam is entitled to overrun South Vietnam. Legality and morality is not challenged by attorneys or U.S. Congress.
1974—Richard Nixon resigns as President. Giving Congress scores sole victory of their Vietnam War policy.
1975—North Vietnam captures Phouc Long, provincial capital of Phouc Binh, north of Saigon on Cambodian border. Democrat Congress musters courage to sit quietly and study fingernails. Foul mouth anti-war activists, Rubin and Rudd, debate opportunity to work Phouc Binh and Phouc Long into their anti-American tirades.
1975 later—North Vietnam mounts full scale invasion of South Vietnam with 17+ divisions, spearheaded by 700 Russian tanks. US Democrat Congress expresses ‘grave concern.’
Without air power, replacement parts, ammunition, and funds (cut off by US Congress in numerous bills, amendments, rants and resolutions) the South Vietnamese army defeated and North Vietnam and its leftist allies conquer South Vietnam. (**)
Hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese citizens are suddenly struck by a desire to see Disneyland and depart, primarily in boats, through heart-breaking horror of piracy, rape, murder, and starvation to come to America. (Where they become one of the most successful immigrant groups in US history).
Although now supplied with a flotilla of boats, none of the anti-American leftists and radicals, escape ‘immoral’ America back to now ‘free’ Vietnam.
1975-Until Sun Burns Out—Draft dodgers, leftist journalists, peaceniks, academics, fools and charlatans (See 1968-1975 above) begin self-justification of cowardly acts and empirically wrong opinions, with attacks on American Veterans, and the South Vietnamese Government and its army under guise of morality and ‘evil’ motives of America’s involvement in Vietnam.
1975-present—Communist Vietnam plans and manages its way to one of the poorest and most repressive nations on the face of the earth. (***)
(*) At the time, America had several treaty agreements to provide support and protection for its allies and favored nations. 50,000 troops in Korea. 300,000 troops in Europe. The US Navy protecting Taiwan. All had various guarantees that the US would intervene if Communist forces crossed international borders. These precedents were ignored by the US Congress in regard to the Vietnamese peace arrangements.
(**) Contrary to the chatter of Communist propaganda aptly spread by their allies in the US, the South Vietnamese army did NOT just roll up in front of the invading North Vietnamese. In one of the last major battles of the war, (March 1975) the NVA 6th and 7th Divisions attacked Xuan Loc, forty miles northeast of Saigon. They were joined, after being repulsed by the South Vietnamese defenders (the Army Republic of South Vietnam 18th Division), by the NVA 341st Division, who unleashed a four thousand round artillery bombardment on the town. Spearheaded by Russian tanks the three Communist divisions assaulted the ARVN positions and were again repulsed. Finally with a force of 40,000 Communist troops assaulting them, the 5,000 ARVN soldiers were overwhelmed.
(***) In final irony, Vietnam begins to adopt capitalistic model in late 20th Century, just as U.S. decides it hasn’t worked very well for us and moves (in 2008) toward old Viet Nam model of socialism and lying to people. Two hundred thirty plus years of American success was just ‘good luck’ new administration declares.