Pham Van Dong Heads Socialist Republic of Vietnam
As the National Assembly meets in July of 1976, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam names Pham Van Dong its prime minister. Van Dong and his fellow government leaders, all but one of whom are former North Vietnamese officials, take up residence in the nation's new capital -- Hanoi.
Jimmy Carter Elected U.S. President
Carter Issues Pardon to Draft Evaders
In a bold and controversial move, newly inaugurated president Jimmy Carter extends a full and unconditional pardon to nearly 10,000 men who evaded the Vietnam War draft.
Vietnam Granted Admission to United Nations
Relations Between Vietnam and China Deteriorate
Vietnam Invades Cambodia
Determined to overthrow the government of Pol Pot, Vietnam invades Cambodia. Phnompenh, Cambodia's capital, falls quickly as Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge followers flee into the jungles.
"Boat People" Flee Vietnam
Swarms of Vietnamese refugees take to the sea in overcrowded and unsafe boats in search of a better life. The ranks of the "boat people" include individuals deemed enemies of the state who've been expelled from their homeland.
China Invades, Then Withdraws From, Vietnam
U.S. Issues Report on Agent Orange
After years of Defense Department denials, the U.S. General Accounting Office releases a report indicating that thousands of U.S. troops were exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange. Thousands of veterans had demanded a government investigation into the effect that dioxin, a chemical found in Agent Orange, had on the human immune system.
Ronald Reagan Elected U.S. President
Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC Dedicated
Designed by Maya Ying Lin, a 22-year-old Yale architectural student, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opens in Washington, DC. The quiet, contemplative structure consisting of two black granite walls forming a "V", lists the names of the 58,183 Americans killed in the Vietnam War. The memorial itself stirs debate as some think its presentation is too muted and somber, lacking the familiar elements of war-time heroics found in most war memorials.
Reagan Promises to Make M.I.A.s "Highest National Priority"
For the family members of those still listed as Missing In Action, the war is not over. In an address to the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, President Ronald Reagan pledges to make finding these individuals a "highest national priority."
Dow Chemical Knowledge of Dioxin Revealed
Documents used as part of a lawsuit brought by 20,000 Vietnam veterans against several chemical companies reveal that Dow Chemical had full knowledge of the serious health risks posed by human exposure to dioxin, a chemical found in the herbicide Agent Orange. Evidence indicates that despite this information, Dow continued to sell herbicides to the U.S. military for use in Vietnam.
U.S. Invades Grenada
"Unknown Soldier" of Vietnam War Laid to Rest
U.S. Offers Asylum to Vietnamese Political Prisoners
Vietnamese Forces Defeat Khmer Rouge Rebels
An offensive launched against refugee Khmer Rouge rebels spills over the Thai border and eventually involves Thai troops. The Vietnamese are successful in suppressing the rebels and solidify their hold on Cambodia despite criticism from neighboring countries and the United Nations.
U.S. Congress Votes to Block "Lethal Aid" to Nicaraguan Contras
The legacy of Vietnam infuses Congressional debate surrounding U.S. aid to the Contras of Nicaragua. The Reagan administration's determination to unseat the Marxist Sandinista government leads to its open support of the Contras. Wary of again getting bogged down in the internal struggles of another nation, Congress votes to allow only non-lethal assistance to reach the Contras.