Chronology: The War 1971


A report by a Defense Department task force says drug abuse by American military personnel in Vietnam and elsewhere in the Far East is becoming a "military problem"


South Vietnamese troops cross the border into Laos, with United States air and artillery support, in an attempt cripple Hanoi s main supply route.

President Thieu claims that the Laotian operation, despite reports of reverses, is a success because it prevented a North Vietnamese offensive which would have seized the five northernmost provinces of South Vietnam.

The United States moves tanks and other armored units to the Laotian border to prevent North Vietnamese tanks from moving eastward.


South Vietnamese troops move into Telephone, Laos, a major goal of their four-week-old offensive against enemy supply lines.

As the South Vietnamese troops leave Laos, with the aid of United States helicopter pilots, the North Vietnamese are right behind them.

The allied thrust against Communist supply lines ends with some military success, but early assessment shows that Hanoi won at least a propaganda victory.

First Lieut. William L. Calley Jr. is found guilty in the murder of 22 South Vietnamese civilians at My Lai.


The North Vietnamese attack several bases in the South, casting doubt on claims of success with the recent operations in Laos and lowering spirits of American and South Vietnamese soldiers.

President Nixon announces a withdrawal of 100,000 more American soldiers from South Vietnam by December 1, which will lower the ceiling to 184,000. He pledges to end United States involvement.

Demonstrators, estimated at about 200,000, protest against the war at a peaceful rally in Washington.

President Nixon says that some troops will remain in South Vietnam indefinitely, if Hanoi refuses to release American prisoners of war.


Enemy demolition experts blow up a tank of aviation fuel at the American base at Cam Ranh Bay, one example of several recent breaches of security.

Another series of secret talks begin in Paris between National Security Adviser Henry A. Kissinger and North Vietnamese delegate Le Duc Tho.


North Vietnam presents a nine-point peace proposal to Henry Kissinger at the secret meeting in Paris. The plan calls for withdrawal of all United States forces, the end of United States support for the Thieu Government, the formation of a government of "national concord" and a cease—fire, to follow agreement on political and withdrawal issues.

A year after United States ground forces left Cambodia, the Vietnamese Communists are still in control of three—quarters of the sparsely populated countryside. However, most Cambodians and foreign diplomats there still believe that the enemy has its eye on South Vietnam, not on Phnom Penh.


The Vietnamese Communists announce at the Paris peace talks that they are ready to release all war prisoners they hold in North and South Vietnam by the end of the year if all American troops are withdrawn by then.

The United States completes the turnover of the DMZ to the South Vietnamese.

A survey by the United States Embassy in Saigon shows that the enemy is gaining in areas that have been evacuated by the United States, as well as in parts of the densely populated Mekong River Delta.


Secretary of State William P. Rogers indicates that the United States accepts South Vietnam President Nguyen Van Thieu's decision to run in an uncontested election next month.


Nguyen Van Thieu is re-elected President of South Vietnam in an uncontested election.

Henry Kissinger presents a revised American peace plan in continuing secret Paris meetings. The proposal calls for withdrawal of United States forces within six months of an agreement, release of prisoners of war and free elections.

Lyndon B. Johnson says in his White House memoirs the Kennedy Administration's role in the overthrow of President Ngo Dinh Diem was "a serious blunder" that caused political chaos in South Vietnam and became a principal factor in his subsequent commitment of ground combat forces there.


President Nixon announces he will withdraw 45,000 more American soldiers from
South Vietnam by February 1, retaining a force of 139,000 men.


A Government report concludes that the growing refugee problem in Cambodia is directly attributable to American and South Vietnamese bombing there.

The United States command announces the end of its intensified bombing of airfields, supply depots and antiaircraft sites in North Vietnam after five days of raids, saying it was the heaviest attacks against the North since 1968

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