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Vietnam War & Counter-Culture Timeline

Years
Prior to
U.S.

Vietnam & Globe


1850s-1880sinitial French
colonization (France maintains control
until Paris Peace Accords)
1930s-1940sHo Chi Minhs
Communist Party grows, Ho Chi Minh
declares an independent Vietnam
1950sU.S. supports French; Geneva
Accords necessitate French
withdrawal; partition of Vietnam along
the 17th parallel (North is Communistcontrolled, South is democratic)
1955Beginning of war in Vietnam,
Laos, and Cambodia

America
1952Invisible Man published
1953Rosenberg execution; first issue of
Playboy appears
1955Village Voice appears; Emmett Till
murder; Rosa Parks
1956COINTELPRO
1957On the Road published; SCLC and
SANE are formed; Sputnik launched
1958Peace symbol

1959Castro overthrows Batista


government in Cuba
19601963

1960Viet Cong (National Liberation


Front) established in South Vietnam;
North Vietnam draft
1961Berlin Wall constructed
1962McNamara reveals that troops
are already on the ground in Vietnam;
first use of Agent Orange
1963South Vietnamese President
assassinated in Saigon; beginning of
Buddhist monks self-immolation
protest campaign

1964

Gulf of Tonkin Incident (Two U.S.


destroyers attacked by North
Vietnamese), prompting Congress to
pass a resolution moving towards war

1960Leary begins experimenting with


hallucinogens; sit-ins throughout South;
SNCC formed; The Pill is approved by the
FDA; Black Friday, inciting student protest
movement; JFK elected
1962Chavez organizes migrant farm
workers; Kings Albany Movement;
Beatles first single; Bob Dylans first
album; Cuban Missile Crisis; Silent Spring,
One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest published
1963The Feminine Mystique published,
inaugurating Second Wave; Medgar Evers
assassinated; Kings I Have a Dream
speech and March on Washington;
students boycott to protest segregation;
Newport Folk Festival; JFK assassinated
Student protests of segregation; first public
draft card burning; Jacobellis v. Ohio;
President Johnson signs Civil Rights Act

Vietnam War & Counter-Culture Timeline


1965

(without formal declaration)


Operation Rolling Thunder
First large-scale U.S. combat troops
arrive in Vietnam
Battle at Ia Drang Valley

1966

South Vietnam troops take Danang


and Hue
B-52 bombing campaign in North
Vietnam

1967

1968

Operation Cedar Falls

1969

Lyndon B. Johnson takes office; First major


anti-Vietnam War demonstrations in U.S.;
Malcolm X assassinated; Griswold v.
Connecticut; Dylan goes electric; Voting
Rights Act becomes law; ban on draft card
burnings; hippie enters popular usage;
Anti-Vietnam demonstrations in U.S. and
worldwide; LSD manufacturer stops
distribution, LSD banned; NOW founded;
Black Panther Party established; album
burning of Beatles records

Summer of Love; Chomskys The


Responsibility of Intellectuals; Kings
Beyond Vietnam; Monterey Pop Festival;
VVAW formed; first appearance of Mr.
Natural (R. Crumb); Jackson State
shootings; race riots countrywide; worst
riot in Detroit; demonstrations by students,
Catholic priests, and others; Youth
International Party formed 9the yippies)

Tet Offensive (Viet Cong and


North Vietnamese attack a
series of South Vietnamese
towns)
Battle for Hue (Hue levelled in
fighting, U.S. troops find mass
graves left by VietCong during
Tet Offensive)
Massacre at My Lai
Increase in U.S. troop force
Johnson halts aerial bombing
Paris Peace Talks

U.S. begins calling up reservists;


Orangeburg Massacre; Kerner Report;
King assassinated; RFK assassinated;
Wolfes Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
published; Louisville Riots; Cantonsville
Nine; Resurrection City occupied, razed;
massive protest of DNC; Ms. America
protests; Beatles White Album;

U.S. troop force peaks at


543,000
President Nixon orders troop
withdrawals
Nixon orders secret bombing of
Cambodia

Richard Nixon takes office; Woodstock;


U.S. public learns of massacre at My Lai;
Massive student protests around the
nation, demanding minority studies
programs, protesting racism, ROTC
presence on campuses, and Vietnam War;

Vietnam War & Counter-Culture Timeline

1970

Policy of Vietnamization
Ho Chi Minh dies
Total U.S. casualties reach
100,000

President Nixon announces military


action in Cambodia

1971

Stonewall Riots; Easy Rider released;


Charles Mansons Helker Skelter murders;
Chicago Eight trial; Jack Kerouac dies;
Moratorium Redux, largest anti-war
demonstration in U.S. history; Draft lottery
in U.S.
Announcement about Cambodia triggers
massive protests; Nixon forms EPA;
Weather Underground bombings;
Womens Strike for Equality; student
protests/riots; Kent State students burn
down ROTC building; Kent State
shootings; first Earth Day; Jackson State
shootings; U.S. voting age lowered to 18
Continued protests and riots around the
nation; ban on cigarette ads and FCC
penalties for radio episodes glorifying
drug use; publication of The Pentagon
Papers; Greenpeace founded; Fear &
Loathing in Las Vegas, Steal This Book, The
Anarchists Cookbook, and Our Bodies,
Ourselves published

1972

Resumption of bombing in North


Vietnam

Protests of Vietnam War and occupation of


Indian land

1973

U.S. troops withdrawn from Vietnam

Nixon starts second term; anti-war protests


around globe, including attack of several
U.S. consulates; Roe v. Wade; Incident at
Wounded Knee; end of draft announced

1974

Nixon resigns, is pardoned by President


Ford

1975

North Vietnam attacks South Vietnam,


South Vietnam surrenders

1976

Vietnam is united as a Communist


country

Vietnam War & Counter-Culture Timeline


Sources: PBS American Experience Vietnam War Timeline and Culture and Counter-Culture, The
Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War (Spencer C. Tucker) Blacklisted News, Fog of War.

Symbols and
Motifs

Threatening landscapes
Jungle
Fog
Long hair v. short hair
Dirt v. cleanliness
Weaponry
Nakedness
Explosions
Wounds

Concerns

Cross-cultural communication
Remembrance and memory and their meaning
The role of violence
How to measure winning and losing
Communism v. Capitalism
Reliability of memory
Shame, guilt, embarrassment
Hippies v. soldiers, hippies v. normative culture
Violence exposed
Multiple fronts in a war, and on the home front
Question of what counts as justice
Sacrifice

Themes

The New Frontier


U.S. in the age of decolonization
Soldier as cowboy
Magic and superstition
Extreme brutality
Unprecedented level of gore
Question of masculinity in crisis
Human nature as evil, primitive, or profane
Propensity of the location to create monsters of men
The loss of innocence
Trauma
Meaning of courage and guilt
What do terms like courage and honor signify?
Who determines their meaning?
How does shame become associated with this war?

Vietnam War & Counter-Culture Timeline

Who is guilty?

The value of personal narratives


What counts as a story
What individual narratives claim about human morality
Who owns the narrative?
How is a narrative political?
Unspeakable experience
What can be communicated through language?
What cannot be explained through language systems?
What can be told?
What can a particular audience hear?
What does the audience choose to hear?
The nature of morality
Necessity of war? Of this war?
Evil and its manifestations; Situational morality
Does good exist?
Personal Choice and Individual Freedom
Draft
Choice to serve
Protest and freedom of speech
Drugs
Sexual liberation
All of the above revolve around the body and how one is permitted to use
their body
Theoretical
Dimensions

Psychological damageparticularly in terms of trauma theory


Massumiconsequences of saturation of social space by fear
DebordSociety of the Spectacle
Benedict Andersonnations as imagined communities
Ranciere, Rossler, and othersjuxtaposition of images of American domesticity
alongside of the horror of Vietnam
FrierePedagogy of the Oppressed
Feminist Theory

Vietnam War & Counter-Culture Timeline


Critical Race Theory
Marxism
Journey into darkness