(Re)Collecting the Vietnam War

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In October 1887, the new French colony, called the Indochinese Union or Indochina, is founded, covering Việt Nam, Cambodia, and Laos. Vietnamese resistance to French rule starts immediately thereafter.

In March 1969, President Richard Nixon begins the policy of "Vietnamization," slowly withdrawing U.S. troops, while building up South Vietnamese troops and beginning to secretly bomb Communist supply lines in Cambodia and Laos.

In 1971, American and South Vietnamese forces attack Communist sanctuaries in Cambodia and Laos, and South Vietnamese forces begin incursions into Laos against the Hồ Chí Minh Trail in Operation Lam Sơn 719 (8 February — 25 March 1971).

By the end of September, the United States has received approximately 659,000 refugees from Southeast Asia, close to two-thirds of whom entered the U.S. between 1979-82, during the period of the refugee crisis. Vietnamese refugees accounted for about…

The United States Air Force begins “Operation Arc Light,” a three-year B-52 bombing campaign intended to support ground combat operations in Vietnam, on 18 June 1965. Ignoring Cambodia’s neutrality, the U.S. illegally bombs the nation’s…

Following its defeat in the Franco-Siamese War, Siam (Thailand) cedes the entire Kingdom of Laos to France on 2 October 1893. Laos becomes a protectorate of France and joins the larger territory known as French Indochina (which includes Cambodia and…

The Hmong of Laos – approximately 30,000 – are heavily taxed and oppressed by French and Laotian authorities. In early 1896, Hmong leaders revolt against the French in response to these unfair taxes, the first of several armed rebellions that…

During World War II, Laos falls under Japanese control, at first through the collaborationist Vichy French government (from 30 August 1940 onwards), and later through outright occupation (9 March – 15 August 1945). During this period, most Hmong…

The first constitution of Laos, written by popularly elected Lao delegates under French supervision, is put into effect on 11 May 1947. It declares Laos to be an independent state within the French Union, and also officially recognizes all ethnic…

The French assembly passes the Elysée Agreement on 29 January 1950, granting limited autonomy to the Associated States of Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) within the French Union.
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