War of Indo-China
The Guerre of Indo-China was held of 1946 with 1954 in French Indo-China, and opposed the forces of the French Task force in the Far East (CEFEO) French, supported by the the United States, with the forces of the Viêt Minh (Face of the independence of the Vietnam) nationalist and communist, supported by the China and the Soviet Union. She was concluded by the victory from the Minh Vietnamese soldier, under the control of Hồ Chí Minh. This one coincides appreciably with the beginning of the Guerre of Algeria, which will also last eight years it, and which was perhaps encouraged by this first colonial defeat of France.
It is the first of a succession of three wars which were held on the territories of old French Indo-China: it was followed by the Guerre of Vietnam, then by the Guerre sino-Vietnamese. These the last two conflicts are sometimes called, respectively, 2nd and 3rd wars of Indo-China.
At the end of the Second world war, the Democratic republic of Vietnam is created and her proclaimed independence the September 2nd 1945 with Hanoi, but France, recently released, tries to restore its authority on the French Indo-China to reconstitute old the empire under the new name of French Union. The negotiations between the Minh Vietnamese soldier and France trail in length, this one being reticent to recognize in Vietnam her independence within the framework of the French Union, for reasons of interior policy. Increasingly serious incidents oppose the forces Vietnameses to the French military forces. Following the bombardment of the port of Haiphong the November 23rd 1946 by the French Navy, which marks a complete reversal of the policy of the French government with regard to the Democratic republic of Vietnam, an insurrection controlled by the Minh Vietnamese soldier bursts the December 19th 1946. This one is transformed into a Guérilla carried out against the French Army, then in a true conflict, opposing two armies, when the Minh Vietnamese soldier receives the logistical support and material of China in 1949 and France that of the United States. Whereas this " salts war " is more and more unpopular in metropolis, as attests it the demonstrations and acts of sabotage whose Affaire Henri Martin is emblématique, it is in 1954 that the Bataille of Diên Biên Phu seals the defeat of France and obliges it to withdraw itself from Indo-China, by leaving its place in the United States.
At the time of the First World War, on the frontline and in the French factories, the Annamites , of the name given to the Vietnameses by the subways until 1945, helped with the effort of war. To pronounce the word Vietnam was then liable to the guillotine on the public place. In the years 1920, with the revolt of Vinh and the mutiny of Yen Bay evoked in the French film Indo-China, the bagnes, like the Bagne de Poulo Condor, contributed to develop nationalisms of very diverse tendencies:
royalists of the Court of Huê, as the family of Ngo Dinh Diem whose father founded the National school " Quoc Hoc" of Huê attended by Ngo Dinh Diem and the young person Nguyen Tat Thanh, future Nguyen Have Quoc, and President Ho Chi Minh. The first among all is certainly Prince Vinh San (1899-1945) established under the dynastic name of " Emperor Duy Tân " in 1907, détrôné in 1916, exiled with the Meeting by the colonial authorities and died mysteriously in 1945 in a convenient air crash in Central Africa, at the time of the declaration of independence of Vietnam on September 2nd, 1945.
the pro-Japanese who founded the Party " Dai Viêt" following the nationalist intellectual Phan Boi Chau, pioneer of the Vietnamese nationalism of the 20th century, exiled in Japan by the French colonial administration.
pro-Chinese of nationalist Party VNQDD (Vietnam Quoc daN Dang) which launched the revolt missed by Vinh and the mutiny of Yen Bay in the years 1920, evoked in the film " Indochine" , and which was near to the KMT (Kuo Ming Tang) or Guomindang of Sun Yat-SEN and Tchang Kaï-chek.
the pacifist ones of Phan Châu Trinh, the large father of Nguyên Thi Binh.
the Communists of the NCV (Indochinese Communist party) founded by Nguyen Have Quoc (future Ho Chi Minh) in China and which was also one of the founders of the PCF (French Communist party). To Vietnam, the NCV was most important of all the nationalist groups.
Consequences of the Second world warDuring the Second world war, the occupation Japan ease showed to the Vietnameses the weaknesses of their colonizer: French administration, maintained during a time, " collabora" , on order of the Government of the State vichyist, with nationalist Japan, as it did it with the Nazi Germany in Europe. That contributed to the development of the Vietnamese nationalism, which fought at that time against Japanese with dimensions of Allied (Ho Chi Minh was then an agent working with the United States), and to the declaration of independence in 1945, after the Révolution of August and the Japanese capitulation.
With the Armistice of 1940 and the creation of the French State of Vichy, French Indo-China was managed by the Vichyist Admiral Jean Decoux, and the Japanese armies were authorized to circulate freely of the border of China to Siam (famous Thailand in 1939).
The March 9th 1945, the administration vichyist, which were always places from there, and the French Army of Indo-China were interned by the Japanese. The latter proclaimed the independence of Vietnam the March 10th 1945, by maintaining the authority of the emperor Bao Dai and by maintaining Pham Quynh with the head of the government, then by replacing it a few days later by Tran Trong Kim. The Emperor Bao Dai refused this position, while stating to prefer to be " citizen of a country libre" rather than to be sovereign of a subjugated State.
In addition, during the 2nd world war, the state allied major (US) in Asia had decided into 1942 to separate Indo-China in two geographical areas from combat. This separation, approved then by the USSR, was ratified by the agreements of Potsdam.
Return of the French forces
The March 24th 1945, the Provisional government of the French Republic stated to want to create an Indochinese Federation within the French Union. It sent at the beginning of 1945 three emissary (Pierre Messmer, Jean Sainteny and Paul Mus) in Indo-China, still under the control of the administration petainist. Released in parachute by the British of Colombo, only Paul Mus succeeds in escaping from the Yunnan, the two others being made prisoners by the Japanese.
August 1945: Japan capitulates. The Conférence of Potsdam entrusted in Indo-China Japanese disarmament to China for the Northern part and Great Britain for the Southern part. France must act quickly to reaffirm its presence. The de Gaulle general, chief of Gouvernement¨Provisoire, name the admiral Thierry d' Argenlieu, High commissioner of France and commander-in-chief and the general Leclerc, Commander higher of the troops, with for mission of restoring French sovereignty on released Indo-China but by making " neuf" , i.e. by building an autonomous Indochinese Federation within the new French Union.
The September 2nd 1945, with Hanoï, on the place Ba Dinh, in a ceremony with the ritual confucéen with all the constitutional body, Ho Chi Minh lute the declaration of independence, to which the preamble is copied from the Déclaration of independence of the United States of America and the Déclaration of the human rights and the citizen. The Emperor Bao Dai chooses to join as a " to advise spécial" first government of the Democratic republic of Vietnam, thus ensuring the continuity of the Vietnamese capacity and the legitimacy of this government. This gesture will be worth in Bao Dai to be exiled in HongKong by the French authorities, before these same authorities does not bring back it this exile, little time after, to entrust to him, with Saigon, the creation of the State of Vietnam " indépendant" …
At the time of the Japanese capitulation, it had been envisaged the separation of French Indo-China in two zones of disarmament of the Japanese troops, by the nationalist Chinese of Tchang Kaï-chek in North and by the British in the South, the Indian division of the Gracey General having unloaded in Saigon in August 1945, with a French detachment.
The French reconquest started towards the end of the summer 1945, which was marked by a terrible famine. Traditionally, the rice of the South came to make the welding between two harvests in North. Destruction and the plundering of the Japanese on the one hand, and the shortage of the means of transport on the other hand, did not make it possible to make come rice coming from the South in sufficient quantity.
October 1945: Leclerc and D' Argenlieu are in Saigon.
Four months later the French authority is restored with the Kampuchea, the Laos and in the part of Vietnam called " Cochinchine " time of old the colonial Empire French. To establish the bases of the Indochinese Federation wanted by France, there remains mainly what French called " the Annam " and especially the " Tonkin ", where Ho Chi Minh proclaimed in Hanoï on September 6th the Democratic republic of Vietnam. The admiral Thierry d' Argenlieu weighed itself each word of signed convention on March 6th, 1946, with his request, by Jean Sainteny with Ho Chi Minh, in full agreement with the Leclerc general.
The French troops unloaded with the port of Haïphong and entered Hanoï under the control of the general Leclerc without drawing only one shot, thanks to the negotiations with Ho Chi Minh who had been recommended by Leclerc, which went as far as recommending to France to use the word " indépendance" (Doc. Lap).
After the bombardment of the port of Haiphong the November 23rd 1946 by the French Navy, which marks a total reversal of the policy followed hitherto by the French government with respect to the Democratic republic of Vietnam, it appears clearly that Ho Chi Minh will not play any more the option of the Indochinese Federation. The December 19th 1946, the insurrection of Hanoï marks the beginning of the war: the government of the Democratic republic of Vietnam starts hostilities in all the north of Vietnam, and enters clandestinity.
See also: Vietnamese soldier Minh, Armed popular Vietnamese
December 19th, 1946 marks the beginning of the war of Indo-China: after the bombardment of the port of Haiphong the November 23rd 1946 by the French Navy, the Minh Vietnamese soldier, directed by Ho Chi Minh (President of the Democratic republic of Vietnam, whose independence was procclamée with Hanoi on September 2nd, 1945), decides to launch an offensive having for goal the release of the town of Hanoi. At 8 p.m., an explosion in the powerplant of the city announces the beginning of the insurrection. French nationals are massacred and of the plundered houses. Ho Chi Minh invites all the Vietnamese people to raise himself against the French presence:
Ho Chi Minh then sought the support of the United States by a telegram for Harry S. Truman, but this one turned the back on the policy of decolonization of Roosevelt. The Soviet Union did not have the nuclear weapon yet, and the China remained under the cane of Tchang Kaï-chek. French Indo-China of 1946 nevertheless thus very quickly found itself within the premises of what was going to become later the Cold war, and it within this framework that the the United States were, in a certain way, is implied very early in Indo-China.
Aguerrie in the war of the people, the Armée popular Vietnamese was based on the mobility of dispersions of avoidance and concentrations of striking to compensate for its material weakness. It was " the combat of the tiger and the éléphant" announced by Ho Chi Minh: the tiger tapi in the jungle was going to badger the fixed elephant which, little by little, would empty itself of its blood and would die of exhaustion.
There this fluidity allowed the young popular army the initiative of the refusal or the acceptance of the engagements, to fix here and move the French troops which occupied only the cities, the road axes, the ways of water and the line of the railroad trans-Indochinese. The French losses became increasingly large in the attacks of convoys of supply, stations isolated and from exhausting patrols in the search of an enemy who seemed and disappeared phantoms. Often, the purpose of the attack of a station was the exit of a rescue party to destroy.
The popular army Vietnamese was at the base made up of the local troops of self-defense of the hamlets and villages. These local troops were at the same time the military academy and the school of war, whose deserving members joined the regional troops which operated in vaster districts. A concentration of local troops could lend strong hand to an element of the regional troops, which could also disperse in local troops.
The turning of 1949
See also: Operation Beaver, Battle of Diên Biên Phu
In 1949, France, wanting to create against political weight with the Democratic republic of Vietnam proclaimed in Hanoi in 1945 and with the Minh Vietnamese soldier, creates in Saigon a State of Vietnam " indépendant" under the direction of the Emperor Bao Dai brought back for this purpose of its exile of HongKong, in order to try to transform a war of colonial reconquest into a civil war. This masquerade however did not mislead anybody, to begin with the Emperor Bao Dai itself which, with size and smoothness, signed the free-Vietnamese agreements with his civic name “Vinh Thuy” engaging only itself as a citizen, and not with his dynastic name “Bao Dai” which could engage all the country of which he was the sovereign. From the strictly legal point of view, the “independent” State of Vietnam never seems not to have existed.
When the Chinese Communist party of Mao Zedong takes the control of continental China, the Kuomintang of Tchang Kaï-chek taking refuge with Taiwan, China becomes an ally of the Democratic republic of Vietnam and the Minh Vietnamese soldier, and him envoit of the military material to fight against the French Army. The arrival of Mao Zedong in Beijing provides a " base arrière" in Vietnam, hitherto insulated on the plans diplomatic and military, and the communist threat felt by the United States amplifies. France theoretically concedes with State of Vietnam a sovereignty as regards diplomacy, and creates a “national army” under command French and acting like forces suppletive French forces of Indo-China.
With the expertise acquired with the combat and the availability of an heavy equipment out of artillery and the trucks for its heavy divisions in support with the regional and local troops, the Armée popular Vietnamese inflicted a series of reverse to the French troops in the high area of CAD Bang and Lang Son. The preliminary draft of “colonial reconquest” became exhausted in an interminable stagnation, involved a great lassitude in the French Army of Indo-China and the French government, as well as an increasing opposition of the French public opinion to a war of which the stakes less and less clear, since Vietnam, Laos and Kampuchea were, at least in theory, had become independent, and that the “colonial reconquète” was not thus any more with the day order.
The “battle of the Colonial Roads” (this denomination, at one time when the countries forming the indochnine were not already any more of the " colonies" , of known as besides long on the state of mental confusion of some at the time of the facts…) panic in the French staff in Indo-China and within the French government in Paris sowed. The general Jean de Lattre de Tassigny is sent in Indo-China to rectify the situation, but it is locked up in the delta of the Red River and the big cities in order to insulate the adversary… This one has nevertheless any latitude to operate and take initiatives.
With the War of Korea which focused the anticommunism towards the Far East, France then tries to transform a colonial war of reconquète of which she recognized itself the failure by proclaiming the independence of Vietnam, Laos and Kampuchea, in crusade anticommunist, this time for the “Defense of the Occident on the Rhine and the Mekong”. Consequently, France makes in Indo-China a war with the American dollars and the blood of the French and colonial troops. President Harry Truman signed with State of Vietnam agreements of military aid, that France gave the responsability itself to implement. Thus, the United States, however deeply anticolonialists but acting now within the framework of the cold war, put the finger in gears which prove to be fatal, and in particular continued this military aid after the departure of the French of Indo-China in 1955. With the military surge of materials on the two sides, the engagements obviously intensified.
With the American money and the material and the blood of the legionaries and troops of Africa, France continued to carry out a war lying now within the scope of the cold war, in a continuation of " scandales" and d'" affaires" , like l'" Business of the piastres ".
In 1952, the popular army Vietnamese launched attacks against the forts of the “Line of Lattre” behind which had been cut off the French troops. The January 11th 1952, the general of Lattre de Tassigny mourrut of a cancer and were replaced by the Général Salan. While continuing the knacks and the ambushes, the popular army was withdrawn to prepare with operations on more large scales. The general Dwight Eisenhower became President of the United States in 1953; he was the first to advance the “Théorie of the dominos”, and continued to support the defense of Indo-China against Communism.
The Navarre general paid to the French government that there was no possibility of a military victory, but promised to a great offensive with the operation “Beaver”, which consisted in occupying the old Japanese runway of Diên Biên Phu to lock the passage in Laos of the popular army, military operation the purpose of which was political to make it possible France to negotiate in Geneva the end of the war in strong position. In spite of the heroism of which proof the French Task force in the Far East made (and the Armée popular Vietnamese), the Bataille of Diên Biên Phu became the tomb of the French Army of Indo-China in 57 days. France was forced to negotiate in position of weakness the Accords of Geneva, putting fine at the First War of Indo-China of independence.
The war seen of the metropolis
- Demonstrations and blocking of trains of ammunition in departure for Indo-China by Communists, sabotage of ammunition and pacifist propaganda.
- Business of the Generals (Reverse Report/ratio) of 1949-1950
- " Dirty the guerre"
- Business Henri Martin (Sartre) of 1950-1953
The exit of war
See also: Agreements of Geneva, Operation Passage to Freedom
The Accords of Geneva recognize the independence of Laos, Kampuchea and the temporary division of Vietnam in two zones of military regrouping (the Armée popular Vietnamese in North with the 17th parallel, and the Task force French in the Far East in the South of this Zone of Military Demarcation), for a total and complete evacuation of all Indo-China in 1955. The sovereignty of the Democratic republic of Vietnam was recognized by these Agreements in the north of the 17th parallel, that of the State of Vietnam in the south of this parallel, and the reunification between the two zones was considered for 1956, after referendum. An International commission of Control (CIC) had been created to supervise the implementation of the agreements of armistice. The CIC (International commission of Control) was consisted the Canada, the Poland and the India.
The agreements of Geneva envisaged elections in 1956, in order to form a government unified for all Vietnam. However, in parallel of the conference of Geneva in June 1954, the Emperor Bao Dai, chief of the State of Vietnam recalled of the United States Ngô Dinh Diêm to make its Prime Minister of it. Following the agreements of Geneva, whose State of Vietnam and United States had not signed the final declaration, and thus released from the obligations to respect these agreements, Ngô Dinh Diêm organized with the downstream of the United States an obviously faked referendum, with more favorable voices than voters, and created the République of Vietnam on October 26th, 1955, with him as Head of State. It is against this dictatorship of the mode of Diêm that the National front for the release of Vietnam in 1956 was formed. Elements of the Vietnamese soldier Minh residents in the South then took again the combat against this government, then leading to the second War of Indo-China of reunification, more commonly called Guerre of Vietnam.
War crimes and camps of rehabilitation
- attack of the medical convoys of evacuations.
- business Georges Boudarel
Operation " Passage to Freedom" (August 1954 - May 1955)
- Following persecutions of catholic Vietnamese and loyal supporters by the Minh Vietnamese soldier of followed more big operation of évacution of the History.
French forces in Indo-ChinaThe CEFEO (French Task force in Far East) consisted of units coming from the whole of the French Union, helped by the forces of the states associated with Indo-China. It passed from 80 000 men more 35 000 Indochineses between 1946 and 1949 with 235 000 men more 260 000 Indochineses in 1954 (approximately 30 000 Africans were useful in this conflict; to see http://indochine54.free.fr/cefeo/chehada.html#top.)
The necropolis of the wars in Indo-China is with Fréjus; approximately 34.000 names are registered there.
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