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The USA in Asia, 1950 1973 Vietnam The French retreat from Indo-China 1945-54

Summary: Following the defeat of Japan in 1945, the Vietminh rebels opposed the return of French rule to Indo-China and demanded independence. The Vietminh, who were communist led, attacked the French. The US paid France 78% of the cost of the war, 1953 1954. On 7 May 1954, French troops besieged at Diem Bien Phu, surrendered. An armistice was signed on 21 July. North Vietnam went to the Vietminh and South Vietnam to a pro-French and pro-US Government, following the Geneva Conference, April-July 1954. Timeline of Key Events (up to French withdrawal) 1887: Indo-China(Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos) under French domination 1911: Ho Chi Minh left Vietnam 1919: Paris Peace Settlement after WWI, President Wilson ignores Ho Chi Minhs pleas for greater Vietnamese Freedom 1924: Ho Chi Minh visits USSR 1929: Ho Chi Minh establishes Indochinese Communist Party 1939-45: Japanese completed conquest of French Indo-China, Ho returned to Vietnam, Vietminh established 1941-45: USA at war with Japan 1945: April Roosevelt dies, Truman becomes President, Sep Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnamese independence but US and Britain allowed to French to return to Vietnam 1945-9: Start of Cold War between USA and USSR 1946: Nov Outbreak of Franco-Vietnminh War 1949: France establishes independent Associated State of Vietnam under Bao Dai, Oct China becomes Communist 1950: Jan USSR and China recognise Hos Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Feb Start of McCarthyism, USA recognise Associated State of Vietnam and promised aid, Sep Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) established 1954: US paying 80% of French costs in Indo-China, Spring Eisenhower decides against US intervention to help French at Dien Bien Phu, April Eisenhowers Domino Theory, May French defeated at Dien Bien Phu, Sep SEATO (South East Atlantic Treaty Org.) established The Franco-Vietnminh War (1946-54): Initial involvement Whilst, the British handed back South Vietnam to the French, Ho Chi Minh was facing immense problems in the North because if the activities of the Chinese troops there. Ho had to agree to let French troops return to North Vietnam to secure the removal of the Chinese (the March agreement), but he could not reach any agreement with the French about the future of Vietnam. It became impossible for the Viet Minh and the French top agree upon a compromise solution for the future of Vietnam. The French insisted upon control in the Southern part of the country (Saigon) whereas Ho could accept independence for the entire country even though the centre of his support was in the North (Hanoi). Thus war broke out in November 1946 between the Vietminh and the French. The Franco-Vietnminh War (1946-54): French defeat and withdrawal Whilst Ho Chi Minh still claimed to be the leader of an independent Vietnam, the French set up Bao Dai, a member of the old imperial family of Vietnam, as a puppet ruler in 1949. In 1950, Hos government was recognised by the USSR and by the newly Communist state of China. Baos government was recognised by the USA.

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The final confrontation came in 1954 when the French deliberately provoked a battle at Dien Bien Phu, believing that the Viet Minh forces under General Giap would not be able to amass enough men or weapons to fight such a battle. Although the French had regained control of Vietnam in 1945, their return had been bitterly resented by many Vietnamese Nationalists and 8 years of war had finally resulted in Frances quite unexpected defeat.

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