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  • First Indochina War exam tips?

    My exam on the First Indochina War is in about an hour and a half.

    It's essay-based, with a section of identifications.

    Any last-minute tips on key themes or events I should reflect on in my writing?

    Out primary text had been Logevall's Embers of War.

    Thanks y'all...
    "This life..., you know, "the life." Youre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you dont shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

    BoRG

  • #2
    How about the Viet Minh receiving an OSS team and supply drops in WW II? Probably won't ask about Father Ho being a Pastry Chef in Paris in WW I or General Giap was a History teacher once! I would comment on how the Countries of Laos, Cambodia and North and South Vietnam were given boundaries for the convenience of the French and they do not represent ethnic boundaries.

    Pruitt
    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Paul Mann III View Post

      Any last-minute tips on key themes or events I should reflect on in my writing?

      In short:

      Brief background sketch.
      What started it. Motives on both the French and Vietnamese sides.
      The leading cast of characters involved. Gen Giap, Uncle Ho, etc.
      How it was fought, both guerrilla war and politically.
      First and last deciding battles.
      Fade to US intervention w/o getting into full US involvement beyond 1954.
      Summarize.
      Youthful Exuberance Is No Match For Old Age And Treachery.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Paul Mann III View Post
        My exam on the First Indochina War is in about an hour and a half.

        It's essay-based, with a section of identifications.

        Any last-minute tips on key themes or events I should reflect on in my writing?

        Out primary text had been Logevall's Embers of War.

        Thanks y'all...
        We don't have everyone here at all times ready and available to pick their brains at the last minute. More advanced notice would have been helpful which would have allowed Lirelou and Altus to chime in as they are our French period specialists.

        Comment


        • #5
          Paul, I haven't read the textbook, so anything I add is dangerous. With that caveat, here goes.

          First, remember that a prerequisite for success in combat is unity of effort. Up until late 1945, Ho Chi Minh (as Nguyen Ai Quoc) was about as important to the coming revolution as Lenin had been prior to his arrival at the Finland station. I.e, a name with a certain nostalgia attached to it, but viewed as out of touch with the realities of Indochina due to his long absence in the service of the Comintern. But his long service in China and contacts there had allowed him to read the tea leaves. He began courting the Americans as the outcome of the Pacific War became certain.

          That pending outcome is what triggered the Japanese surprise attack on all Vichy French garrisons in Indochina on 9 March 1945. In it's wake the Japanese set up puppet governments in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, to include Cochinchina (a colony under French administration, i.e. not under the Hue Court as Tonkin and Annam were). In essence, that was the rupture between the majority of Vietnamese and the French.

          In the wake of that surprise attack, the U.S. lost its intelligence with the Vichy French. Plans for the pending attack on the Japanese mainland included a landing in Southern China by Allied forces. The Japanese surmised as much, and began reorganizing their forces to defend Southern China. Those forces would move through Indochina, so finding a new intelligence network in Indochina suddenly became a priority.

          Into that spotlight stepped Ho Chi Minh, who had earlier delivered an American air crew shot down over North Vietnam. The OSS 'pilot team; that went in was the Deer Team. It arrived in North Vietnam late in 1945. It had barely started to train up a single Viet Minh battalion when the war ended. Ho took oiff for parts unknown (actually Hanoi) and Giap led his partly trained men out to attack the Japanese garrison at Thai Nguyen, which was attacked and defeated after the war was legally over. In the meanwhile Ho's cadres were organizing the people and hunting down the non-Communist Vietnamese nationalists (of the VNQDD Party). Major Patti, who was the higher commander of the two OSS teams, meanwhile flew into Hanoi and met with ho Chi Minh, who was busy convincing the Americans he was not a Communist, busy convincing the Vietnamese that the Viet Minh was a United Front of all Nationalists, and busy convincing the various factions of the Indochinese Communist Party that he had the backing of the Americans. Ergo, on 2 September 1945, Ho declared the DRVN with himself as its (provisional President).

          In the meanwhile, Vietnam had been divided into two sectors for the purpose of removing Japanese forces fro Indochina. The Chinese Nationalists had Vietnam north of the 16th Parallel, and the British south of the 16th Parallel. The Chinese moved into Laos (opium crop) and Tonkin (the heavily populated Red River Delta). The British landed at Saigon with a single Indian Division (the 20th under Gracey). The vacuum created by the sudden collapse of Japan in August unhinged the pressure cooker and, at least in the South, blew the top off. Many groups rose up in open revolt, the majority claiming some link to the Viet Minh. There was a massacre in the Cite Herault sector of Saigon, one of the poorer French sections inhabited by French, Vietnamese wives, and their mixed race offspring. (You don't find that mentioned in most history books). In any event, the British were anxious to get to India (pending Independence and all that), so they helped General Lecerc shoehorn his extremely small force into Saigon.

          Over the next few months order was reestablished in Saigon and its surrounding areas. As his men dribbled in, Leclerc launched offensives first into Delta (Vinh Long, Can Tho, etc), the into Western Cochinchina (Tay Ninh), and then up into Ban Me Thuot and down to Nha Trang, where a battalion of Colonial Infantry had been landed from the sea.

          While all this had been going on, the French were negotiating with ho Chi Minh, who was becoming more alarmed with the Chinese, who appeared to be settling down for a long stay in Tonkin. The Viet Minh did not have the muscle to eject the Chinese. So they agreed to let the French do it.

          During that same period, the French government was getting its riotous act together, in a manner of speaking. De Gaulle had helped found the Fourth Republic, and he promptly lost control of it. He was out of power on Jan 1946, replaced by a Socialist. On 28 January 1946, the last British (Indian) troops departed Saigon. Meanwhile the French and Chinese were meeting, trying to outmaneuver each other, and when French ships showed up at Haiphong based upon an earlier agreement, the Chinese opened fore on them, to which the French replied with Naval gunfire. The Chinese rolled over, and on 18 March 1946 Leclerc had his official ceremony in Hanoi. But, French troops were there under an agreement with HCM's government. Over the next eight months, despite agreements and conferences, which included a trip by HCM to France (the government he went to deal with fell before he got there), but mostly sabotaged by Admiral Thierry d"Argenlieu's uninateral declaration of Independence for the Republic of Cochinchina, on 1 June 1946, which was essentially spitting in HCM's face, though he was officially received by the French as a head of state on 22 June.On 14 September 1946 the Fontainbleu conference in France ended and HCM returned to Indochina On 15 September 1946, the last Chinese troops quit Indochina, taking everything they could carry. On 25 October HCM arrived in Haiphong on a French ship. And on 30 October HCM formed a new government, excluding all non-Marxists. The VM were on the road to war, a Tet style uprising that took place on 21 December 1946, and the war was officially on.

          Anyway, as regarding unity of effort. Ho Chi Minh had by now captured the loyalty of many Vietnamese from various sectors. He had at least given the appearance of a reasonable man who would negotiate with the French. And all Vietnamese, to include those who were pro-French, wished for an independent Vietnam that consisted of all three Kys (Tonkin, Annam and Cochinchina). He had eliminated his most dangerous potential non-communist opponents, to include certain VNQDD leaders and Ngo Dien Diem's brother. He had the nation behind him, even the Northern Catholics, at least at the beginning. That would change over the course of the war.

          The French, on the other hand, were saddled with the same division that had led to their defeat in 1940. Much of the right had disgraced itself under Vichy, and the war had strengthened the Left, many of whom had fought in the resistance. These divisions were reflected in the Army, with the Free French, versus the Legitimist Army of North Africa (waiting for the right historical moment to turn on the Germans), versus the Resistants, who were split between true resistance fighters and "last hour" resistance fighters. Plus, much of France had been ruined in the fighting. An Indochina policy was desperately needed, but no one had to time to come up with one. The Fourth Republic became notorious for revolving door governments. The only time they would look at Indochina was when a disaster occurred, and Giap was working to make that happen.

          The 19 December 1946 nationwide uprising sent the first shockwaves.

          That's it for now, more later.
          dit: Lirelou

          Phong trần mi một lưỡi gươm, Những loi gi o ti cơm s g!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
            How about the Viet Minh receiving an OSS team and supply drops in WW II? Probably won't ask about Father Ho being a Pastry Chef in Paris in WW I or General Giap was a History teacher once! I would comment on how the Countries of Laos, Cambodia and North and South Vietnam were given boundaries for the convenience of the French and they do not represent ethnic boundaries.

            Pruitt
            One of our English department guys is George Wickes. OSS in Indochina. Met Ho.

            Gave a guest lecture two weeks ago. Definitely I plan to mention anybody who used a parachute whenever the opportunity arises. I'm a known Fanboi.
            "This life..., you know, "the life." Youre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you dont shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

            BoRG

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Miss Saigon View Post
              We don't have everyone here at all times ready and available to pick their brains at the last minute. More advanced notice would have been helpful which would have allowed Lirelou and Altus to chime in as they are our French period specialists.
              I waited intentionally.

              Any more notice and it would had felt like cheating.

              I only got to read the first couple before the GTF told me to lose the phone.
              "This life..., you know, "the life." Youre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you dont shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

              BoRG

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by lirelou View Post
                Paul, I haven't read the textbook, so anything I add is dangerous. With that caveat, here goes.

                First, remember that a prerequisite for success in combat is unity of effort. Up until late 1945, Ho Chi Minh (as Nguyen Ai Quoc) was about as important to the coming revolution as Lenin had been prior to his arrival at the Finland station. I.e, a name with a certain nostalgia attached to it, but viewed as out of touch with the realities of Indochina due to his long absence in the service of the Comintern. But his long service in China and contacts there had allowed him to read the tea leaves. He began courting the Americans as the outcome of the Pacific War became certain.

                That pending outcome is what triggered the Japanese surprise attack on all Vichy French garrisons in Indochina on 9 March 1945. In it's wake the Japanese set up puppet governments in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, to include Cochinchina (a colony under French administration, i.e. not under the Hue Court as Tonkin and Annam were). In essence, that was the rupture between the majority of Vietnamese and the French.

                In the wake of that surprise attack, the U.S. lost its intelligence with the Vichy French. Plans for the pending attack on the Japanese mainland included a landing in Southern China by Allied forces. The Japanese surmised as much, and began reorganizing their forces to defend Southern China. Those forces would move through Indochina, so finding a new intelligence network in Indochina suddenly became a priority.

                Into that spotlight stepped Ho Chi Minh, who had earlier delivered an American air crew shot down over North Vietnam. The OSS 'pilot team; that went in was the Deer Team. It arrived in North Vietnam late in 1945. It had barely started to train up a single Viet Minh battalion when the war ended. Ho took oiff for parts unknown (actually Hanoi) and Giap led his partly trained men out to attack the Japanese garrison at Thai Nguyen, which was attacked and defeated after the war was legally over. In the meanwhile Ho's cadres were organizing the people and hunting down the non-Communist Vietnamese nationalists (of the VNQDD Party). Major Patti, who was the higher commander of the two OSS teams, meanwhile flew into Hanoi and met with ho Chi Minh, who was busy convincing the Americans he was not a Communist, busy convincing the Vietnamese that the Viet Minh was a United Front of all Nationalists, and busy convincing the various factions of the Indochinese Communist Party that he had the backing of the Americans. Ergo, on 2 September 1945, Ho declared the DRVN with himself as its (provisional President).

                In the meanwhile, Vietnam had been divided into two sectors for the purpose of removing Japanese forces fro Indochina. The Chinese Nationalists had Vietnam north of the 16th Parallel, and the British south of the 16th Parallel. The Chinese moved into Laos (opium crop) and Tonkin (the heavily populated Red River Delta). The British landed at Saigon with a single Indian Division (the 20th under Gracey). The vacuum created by the sudden collapse of Japan in August unhinged the pressure cooker and, at least in the South, blew the top off. Many groups rose up in open revolt, the majority claiming some link to the Viet Minh. There was a massacre in the Cite Herault sector of Saigon, one of the poorer French sections inhabited by French, Vietnamese wives, and their mixed race offspring. (You don't find that mentioned in most history books). In any event, the British were anxious to get to India (pending Independence and all that), so they helped General Lecerc shoehorn his extremely small force into Saigon.

                Over the next few months order was reestablished in Saigon and its surrounding areas. As his men dribbled in, Leclerc launched offensives first into Delta (Vinh Long, Can Tho, etc), the into Western Cochinchina (Tay Ninh), and then up into Ban Me Thuot and down to Nha Trang, where a battalion of Colonial Infantry had been landed from the sea.

                While all this had been going on, the French were negotiating with ho Chi Minh, who was becoming more alarmed with the Chinese, who appeared to be settling down for a long stay in Tonkin. The Viet Minh did not have the muscle to eject the Chinese. So they agreed to let the French do it.

                During that same period, the French government was getting its riotous act together, in a manner of speaking. De Gaulle had helped found the Fourth Republic, and he promptly lost control of it. He was out of power on Jan 1946, replaced by a Socialist. On 28 January 1946, the last British (Indian) troops departed Saigon. Meanwhile the French and Chinese were meeting, trying to outmaneuver each other, and when French ships showed up at Haiphong based upon an earlier agreement, the Chinese opened fore on them, to which the French replied with Naval gunfire. The Chinese rolled over, and on 18 March 1946 Leclerc had his official ceremony in Hanoi. But, French troops were there under an agreement with HCM's government. Over the next eight months, despite agreements and conferences, which included a trip by HCM to France (the government he went to deal with fell before he got there), but mostly sabotaged by Admiral Thierry d"Argenlieu's uninateral declaration of Independence for the Republic of Cochinchina, on 1 June 1946, which was essentially spitting in HCM's face, though he was officially received by the French as a head of state on 22 June.On 14 September 1946 the Fontainbleu conference in France ended and HCM returned to Indochina On 15 September 1946, the last Chinese troops quit Indochina, taking everything they could carry. On 25 October HCM arrived in Haiphong on a French ship. And on 30 October HCM formed a new government, excluding all non-Marxists. The VM were on the road to war, a Tet style uprising that took place on 21 December 1946, and the war was officially on.

                Anyway, as regarding unity of effort. Ho Chi Minh had by now captured the loyalty of many Vietnamese from various sectors. He had at least given the appearance of a reasonable man who would negotiate with the French. And all Vietnamese, to include those who were pro-French, wished for an independent Vietnam that consisted of all three Kys (Tonkin, Annam and Cochinchina). He had eliminated his most dangerous potential non-communist opponents, to include certain VNQDD leaders and Ngo Dien Diem's brother. He had the nation behind him, even the Northern Catholics, at least at the beginning. That would change over the course of the war.

                The French, on the other hand, were saddled with the same division that had led to their defeat in 1940. Much of the right had disgraced itself under Vichy, and the war had strengthened the Left, many of whom had fought in the resistance. These divisions were reflected in the Army, with the Free French, versus the Legitimist Army of North Africa (waiting for the right historical moment to turn on the Germans), versus the Resistants, who were split between true resistance fighters and "last hour" resistance fighters. Plus, much of France had been ruined in the fighting. An Indochina policy was desperately needed, but no one had to time to come up with one. The Fourth Republic became notorious for revolving door governments. The only time they would look at Indochina was when a disaster occurred, and Giap was working to make that happen.

                The 19 December 1946 nationwide uprising sent the first shockwaves.

                That's it for now, more later.
                Next time, I will just mail the essay booklet straight to you...

                I think I managed to hit a few of those points. Logevall's book seems well-respected, it might be worth a look for you.
                "This life..., you know, "the life." Youre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you dont shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

                BoRG

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks everybody. And thanks Shaun for the extra PM, your knowledge seems boundless at times.

                  We're moving into the American war phase now.

                  Any suggestions on the most important ideas to carry over from the first section (focus 1918-1956)?
                  "This life..., you know, "the life." Youre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you dont shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

                  BoRG

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Paul Mann III View Post

                    Any suggestions on the most important ideas to carry over from the first section (focus 1918-1956)?
                    I will leave this to Lirelou because anything I might suggest is likely to result in your getting a lower grade unless your professor is this one:


                    Comment


                    • #11
                      to the divine Ms. Saigon.
                      dit: Lirelou

                      Phong trần mi một lưỡi gươm, Những loi gi o ti cơm s g!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        What I really liked about that scene was we DID go across the 38th Parallel and almost pushed the North Koreans into China. The problem was the Red Chinese pushed us back across the 38th Parallel! The front went back and forth across a couple more times before it settled too its present position. Sam did put up a good tirade, though!

                        Pruitt
                        Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                        Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                        by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Miss Saigon View Post
                          I will leave this to Lirelou because anything I might suggest is likely to result in your getting a lower grade unless your professor is this one:

                          My professor was a paratrooper and a boxer.
                          "This life..., you know, "the life." Youre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you dont shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

                          BoRG

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Paul Mann III View Post
                            My professor was a paratrooper and a boxer.
                            OK then. Remember that the 1954 Geneva accords were not signed by anyone but the Viet Minh and the French. The French had no legal authority to represent the Vietnamese people, nor did the Viet Minh under international law. The Viet Minh was not the legitimate government of the Vietnamese people at the time. Therefore, all of the emphasis given to the 1954 Geneva accords is meaningless. All it legally did was give the French a means of withdrawal. Everything else attributed to it has no legal foundation, while much that is attributed to it didn't even happen. Such as the US being a party to the agreement.

                            Most important to remember is that the US didn't agree to anything in 1954, nor was a legitimate representative of the Vietnamese people present at the negotiations.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Miss Saigon View Post
                              OK then. Remember that the 1954 Geneva accords were not signed by anyone but the Viet Minh and the French. The French had no legal authority to represent the Vietnamese people, nor did the Viet Minh under international law. The Viet Minh was not the legitimate government of the Vietnamese people at the time. Therefore, all of the emphasis given to the 1954 Geneva accords is meaningless. All it legally did was give the French a means of withdrawal. Everything else attributed to it has no legal foundation, while much that is attributed to it didn't even happen. Such as the US being a party to the agreement.

                              Most important to remember is that the US didn't agree to anything in 1954, nor was a legitimate representative of the Vietnamese people present at the negotiations.
                              Got it.

                              We have discussed the Viet Minh not being the only political power in Vietnam.

                              And we have discussed the American and French motives and miscarriages.

                              This line of thinking will not shock or awe the professor.

                              We have given considerable time to Vietnamese culture and history, but not so much on the general population's views.

                              All of the books have stressed that planned elections not being held was a red flag (pun intended).
                              "This life..., you know, "the life." Youre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you dont shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

                              BoRG

                              Comment

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