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Indochina 1945-1954

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  • lirelou
    replied
    John Foster Dulles on US assistance in the Indochina War

    "According to records in the John Foster Dulles Papers, Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abilene, Kansas,*the total financial support for French operations in Indochina was cited as $2,426,300.00 and included Military Assistance, Economic and Technical Assistance and Special Financial Support for French and Associated States forces in Indochina between Fiscal Years 1950 and 1954.

    "This amount represented a U.S. contribution of about one-fourth of the total cost of the 7 year war in Indochina and that with the greatly increased tempo of U.S. assistance in the fiscal year 1954, United States assistance came to represent about two-thirds of the current material and financial burden of the war.

    "See U.S. Assistance for Indochina, John Foster Dulles Papers, 195159, Subject Series C, International Subseries, Box 9, Indochina.* Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abilene, Kansas. See also Mark Atwood Lawrence, Assuming the Burden: European and the American Commitment to War in Vietnam (Berkely: University of California Press, 2005), 285."

    This was a single paragraph. I've broken it up to emphasize what years the US provided military assistance to the French; the fact that monies spent on arming and equipping the Armies of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos were also included in the totals, the fact that the assistance amounted to 1/4th of the cost of the entire "French" war; and that the only year US assistance amounted to more than the French spent themselves was 1954. I suspect that the monies also included what was spent moving northern refugees to the South which in these times would be counted separately as humanitarian aid. Finally, it underscores the French themselves picked up the costs for 3/4ths of the war, minus any British assistance. The source document can be found here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09592318.2017.1374594
    Last edited by lirelou; 06 Nov 17, 17:35.

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  • lirelou
    replied
    Redzen, there are still some missing numbers. At one time I had a table of costs that showed the Associated States budget transfers, which were relatively small and only paid between 1951 and 1953. It's somewhere in a study entitled "Le Piastre et le Fusil: le cot de la guerre d'Indochine" They came in late, and were not important, but added to the costs.

    In 1953 the US had agreed to finance the costs associated with arming and equipping the Associated State Armies, the largest of which became the ARVN in 1955. Prior to DBP tghe State of VN ad a fair number of units, such as the five Vietnamese Parachute Battalions, serving under the French, and in some cases commanded by French officers. Likewise, the Commandos of North Vietnam, the amphibious element of which later gave rise to the Vietnamese Marine Corps, were under French command. Those Hellcat aircraft delivered to the French in 1951 should have shown up in this document, unless they were being credited to Nato.

    The first US Cash transfers to the French show up in 1952, which is before the US agreed to finance the Assoc. State Armies. In 1952 the French spent 334 billion francs on the War in Indochina, out of a total military budget of 1,270 billion francs. The US portion was 115 million francs for 1952.

    In 1953 the French spent 285 billion francs on the war, out of a national defense budget of 1,279 billion francs. The US threw in 150 million francs. So the French contribution outweighed the US. But by now the US was providing all military assistance to the Assoc. States,

    !954, of course, was the crisis year with Dien Bien Phu taking center stage and talks scheduled at Geneva. French military spending on the war dropped to 142 billion francs within a Defense budget of 1110.5 billion francs. The US has programmed another 150 Billion francs, but made an emergency transfer of 135 billion francs, presumably for DBP, raising our total contribution to 285 million francs for 1954. It is this last year's percentage that apparently has given rise to the belief that the US paid for the first indochina war.

    This is per a report of "M. Bousch au Conseil de la Republique" No. 165, which you should be able to pull up if you read French.

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  • Redzen
    replied
    Originally posted by lirelou View Post
    Au contraire, mon cher Ami, I have read the history. The war started in December 1946, and we signed up to back the French AND the Associated States, who were also signatories, in 1950, with our first shipment of military support arriving in January 1951, when the war was going into its 5th year. Prior to that, our contribution was nada, zip, zero.
    Now, that's interesting. No shipment of U.S. military aid to the French for their war in Indochina before it was landed in Jan. 1951.

    Well, we live and learn.

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  • lirelou
    replied
    The same way we backed the French. Read the history.
    Au contraire, mon cher Ami, I have read the history. The war started in December 1946, and we signed up to back the French AND the Associated States, who were also signatories, in 1950, with our first shipment of military support arriving in January 1951, when the war was going into its 5th year. Prior to that, our contribution was nada, zip, zero.

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  • Mountain Man
    replied
    Originally posted by lirelou View Post
    And exactly how could the US have backed Ho Chi Minh? Prior to 1945, no American had ever heard of Ho Chi Minh. Roosevelt did not want the French to return to Vietnam, but even before his death he had backed off of that, given that neither the British nor the Dutch were giving up any ideas of holding on to their Asian colonies. Add to this the fact that the end of WWII in France found the Communist and Socialist Parties at the height of their popularity, at the very same time the Cold war was developing. Roosevelt, and Truman who at war's end found himself embroiled in a test of wills with the French Provisional Government. were hardly pro-French. Truman branded De Gaulle a Psychopath. Still, the US had a stake in keeping France from going Communist. OK, so Ho Chi Minh sent a few telegrams to the White House, where they arrived with thousands of other telegrams. One, in early 1946, asked the US to intervene militarily, to prevent the French from landing in North Vietnam (Haiphong). Imagine that. And the French were underway from southern Vietnam. How on earth could the US have intervened in time? And, guess what? Within a few days, HCM was dealing with the French, laying down conditions under which they could enter Tonkin, because he was desperate to get the Chinese out. They were supporting the VNQDD, a non-Communist nationalist party alone the lines of the Chinese KMT. But, none of HCM's telegrams evidence any staffing between the While House, State, or War (Defense as of 1947). They were simply filed away. It wasn't that our leadership was short sighted. Quite the contrary. The problem was that they couldn't read the future. There was no "Twilight Zone" they could step into and see American in 1965.

    JFK may have been right, but American public opinion didn't see it that way at the time.
    The same way we backed the French. Read the history.

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  • lirelou
    replied
    America had the chance to back Ho Chi Minh but was too short-sighted to do so, and not smart enough - except for Kennedy - to avoid getting involved in an Asian war.

    JFK said is best: wrong war, wrong place, wrong reasons.
    And exactly how could the US have backed Ho Chi Minh? Prior to 1945, no American had ever heard of Ho Chi Minh. Roosevelt did not want the French to return to Vietnam, but even before his death he had backed off of that, given that neither the British nor the Dutch were giving up any ideas of holding on to their Asian colonies. Add to this the fact that the end of WWII in France found the Communist and Socialist Parties at the height of their popularity, at the very same time the Cold war was developing. Roosevelt, and Truman who at war's end found himself embroiled in a test of wills with the French Provisional Government. were hardly pro-French. Truman branded De Gaulle a Psychopath. Still, the US had a stake in keeping France from going Communist. OK, so Ho Chi Minh sent a few telegrams to the White House, where they arrived with thousands of other telegrams. One, in early 1946, asked the US to intervene militarily, to prevent the French from landing in North Vietnam (Haiphong). Imagine that. And the French were underway from southern Vietnam. How on earth could the US have intervened in time? And, guess what? Within a few days, HCM was dealing with the French, laying down conditions under which they could enter Tonkin, because he was desperate to get the Chinese out. They were supporting the VNQDD, a non-Communist nationalist party alone the lines of the Chinese KMT. But, none of HCM's telegrams evidence any staffing between the While House, State, or War (Defense as of 1947). They were simply filed away. It wasn't that our leadership was short sighted. Quite the contrary. The problem was that they couldn't read the future. There was no "Twilight Zone" they could step into and see American in 1965.

    JFK may have been right, but American public opinion didn't see it that way at the time.

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  • lirelou
    replied
    Reference the photo, those are Berbers from one of the Tabors (Battalions) from the Moroccan Tabor Group. The Berber tabors were provisional battalions built around village militias called "Goums" The members of the Goum were "Goumiers". Since Morocco was a protectorate, rather than a colony, the French would ask them to provide a certain number of units, and the Moroccan government would call them into service. The 8th Moroccan Tirailleurs were were also present along Colonial Route 4 when this photo was taken. They, however, were professional Arab troops in French service, On this date they armed with Lee Enfield rifles rather than the MAS 36, and their headgear was a lighter tan colored "cheche" (shesh in some English spellings) wrapped tightly around their head. Both the Tirailleurs and Goums/Tabors had served under US 5th Army in the Italian campaign, and were reputed to be good mountain fighters. Unsure who the officer is as both LTC Le Page, commander of the Provisional Moroccan Tabor Group (Brigade) and the Majors commanding the Tabors would have been wearing the Colonial Infantry dark blue overseas caps (Calots) with an anchor on it. Nor is it COL Constans, the North African Army (Armee d'Afrique) officer who commanded the Sector as well as the 3rd Foreign Legion Regiment. (Note: Constans was not regarded as a proper "Legion" officer.). His face is rounder and his Kepi was dark blue.
    Last edited by lirelou; 10 Oct 17, 19:14. Reason: delete repetitive line

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  • Poor Old Spike
    replied
    Speaking of Indochina, does anybody know what those black holes are for in the gun pits of this French base there in 1954? I don't know myself-


    I sent the pic to the Royal School of Artillery (Larkhill,England) a couple of years ago asking if they knew what the holes are for, and this was their guess-

    "Dear Sir,
    Thank you for recent enquiry regarding the holes depicted in the Vietnam gun position. Whilst I am unable to give an official or authoritive answer, I have canvassed opinion amongst a number of personnel within the school and the general consensus is as that suggested by the RA Museum, viz personal protection for gun crew from incoming fire. It is believed the holes would have been mechanically drilled hence the regular size.
    Regards,
    David Geddes
    Admin Manager
    HQ RSA"

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  • Mountain Man
    replied
    America had the chance to back Ho Chi Minh but was too short-sighted to do so, and not smart enough - except for Kennedy - to avoid getting involved in an Asian war.

    JFK said is best: wrong war, wrong place, wrong reasons.

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  • Redzen
    replied
    Originally posted by Bratwurst View Post

    Lang Son, 1950

    Morroccan soldiers saluting their CO



    Is the CO the one on the left sitting on the road? If it is, he doesn't look that interested.
    Last edited by Redzen; 08 Oct 17, 23:30.

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  • lirelou
    replied
    Bratwurst, exactly what does "... the Catholic church enjoyed the de-facto protection of the French authorities" mean in practical terms? Particularly considering that during the French colonial period, the relations of the French government to the Catholic church in France underwent significant changes. I.e., from Empire to Republic, to a secular Republic, and even an anti-Catholic United Front period, all of which should have had its impact in Indochina.

    Now, during the late colonial period, there was friction within the Vietnamese Catholic Church over the pay and privileges of the foreign missionary clergy, over that the native clergy (which outnumbered the foreign clergy). There were also issues with the forms of address between the two groups, and the lack of meaningful promotional opportunities for native clergy. The Vatican, however, to action to address this last issue by appointing the first Vietnamese bishop on 1933. Since then over 100 Vietnamese priests as been elevated to the office of Bishop, and at least on Cardinal. http://vietcatholic.net/News/Html/71049.htm

    Simply put, the Church embarked on decolonization before the French government did.

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  • Bratwurst
    replied
    French missionaries in Saigon in 1948.

    During the Colonial era the Catholic Church enjoyed de-facto protection of the French authorities. After the Communists' victory all missionaries were banned from the North in 1956 and in 1976 from the South. Several hundred-thousands left the North after a successful fear-campaign by the US intelligence services.

    The Catholics in Vietnam were largely cutoff from the rest of the global community - except for some minor aid & advice through the Catholic Church's parishes in Switzerland. Since the reform-era the Catholic Church has returned with full-force and is a valued contributor to Vietnam's progress. While no official diplomatic relations exist, there are regular high-level talks between Hanoi and the Holy See.





    1955 - Prime-Minister Diem visits a refugee-camp in Binh-Dinh a few weeks before deposing Emperor Bao Dai as Head of State in a rigged referendum.




    1957 - President Diem and American dignitaries visit a Montagnard-tribe near Ban Me Thuot.


    1955 - Southern Vietminh and their families heading for the North.


    1958 - Southern refugees graduates from an All-Girl High-School in Hai-Phong. For a few years there were a few high-schools in Northern Vietnam with teachers speaking the Southern dialect.

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  • Bratwurst
    replied
    Hanoi Hilton under French management



    Emperor/LtCol Duy Tan's last photo before his departure from the Central African Republic via Paris to Vietnam



    A young Tran Van Tra during the Indochina War

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  • Bratwurst
    replied
    somewhere near the border to China



    sitting from left to right: Phạm Văn Đồng, Erwin Borchers (aka Chiến Sỹ), Ernst Frey (aka Nguyễn Dn), V Nguyn Gip, Đặng Bch H

    standing: Lưu Văn Lợi, unknown, unknown, Rudy Schrder (aka L Đức Nhn)



    Dương Bạch Mai, Ernst Frey (Nguyễn Dn), Trường Chinh, unknown, Georges Wchter (Hồ Ch Thọ), Rudy Schrder (L Đức Nhn)

    from the German newspaper Zeit.de:

    http://www.zeit.de/2004/11/A-Indochina/komplettansicht

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  • Bratwurst
    replied
    Remains of French forts near Hanoi











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