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Sample Essay Causes of the French Indochina War

Sample Essay Causes of the French Indochina War

Causes of the French Indochina War can be traced to the end of Second World War. Indochina, a French colony during the war was occupied by the Japanese. In 1941, Ho Chi Minh formed the Viet Minh, a Vietnamese nationalist movement in order to resist the occupiers.

Ho Chi Minh was a communist as such he waged guerrilla war against the Japanese and received support from the US. Towards the end of the war, the Japanese started promoting Vietnamese nationalism and granted the country nominal independence ultimately.

Following the defeat of the Japanese, the French returned in order to take possession of the colony. Viet Minh permitted the French entrance into Vietnam only after they had promised that the country would gain its independence as part of the French Union. However, discussions between these two groups broke down and the French, in 1946 shelled Haipong City and reentered the capital, Hanoi forcibly.

As a result of these action, conflict between the Viet Minh and the French ensued causing what came to be known as the 1st Indochina War. The war was fought mainly in North Vietnam and it ended when the French were defeated decisively at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The Geneva Accords of 1954 is the one that ultimately settled the war as it temporarily portioned the country at the 17th parallel.

Also, as a result of this, the Viet Minh were given control of the North and it also led to formation of a non-communist state in the south under the guidance of Minister Ngo Dinh Diem. The division was supposed to last till 1956 when national elections would be help in order to determine the nation’s future.

The US, initially had little interest in Southeast Asia and Vietnam however, it was evident the post World War II world would be largely dominated by the United States and its allies as well as the Soviet Union and its allies. Communist movements were isolated and they took an increased importance.

The concerns were formed into containment doctrine and the domino theory. In order to combat communism spread, the US in 1950 started supplying the French with military advisors in Vietnam and they funded their efforts against the ‘red’ Viet Minh’.

The Indochina War in French news was presented as a continuation of Korean War where France had participated. Similar propaganda also existed in the US local newsreels as they used French footage most likely supplied by the cinematographic service attached to the army. It is all these factors that contributed towards the breakout of the French Indochina War.

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