The Indochina War (1946 to 1954), also known as the First Indochina War or French Indochina War , was a war in French Indochina between France and the League for the Independence of Vietnam (also called Việt Minh ), which was led by the Vietnamese communists . The French side tried to defend their political rule in the colony. The Viet Minh pursued the war goal of an independent communist Vietnamese state. The French colonial power was overthrown by the Japanese influence and occupation of the colony in World War II , which the Viet Minh used to take power in the northern part of the country as part of the August Revolution . After a brief period of coexistence between the Viet Minh and the resurgent French, violent clashes broke out in 1946.
Until 1949 the conflict was primarily a guerrilla war between the Viet Minh and the colonial power. From 1949 the conflict developed into a proxy war within the Cold War due to the armament of the Viet Minh by the People's Republic of China , which was victorious in the Chinese Civil War , and the support of the USA for France . After the defeat of Dien Bien Phu at the 1954 Indochina Conference in Geneva , the colonial power, which was increasingly under military pressure, agreed to a negotiated solution which was largely determined by China and which resulted in the partition of Vietnam through the intervention of the USA. This division of the country eventually led to the Vietnam War . The Communist movements of the Pathet Lao and the Khmer Issarak , supported by the Viet Minh , also laid the foundation for later communist guerrilla movements in the non-Vietnamese parts of Indochina. The war was part of a chain of military clashes that took place in the countries of Indochina from 1941 to 1979.
French colony in Indochina
During its colonial endeavors in the Pacific, France met the Empire of Vietnam , which could look back on one and a half thousand years of state tradition as a Chinese province and as an independent monarchy from the 10th century. The French conquest of the south of Indochina began in 1858 with the use of military force; in 1887 the colonization of the country was completed. The French colonial policy then divided the country into the two protectorates Annam and Tonkin and Cochinchina, which was ruled directly as a colony . The emperor remained at the head of the colonial state, but political and military power rested with the colonial authorities and their representatives. The elites of the Vietnamese Empire perceived the subjugation by foreign powers as a traumatic experience. The following exploitative policies quickly put the population into economic distress.
To restore the independent monarchy, the militant Help the King movement arose shortly afterwards , whose guerrilla war the colonial state was able to decide in its favor until 1897. Under the continuing French colonial rule, the lands increasingly concentrated on fewer and fewer owners. The new large landowners, European settlers and part of the local elite, in turn leased their land to the growing group of landless farmers. Thus, within a short time, a wealthy class formed in Vietnamese society that profited from colonial rule and was thus loyal to it. There were many Catholics among the locals who rose to join this elite. In Cochinchina, around 70 percent of the land in some areas had now passed into the hands of large landowners. The proportion of the native communal land-sharing system in Cochinchina had shrunk to 3 percent of the area. In the central part of Annam and in the northern part of Tonkin, around a fifth to a quarter of the land remained in communal hands, but the economic pressure to abandon it grew steadily. In the 1930s, around 90 percent of the approximately 18 million Vietnamese were farmers, half of them without land. 97.5 percent of the landowners had only small parcels under five hectares , while 0.3 percent of the landowners controlled 45 percent of the total cultivated area. The farmers often came under financial pressure from the lease system and crop failures and had to take out loans. This led to a flourishing of small lenders among the Chinese minority in the country and the immigrants who had come from the French colony in India. The inequality of ownership was exacerbated by high population growth in rural areas.
During the First World War , the French colonial government finally deposed the emperor Duy Tân , who had already been politically sidelined , after he had called for mutiny among colonial soldiers destined for Europe . In the interwar period there was an expansion of the journalistic and political activities of the only few thousand local educated elite. The new generation broke away from the traditional Confucian creed of their forefathers and instead propagated a radical cultural and social modernization of the country. The opposition movement found broad support among the population and was able to mobilize around 25,000 people in demonstrations in the mid-1920s. At the same time, the Communist Party of Indochina was formed from a small, often exiled, protocommunist movement . The fifty or so leading representatives of the party were trained at the Far East University in Moscow . In the early 1930s, during the Nghe-Tinh uprising, the party managed to mobilize several thousand militant supporters from among the rural population. In addition to the communist independence movement, several nationalist organizations developed at the same time. Its most prominent representative, the VNQDD , was able to build up a broad support base in Tonkin and then tried to start armed resistance against the colonial power through the short-lived mutiny of two companies of colonial infantry in Yen Bai in 1930. As a result of the events, there were several bomb attacks on French targets in the cities of Indochina. The political and economic tensions in the country also gave rise to the Buddhist- based sects of the Cao Dai (1926) and the Hoa Hao (1939). These groups received their influence in the power structure of the colony through their supra-regional structure and their own militias.
Loss of power of the colonial state as a result of the Second World War
During the Second World War , France was weakened as a colonial power by the defeat of 1940 . The colony came more and more into the sphere of influence of Japan, which further weakened the control of the colonial power. In the hinterland of Tonkins, the organization of the Viet Minh was formed, which, as a guerrilla organization under the control of the Communist Party of Indochina, sought independence. This established itself in North Vietnam on the border with China in inaccessible mountain regions, which were inhabited by minorities with little ties to the colonial state. The officers Võ Nguyên Giáp and Chu Văn Tấn formulated the plan to take power in the colony with a guerrilla army built on the periphery. During the famine in Vietnam in 1945 , the Viet Minh gained the loyalty of millions of farmers by requisitioning and distributing rice . In March 1945, Japanese troops took direct control of the former colony. After the capitulation of Japan , the Viet Minh succeeded in bringing the cities of Hanoi , Saigon and Hu und under their control in the August Revolution . On the day of the Japanese surrender, September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam . The leadership of the Japanese puppet state in Indochina around Emperor Bảo Đại offered no resistance. The main challenge for the DRV consisted in securing the food situation of the population. In the first half of 1946, the majority of the Tonkin population was limited to one meal a day. The communist government was able to achieve an improvement in the food situation from the middle of the year through rationing and command economy as well as the additional cultivation of maize , yams and legumes .
Resurgence of the colonial power after the Second World War
The political leadership of Free France had always claimed the restoration of sovereignty over all its colonial territories. On the occasion of the Japanese takeover of power, de Gaulle had once again reaffirmed the territorial status quo of the colony and the French sovereignty over its defense and foreign policy. In August 1945 British forces landed in Saigon under the command of General Douglas Gracey . The first troops of the French expeditionary force CEFEO reached Cochinchina in September 1945. By November the colonial troops were able to restore control of the neuralgic points in Cochinchina. Shortly after the Allies came to power in Saigon, acts of violence against the Vietnamese civilian population of the city took place on September 23, formerly French interned by the Japanese. Two nights later, several hundred Europeans and mixed race were taken hostage in the massacre in the Cité Heraud . Around forty were killed and the hostages were victims of violence and sexual assault. International investigations made the criminal syndicate of the Bình Xuyên responsible for the attacks on the Europeans. In March 1946 the British formally handed over command to the Commander of the Expeditionary Force, Major General Leclerc . According to the Potsdam Conference north of the 16th parallel, the northern part of the country was occupied by troops of the Republic of China. This let the Viet Minh have their way. An agreement in which France gave up all colonial rights in China vis-à-vis the Republic of China regulated the withdrawal of the Chinese. In March 1946, France reached a compromise with Ho Chi Minh by first accepting Vietnam's independence as part of the Union française . This compromise came about because of the Chinese refusal to allow French troops to land in Tonkin without an agreement. The compromise between France and the communist leadership in Hanoi allowed the stationing of two French divisions in Tonkin. In October 1946, the French troops tried to restore French customs sovereignty in the port city of Haiphong . When they met resistance, the French responded with a bombardment of the city that left several thousand victims among the Vietnamese population. In December 1946 the French decided to fight the Viet Minh militarily and to restore the colony's old status. The real fighting began on December 12th with the blowing up of the power station and attacks on Hanoi by the troops of the Commander in Chief of the Vietnamese military, General Giap . This was seen by the contemporary French public as the start of the war. The Vietnamese side saw the bombing of Haiphong on November 20, 1946 as the actual start of the war.
Military balance of power
The Viet Minh military apparatus was founded in 1944 in the retreat areas within Vietnam. The most important base area was the Viet Bac in the north of Tonkins near the border with China. Other base areas were in southern Tonkin and in Annam south of Hue. In Cochinchina , the Viet Minh had only a small base of operations in the south of the Mekong Delta . The leadership of the Viet Minh propagated a three-phase course of war on the basis of Mao Zedong's doctrines with the aim of achieving Vietnam's independence through a military victory. In the first phase, the armed forces of the Viet Minh should act primarily defensively and only expand their area of influence through guerrilla actions. After enough regular troops had been set up and the necessary logistics created for them, the war was to move into a phase of "parity" in which the Viet Minh were to further expand the area they controlled in locally limited conventional operations. In the final phase, deliberately acting Viet Minh forces were supposed to wrest military control over the country from the colonial power in supraregional mobile operations.
The Commander in Chief Võ Nguyên Giáp summarized the strategy in a publication after the war as follows:
“Only a long war could enable us to make full use of our political trump cards, to overcome our material disadvantage and to turn our weakness into strength. [...] We have to build up our strengths as the war progresses. "
The organization of the Viet Minh was formed analogously to this doctrine and comprised three separate troop organizations. The guerrilla forces were mostly part-time soldiers who operated near their place of residence and work. The groups were recruited from one or more villages and carried out guerrilla actions , sabotage and intelligence activities. The next level was formed by regionally organized, conventionally equipped full-time soldiers who worked closely with the guerrillas within a territory in battalions - up to regimental strength . At the top were regular forces equipped as light infantry , which were subordinate to the General Staff and were to be deployed throughout Indochina. The Viet Minh began in September 1945 with around 31,000 regular soldiers. At the turn of 1948/1949 the regular troops had grown to 75,000. The regional and guerrilla troops provided 175,000 men. At the end of 1954, the Viet Minh reached 161,000 regular soldiers, 68,000 regional troops and 110,000 guerrillas.
The forces of the Viet Minh were supported by a sophisticated logistics system, which mostly ensured the supply of food and materials by porters. The strength of the civilian logistics personnel varied during the war from around 30,000 to 300,000 people.
The source of finance was the skimming of the rice harvest and the labor of the areas politically controlled by the Viet Minh. Caring for the 300,000 or so soldiers of the Viet Minh required the delivery and distribution of around 110,000 tons of food, mainly rice. In order to meet the demand in the combat zone in the north, the Viet Minh imported large quantities of rice from the predominantly pro-French southern part of the country. The Viet Minh were mostly able to evade the access of the colonial forces through camouflage, close networking with the population and high mobility of their units and camps.
In the summer of 1945, a communist Chinese regiment withdrew to Tonkin due to military pressure from nationalists in the Chinese Civil War. They were supported and hidden there by the Viet Minh. In return, the Viet Minh received training aid from the Chinese exiles. By 1947 around 830 soldiers and officers were trained by Chinese cadres. After the victory of the Chinese Communists in the civil war, the Viet Minh received direct deliveries of military and civil material from the People's Republic of China from 1949 . It is estimated that there are more than a hundred thousand infantry weapons and more than four thousand guns. More than nine-tenths of the material was made in the USA and captured in the Civil War or the Korean War .
To ensure the smooth delivery of weapons and supplies, around 100,000 forced laborers built four highways towards Tonkin on the Chinese side of the border. Around 15,000 to 20,000 recruits of the Viet Minh were trained every quarter from 1950 in the Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi with the help of the Chinese military. The People's Republic also sent a military mission of several hundred mostly high-ranking officers under the command of General Wei Guoqing to North Vietnam in August . These stood by the Viet Minh as military advisers at division and high command level. The Soviet Union held back with the support of the Viet Minh. Aid deliveries were made to a small extent from the GDR and Czechoslovakia .
The French ground troops in Indochina in December 1945 consisted almost exclusively of the 47,000-strong expeditionary force CEFEO . In December 1946 this had grown to around 89,000 soldiers and was supported by 14,000 local soldiers. At the end of 1950, 87,000 expeditionary force soldiers and 85,000 indigenous troops were fighting the Viet Minh. In July 1954, the French troops comprised 313,000 native soldiers and 183,000 members of the expeditionary corps.
No French government ever seriously considered the use of conscripts in Indochina, which various military had called for on several occasions, during the war. As a result, the Foreign Legion served as an indispensable reserve for the conduct of the Indochina War, which mostly provided the most powerful units of the expeditionary corps. A total of 78,833 legionaries served in Indochina during the war. In order to cover the personnel requirements of the CEFEO, massive colonial troops from North Africa were deployed to serve in Indochina. From 1948 the French military tried to recruit locals under the slogan of the jaunissement (German "yellow color") to cover their personnel needs from the colony itself. At any given time, around 60% of the combatants deployed were not French nationals. In the same year, the French government made it possible for those convicted because of their membership of associations of the Vichy regime or the Waffen-SS to be remitted in return for their deployment in the Far East. From 1948 on, around 4,000 French prisoners reported.
In order to maintain the strength of the Foreign Legion of almost 20,000 soldiers who served in CEFEO, the Legion relied mainly on German volunteers. Their share of the deployed legionaries rose from around 35% in the 1940s to around 55% in 1954. In many Legion units in Indochina, German became a lingua franca of the legionaries. In 1945 and 1946, up to 5,000 German prisoners of war joined the Legion, who at that time made up almost a third of the Legion's recruits. According to official orders, members of the Waffen-SS or war criminals should be denied service, which, however, was often ignored by the recruitment offices. The recruitment of German prisoners was controversial in both Germany and France, and in France it led to public expressions of dissatisfaction with the troops. However, the extent of the prisoner recruitment has been overestimated in both publics. Pierre Thoumelin even raises the question of whether German war criminals were specifically recruited from the ranks of former elite troops (e.g. paratroopers) in order to make targeted use of their experience of fighting the partisans in the Balkans .
In the first phase of the war there was a relative shortage of materials and modern vehicles and aircraft among the French forces. Against the backdrop of the worsening Cold War , the US government switched to direct material support for French warfare from 1949 after initial reluctance. This led to the fact that both the French forces in Indochina and the national armies of the French-dependent states Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia formed in 1949 were fully equipped with modern US material. From 1950 to 1954, the USA supplied around 30,000 motor vehicles, around 360,000 firearms, 1,880 tanks and armored vehicles, and around 5,000 artillery pieces . The French forces also received 305 aircraft and 106 ships. Among these were two light aircraft carriers . During the war, US material supplies covered around 70% of the needs of the French armed forces. Among other things, more than 500 million rounds for infantry weapons and at least ten million for artillery were delivered. The French logistics system was based on fixed depots that were created during the colonial era, mostly in the population centers. The main load of the transports was carried by trucks. In addition, transports were carried out by river navigation and rail. Transports by porters and pack animals played a minor role. At all levels, the French supplies were exposed to guerrilla attacks and sabotage by the Viet Minh. This led to a shift towards air transport via airfield or parachute drop. Helicopters were also used to a limited extent. Two separate logistics systems developed. In addition to the static system with which the troops at the population centers were supplied, a quick-reacting system for the support of combat troops in difficult and remote terrain was necessary.
Both sides had to contend with high desertion rates. For the Viet Minh, neither the French nor the Vietnamese have complete figures; estimates amount to several tens of thousands. On the French side there were around 16,000 desertions among the CEFEO troops, mainly in colonial units made up of locals. The reasons for the desertions were mostly violations of discipline or other conflicts with the law. Political motives were in the minority. The formally independent units of the armies of the countries associated with France had a higher desertion rate, here around 38,000 men withdrew from the troops. More than four fifths of the desertions occurred during the last two years of the war, 1953 to 1954. A few hundred soldiers defected to the Viet Minh.
Course of war
It took the French troops until February 1947 to displace the Viet Minh from Hanoi, Haiphong and Hue. By then they had killed around 1,800, the losses of the Viet Minh are not known. There was extensive damage to buildings and civilians in Hanoi. The Vietnamese leadership and their cadres avoided their bases in the inaccessible areas of the Viet Bac. This resulted in a guerrilla war in which the French colonial troops controlled the cities while they were constantly endangered in rural areas. The French units were tied to the few roads, while the Viet Minh could not appear openly, but used the population for reconnaissance and supplies. In large parts of the country, the Viet Minh were able to obtain a parallel, covert state power that collected taxes, made propaganda, carried out literacy programs and organized the population militarily. The influence reached so far that women took over the traditional mother role for young soldiers in the sense of an adoption for the duration of the war and often entire village communities were involved. The Viet Minh also used acts of terrorism against locals who were perceived as collaborators. The colonial authorities used all intelligence available to them, including torture , to penetrate the Viet Minh networks, but were unable to significantly weaken them. The French military leadership realized that the guerrilla was not brought under control, only an unstable stalemate between the two forces. For example, after an inspection tour in early 1947, Major General Leclerc demanded an increase from around 100,000 to around 500,000 soldiers. French pressure was enough to prevent the Viet Minh from directly dominating larger and more densely populated areas as Liberated Zones , forcing the guerrillas to keep moving. However, the French troops were unable to smash the guerrillas. The attempt to eliminate the command and the logistical base by an attack with parachute troops in the Viet Bac came to an end in November 1947 with the successful evasion of the Viet Minh. The Viet Minh increased their guerrilla activities within Tonkins, especially along the sparse traffic routes, so that from 1949 the French troops only carried out supply convoys as armed combat operations with air support. In January 1947, the Viet Minh set up their first division operating with the 308th Infantry Division . The guerrillas in the south came into increasing conflict with the Cao Dai and Hoa Hao sects during the year. These turned to the French after the murder of the Hoa Hao leader Huỳnh Phú Sổ by the Viet Minh.
The colonial power tried to offer the anti-colonial movement a non-communist alternative in 1949 through the formal independence of the states of Vietnam , Laos and Cambodia in close association with France. The Indochinese states were formally independent within the Union française , but French colonial institutions remained, and France secured control over the military, the economy and foreign policy. The state of Vietnam was tailored to the person of the Emperor Bảo Đại , who was considered a symbol of collaboration with the colonial power. However, Bao Dai was able to enforce the unity of the Vietnamese state through the dissolution of the independent Republic of Cochinchina as a nationalist goal against the French. The Eastern Bloc, under the leadership of the Soviet Union, protested against diplomatic recognition of the associated states and vetoed their full membership in the United Nations . The Prime Minister Nguyen Phan Long appointed by Bao Dai tried to expand the base of the regime through a policy of conciliation towards the Viet Minh. The leader of the underground of the Viet Minh in the south, Nguyễn Bình , opposed the policy of the government in Saigon with a political and military guerrilla movement in the winter of 1949/1950. This resulted in guerrilla attacks on provincial capitals and protests and civil disobedience in Saigon. Nguyen Phan Long was replaced by the former police officer Nguyen Phan Tam, who, under the leadership of the French military, suppressed the guerrillas in the south. In doing so, the Viet Minh lost almost all of their apparatus in the south and the civilian casualties they caused to inflow in the south. By forming national armies of the three client states under the command of the French, the French leadership hoped to win additional soldiers against the Viet Minh. In doing so, they also fulfilled a key demand made by the United States, which significantly increased their military aid to the French side.
Turn to proxy war
The victory of the People's Republic of China in the Chinese Civil War turned out to be a turning point in the war for the Viet Minh, as from now on they received military aid from their northern neighbor. In January 1950, diplomatic recognition was achieved by both the PRC and the Soviet Union. The military leadership of the Viet Minh around Vo Nguyen Giap tried to translate military aid into regularizing their units. In the same year, for example, four regularly operating divisions of the Viet Minh were set up, followed by another in 1951. In 1950 the Viet Minh leadership launched an offensive in the mountainous terrain on the north-western border and attacked French posts and vehicle columns operating in regimental strength. The skirmishes culminated in the battle on Route Coloniale 4 and were a shock to the French leadership and the public. Due to the loss of around 6,000 dead, prisoners and missing persons, the French leadership gave up the border region in order to direct their forces on the populous delta focus.
A Foreign Legionnaire who returned to his homeland described the regularization of the Viet Minh forces as follows in 1951:
“Back then  the insurgents in Indochina were very poorly equipped and trained. Their struggle was limited to partisan warfare, sniper warfare, and the laying of road mines here and there, which could sometimes cause considerable material losses. Today we are dealing with an immaculately trained, well-armed enemy. How France wants to keep Indochina in the long run is hard to understand for us legionaries. "
In early 1951, the political and military leadership of the Viet Minh came to the conclusion that the conditions for the transition to the third and final phase of the war were in place. For this purpose, the regular divisions should conquer the delta around Hanoi in conventional operations. The slogan that Hanoi should have been re-conquered by the Tet Festival in 1951 was publicly issued. However, the French armed forces were able to repel attempts by the Viet Minh to break into the delta at Vinh Yen , Mao Khe and on Song Day . The commander-in-chief of CEFEO Jean de Lattre de Tassigny saw the material deliveries from the USA as crucial for maintaining the French combat force - especially the air force . The Viet Minh had to stop the offensives due to the high losses and now turned back to the doctrine of a war of attrition with guerrilla forces. The defeats of 1951 led to a leadership crisis within the Viet Minh. Responsibility for the failure of the transition to the final phase of the war was placed on the leader of the Viet Minh in the south, Nguyễn Bình, who did not adequately support the offensive in the north through guerrilla actions. Nguyễn Bình was shot dead by a French patrol on the way back from the Viet Bac to Cochinchina. In 1952, the party leadership came to the conclusion that the strategy of organizing uprisings in the cities had failed because of the repressive apparatus of the colonial state and a lack of mobilization. In response, the party accelerated its land reform project in the areas under its control in order to mobilize the peasant population more.
The Viet Minh turned to northwest Indochina with the aim of expanding their infrastructure in northwest Tonkins and Laos. The Viet Minh tried to lure the French troops into terrain that was unfavorable for them. They were able to occupy Nghia Lo in the central highlands in late 1952 and almost completely wipe out a parachute battalion. In response to the defeat of the French commander led Raoul Salan the Opération Lorraine . This was supposed to open up retreat areas for the Viet Minh in Tonkin, but remained largely unsuccessful. In the battle for Nà Sản , however, Salan succeeded in defending an isolated, air-supplied base against a superior force of the Viet Minh. A renewed attempt by the Viet Minh to defeat the colonial troops in a conventional field battle had thus failed. However, the ability of the Viet Minh to lead conventionally operating units into combat based on a logistics system that is dependent on the labor force of the local population increased. In the spring of 1953, the Viet Minh surprised the French leadership and the public by invading Laos . The capital Luang Prabang could only be held with difficulty by the colonial troops.
In May 1953 the government under Prime Minister René Mayer appointed Henri Navarre as the new Commander-in-Chief of CEFEO. In internal debates, the French political leadership no longer believed in a military victory in the Indochina conflict, but many promised a political turnaround through increased US interference. René Mayer expressed himself as follows in private circles:
“It seems obvious that among French businessmen and officials who know Indochina well, none of them believe that it is possible to defeat the Viet Minh militarily. Nonetheless, the view has been spread that further efforts by pushing Washington direct aid to France could produce decisive results. "
Navarre was given the task of creating a favorable military starting position for a negotiated solution to the war. The so-called Navarre Plan initially planned to avoid major offensives until 1954, and then, after regrouping and taking action against the guerrilla infrastructure in the south, inflict a decisive military defeat on the Viet Minh from 1954. Navarre also supported the establishment of an anti-communist guerrilla within the Viet Minh area through the GCMA , a military unit formally subordinate to the secret service. Under the leadership of Roger Trinquier, this was able to recruit several thousand partisans from the hill tribe of the Hmong. The unit worked closely with opium producers within this section of the population and took over the transport and resale to the criminal syndicate of the Bình Xuyên in Saigon.
In the USA, Omar Bradley pleaded for support for the Navarre Plan, while his successor as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff , Admiral Arthur W. Radford , voted against it at the end of August 1953 because of the objections raised by the US military. This opinion also prevailed in the US Department of Defense, although John Foster Dulles supported the plan.
In the meantime, the Viet Minh are continuing land reform in the areas they control by distributing land to poor farmers. This enabled them to further expand their support within the rural population. At the end of 1953, the Viet Minh were fully informed about the French plans through intelligence. In response to the French plans, the military and political leadership of the Viet Minh formulated their own goals. On the one hand, the Viet Minh wanted to tie up as many French troops as possible through constant guerrilla activity. On the other hand, the conventional operations were to be relocated to the northwest towards Laos, since the French were at a logistical disadvantage there. Again in response to this relocation, Navarre had a base near the border occupied, which was supplied from the air. This ultimately led both sides to fight a conventional field battle there. For the French side, the battle for Điện Biên Phủ developed into an epoch-making defeat. From March 13, 1954, contrary to the expectations of the French leadership, the Viet Minh managed to use conventional fighting units with artillery in the impassable terrain of the border area, which conquered the air-supplied French base in battles lasting several weeks until May 8, 1954. The defeat at Dien Bien Phu ushered in a turnaround in French public opinion. The colonial war on another continent, which was previously only marginally perceived, suddenly came to the fore. At the beginning of the war, a small majority of respondents in France were in favor of continuing it, but after the defeat only 7% were in favor of continuing the war, 60% voted for a negotiated solution.
1954 Indochina Conference
From April 26, 1954, the Indochina Conference met in Geneva . The two warring parties France and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam as well as the USA , China , Great Britain , the Soviet Union , Vietnam , Laos and Cambodia took part in the conference. The French delegation was initially led by Georges Bidault , who wanted to ensure that the French colonial power would remain at the negotiating table. As a result, he proposed a ceasefire along the lines of actual military control. Thus, the population centers of the colony would have remained in French hands. The Viet Minh around their negotiator Pham Van Dong demanded the independence of the three states in Indochina and free, secret elections within six months. However, the defeat of Dien Bien Phu brought down Laniel's French government. Pierre Mendès France , who had been a declared opponent of the war for many years, was elected as his successor . Mendès France publicly set itself the goal of diplomatically ending the war or resigning. With the mediation of the Chinese delegation leader Zhou Enlai , the Viet Minh and France agreed on the provisional partition of Vietnam along the 17th parallel; the free elections were to be held no later than two years after the end of the war. This was seen by the American side as essential in order to build an anti-communist government in South Vietnam. The leadership of the Viet Minh, under pressure from their Chinese and Soviet allies, moved away from the goal of the independence of a single Vietnamese state under their leadership. The communist states feared US intervention in the conflict if a negotiated solution was not found. The Soviet Union saw concessions to the Mendès France government as a means of keeping France out of the European Defense Community and gave the situation in Europe a higher priority over Asia. In addition, the Viet Minh pledged that they would not intervene in Laos and Cambodia if, in return, US bases were not set up in these countries. The United States did indeed consider intervening in the conflict (called Operation Vulture , which should also include the use of tactical nuclear weapons). The war- weary US Congress shortly after the end of the Korean War , however, set the condition for its own government that this was only possible as part of a multinational coalition. This failed because of the lack of support from Great Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations, who considered an intervention on France's side to be militarily futile.
With regard to Laos and Cambodia, the conflicting parties agreed to recognize the already existing pro-French and monarchist governments as the only legitimate representatives of the people. The communist resistance movement Pathet Lao was granted two northern provinces as regrouping zones in the hope that the government would work out a negotiated solution with the communists. The numerically very small communist guerrilla group of the Khmer Issarak , which operated in Cambodia, received no recognition at the conference.
War victims, refugees and war costs
Overall estimates assume around half a million deaths from the conflict. A total of around 130,000 combatants died on the French side. 59,745 of them were members of the French army, 20,700 of whom were French nationals from the mother country. The death rate of the French armed forces was highest among North African colonial troops at 9.2%. The Foreign Legion followed with 8.2%. However, the highest risk of dying in the war involved the regular and irregular aid associations formed from Vietnamese. Around a quarter of the soldiers deployed died here, a total of around 71,000 fatalities. In addition to the fallen, around 88,000 people who fought on the French side were wounded. The Viet Minh counted around 200,000 deaths in their own ranks between 1946 and 1954. The majority of civilian deaths were in Tonkin. The estimate of the number of civilians killed ranges from 125,000 to around 800,000. The contemporary witness, war correspondent and political scientist Bernard B. Fall assumed a total of around one million deaths on the Vietnamese side. The historian Christopher Goscha places the majority of the Vietnamese fatalities among the rural civilian population, the number of which clearly exceeds the Viet Minh killed by the French and the pro-French natives killed by the Viet Minh. An official list of the dead and wounded was not published by the Viet Minh or the states that followed it.
The two sides used torture to varying degrees. French intelligence agencies had extensive experience of torture as a means of repression and interrogation against colonial natives. In the Sûreté Fédérale responsible in Indochina there were personal continuities to the prewar period with the adoption of their methods. During the reconquest of South Vietnam in 1946, the army made massive use of torture methods, so that the supreme commander of CEFEO General Valluy forbade the military per se in the summer of 1946. Defense Minister Paul Ramadier also tried to ban torture by the military by issuing a secret order. According to French press reports and Vietnamese memoirs and historical works, torture continued to be a means of war on the French side. A systematic quantification of the violence is not yet available, so the exact extent remains unclear. There is also no systematic appraisal of torture by the Viet Minh. This was mostly carried out by the organization's intelligence service as part of counter-espionage against suspected agents of the French within the Vietnamese population and their own organizations. In 1951, the Viet Minh's internal security forces banned torture as a means of interrogation. In the course of the start of the 1953 land reform in Tonkin, which was still initiated during the war, torture practices were used against landowners and wealthy farmers.
Both sides used children for their own purposes in war. The Viet Minh routinely deployed children within the guerrilla units for education, intelligence gathering and as reporters . Children were rarely used as combatants. In Hanoi in 1946, a special unit of 175 children between the ages of eight and fourteen - mostly orphans of the famine - was formed and placed under the capital of the Viet Minh regiment. Many of the Viet Minh recruits were young. The French military intelligence service Deuxième Bureau ran a paramilitary training academy for French and local children in Vung Tau, which several hundred attended. The French intelligence service used children for secret service tasks.
In large parts of the country, especially in North Vietnam, large parts of the infrastructure were destroyed. Food production in Tonkin declined increasingly after the brief period of peace. The war, which took place mainly in the rural areas, led to a surge in urbanization. The population of the Saigon-Cholon region quadrupled from 500,000 at the end of World War II to two million people at the end of the Indochina War. After the end of the war, around a million people, mostly Catholic Vietnamese from North Vietnam, emigrated to the south. The approximately 6,500 French nationals living in the north of Vietnam either fled to the south or returned to Europe.
On the French side, by 1952, the war consumed around half of the economic and military aid provided by the United States, a total of around 4.5 billion US dollars. The last two years of the war resulted in comparable costs of 3.6 billion, half of which was covered by US payments. Without the US grants, France would have had to end the war in 1952 to avert bankruptcy.
Political consequences for France
Public opinion in France perceived the war as marginal, especially until it escalated through the rise of the Viet Minh. With only a few tens of thousands of European residents in the colony and the fighting being fought by volunteers and often non-French, the French living in France had little contact with the conflict. From 1948 onwards, the French press began to criticize the war in Indochina under the slogan of the "dirty war" (French sale guerre ). The French Communist Party rose from 1949 to end the war to their most pressing domestic demand. The PCF was able to initiate a strike movement among dockworkers in France, which reached its peak in 1950.
After the end of the war, Mendès France was massively criticized by the Catholic right and the Poujadist movement for abandoning the Vietnamese Catholics. The influential in Catholic circles François Mauriac then tried to found a new Christian democracy critical of colonization in support of Mendès France, but failed with this project. Jean-Marie Le Pen , who was deployed as a paratrooper in Vietnam, actively fought against the policy of decolonization and combined this with anti-Semitic abuse against Mendès France. In 1956 Le Pen entered the National Assembly as a Poujadist member of parliament. In France's public opinion after the war the thesis was put forward that the US government had deliberately given the French inadequate support in the Indochina War, with the aim of adding South Vietnam to its own sphere of influence at the expense of France. The acquisition of economic advantages was assumed to be the main motivation. One of the main proponents of this thesis was de Gaulle himself. The French historian Pierre Brocheux refers this view to the realm of legends because of the military-technical assistance and the safeguarding of the interests of French companies in South Vietnam after the war. Rather, this anti-Americanism allowed the contradictions and problems in one's own politics to be concealed.
Within the still existing French colonial empire, the withdrawal from Indochina acted as an encouragement for nationalist groups to pursue independence through armed struggle. A few months after the Peace of Geneva , the FLN opened the Algerian war with terrorist attacks in Algiers . Their representatives adopted both rhetorical and organizational concepts from the Viet Minh. Within the French military elite, the defeat in Indochina after the defeat in 1940 caused further disillusionment and encouraged a willingness to wage war in North Africa at any cost. Numerous officers who were instrumental in the counterinsurgency in Algeria had previously served in Indochina. They brought their ideas and methods with them from Southeast Asia. Some of these officers, including the former supreme commander of CEFEO Raoul Salan , found themselves as leading members in the ranks of the OAS , which tried to thwart the peace treaty with terrorist means.
The recruitment of Germans to the Legion in the French occupation zone put a strain on Franco-German relations. Exaggerated information about the number of German legionnaires recruited and killed in the war circulated in the daily press and in the publications of social organizations. The participation of German citizens in the war was at times overestimated by up to ten times. The SPD and the press in East Germany highlighted this practice in the media in order to criticize the government under Konrad Adenauer's ties to the West . In May 1955, the French military stopped advertising in the Federal Republic.
Towards the end of the Cold War, veteran affairs in France came back into focus. In 1989, veteran organizations were able to ensure that the captivity of French soldiers with the Viet Minh was recognized as prisoner of war and compensated accordingly. In 1991 the Boudarel affair broke out, in which veterans' organizations accused the university professor Georges Boudarel , who defected to the Viet Minh in 1950 and was given amnesty in 1968, of involvement in the torture and ill-treatment of French prisoners of war. Boudarel was acquitted in court, but had to give up his position at the University of Paris VII .
Communist state in North Vietnam
With the Chinese military aid, a formally higher political mission came to the DRV under the leadership of Communist Party functionary Luo Guibo . These acted in an advisory capacity and instructed the Vietnamese communists on adopting Maoist concepts of mass organization, political repression, cadre selection and land reform policy. The development began with self-criticism campaigns and purges among the functionaries of the Viet Minh. This personnel policy led to the repression of cadres with a non-communist past or assumed political unreliability. From 1950 onwards, propaganda campaigns based on the Chinese model were carried out in the DRV-controlled territory. From 1952 onwards, systematic repression against undesirable sections of the population such as landowners and former colonial collaborators began in this context, regardless of any support for the independence movement. Likewise, the already existing personality cult around Ho Chi Minh was significantly strengthened and, like in China around Mao, became a state-supporting element in the DRV.
After the end of the war, the communist leadership in the now internationally recognized DRV (Democratic Republic of Vietnam) was faced with very difficult economic conditions. The discontinuation of rice deliveries from the Mekong Delta threatened a renewed famine, which could only be averted by deliveries from Burma arranged by the Soviet Union . The party leadership pushed the land reform program that had already begun during the war in 1953. Under the leadership of the chief ideologist Trường Chinh , the rural population was divided into social classes based on the Chinese model in order to enable a planned social upheaval. The Communist Party of Vietnam used coercive measures that led to the execution of around 3,000 to 50,000 farmers. Numerous people who had actively supported the Việt Minh were also affected. The land reform led to a collapse in productivity and unrest. After armed uprisings against the DRV in the home province of Ho Chi Minh, Nghệ An , the program was stopped and Truong Chinh was relieved of his leading role as general secretary of the party. However, the state then used incarceration, execution and extensive press censorship as a means of domestic policy. The upheavals in the north led to a mass exodus of the educated classes and Catholics towards South Vietnam. This movement received massive support from US Navy ships and efforts by the CIA as part of Operation Passage to Freedom, which began immediately after the war ended .
Partition of Vietnam and US intervention
The US government viewed the results of the Indochina Conference as a defeat in the Cold War and feared that a unification of Vietnam with the political preponderance of the communist state in the north would result in a further spread of communist systems in Southeast Asia ( domino theory ). As a result, they decided to promote the formation and support of an anti-communist state in South Vietnam. For this purpose, the USA installed the Catholic Ngô Đình Diệm as Prime Minister in the south. This was supported by massive economic and military aid. A staff of advisors to the CIA around the US officer Edward Lansdale had a decisive influence on political decisions on site.
In the course of the partition of Vietnam, around half a million Catholics, around 200,000 Buddhists and around 20,000 members of the Nung mountain people left North Vietnam for the south in order to evade the access of the communist state. Around 45,000 members of the Chinese minority, many of whom later emigrated to Taiwan , also left the north. In return for the refugee movement from the north, around 50,000 to 90,000 Viet Minh and their sympathizers left the south for the DRV. Between 10,000 and 15,000 Communist cadres remained in South Vietnam. The party leadership in Hanoi initially enacted a nonviolent strategy in the south and supported a peace movement of sympathetic intellectuals in Saigon-Cholon. Diem thwarted the free all-Vietnamese elections agreed in Geneva and was confirmed in 1955 as president of the now independent "Việt Nam Cong Hoa" (Republic of Vietnam, "South Vietnam") through fake elections in the south . Diem led a dictatorial regime that relied heavily on his family members and the Christian minority in the country. He led an aggressive campaign of repression against functionaries and supporters of the communist party, who fell victim to a number of actual opponents as well as many alleged opponents of the regime. Likewise, the resettlement of Christian refugees from the north often caused tensions with the Buddhist majority population, who felt they had been taken advantage of. The weakness and lack of popularity of the Diem regime led to the emergence of a guerrilla against the regime in South Vietnam from 1956/1957. One of the main means of the guerrillas was the targeted murder of several hundred officials and dignitaries of the Diem regime. From 1959 the north began to support this uprising movement by sending guerrilla fighters. The conflict eventually escalated with the United States' intervention in the Vietnam War .
The two kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia became sovereign states again with this agreement. The US waged a secret war for power in the Kingdom of Laos through the CIA and Generals Phoumi Nosavan and Vang Pao . Only in Cambodia were the free elections agreed in the Geneva Agreement actually held. Cambodia remained a constitutional monarchy from 1954 until the Lon Nol Putsch in April 1971 , with King Norodom Suramarit , the father of Prince Sihanouk .
Culture of remembrance and artistic processing
On the Vietnamese side, the Indochina War, as the victory of the communist independence movement, provided the founding myth of the modern Vietnamese state. From the 1950s onwards, the government promoted the construction of many distributed heroes' cemeteries as places of remembrance for the fallen. Since the 1990s, the Vietnamese government has been working on a DNA database to identify unknown fallen victims in collaboration with their survivors. A dispute outside the party line, which puts the sacrifice of the soldiers and the leadership role of the party in the foreground, is hardly possible. In the early 1990s, the 1955 banned novel by Tran Dan Man for Man, Wave for Wave and the novel by Bao Ninh, The Sorrows of War, were published again. During the war, the Viet Minh made several propaganda films, they were supported by a group around the Soviet director Roman Karmen .
On the French side, the government created in 1986 with the necropolis of Frejus , a central memorial where the remains of 25,000 French civilians and soldiers are buried. French films and literature on war mostly depict the situation of the French soldiers and mostly value their fate as the tragedy of brave soldiers who have been given up by their political leadership. Particularly influential was the filmmaker and author Pierre Schœndœrffer , who, after working as a photographer for the French army in Indochina, dedicated his cinematic and literary work to his war experience. Jean Lartéguy wrote several novels about the war, of which Les Centurions in particular shaped the self-image of the French armed forces in times of decolonization. The film Mort en fraude , published by Marcel Camus in 1957, portrayed the brutality of both sides and was banned in the French colonies. Graham Greene became internationally known with his book The Silent American , in which he drew a moral picture of colonial society.
- Literature in English
- Christopher E. Goscha : Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945–1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011. ISBN 978-8-7769-4063-8 .
- Geoffrey C. Gunn: Rice Wars in Colonial Vietnam - The Great Famine and the Viet Minh Road to Power. Lanham 2014. ISBN 978-1-4422-2302-8 .
- Frederik Logevall: Embers of War - The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam. New York 2012. ISBN 978-0-3755-0442-6 .
- Charles R. Shrader: A War of Logistics - Parachutes and Porters in Indochina, 1945-1954. Lexington 2015. ISBN 978-0-8131-6576-9 .
- Literature in French
- Michel Bodin: Dictionnaire de la Guerre d'Indochine 1945–1954. Economica, Hautes Etudes Militaires, ISC, Paris 2004. ISBN 2-7178-4846-0 .
- Michel Bodin: La France et ses soldats, Indochine 1945–1954. L'Harmattan, Paris 2000. ISBN 2-7384-4092-4 .
- Jacques Dalloz: La guerre d'Indochine 1945–1954. Paris 1987. ISBN 2-02-009483-5 .
- Maurice Vaïsse, Alain Bizard: L'armée Française Dans La Guerre D'indochine (1946–1954): Adaptation Ou Inadaptation? Brussels 2000. ISBN 2-87027-810-1 .
- Jacques Valette: La Guerre d'Indochine, 1945–1954. Paris 1994. ISBN 2-200-21537-1 .
- Documentaire: Viêtnam: La première Guerre 1945–1954 (1) ( Memento of February 10, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (French video)
- Documentaire: Viêtnam: La première Guerre 1945–1954 (2) ( Memento of March 8, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (French video)
Pierre Brocheux: Histoire du Vietnam Contmemporain - La Nation résiliante. Paris 2011, p. 12, pp. 25-28.
William J. Duiker: Sacred War - Nationalism and Revolution in a Divided Vietnam. Boston 1995, p. 6, pp. 11-18.
- Pierre Brocheux, Daniel Hémery: Indochina. An ambiguous colonization, 1858-1954. Berkeley 2009, pp. 48-64.
- Geoffrey C. Gunn: Rice Wars in Colonial Vietnam - The Great Famine and the Viet Minh Road to Power. Lanham 2014, pp. 34-37.
- Geoffrey C. Gunn: Rice Wars in Colonial Vietnam - The Great Famine and the Viet Minh Road to Power. Lanham 2014, p. 45f., P. 58f., P. 61f., P. 68f.
- Geoffrey C. Gunn: Rice Wars in Colonial Vietnam - The Great Famine and the Viet Minh Road to Power. Lanham 2014, p. 51.
- Geoffrey C. Gunn: Rice Wars in Colonial Vietnam - The Great Famine and the Viet Minh Road to Power. Lanham 2014, pp. 226f.
- Pierre Brocheux, Daniel Hémery: Indochina. An ambiguous colonization, 1858-1954. Berkeley 2009, pp. 330-353.
- Geoffrey C. Gunn: Rice Wars in Colonial Vietnam - The Great Famine and the Viet Minh Road to Power. Lanham 2014, p. 265.
- Geoffrey C. Gunn: Rice Wars in Colonial Vietnam - The Great Famine and the Viet Minh Road to Power. Lanham 2014, pp. 166f.
- Charles R. Shrader: A War of Logistics - Parachutes and Porters in Indochina 1945-1954. Lexington 2015, pp. 185-187.
- Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945-1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, pp. 201f.
- Charles R. Shrader: A War of Logistics - Parachutes and Porters in Indochina 1945-1954. Lexington 2015, p. 187.
- Jacques Dalloz: La guerre d'Indochine 1945-1954. Paris 1987, pp. 115, pp. 280-281.
- Charles R. Shrader: A War of Logistics - Parachutes and Porters in Indochina, 1945–1954. Lexington 2015, pp. 44-46, p. 51, pp. 94-96, pp. 194-196, p. 349.
- Charles R. Shrader: A War of Logistics - Parachutes and Porters in Indochina, 1945-1954. Lexington 2015, p. 88, original text in English: "Only a long term war could enable us to utilize to the maximum our political trump cards, to overcome our material handicap and to transform our weakness into strength (...) to build up our strength during the actual course of fighting. "
- Charles R. Shrader: A War of Logistics - Parachutes and Porters in Indochina, 1945–1954. Lexington 2015, pp. 165-177.
- Xiaobing Li: China at War - An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, 2012, pp. 66-68.
- Charles R. Shrader: A War of Logistics - Parachutes and Porters in Indochina, 1945-1954. Lexington 2015, p. 20.
Jacques Dalloz: Dictionnaire de la Guerre d'Indochine 1945-1954. Paris 2001, p. 67.
Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945–1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, p. 55f., P. 155f., P. 173f.
- Eckard Michels: Germans in the Foreign Legion 1870-1965 - Myths and Realities. 5th edition, Paderborn 2006, pp. 164-167, pp. 180-185.
- Pierre Thoumelin: L'ennemi utile 1946-1954. Des vétérans de la Wehrmacht et de la Waffen-SS in the rangs de la Légion étrangère en Indochine. Schneider, Les Préaux 2013, p. 124.
- Charles R. Shrader: A War of Logistics - Parachutes and Porters in Indochina 1945-1954. Lexington 2015, pp. 142-145.
- Charles R. Shrader: A War of Logistics - Parachutes and Porters in Indochina 1945-1954. Lexington 2015, pp. 54f., Pp. 109-122.
- Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945-1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, p. 137.
- Frederik Logevall: Embers of War - The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam. New York 2012, pp. 79-81.
- William J. Duiker: Sacred War - Nationalism and Revolution In a Divided Vietnam. Boston 1995, pp. 64-67.
- Charles R. Shrader: A War of Logistics - Parachutes and Porters in Indochina 1945-1954. Lexington 2015, pp. 257f.
- Charles R. Shrader: A War of Logistics - Parachutes and Porters in Indochina 1945-1954. Lexington 2015, p. 46.
- William J. Duiker: The Communist Road to Power in Vietnam. 2nd edition, Boulder 1996, pp. 138f.
Jacques Dalloz: Dictionnaire de la Guerre d'Indochine 1945-1954. Paris 2001, p. 89f.
Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945–1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, pp. 54f.
- William J. Duiker: The Communist Road to Power in Vietnam. 2nd edition, Boulder 1996, pp. 143-146.
- Frederik Logevall: Embers of War - The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam. New York 2012, pp. 255f.
- Frederik Logevall: Embers of War - The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam. New York 2012, p. 224.
- Charles R. Shrader: A War of Logistics - Parachutes and Porters in Indochina 1945-1954. Lexington 2015, p. 46.
- Eckard Michels: Germans in the Foreign Legion 1870-1965 Myths and Realities. Paderborn 2006, p. 175.
- Charles R. Shrader: A War of Logistics - Parachutes and Porters in Indochina 1945-1954. Lexington 2015, pp. 223-225.
- Frederik Logevall: Embers of War - The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam. New York 2012, p. 270.
- William J. Duiker: The Communist Road to Power in Vietnam. 2nd edition, Boulder 1996, pp. 160f.
- Frederik Logevall: Embers of War - The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam. New York 2012, pp. 319-331.
- Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945-1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, p. 257.
- Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945-1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, pp. 142–144.
- Frederik Logevall: Embers of War - The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam. New York 2012, p. 357, original text in English: “It seems evident that among French businessmen and civil servants who know Indochina well, nobody believes any more that it is possible to beat the Viet Minh military. Nevertheless, in order to induce Washington to grant France sizable direct assistance, the notion has been propagated that additionial efforts might yield decisive results. "
- Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945-1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, p. 191f., P. 352f.
- John Prados: Operation Vulture: America's Dien Bien Phu. Diversion Books, New York 2014, chap. II.
- Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945-1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, p. 394.
- Frederick Logevall: Embers of War - The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam. New York 2013, pp. 560f., Pp. 596-613.
- William J. Duiker: The Communist Road to Power in Vietnam. 2nd edition, Boulder 1996, p. 171.
- Pierre Brocheux, Daniel Hémery: Indochina - An Ambiguous Colonization 1858-1954. Berkeley 2009, pp. 372f.
- Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945-1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, pp. 88f.
- Frederick Logevall: Embers of War - The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam. New York 2013, p. 619.
- Christopher Goscha: Vietnam - A New History. New York, 2016, pp. 226f.
- Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945-1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, p. 450.
- Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945-1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, p. 100.
- Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945-1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, pp. 174f.
- Marc Frey : Decolonization in Southeast Asia - The United States and the dissolution of the European colonial empires. Munich 2006, p. 168f.
- Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945-1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, p. 395f., P. 416.
- Jacques Dalloz: Dictionnaire de la Guerre d'Indochine 1945-1954. Paris 2001, p. 84.
- Robert Gildes: The Past in French History. Yale University Press, 1996, p. 331.
- Pierre Brocheux: Histoire du Vietnam Contemporain - resilient nation La. Paris, 2011, p. 151f.
- Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945-1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, p. 36f., P. 416.
- Eckard Michels: Germans in the Foreign Legion 1870-1965 - Myths and Realities. Paderborn 2006, p. 180, p. 263-265.
- Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945-1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, pp. 69-71.
- Christopher Goscha: Vietnam - A New History. New York, 2016, pp. 250-254.
- Frederick Logevall: Embers of War - The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam. New York 2013, pp. 630-634.
- Marc Frey: History of the Vietnam War. 9th edition, Munich 2010, pp. 44-67.
- Christopher E. Goscha: Vietnam - A New History. New York 2016, pp. 279f.
- William J. Duiker: The Communist Road to Power in Vietnam. 2nd edition, Boulder 1996, pp. 182f.
- Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945-1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, p. 92, p. 103, p. 302, p. 346f.
- Christopher E. Goscha: Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945-1954) - An International and Interdisciplinary Approach. Copenhagen 2011, p. 103f., P. 303, p. 308, p. 346f., P. 403f.