Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii-v

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-vii

Illustrations

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pp. ix-ix

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Foreword by the Series Editors

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pp. xi-xii

Historians have written scores of books in English on the events leading the Americans into war in Vietnam in the early 1960s. And many more are now appearing on theVietnamese side. Strangely enough, remarkably few scholars have examined the outbreak of the first war in Indochina in 1945–46 between the French and the same Vietnamese, despite the fact that combined the two wars constituted one of the longest, most important, and violent conflicts of the ColdWar. Hence the importance ...

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Foreword

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pp. xiii-xv

In a memorable lecture delivered in April 1965 at Johns Hopkins University, U.S. Senator J.William Fulbright opposed what he called the Johnson administration’s new and dangerous “arrogance of power.” President Lyndon B. Johnson had just started to bomb North Vietnam in the hope of deterring Hanoi from fighting for the unification of Vietnam. “Arrogance of Power” could have been the title of this ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xvii-xix

The present book has come about in three stages. I first wrote an MA thesis at the University of Oslo in 1981–82, which I published as a report of the International Peace Research Institute,Oslo (PRIO), in 1984. For introducing me to archival work and historical reasoning, I want to thank my supervisor at the University of Oslo, Helge Ø. Pharo, my supervisor at PRIO, the late Marek Thee, David G. Marr, who ...

Abbreviations

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pp. xxi-xxiv

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Introduction

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pp. 1-10

Butterfield calls this phenomenon “the tragic element in human conflict” and suggests that the history of any conflict acquires this structure as it becomes revised and corrected and reshaped with the passage of time.1 War was Vietnam’s predicament for well over forty years. No other country has suffered asmany war casualties sinceWorldWar II. In the first fivemonths of 1945, partly because Allied bombing ...

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1. A Clash of Republics

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pp. 11-38

The sequence of war in Indochina began as a collision between two new republics, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) and the French Fourth Republic. Both were strongly influenced by socialist and communist thinking, while at the same time both strove to build a national consensus with nonsocialist nationalist groups. Both aimed at modernizing Indochina through industrialization, trade, and representative ...

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2. The Chinese Trap

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pp. 39-64

In the fall of 1946, before the world learned of the crisis leading to the Indochina War, Indonesian Prime Minister Sutan Sjahrir complained to the French consul in Jakarta about the narrow-minded policies of the Dutch and the British, who had joined forces in preventing his country from gaining independence.They should follow the good French example, said Sjahrir, who envied Ho Chi Minh that he could ...

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3. Modus Vivendi

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pp. 65-105

Late in the evening of September 14, 1946, Ho Chi Minh went to see Marius Moutet in his Paris apartment. Ho had been in France through the summer, giving interviews and making an indelible personal impression on many French and foreign figures, but the formal Franco-Vietnamese negotiations at Fontainebleau, at a safe distance from the Paris melting pot, had not led to any agreement.The main ...

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4. Massacre

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pp. 106-145

The deaths of thousands of human beings are concealed behind this terse telegram. When exploring the origins of the Vietnamese wars, it is easy to become absorbed in the actions of the presidents, ministers, commissioners, admirals, generals, and colonels—all men—and forget the millions of people—men,women, and children— who were wounded, who died, or who lost their closest kin. Sometimes, however, ...

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5. The French Trap

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pp. 146-200

After November 23, Morlière expected the French seizure of Haiphong and Langson to lead immediately to a general conflagration, and he concentrated on preparing his forces for responding to a Vietnamese counterattack. In Haiphong, French military intelligence laid their hands on a Vietnamese plan to attack the French garrison in Hanoi, and this reinforced the expectation that the Vietnamese would take ...

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6. Who Turned Out the Lights?

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pp. 201-233

In January 1947, the French got hold of an order from Vo Nguyen Giap to all Vietnamese military units to “destroy the daily order of December 19 immediately,with all appendices.”1 Something went awry that day.What happened on December 19, 1946, still belongs on the shadowy side of history. Not only the Vietnamese, but the French as well, have had something to hide. At 2003 or 2004 ...

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7. If Only...

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pp. 234-259

Historical events change the fate of individuals as much as nations.During the first twelve days of the French Indochina War, the father of the Vietnamese historian Duong Trung Quoc took part in the fighting in Hanoi. On December 31, he was killed near Long Bien bridge. Until recently, I had no idea that my Vietnamese colleague had been so personally engaged in the tragedy of 1946, but in July 2007, after ...

Notes

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pp. 261-319

Glossary

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pp. 321-325

Bibliography

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pp. 327-338

Index

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pp. 339-362

Production Notes

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pp. 362-362