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The Japanese Occupation of Vietnam, 1940-45

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TranHungDao View Drop Down
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  Quote TranHungDao Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Japanese Occupation of Vietnam, 1940-45
    Posted: 12-Oct-2009 at 12:06

Originally posted by lirelou

There was no resistance to the Japanese! That's a myth. Cite me a single instance of Viet Minh 'resistance' to the Japanese. I know of one 'battle', and that was waged as the war was ending for specific purposes. The enemy was the French! The Japanese were inclined to recognize Vietnamese independence, albeit under a more conservative group.

Pretty astonish to even read this. Confused

For the longest time, my father refused to buy Japanese cars citing Japanese attrocities in Vietnam.  He used to buy only American.  Of course, he drives Japanese now since one of my siblings works for the world's biggest car company, which sadly is no longer GM.  Hint:  Employee discount. LOL

BTW, what exactly is your definition of "resistance"?


 The U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS, the forerunner of the CIA) allies with Ho Chi Minh and his Viet Minh guerrillas to harass Japanese troops and to help rescue downed American pilots. Ho Chi Minh becomes “Agent 19” under the supervision of MAJ Archimedes Patti.

http://www.1913intel.com/2008/04/06/world-war-two-summary-outline-of-key-events/


Vietnam By Nick Ray, Peter Dragicevich, Regis St. Louis


In 1941 Ho formed the League for the Independence of Vietnam, much better known as the Viet Minh, which resisted the Japanese and carried out extensive political activities during WWII. Despite its nationalist program, the Viet Minh was, from its inception, dominated by Ho’s communists. But Ho was pragmatic, patriotic and populist and understood the need for national unity.

WWII BREAKS OUT


When France fell to Nazi Germany in 1940, the Indochinese government of Vichy France collaborators acquiesced to the presence of Japanese troops in Vietnam. For their own convenience the Japanese left the French administration in charge of the day-to-day running of the country. For a time, Vietnam was spared the ravages of the Japanese occupation and things continued much as normal. However, as WWII drew to a close, Japanese rice acquisitions, in combination with floods and breaches in the dikes, caused a horrific famine in which two million of North Vietnam’s 10 million people starved to death. The only forces to opposed both the French and Japanese presence in Vietnam were the Viet Minh and Ho Chi Minh received assistance from the US government during this period. (page 32, 33)



http://books.google.com/books?id=Wmhv70_iaIgC&pg=PA33&lpg=PA33&dq=viet+minh++japanese+occupation+vietnam&source=bl&ots=Mc-CCJ7xK9&sig=jys0_XaQAxbfmF-9mvpSe_D2h2E&hl=en&ei=hjLTSpzUK4uEswPjjY3wCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CBwQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=viet%20minh%20%20japanese%20occupation%20vietnam&f=false

Oddly enough, the source immediately above is from a travel info book from lonelyplanet.com. But it is clearly citing genuine scholarly sources. 

P.S.  More sources to come....



Edited by TranHungDao - 12-Oct-2009 at 12:11
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  Quote TranHungDao Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Oct-2009 at 12:11

The African American experience in Vietnam: brothers in arms

By James E. Westheider

Sometime in early 1945, a small American military mission parachuted into the rugged countryside of northern Vietnam. The men went to assist a band of Vietnamese guerillas who called themselves the “Vietminh” and were fighting the Japanese occupation of Vietnam. “Vietminh”, which loosely translated means “freedom fighters”, was short for “Viet Man Doc Lap Dong Minh”, or “the Vietnamese League for Independence.” It was organized in May 1941 by three men who would play a major role in America’s war in that country, Pham Van Dong, Vo Nguyen Giap, and the leader of the movement, Ho Chi Minh. (p. 17)

In 1940, Japanese troops occupied French Indochina, including Vietnam. France was in no position to resist the invasion of the Nazi’s Pacific ally, having just been defeated by Germany and forced into a humbling surrender. The Japanese were brutal overlords, exploiting the Vietnamese people and seizing the rice, rubber and coal that their empire needed. In resisting the Japanese, Vietnamese nationalist leaders saw an opportunity to strike a blow against yet another foreign invader and further the cause of independence. Ho returned to Vietnam in 1941 to organize the Vietminh. But the new Vietminh presented itself as a nationalist, not a communist movement, and since Nguyen Ai Quoc was a well-known communist, he changed his name to Ho Chi Minh to downplay his communist ties.

The Viet Minh rescued American pilots shot down by the Japanese and provided the Americans with useful intelligence about enemy troop movements. In return, the American military began to provide the Viet Minh with weapons. The Americans had already entered into an alliance with the Soviet Union to fight Nazi Germany, so the Vietminh’s communist connections were not an issue during the war. Most Americans agreed that Ho, Giap, and their followers were Viet namese nationalists first and communists second. The only stipulation the United States placed on the arms it supplied to the Vietminh was that they not sue them againt the French. With American military support the Vietminh not only fought the Japanese but also slowly established political control over much of northern Vietnam and extended their reach southward for the first time.

By the summer of 1945 it was obvious that the Japanese were headed for defeat. Ho was determined to take advantage fo the temporary power vaccuum before the French had a chance to reassert colonial control. In August 1945, the Vietminh occupied and took control of Hanoi and the old imperial capital of Hue. On September 2, 1945, from a balconey in Hanoi and with American intelligence officer Major Archimedes Patti at this side, Ho Chi Minh proclaimed an independent Vietnam. American military officers joined Giap to review marching Vietminh troops, and at least one American warplane few over the crowd and dipped its wings in salute to the newly proclaimed republic. Ho hoped the United States would support an independent Vietnam, but American support of the Vietminh soon faltered. (page 18-19)


http://books.google.com/books?id=VHEL34ALzO4C&pg=PA17&lpg=PA17&dq=viet+minh++japanese+occupation+vietnam&source=bl&ots=M9ZrSD-xy_&sig=bcN1xtpGeOjFz4jqRpJJLU2XR3c&hl=en&ei=hjLTSpzUK4uEswPjjY3wCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CCMQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=viet%20minh%20%20japanese%20occupation%20vietnam&f=false

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  Quote TranHungDao Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Oct-2009 at 12:36

Dirty Little Secrets of the Vietnam War: Military Information You're Not Supposed To Know

By James F. Dunnigan, Albert A. Nofi


There was some armed resistance to the French in the 1930’s, and a guerrilla movement against the Japanese appeared during World War II, but no serious fighting got done until the late 1940’s. The reason was simple: the rebels had a hard time obtaining weapons until the Russians, and especially the Chinese, Communists agreed to support them. But the rebels were aided by some events that made it a lot easier to recruit troops. The massive famine in 1945 (caused mainly by the Japanese exporting most of the rice crop) killed two million people and created a tremendous resentment toward foreigners. The Japanese occupation of Indochina from 1940 to 1945 had not been gentle, and the French were still around, although the Japanese had finally disarmed or killed the French colonial troops in early 1945. (p. 35)

In 1947, the French had only 15,000 troops in Vietnam, and the Vietminh had 60,000. Granted, many of the Viet Minh fighters didn’t have rifles, but these men (and some women) were willing to fight, even if only armed with knives or farm implements.

By 1949, the Viet Minh had thirty battalions of regular troops (about 12,000 soldiers), who could fight it out with the French. This wasn’t enough for the Vietminh to win. Total Viet Minh troop strength was only about 100,000. While the French concentrated on controlling the large population centers in Vietnam, the Viet Minh had a hard time building their combat strength up to 200,000 troops. However, because of Chinese assistance, most of the Communist troops were now regulars, not guerillas. By late 1950, this assistance had enabled the Viet Minh to field 117 battalions, plus artillery units. The French would build up to a peak force, in 1954, of 100,000 French troops and over 200,000 Indochinese troops (some of the latter becoming the core of the later South Vietnamese army). In that year, the Viet Minh attained a strength of 300,000.


French Casualties in Indochina, 1945-54

                                     KIA/MW/MIA        WIA                   Total

French Troops             75,867                  65,125                 140,992
Indochinese Troops    18,714                  13,002                   31,716

Totals                           94,581                  78,127                172,708

Key: KIA/MW/MIA indicates troops killed in action, mortally wounded, or missing in action (only c. 25% of prisoners taken by the Viet Minh were ever liberated.) WIA indicates wounded in action but not mortally. The KIA/MW/MIA figure for French Troops includes 11,710 Algerian, Moroccan, and other colonial forces as well as the Foreign Legion, and c. 720 air force and naval air personnel. Excluding Indochinese personnel, the total force France committed to Indochina over the nine years of the war was only 175,000 men, an astonishing 80 % of whom became casualties, over half of them dead or missing in action. Nearly 14% of the approximately 225,000 Indochinese troops who served I the French army or the various locally raised “national armies,” became casualties, more than half of whom were killed or missing in action, an equally astonishing rate of loss. (page 36-37)


The Viet Minh-Japanese Alliance

Although “alliance” is perhaps too strong a word for it, for a short period in early 1945, the Viet Minh more of less laid off fighting the Japanese because the Japanese began fighting the French. Having muscled in on the French in 1940-41, the Japanese were soon more or less in complete control of Indochina. But there were still officials and French troops in the country, going through the motions of preserving French sovereignty. With the liberation of France from the Nazis in mid-1944, relations between the Japanese and the local Vichy (Pro-German) French became increasingly tense, particularly since the French Committee of National Liberation had declared war on Japan. In early 1945, the Japanese decided to get rid of the French. The Viet Minh appear to have gotten wind of what was to come. Recognizing that it was in their best interests of sit on the sidelines, they ceased making attacks on Japanese forces. In a well-executed coup on 9 March the Japanese managed to capture virtually all important French civil and military personnel, only about a thousand Foreign Legionnaires managed to from the disaster by a long and arduous march into China. Perhaps 4,500 French personnel were massacred, and the rest imprisoned. This effectively broke the remnants of the French power in Indochina, and thus greatly benefited the Viet Minh, who shortly resumed their attacks on the Japanese.

The Viet Minh’s Foreign Legion

One of the genuine “dirty little secrets” of the First Indochina War was the fact that the Viet Minh had serving in its ranks some former Imperial Japanese troops and even Nazi German personnel.

 When Japan surrendered to the Allies, between 1,500 and 4,000 Japanese troops joined the Viet Minh. Led by a Lieutenant Colonel Mukayama, who was later killed in action fighting the French, these troops included some members of the dread Kempetai, or military secret police. Many of the Japanese troops served as technicians and trainers with the Viet Minh, and some served in combat. The Japanese 51st Mountain Artillery Regiment, some nine hundred strong, seems to have provided the core about which the Viet Minh built their first artillery units.

Joining these Japanese troops were some former Nazi official and even German troops recruited in Asia by the Nazi Auslander organization who had been serving in Indochina (a forgotten footnote to World War II), preferring to take chances with the Communists than the Allied war crimes tribunal.

The Viet Minh also aquired some erstwhile Nazi troops through capturing members of the French Foreign Legion, which was heavily German in the post-World War II period. In fact, Ho Chi Minh went so far as to “adopt” one, who took the name Ho Chi Long, an obvious ploy to entice more defections from the ranks of the French.

This co-option of former enemy troops was by no means an unusual occurrence in the post-World War II period. Both sides in the post-1945 Chinese Civil War made use of former Japanese personnel who, for various reasons, preferred not to return home. Despite “denazification” in Germany and other parts of Europe, a lot of former Nazis managed to turn up in positions of authority on both sides of the Iron Curtain. The infamous Nazi commando Otto Skorzeny reportedly served as a technical advisor to the South Vietnamese Army for a time in the 1950’s. (page 38-39)


http://books.google.com/books?id=7t-XPOvtWUkC&pg=PA35&lpg=PA35&dq=viet+minh++japanese+occupation+vietnam&source=bl&ots=ytQTWJEbyA&sig=VJBXOp5qsZ_JCtuNC17jhjiM4pk&hl=en&ei=B2TTSu7pAomMtAOJxdjvCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAwQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=viet%20minh%20%20japanese%20occupation%20vietnam&f=false

Note:

1941:  Ho cames back to Vietnam.  Viet Minh is formed.

1945:  ???

1947:  Viet Minh have 60,000 troops, but many even lacked rifles.

1949:  Viet Minh have 100,000 troops.

1950:  Viet Minh have 300,000 troops.  (EDIT:  meant to say 1954, not 1950)

And what the size of the NVA in 1975?

It takes time to build an army.  Had the Japanese won the war in the Pacific and still occupied Vietnam in 1979, and the Viet Minh (NVA) had the same army that blitzkrieged across Cambodia in 1978 in three weeks and held back a 250,000 strong Chinese PLA army with a mere 100,000 local militia in 1979, then the Japanese would have been flattened.

Recall that a similiarly strong 250,000 man PLA force humiliated McArthur's 100,000 troops in Korea, forcing the longest retreat in American military history.



Edited by TranHungDao - 13-Oct-2009 at 23:33
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  Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Oct-2009 at 16:25
Regarding Dunnigan and Nofi. The first 'fact' that jumped up and bit me was this: "In 1947, the French had only 15,000 troops in Vietnam, and the Vietminh had 60,000."

15,000 French troops in 1947? This is your source! Where did these clowns get their history. OK, so here's the official ARVN history, quoting a French source". (Philippe Devillers). You can find it on page 109 of "Quan Luc Viet Nam Cong Hoa: Trong Giai Doan Hinh Thanh 1946-1955", which you can pick up at any bookstore on Bolsa Avenue in Westminster, CA: Look down to the table under: TON THAT PHAP. Year 1947 lists a total number (Tong So) of 88,625 French troops in CEFEO, of whom 4,081 were killed or missing in action. (Chet hoac Mat Tich). CEFEO, Corps Expeditionnaire Francais Extreme-Orient, i.e. French Far-East Expeditionary Force. Eight-eight thousand is a far cry from fifteen thousand, no?

Look, you already know that the Japanese did not take over Indochina until 9 March 1945. Up until then they treated the French troops as potential enemies. Under Vichy, the French were legally Allies of a friendly Axis government (Germany). The French could not refuse Japanese demands, without risking a complete Japanese takeover, so they let the Japanese establish airfields in Indochina, and dictate how much support the French had to provide them. Both sides got along rather bumpily up until 9 March 1945. This left the French (overseen by the Kempitai) in charge of internal security, and made communications between the South, Central, Northern, and external (China) branches of the ICP very difficult. (Both Marr and Quinn-Judge mention the problems this caused HCM and the gang), but it also served to highlight that the French were kowtowing to an Asian power. The Viet Minh took advantage of the situation to establish itself in the isolated Bac Kan region, close to the Chinese border. And other than rescuing downed Allied pilots, which gave them standing with the U.S. authorities in China, they had no reason to risk an armed showdown with the Japanese. Thus, they did not attack the Japanese until the war had ended! This was the very small attack against the Japanese garrison at Thai Nguyen, which Major Thomas, who had accompanied Giap and his miniscule forces, had been ordered not to attack. (The order, of course, only applied to Thomas and his Team, as the U.S. had no more authority over Giap than they would the later ARVN generals). The 'battle' of Thai Nguyen took place on 19 August 1945. The Japanese surrender was in effect as of 15 August.

Simply quoting more (presumably) American authors, all repeating the same formula, all likely quoting the same source, without giving any specific dates, places, and results of any alleged attacks by Viet Minh forces against the Japanese, is a mere exercise in rhetoric.

I would recommend adding "The OSS and Ho CHi Minh: unexpected allies in the war against Japan" by Dixee Bartholomew-Feis to your reading list.
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  Quote TranHungDao Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Oct-2009 at 23:00
Originally posted by lirelou

Regarding Dunnigan and Nofi. The first 'fact' that jumped up and bit me was this: "In 1947, the French had only 15,000 troops in Vietnam, and the Vietminh had 60,000."

15,000 French troops in 1947? This is your source! Where did these clowns get their history. OK, so here's the official ARVN history, quoting a French source". (Philippe Devillers). You can find it on page 109 of "Quan Luc Viet Nam Cong Hoa: Trong Giai Doan Hinh Thanh 1946-1955", which you can pick up at any bookstore on Bolsa Avenue in Westminster, CA: Look down to the table under: TON THAT PHAP. Year 1947 lists a total number (Tong So) of 88,625 French troops in CEFEO, of whom 4,081 were killed or missing in action. (Chet hoac Mat Tich). CEFEO, Corps Expeditionnaire Francais Extreme-Orient, i.e. French Far-East Expeditionary Force. Eight-eight thousand is a far cry from fifteen thousand, no?

Composition

The CEFEO was made of enlisted and volunteer troops from the French Union colonial territories in Maghreb, Africa, Madagascar, Overseas (future Dom-Tom) and South-East Asia with the notable exception of the French Foreign Legion gathering mostly European troops (French, Spaniards, Poles, etc.).

Most of the professional colonial airborne units (BPC) and the entire Chief of Staff were metropolitan French though.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Far_East_Expeditionary_Corps

Unless you have a precise racial and ethnic breakdown of the CEFEO troops in Vietnam in 1947 stating there were significantly more than 15,000 "French troops" of French ancestry, then you've proven NADA.

Effectifs du corps expéditionnaire français 1946-1949


Origine                      effectifs                     Pourcentage


Métropolitains           43 700                           38 %
Nord-Africains           13 800                           12 %
Africains                      8 050                             7 %
Indochinois               35 650                           31 %
Légionnaires             13 800                           12%


TOTAL                       115 000                        100 %

 

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corps_expéditionnaire_français_en_Extrême-Orient

First, this is for the years covering 1946 to 1949, not just 1947.  Further, it speaks nothing to where these troops were stationed:  Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, ect.????  Naturally, CEFEO troops stationed in Cambodia and Laos must be excluded from the count for the purpose of our argument.

As you see, only 43,700 were actually French.  Again, it covers 1946-1949, not just 1947.

Note the steep rate of troop increase for the CEFEO.  By 1954, it was 235,721 (Metropolitan French and African) + 261,729 (from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia).  Also, the Germans are not going to let Vichy France station a lot of armed men anywhere, including Indochina:  1947 is just two years from 1945, no?

 

Effectifs du corps expédionnaire français 1954


Origine                                     effectifs      Pourcentage


Métropolitains, Africains          217 011           92,1 %
Légionnaires                             13 800              5,8 %


TOTAL                                     235 721             100 %


États associés (Viêt Nam, Cambodge, Laos)      261 729

 

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corps_expéditionnaire_français_en_Extrême-Orient

P.S.  BTW, I'm quite aware of the perils of citing wikipedia, when there are no scholarly citations given. 



Edited by TranHungDao - 13-Oct-2009 at 23:11
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  Quote TranHungDao Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Oct-2009 at 00:34

It appears you're resorting to nitpicking and hair-splitting (semantics).

Originally posted by lirelou

Look, you already know that the Japanese did not take over Indochina until 9 March 1945. Up until then they treated the French troops as potential enemies. Under Vichy, the French were legally Allies of a friendly Axis government (Germany). The French could not refuse Japanese demands, without risking a complete Japanese takeover, so they let the Japanese establish airfields in Indochina, and dictate how much support the French had to provide them. Both sides got along rather bumpily up until 9 March 1945. This left the French (overseen by the Kempitai) in charge of internal security, and made communications between the South, Central, Northern, and external (China) branches of the ICP very difficult. (Both Marr and Quinn-Judge mention the problems this caused HCM and the gang), but it also served to highlight that the French were kowtowing to an Asian power.

Eh.  No, the Japanese were in charge the whole time.  During this period, the French were "in charge" but in name only.  Let me requote Dunnigan and Nofi from above:

The Viet Minh-Japanese Alliance

Although “alliance” is perhaps too strong a word for it, for a short period in early 1945, the Viet Minh more of less laid off fighting the Japanese because the Japanese began fighting the French. Having muscled in on the French in 1940-41, the Japanese were soon more or less in complete control of Indochina. But there were still officials and French troops in the country, going through the motions of preserving French sovereignty. With the liberation of France from the Nazis in mid-1944, relations between the Japanese and the local Vichy (Pro-German) French became increasingly tense, particularly since the French Committee of National Liberation had declared war on Japan. In early 1945, the Japanese decided to get rid of the French...  In a well-executed coup on 9 March the Japanese managed to capture virtually all important French civil and military personnel, only about a thousand Foreign Legionnaires managed to from the disaster by a long and arduous march into China. Perhaps 4,500 French personnel were massacred, and the rest imprisoned. This effectively broke the remnants of the French power in Indochina...

The Japanese had their hands busy all over Asia, to say the least.  They were getting their heads kicked in by Zuchov in the north and their rears kicked in by Nimitz out in the open seas of the Pacific.  As long as the French were doing a good job fulfilling rice, coal, and rubber requisitions for the Japanese empire, they were allowed to do the day to day running of Indochina.  It takes a lot of human resources to govern large territories such as French Indochina, no?  Imprisoning the French also takes human resources, no?  Why not just let them do the work?  If they stop, just kill them.

But we're all too familiar with the French.  Sooner or later, they stop behaving like the hot, sexy, submissive French maids we all know and loveEmbarrassed

 

and turn into the obnoxious French waiters we all love to hate:

When Germany was defeated, the submissive (Vichy) French immediately once again became a race of rude waiters, for that is their natural disposition. Ermm  Understandably, our valiant & noble Samurai overlords then quickly rounded them up and imprisoned them sending the 4,500 rudest garçons to the slaughterhouse. Dead

The Viet Minh-Japanese Alliance

Perhaps 4,500 French personnel were massacred, and the rest imprisoned.  This effectively broke the remnants of the French power in Indochina...

The French were only free to do what they were told.  

Translation:  They we're not in charge.

Originally posted by lirelou

And other than rescuing downed Allied pilots, which gave them standing with the U.S. authorities in China, they had no reason to risk an armed showdown with the Japanese. Thus, they did not attack the Japanese until the war had ended! This was the very small attack against the Japanese garrison at Thai Nguyen, which Major Thomas, who had accompanied Giap and his miniscule forces, had been ordered not to attack. (The order, of course, only applied to Thomas and his Team, as the U.S. had no more authority over Giap than they would the later ARVN generals). The 'battle' of Thai Nguyen took place on 19 August 1945. The Japanese surrender was in effect as of 15 August. 

Let me quote Dunnigan and Nofi again:

The Viet Minh-Japanese Alliance

In early 1945, the Japanese decided to get rid of the French. The Viet Minh appear to have gotten wind of what was to come. Recognizing that it was in their best interests of sit on the sidelines, they ceased making attacks on Japanese forces. In a well-executed coup on 9 March the Japanese managed to capture virtually all important French civil and military personnel, only about a thousand Foreign Legionnaires managed to from the disaster by a long and arduous march into China. Perhaps 4,500 French personnel were massacred, and the rest imprisoned. This effectively broke the remnants of the French power in Indochina, and thus greatly benefited the Viet Minh, who shortly resumed their attacks on the Japanese.

What exactly is your definition of "resistance"?  

If the Vietminh were going around assassinating Japanese like they were the VNQDD, French officials, and Vietnamese collaborators of the Vichy regime then I would count it as "resistance".  I would also count minor attacks/harassment and even intelligence gathering (later to be disseminated to the allies) as forms of "resistance".

And don't forget, the Vietminh only started in 1941, and seriously lacked weapons until after WWII.  They could only do what they could do and no more.  (Recall it took 20 years to oust the Ming from Vietnam.  No doubt there were notable failures along the way.)

Further, you yourself cite one "battle" between the Vietminh and the Japanese.

BTW, you don't have lecture me about how the Vietminh were liquidating VNQDD members.  A certain ARVN colonel I know was also VNQDD.  That is one atrocity for which I do fault communists, for, correct me if I'm wrong, in the past, truly nationalistic factions have always put their differences aside to fight the foreign invaders.

Originally posted by lirelou

This was the very small attack against the Japanese garrison at Thai Nguyen, which Major Thomas, who had accompanied Giap and his miniscule forces, had been ordered not to attack. (The order, of course, only applied to Thomas and his Team, as the U.S. had no more authority over Giap than they would the later ARVN generals).

Apples and oranges. Ermm

The US did not have any countrol over Vietnam in 1945 (WWII), for the Japanese did.  The US was in total control of South Vietnam from 1955-75.  Further, when I'm talking about the control of South Vietnam, I'm really talking about controlling the clown residing in the presidential palace, for he also controls the ARVN generals out in the field.

But like I said earlier in that Siam thread, I'm not going to debate you on N vs S Vietnam.

 



Edited by TranHungDao - 14-Oct-2009 at 00:45
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  Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Oct-2009 at 07:45
Some quotes:
Tran Hung Dao's Trusted Source:  "In 1947, the French had only 15,000 troops in Vietnam, and the Vietminh had 60,000."

Lirelou's comment:  "15,000 French troops in 1947? This is your source! Where did these clowns get their history. OK, so here's the official ARVN history, quoting a French source". (Philippe Devillers). You can find it on page 109 of "Quan Luc Viet Nam Cong Hoa: Trong Giai Doan Hinh Thanh 1946-1955", which you can pick up at any bookstore on Bolsa Avenue in Westminster, CA: Look down to the table under: TON THAT PHAP. Year 1947 lists a total number (Tong So) of 88,625 French troops in CEFEO, of whom 4,081 were killed or missing in action. (Chet hoac Mat Tich). CEFEO, Corps Expeditionnaire Francais Extreme-Orient, i.e. French Far-East Expeditionary Force. Eight-eight thousand is a far cry from fifteen thousand, no?"

Tran Hung Dao's reply:  "Unless you have a precise racial and ethnic breakdown of the CEFEO troops in Vietnam in 1947 stating there were significantly more than 15,000 "French troops" of French ancestry, then you've proven NADA."

No? Reread your cite of D & Nofi again!  The French had only 15,000 troops in Vietnam in 1947, per your authors. No racial breakdown is given. "French troops" means any serviceman in the French military of the time, whether serving in Metropolitan, Colonial, or Army of Africa units. And your authors specifically compare "15,000 'troops' in Vietnam with the "60,000 Viet Minh".  They are dealing in totals, and as the ARVN/French cite I gave you shows, they are grossly in error.

Tran Hung Dao's source on the aftermatch of the 9 Mar 45 coup:  "only about a thousand Foreign Legionnaires managed to from the disaster by a long and arduous march into China."

Another one of my sources:  "Finally, 8,000 tirailleurs (Indochinese troops)... managed to escape capture. A large part of them were officially demobilized...by their French cadres...(due to) the impossibility of supplying them." A few paragraphs on, one finds this: "...some officers, 177 Noncommissioned Officers, and 3,040 Tirailleurs and Gardes Indochinois managed to reach Chinese territory in April and May (1945)"  (Rives and Deroo, cite below)

Geez, that number is a bit more larger than THD's source's figure of "only about a thousand". And what about those "Foreign Legionnaires"? Were they all blond haired blue eyed Teutons? Well, among those cited for bravery was "Sergeant Pham Van Vinh of the 5th Foreign Legion Infantry, killed on 22 April..." And how about those "few officers" my source cites? Among them was "Second Lieutenant Nguyen Van Vy, who with his Nung Partisans, delivered some heavy blows to the enemy". And if you don't recognize that name, THD, he rose to become the Chief of the ARVN Joint General Staff (i.e., GEN Colin Powell's equivalent job in the ARVN).  My source: "Les Linh Tap: Histoire des Militaires Indochinois au service de la France (1859-1960)" by Maurice Rives and Eric Deroo, Lavauzelle, 1999, pp. 97-98.

OK, my real point here, Dao, is that your sources are flawed. They merely brush over 1945 spewing generalities, obviously to get to the meat of some other points. Thus, they are not reliable sources to prove any widespread armed resistance to the Japanese. You were rather quiet about that, and tried to incorporate it into your viewpoint. But, absent some specific details on attacks conducted against known Japanese garrisons or military personnel, they have no credibility. There is no doubt that the Viet Minh took advantage of the Japanese attacks to launch their own attacks against the French, whom they viewed as the Enemy. (Rives and Deroo cite a few of those)

By the way, if you read the French sources, ethnic "French" troops are referreed to as "European" because "French troops" include everyone fighting under the French flag, to include Tonkinese and Annamite 'Tirailleurs' (such as Sergeant Vinh of the 5th REI). It also includes indigenous personnel serving within French units as 'suppletifs' or 'partisans' , though these are often listed administratively as a sub-component of French forces. There were also small numbers of Vietnamese with French citizenship, such as the first commander of the 1st ARVN Para Bat (1951), Le Quang Trieu, and those nominated for French citizenship, who were counted as "a titre Francais".

I think that we've taken this discussion as far as it can go. If you want to know what the French did in Vietnam, read French sources. And if you want to know how they were viewed by non-Communist nationalists, read the ARVN histories. Unlike bright and shining examples like David G. Marr, Li Tana, and Sophie Quinn-Judge, the earlier American authors of Vietnam War histories appear to not even had a decent command of French, much less any basic knowledge of Vietnamese.  IF they did, they appear not to have bothered with French military sources. By the by, after the failure of the Autumn 1947 offensive to kill or capture HCM, the French national assembly prohibited the use of draftees in Indochina. The flags of several Metropolitan units remained, but these were manned by professional volunteers from the Metropolitan Army, Colonial Infantry, and Army of Africa units (this last includes the Legion), and locally recruited professional and suppletif indigenous personnel. Thus Brechignac's 10th Colonial Parachute Battalion was reflagged the 2nd Battalion, 1st Parachute Chasseurs Regiment. Point being, the great majority of personnel were "colonials'. It's a branch of service (today called 'Marine' in France), not an ethnic designator.

Good luck in your studies.  And, forget the cheap shots against the French! Leave that to college Freshmen and ignorant rednecks. For all their faults, which in the 1939-62 period were legion, the French made valuable contributions to Vietnam before your father's generation rightly threw them out. Some of their names, such as Yersin, Pasteur, and Curie, remain unchanged on streets, schools, and institutes in present day Vietnam. Every time you eat a banh mi thit you're paying homage to an unknown French baker and Vietnamese inventiveness.


Edited by lirelou - 14-Oct-2009 at 07:57
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  Quote TranHungDao Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Oct-2009 at 09:49

Originally posted by lirelou

OK, my real point here, Dao, is that your sources are flawed. They merely brush over 1945 spewing generalities, obviously to get to the meat of some other points. Thus, they are not reliable sources to prove any widespread armed resistance to the Japanese.

And my real point is:  Your nitpicking very specific figures, i.e. changing the subject.

Let's just suppose that you're right about troop numbers.  Well, my original points were:

1.  The Japanese were in indeed charge, not he French as you asserted.

2.  The Japanese were the real enemy.  Just as the French were.  Both were occupiers.  Simple as that.  You said the Japanese were "not" the enemy.

You were rather quiet about that, and tried to incorporate it into your viewpoint. But, absent some specific details on attacks conducted against known Japanese garrisons or military personnel, they have no credibility. There is no doubt that the Viet Minh took advantage of the Japanese attacks to launch their own attacks against the French, whom they viewed as the Enemy. (Rives and Deroo cite a few of those)

Actually, I'm still looking.

BTW, do you really still believe that Diem was not removed by his American masters friends?  LOL, former key official from the time are on camera saying they did it.  They had Diem "removed", but still claim they did not mean for him to be killed.  You seem awful quiet about that. Ermm 



Good luck in your studies.

What makes you think I'm still in school?

FYI, I've only had one course on the "Vietnam War".  I never really studied Vietnamese history prior to 1955.  My other interests lie in the "Birth of Vietnam", i.e. Van Lang, Au Lac, Nam Viet, early Dai Viet, etc., but its only a passing fancy. 

And, forget the cheap shots against the French! Leave that to college Freshmen and ignorant rednecks.

Now, I'm offended!  Angry

That was kinda clever.  Besides, it was funnier than it was nasty, if it was nasty at all.  LOL, pretty certain most Frenchmen wouldn't mind having the rather curvaceous icon, Brigitte va-va-voom Bardot, represent them. Big smile

For all their faults, which in the 1939-62 period were legion, the French made valuable contributions to Vietnam before your father's generation rightly threw them out. Some of their names, such as Yersin, Pasteur, and Curie, remain unchanged on streets, schools, and institutes in present day Vietnam. Every time you eat a banh mi thit you're paying homage to an unknown French baker and Vietnamese inventiveness.

Jesus Christ on a pogo stick! Confused

1912:  Famine kills 2 MILLION Vietnamese.  Vietnam's population at the time? 14,580,000

1945:  Famine kills 2 MILLION of northern Vietnam's 10 Million.  Total pop ~ 23,697,000

http://www.populstat.info/Asia/vietnamc.htm 

There were many other famines under the French.  According to my sources, the Japanese were the main reason why 1945 famine occurred.  According to you, the French were still in charge. If so, then why are you praising them?!?  Mind you, I don't have any ill feelings towards the French post-1954.  But pre-1954?  HELL YES.

And how many famines occurred before the French, i.e. under Vietnamese emperors?  Niche, Zero, NADA.  The exportation of rice was strictly verbodden.

And how many famines occurred after the French?   Niche, Zero, NADA.

Vietnam was hardly France's only victim colony. Ermm

According to Stanley Karnow, Vietnam had about 80% literacy rate just before the French colonized Vietnam.  In 1850, Japan had a literacy rate of 50%.  Look at them now.  Look at Vietnam.  An 80% literacy rate in 1850 was among the highest in the world.  I know of only two other countries that had such a high literacy rate:  America and (I think) Sweden.  (I'm a bit surprised that America's literacy was that high!  Mind you, in 1850, Vietnamese were still using the Chinese pictograms, which is far harder to learn than the Western alphabet.  It's also harder to learn than the much simpler Japanese and Korean pictograms.)  In 1850, 50% literacy was purty damm gud, much less 80%.

In 1945, what was the literacy rate of Vietnam?  15%  (Same for China by the way; they went from about 50% down to 15% by the end of WWII thanks to their colonizers.)  I've even seen estimates as low as 5% for Vietnam:

Vietnam today: a guide to a nation at a crossroads

By Mark A. Ashwill, Ngoc Diep Thai

By 1945, in the twilight of French rule, 95% of the population was illiterate. (p. 34)

http://books.google.com/books?id=ouNOV-h1FssC&pg=PA29&lpg=PA29&dq=resistance+japanese+vietnam+stanley+karnow&source=bl&ots=1ictA9BKih&sig=nqMg1b8j2x5OtcO7xbasTHIuyDQ&hl=en&ei=553VSvTaAoj-sQPmmP3XAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CA4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Did you know the French had an official policy of denying Vietnam any type of modern industry?  They explicitly feared it would be a source of significant competition for French industries back at home.

Do you know that Vietnamese in France outperform ethnic French in education and other key social economic status indicators?  This is pretty much the pattern everywhere Vietnamese immigrants landed.  Imagine that, the colonized are "superior" to the colonists.  Shocked

(Australia may be an semi-anomaly, i.e. academic achievement there is high, but there still seems to be problems with youth gangs.  But then again, the only data I've seen is from the early 2000's, which may be obsolete.  Things change very quickly for Vietnamese immigrants.)

There's a lot of things I like about the French...  But to say they did us a favor?  WTF?!? Confused

On top of famines (and brutal oppression) that wiped out millions, they are directly responsible for holding Vietnam back for a hundred years.  Tac on another 30 years thanks to the US, (20 years of fictitious division and "civil war" and 10 years of draconian embargo).  Tac on an additional 50-70 years of communist rule.  Yes, I do believe Vietnam will go democratic some day.  But don't hold yer breath.  

No French, means Vietnam would have sooner rather than later modernized, which in turn means it would have been to strong to be colonized, which in turn means it would never have gone communist.  Only poor countries go communist.

The current projections for Vietnam in 2050 are not bad, not bad at all.  Neither poor nor rich, but definitely headed towards rich.  Vietnam should have been a rich country 50 years ago, not 50 years from now! Disapprove



Edited by TranHungDao - 14-Oct-2009 at 09:56
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  Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Oct-2009 at 10:01
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You:  “Vietnam should have been a rich country 50 years ago, not 50 years from now!”

 

A point upon which we totally agree! Prior to WWII, Indochina was the richest colony in the French Empire. It was the only French colony that paid for itself! (I had a cite for that, but have since lost it) Uncle Ho and his boys inherited the top half of a going concern! And frittered it all away in a war whose only true goal was to destroy anyone or anything that could challenge that single Party.

 

You:  “BTW, do you really still believe that Diem was not removed by his American masters friends?  LOL, former key official from the time are on camera saying they did it.  They had Diem "removed", but still claim they did not mean for him to be killed.  You seem awful quiet about that”

 

My point: The Americans were not Diem’s “masters”. The Americans did not organize and orchestrate Diem’s assassination. What they did do, when contacted by the plotters,  was communicate that they would not oppose it, which is the same as saying: “Go right ahead.” Diem’s assassination was an act by Vietnamese against Vietnamese for reasons related to Vietnamese politics. American involvement was coincidental, but key. Had the U.S. strongly opposed the idea, the plotters would likely have abandoned the plot. I was not ‘silent’ on the issue, I merely reasoned that anyone who throws out the standard laundry list of “U.S. victim states” that you did is more interested in specious argument than facts.    

 

You:  “According to Stanley Karnow, Vietnam had about 80% literacy rate just before the French colonized Vietnam.”

 

Do you really believe that 80% of Vietnam’s peasants could read and write Chu Nom? Then why weren’t they able to pass that skill along to their children? With all due respect to Karnow, where’s his source? And how reliable is it? I need to sell Stanley my shares of the Ha Tien – Phu Quoc bridge.

 

You:  “Did you know the French had an official policy of denying Vietnam any type of modern industry?  They explicitly feared it would be a source of significant competition for French industries back at home.”

 

And what modern industries were those? Cotton? Rubber? Coal? Steel? The country remains primarily agricultural up to this day. Do you imagine that to be an accident? Do you have a source that mentions any specific industries?  And who were the investors who were going to put money into these stillborn projects?

 

You:  “There's a lot of things I like about the French...  But to say they did us a favor?  WTF?!?” 

 

No, again, you're putting words in my mouth. I said was that you should credit the French for the contributions that they did make. How about modern ports, roads, medicine, communications, power grids, xiclos, and the educational system? How about Vietnamese Studies (Ecole Fransaise d’Extreme-Orient – EFEO)? Not only did the French introduce rubber into Vietnam, they also brought coffee. No small contribution to a nation that is today the second largest coffee producer in the world. 

 

You:  “Only poor countries go communist.” 

 

Really? So that includes Czechoslovakia in 1948, who voluntarily became communist? How about East Germany? Hungary? Poland? The Baltic States? (Yes, Joe Stalin was a major reason, but they all had established Communist parties.) And why is it that the French Communist Party was so strong for so long?

 

You:  “And how many famines occurred before the French, i.e. under Vietnamese emperors?  Niche, Zero, NADA.  The exportation of rice was strictly verbodden.”

 

First, given that China, Japan, and Korea have suffered periodic famines, do you really believe that somehow Vietnam was magically immune? That it never suffered famine until the French came along? Pardon my laughter! All because of the wisdom of an Emperor whose writ, at least during the Trinh, Nguyen lord, and Tay Son years, didn’t extend beyond the walls of his palace?


Your statement that rice was not exported is grossly in error. In the Dang Trong period, rice was exported from the ports of Ha Tien and Hoi An to parts of China, Japan, and India, because Southern Vietnamese raised rice as a cash crop! That’s what drew Vietnamese and Chinese settlers to the Mekong Delta! (Li Tana, “Nguyen Cochinchina”, previously cited)  Without that economic transformation, Vietnam would have remained be a tiny country living in the shadow of China; Panduranga, Kauthara, Vijaya, Amaravati, and Indrapura would be Malay states; and Saigon would still be Prey Nokor.

 

Finally, regarding the 1945 famine, it started in October 1944, so the French certainly deserve the blame for having set up the war-time distribution system in the first place, and for failing to adequately address it in the period from October 1944 to 9 March 1945, after which they had zero authority. I didn’t argue that the Japanese weren’t the major culprits! But so were floods, Vietnam’s geography, and the War, which Japan was clearly losing by then. Rice supplies to the North had to transit a single rail line (interdicted by Allied bombs), a single Highway (QL 1 – also bombed), or sea (subject to submarine and naval attacks).  Here's a question for you. How many of those victims died after 8 March 1945? Or is that another one of those nitpicking facts not worth knowing?

PS


You: "And what makes you think I'm still in School?"


What makes you think that you stopped studying when you left school?



Edited by lirelou - 15-Oct-2009 at 10:08
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  Quote Annamite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Sep-2010 at 08:41
Gentlemen,
 
I am a "Viet Kieu" based in Paris, with a strong/continuing interest in WWII and post-war history, including but not limited to Indochina/VN wars, partly due to the fact that I almost grew up with them (I'm now in my late 50's, my father fought the 3 condecutive conflicts in SE Asia and, have served a couple of years in ARVN, then, in French army).
I just read with great concern your discussion and got almost sick by THD's mix of lack of documentation, prejudice and "cheap" VN pride (an insult to our birth Land...'cause I am sure he is VN born like me, albeit with a different background, definetly).
I fully agree with Lirelou's (Lt Col. SD formerly with 5th SFG@ IInd TZ RSVN, I guess it's you behind that username, Am I right ?) post and comments, both from historical and intellectuel standpoints.
 
> Attn THD: What a pity ! Instead of admitting the "thinness" and the strongly biaised facts & figures on which your "study" was based upon: you could have seized that opportunity to - at last - learn more from people who appear to MASTER your field of interest. And, it is a case in point: Do you know you are facing a respected lecturer/ writter (WWII, Indchina and VN wars) who have spent counterless hours over the past 3 decades to immerse himself, with intellectual integrity, in the minute details of those contemporary/military historical niches that you are trying (so hard) to tackle ??? That man - Lirelou - is speaking/reading French AND Vietnamese fluently and can tell you a few things about "Viet Nam yeu dau". Better stay humble, honest  and enjoy the precious information that was shared for free. They might well save you from the pain to "go back to school" as Lirelou advised you !!!
BTW, Japanese occupation actually only took place on 9 March 1945, pursuant to the the "coup de force" of even date that saw the take over of Indochina by the Mikado's army. So, 1940-1945 seems a little overstating...
 
> Attn Lirelou: Kudos to your expertise and fighting spirit (the one learnt from battlefied, not from...Bolsa Ave./ Little Saigon, CA, Dear THD !), "qui ose gagne" !
Encore une fois, Merci mon Colonel de partager avec tous, votre passion pour le Viet Nam au travers de ce crenau tres pointu (mais helas, meconnu) de l'histoire politico-militaire contemporaine.
J'ai eu grand plaisir et ce fut un honneur de rentrer en contact avec vous, par hasard sur le Net, il y a quelques années a/s 3eme BCCP and BMI. Je vais essayer de retrouver votre adresse email et vous ecrire directement (je suis maintenant en retraite depuis début 2010). Vous avez du certainement devine qui je suis...
 
Yours "historically",
Annamite (An Nam Myth)
Doi kho khong kho vi ngan song cach nui...
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