Conflict Bleeding Over
World War II tore up Europe, Russia, England and really, the world. France as a colonial entity lost big time, as did many other countries. The term colonial means acquiring the lands and assets of another country and setting up housekeeping in order to exploit the resources and build a country’s economy and stronghold.
Since the 1860s, France had taken over and occupied three regions in Vietnam, which they called Cochinchina in the south, Annam in the center and Tonkin in the north. By the 1890s, France controlled the eastern part of Southeast Asia forming a territory called French Indochina—taking up the larger territory of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. They built roads and railways to transport Vietnam’s natural resources and set up large plantations for rubber, coffee and tea.
During WWII, the balance of power shifted and the Germans occupied France. Germany’s ally, Japan, took control of Vietnam from the French.
Japan surrendered in August 1945, but after WWII, the Japanese took control of French colonies in the Indochina Peninsula of southeast Asia—areas east of Thailand, extending into the Gulf of Thailand as a peninsula and bordering the South China Sea, all the way up to the Gulf of Tonkin.
A leader named Ho Chi Minh (“Uncle Ho" to his people) led the Vietnamese “Nationalist" party and battled the Japanese occupying forces to in order to regain independence. Minh, a Communist, had fighters in the Nationalist Army that were trained by advisors from the U.S., who were also battling with Japan.