Why Did the French Lose the Indo-Chinese War?

Topics: Vietnam, French Indochina, Battle of Dien Bien Phu Pages: 3 (1027 words) Published: June 10, 2013
The role of the French in the Indo-Chinese war could be characterized as a desperate attempt to maintain control over their colonies in Asia. For the uninitiated, in the aftermath of the Second World War, the majority of European powers, which were inclusive of Britain and Germany, had relinquished their colonies, deeming them as distracting burdens. On the contrary, the French were still adamant that the possession of colonies would give the nation much desired power and status. From December 19, 1946 to August 1, 1954, the French were engaged in a brutal, grueling and ultimately unsuccessful campaign in Vietnam. The catalyst for conclusion of the war was the demoralizing and humiliating defeat of the French at the short-lived battle of Dien Bien Phu. Other contributing factors which lead towards the defeat of the French included the failed tactics of the French, the lack of political motivation, their ignorance towards the aptitude of the Viet Minh, and the ultimate determination of the Vietnamese people to keep Vietnam as an independent socialist republic. Most prominently, the French were not congruent with the type of guerrilla warfare employed by the Vietnamese, and the war was primarily thought in the vast, abrasive jungles of Vietnam. The French lacked knowledge on the environment, whilst for the Vietnamese; the jungles were greatly intertwined with their culture and way of life. In an essence, the French lost the Indo-Chinese war due to the fact that they did not anticipate the way of which the war would play out. Another factor driving the defeat of the French could be the involvement of numerous other powerful countries. The French were primarily supported in their efforts by the United States of America (1950-1954), whereas the Viet Minh were supported by the Soviet Union for the duration of the war, and by China (from 1949-1954). The United States assisted the French with the war because they did not want for Vietnam to become communist as it was a...
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