The Vietnamese revolution of 1945: Roosevelt, Ho Chi Minh, and De Gaulle in a world at war
The causes and course of the Vietnamese Revolution of August 1945 are explored in this book by Scandanavian historian Stein Tonnesson. Two causal chains are established, one starting with the founding of the Indochinese Communist Party in 1930, the other with President Roosevelt's intense preoccupation from 1943 to 1945 with the future of French Indochina. Tonnesson builds a wealth of hitherto unexploited archival sources in France, the United States, Vietnam, Great Britain and Sweden. The strength of the book lies in encompassing the history of the Vietnamese Revolution in discussions of broader theoretical issues, and in placing it within the context of international developments at the time. The author finds that the Vietnamese Revolution was not the result of careful revolutionary planning or correct predictions. It resulted from a power vacuum, following the sudden Japanese surrender. Despite the vision of the Indochinese communist leaders of a unified state on the whole territory of French Indochina, the fact that only today's Vietnam was included in the Republic proclaimed by Ho Chi Minh in September 1945 was due to circumstance, not to plan. The role of President Roosevelt is revealed as a key to the success of the Revolution. A few months before the revolution, a top secret American deception operation contributed to the downfall of the French colonial regime - at the hands of the Japanese. Roosevelt most probably engineered a comprehensive anti-French ploy, which has since remained secret.
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