Friday, 24 April 2015


"..By October 1945, it was clear that that the only people to recognise the freedom and independence of Vietnam were the Vietnamese themselves. In late September 1945, the British, charged with administering the Japanese surrender south of the 16th parallel, paused in the disarmament of the Japanese , rearmed the French prisoners of war [who had been working for the Japanese axis powers in the French Vichy colonial government in Vietnam - Sukant], with a few Indian Gurkha, troops of their own, participated in a coup against the [Ho Chi Minh, anti-anti-imperialist communist-led] Viet Minh Executive Committee that had been administering Saigon in the name of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Thus not only did one colonial power come to the aid of another in need, but it drew on the resources of its colonies to do so. The Indian Nationalist leader Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was enraged: "We have watched British intervention in Indochina with growing anger, shame and helplessness that Indian troops should thus be used for doing Britain's dirty work against our friends who are fighting the same fight as we." Still faced with a shortage of troops, Major General Douglas Gracey rearmed the Japanese and, when they expressed some reluctance to return to war, threatened to have them tried as war criminals.

The sympathy of the Japanese troops for the Viet Minh in some instances extended to the point of active assistance; they were condemned by their officers as "traitors to the Emperor," which must have been confusing for everybody.

After several days of fighting, the Viet Minh were forced to flee Saigon and regroup in the countryside, and the French were in a position to reclaim the richest of their Indochinese possessions. "Cochin China", at least, might yet be saved for France."

- The Vietnam Wars: 1945-1990, MB young, 1991, p11 and 12.

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