Why were the French deafeated in the Franco-Vietname war

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  • Why Were the French Defeated in 1954?
    • Leadership
      • Ho was a strong nationalist
        • Wanted Vietnamese independence - huge appeal
        • Helped defeat JPN during WW2 (returned to V in '41)
        • Policies of redistribution of land, education and health care
      • After WW2 FRN continue to support Bao Dai
        • B.D seen as a collaborator with colonialists - had allowed FRN domination
        • Many Vietnamese nationalists (including Ho) exasperated with B.D
          • Increasing amount look to Ho for leadership
            • After WW2 FRN continue to support Bao Dai
              • B.D seen as a collaborator with colonialists - had allowed FRN domination
              • Many Vietnamese nationalists (including Ho) exasperated with B.D
                • Increasing amount look to Ho for leadership
      • Military and Tactics
        • General Giap - trained and commanded Viet Minh since '44
          • By '46 troops numbered 5000, 250,000 by '52 + 2mil militia
          • Guerrilla Warfare to wear down enemy (tactics)
          • Army supported by 40,000 porters - carried food and ammunition along jungle trails (tactics)
            • Porters often women as perceived as less threatening by enemy
          • Respect from soldiers - self-criticism sessions in which errors admitted (leadership)
          • Soldiers polite to civilians and caused little damage (support
        • FRN should have been better (more men and resources)
          • Traditional fighting (armoured columns), which struggled on Vietnam flooded dirt (tactics)
          • Tried enlisting Vietnamese but FRN general didn't trust (loyalty)
          • Underestimated the support to the VM - e.g, Dien Bien Phu, didn't expect peasant volunteers to help carry weapons to bombard fortress (support)
      • Support
        • Viet Minh have huge pop. appeal  - inspiring cause (nationalism and communism)
        • Ho gets support from Mao (from '49)
          • DRV get diplomatic recognition, armaments and advice
          • CHN provide reinforcements at Dien Bien Phu  (rocket launchers, military engineers)
            • Allowed FRN perimeter to be reduced until FRN surrended
        • By '54 many in FRN beginning to lose heart and interest in Vietnam
        • FRN did receive some support from US
          • May '50 $10mil to FRN + US Military Assistance Advisory Group (no ground troops)
          • By Dec '50 US had given $100mil (along with weapons including napalm bombs)
          • '53 paying for 80% of FRN bill in Indochina
          • BUT FRN unwilling to grant independence makes US anxious
          • Some fear will distract from Europe
            • BUT FRN unwilling to grant independence makes US anxious
        • Eisenhower decides against direct intervention at D.B.P as he doesn't want another Korea

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