How did the conflict between Vietnamese nationalists and French colonial rulers erupt into a major Cold War struggle between communism and Western liberalism? To understand the course of the Vietnam wars, it is essential to explore the connections between events within Vietnam and global geopolitical currents in the decade after the Second World War.
In this illuminating work, leading scholars examine various dimensions of the struggle between France and Vietnamese revolutionaries that began in 1945 and reached its climax at Dien Bien Phu. Several essays break new ground in the study of the Vietnamese revolution and the establishment of the political and military apparatus that successfully challenged both France and the United States. Other essays explore the roles of China, France, Great Britain, and the United States, all of which contributed to the transformation of the conflict from a colonial skirmish to a Cold War crisis.
Taken together, the essays enable us to understand the origins of the later American war in Indochina by positioning Vietnam at the center of the grand clash between East and West and North and South in the middle years of the twentieth century.
Mark Atwood Lawrence is Associate Professor of History, University of Texas at Austin. Fredrik Logevall is Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and Professor of History at Harvard University.
Acknowledgments Abbreviations 1. Introduction Mark Atwood Lawrence and Fredrik Logevall Part I. The First Vietnam War in History 2. Making Sense of the French War: The Postcolonial Moment and the First Vietnam War, 1945-1954 Mark Philip Bradley 3. Vietnamese Historians and the First Indochina War Lien-Hang T. Nguyen Part II. From One War to Another 4. Franklin Roosevelt, Trusteeship, and Indochina: A Reassessment Stein Tonnesson 5. Creating Defense Capacity in Vietnam, 1945-1947 David G. Marr 6. Forging the "Great Combination": Britain and the Indochina Problem, 1945-1950 Mark Atwood Lawrence 7. French Imperial Reconstruction and the Development of the Indochina War, 1945-1950 Martin Thomas Part III. Colonialism and Cold War 8. Ho Chi Minh and the Strategy of People's War William J. Duiker 9. The Declining Value of Indochina: France and the Economics of Empire, 1950-1955 Laurent Cesari 10. France, the United States, and Indochina Marilyn B. Young Part IV. The End of the French War and the Coming of the Americans 11. Assessing Dien Bien Phu John Prados 12. China and the Indochina Settlement at the Geneva Conference of 1954 Chen Jian 13. After Geneva: The French Presence in Vietnam, 1954-1963 Kathryn C. Statler 14. Chronicle of a War Foretold: The United States and Vietnam, 1945-1954 Andrew J. Rotter Notes Contributors Index