Indochina Wars  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Indochina Wars were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia from 1946 until 1989, between communist Indochinese forces against mainly French, South Vietnamese, American, Cambodian, Laotian and Chinese forces. The term "Indochina" originally referred to French Indochina, which included the current states of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. As of 2014, it applies largely to a geographic region, rather than to a political area. The wars included:

  • The First Indochina War (called the Indochina War in France and the French War in Vietnam) began after the end of World War II in 1945 and lasted until the French defeat in 1954. After a long campaign of resistance against the French and the Japanese, Viet Minh forces had claimed a victory (the August Revolution) after Japanese and Vichy French forces surrendered in the North on 15 August 1945. In the War in Vietnam (1945–46), British forces temporarily occupied the South, starting from 13 September 1945, only to restore French colonial control in 1946. In the United Nations and through their alliance with the United Kingdom and the United States, the French demanded return of their former Indochina colony prior to agreeing to participate in the NATO alliance (founded in 1949) opposing Soviet expansion beyond the countries of the Warsaw Pact (founded in 1955) in the Cold War. The communist/nationalist Viet Minh, whom the Allies had supported during the war, continued fighting the French with support from China and the Soviet Union, ultimately forcing the NATO-backed French out of Indochina (1954).
  • The Second Indochina War (called the Vietnam War in the West or the American War in Vietnam) began as a conflict between the United States-backed South Vietnamese government and its opponents, both the North Vietnamese-based communist Viet Cong (National Liberation Front) and the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), known in the West as the North Vietnamese Army (NVA). The conflict began in 1955 and lasted until 1975 when the North Vietnamese conquered South Vietnam. The United States, which had supported France during the first Indochina war, backed the South Vietnam government in opposition to the National Liberation Front and the Communist-allied NVA. The North benefited from military and financial support from China and the Soviet Union, members of the Communist bloc. Fighting also occurred during this time in Cambodia between the US-backed government, the NVA, and the Communist-backed Khmer Rouge (known as the Cambodian Civil War, 1967–1975) and in Laos between the US-backed government, the NVA, and the Communist-backed Pathet Lao (known as the Laotian Civil War or Secret War, 1962–1975).
  • The Communist Party of Thailand fought an insurgency from 1965-1989. They received backing from Laos and Vietnam from 1975-1979, however were expelled from their bases and lost most of their supply lines after they sided with the Cambodian-Chinese aligned forces, rather than the pro-Soviet Vietnamese and Laotian regimes.

See also

Regional Cold War communist insurgencies:




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Indochina Wars" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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