First Indochina War

The Cold War in Asia

East Asia 1954.0506

First Indochina War

Korean War, Indochina War, Vietnam War, Invasion of Tibet, Mao Zedong (6 May 1954)

Historical Map of East Asia & the Western Pacific

In Indochina, France had been struggling with Vietnamese communist-nationalists, the Viet Minh, since 1946. When the Viet Minh invaded Laos in 1953, the French tried to cut their supply lines by setting up a base at Dien Bien Phu. But the French had underestimated their opponents, instead suffering a humiliating defeat which forced them to abandon the war.

Main Events

End of occupation of Japan

The Treaty of San Francisco went into effect, officially ending the Allied occupation of Japan and in principle restoring Japanese sovereignty. However the treaty contained amendments allowing the United States to intervene in Japanese domestic quarrels, restricting Japan's independence. These amendments were deleted when the treaty was revised in 1960. The US continued to maintain control of the island chains of Okinawa and Iwo Jima until 1968 and Okinawa until 1972.

Viet Minh invade Laos

Viet Minh decide to expand Indochina War by attacking French outposts in Laos

Korean Armistice Agreement

On 27 July 1953 at 10am, Nam Il, representing the Korean People's Army and the Chinese People's Volunteer Army, and William K. Harrison Jr., representing the United Nations Command, signed the Korean Armistice Agreement, ending hostilities in the Korean War. The armistice established the Korean Demilitarized Zone - a 4 km-wide fortified buffer zone between North and South Korea which would effectively replace the 38th parallel as the boundary between the two nations.

Battle of Dien Bien Phu

Viet Minh forces, using masses of artillery transported across difficult terrain, bombarded the heavily defended French outpost at Dien Bien Phu in remote northwest Vietnam. Unable to successfully counterattack and able to be supplied only by air, the French garrison held its ground in an almost two-month siege before being forced to surrender. The loss of Dien Bien Phu and its 20,000 defenders resulted in the resignation of the French government and the French withdrawal from Indochina.

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