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Philip Huddleston December 5 2000 INDOCHINA For many years extreme political issues in the countries of Cambodia Laos Vietnam and Thailand have readily effected the economic status of Indochina Indochina is a name given to the peninsula between India and China which includes Myanmar formerly known as Burma Thailand Cambodia Laos and Vietnam In a narrower sense it refers only to Cambodia Laos and Vietnam which were united under French rule as the Indochinese Union more commonly known as French Indochina France created this Union from its territories in Cambodia and Vietnam in 1887 and incorporated Laos in 1893 The French smoothly controlled Indochina for 50 years before its first threat of rebellion In 1940 the Japanese invaded Vietnam and took control from the French The ease of the Japanese victory led many Vietnamese to conclude that the French were not invincible At the end of World War II on September 7 1945 Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam independence The French agreed to leave Vietnam and soon were ferried away On November 22 1946 the French Navy bombarded the port city of Haiphong killing 6000 civilians and injuring an additional 25000 The Viet Minh would fight back The Viet Minh were a group of nationalist resistance fighters When the resistance began there were only 2000 Viet Minh troops but by December 1946 their numbers jumped to 60000 While the French easily took over multiple cities the countryside belonged to the Viet Minh In May of 1954 the Viet Minh forces numbering in excess of 200000 utterly defeated the French troops at the pivotal ba ttle of Dien Bien Phu This victory led to peace negotiations in Geneva Switzerland In late 1954 the partition of Vietnam which divided Vietnam into North communistVietnam and South Vietnam The communists completely changed the social structure of North Vietnam Private property was eliminated and peasants were given a new if nominal dominance in the
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