The Smaller Dragon: A Political History of Vietnam

The Smaller Dragon: A Political History of Vietnam

The Smaller Dragon: A Political History of Vietnam

The Smaller Dragon: A Political History of Vietnam

Excerpt

At the beginning of 1954, when the serious plight of the French in Indochina revived the danger of a third world war, Vietnam suddenly became the area of greatest concern to all people determined to maintain the fragile peace of our time without abandoning further millions of human beings to totalitarian communism. The general fear of a new world war led to the Conference of Geneva, which opened on April 26, 1954. The fall of Dien Bien Phu on May 6 reduced the influence of those people in France who wanted to continue the struggle for Indochina; at the same time, it strengthened the few among the French leaders who knew that the West's cruel and costly colonial wars could no longer be won. These men were able to make the French parliament see and accept a truth it had so far refused to face: that Vietnam, which had already been lost to Japan in 1940 and then recovered by the Vietnamese people themselves in 1945, was now lost to France forever. On July 21, the government of Mende's-France signed the historic Geneva Agreement, which ended the Indochina war and at last brought full independence to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. And the Geneva Agreement also removed the threat of a world conflict that had arisen shortly before French power in Asia collapsed.

But for peace in Indochina and for improved prospects of world peace, a heavy price bad to be paid. France paid with the loss of her "richest colony," after having wasted on the Indochina war over seven billion dollars of her own money and more than four billion received in American aid. The . . .

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