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Cold War: Vietnam 1945-1965 - French Participation Up To 1954

One area studied in GCSE History is the Cold War, which lasted from the end of World War II until the fall of the Soviet Union. As a part of this, students will look at Vietnam and the involvement of the French in that country.

The situation, and subsequent war, in Vietnam were major influences on the Cold War. After the defeat of the Japanese in the Far East the French returned to Indo China (including Vietnam). Their involvement was intended to re-establish their former colonies.

Find out more about the French involvement in Vietnam, and its effect on the Cold War, in this quiz.

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  1. In 1945 the Japanese briefly installed a puppet ruler in Vietnam before handing over to the returning French. Who was this puppet?
    There were plenty of ambitious Vietnamese keen to fill the power vacuum emerging in Vietnam. However the Japanese soon had to give way to the French
  2. Ho Chi Minh was determined to establish an independent republic in Vietnam on Communist lines. What was the name of the guerrilla force that he created, and which operated mainly in the north?
    Ho was determined to use his irregular forces to drive the French out of Vietnam
  3. Which line of latitude was chosen in 1945 as an initial boundary between North and South Vietnam?
    If Vietnam was to be divided, then an East-West line roughly half way seemed a reasonable boundary
  4. Which French general arrived to take command in Vietnam in October 1945, having commanded Free French armoured forces in the liberation of France?
    The French military were keen to avenge the defeat of 1940 with victory in the colonial war In Vietnam
  5. By 1946 military command under Ho Chi Minh's overall leadership was held by a strategic genius - who was he?
    North Vietnamese Communist forces operated as regular infantry divisions rather than as guerrillas. This same commander masterminded their operations against the Americans, ensuring their departure from Vietnam in 1973
  6. In 1950 both the Soviet Union (under Stalin) and China (under Mao) recognised Ho's part of Vietnam. What name was given to this?
    Ho attached great importance to support from comradely Communist states, which provided not only recognition, but also arms and equipment
  7. In January 1951 a new French commander arrived in Vietnam, only to leave at the end of the year, as he struggled with cancer. Who was he?
    The French military were still determined to recover France's pre-war colonies
  8. The French military command changed again in November 1951. Which general, later imprisoned with three colleagues for their attempted coup against De Gaulle over Algeria in the 1960s, replaced him in Vietnam?
    There was no shortage of general officers in the high command of the Fourth Republic's army who were happy to take command in Vietnam - to salvage the French army's reputation
  9. In March 1954 French forces suffered a shattering defeat at their substantial base in North Vietnam. Where was this?
    Political support in Paris was running out, and bad weather made it impossible either to leave or to reinforce this vast air and army base under sustained Communist attack
  10. Between May and July 1954 peace talks among the various interested parties in the Vietnam campaign met in a European city to try to reach a final agreement, to which all sides could sign up. Which was this city?
    It was widely believed that negotiations of this kind were best conducted well away from the actual fighting

Author: Edward Towne

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