Causes of French Millitary Defeat in Indochina

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Causes of French Military Defeat The first Indochina war fought between the French and Vietminh ultimately cumulated to Vietminh victory. However several important factors led to their success. These include the misjudgment of the political situation in Indochina and her surrounding neighbors before and during the conflict; the tactical and strategic miscalculations that the French made; and also the support or lack thereof present within Indochina, France and the allies of both nations. The complicated political allegiances of countries in Indochina and their people were not taken into greater consideration amongst the French. The Cambodian Democrat party, supporting the independence movement gained a majority in their elections, whilst the Laotian King still supported the French; nationalist groups soon divided the country along with French garrison and Vietminh. This failure to secure satellite nations in Indochina gave the Vietminh a comparative advantage over the French, in which they could muster resources to combat French Imperialism. Navarre, commander in Chief of the French forces in Indochina even attributed his loss was the lack of French support particularly in the countryside. The Vietminh in contrast had “definite political programs to solve problems created by French colonialism”, this in turn won them many supporters as noted by Pearn. Thus the French were at a major disadvantage as they failed to effectively gain political control of Indochina. The tactical and strategic blunders the French military suffered ultimately proved to be the most devastating of all. The military’s inability to adjust into the unique situation combined with Vietminh mastery of, “hit and run ambush tactics… embracing Mao’s strategy of wearing the enemy down while building conventional abilities” ultimately led them to stalemate. The political and economic limitations
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