The French withdrawal from Vietnam in 1954 was the product of global pressures and triggered significant global consequences. By treating the war as an international issue, this book places Indochina at the center of the Cold War in the mid-1950s. Arguing that the Indochina War cannot be understood as a topic of Franco-US relations, but ought to be treated as international history, this volume brings in Vietnamese and other global agents, including New Zealand, Australia, and especially Britain, as well as China and the Soviet Union. Importantly, the book also argues that the successful French withdrawal from Vietnam – a political defeat for the Eisenhower administration – helped to avert outright warfare between the major powers, although with very mixed results for the inhabitants of Vietnam who faced partition and further bloodshed.
The End of the First Indochina War explores the complexities of intra-alliance competition over global strategy – especially between the United States and British Commonwealth – arguing that these rivalries are as important to understanding the Cold War as east-west confrontation. This is the first truly global interpretation of the French defeat in 1954, based on the author’s research in five western countries and the latest scholarship from historians of Vietnam, China, and Russia. Readers will find much that is new both in terms of archival revelations and original interpretations.
Introduction Part I: Escalation and Negotiation, March 1953 – May 1954 1. "More Important than Korea": Background to Negotiation 2. Defeat in Vietnam? The Battle for Dien Bien Phu 3. The Vietnamese Confront the Cold War 4. Before Geneva: The Foundations of Western Disunity 5. In Search of a "Lesser Evil:" Partition as an Idea 6. United Action Averted Part II: The Geneva Conference on Indochina, May – July 1954 7. The Geneva Conference: The Bidault Phase 8. Gouverner, c’est choisir 9. The Geneva Conference: The Mendès-France Phase Part III: The Global Legacy, July 1954 – July 1956 10. Making Partition Permanent 11. Global Implications Epilogue: "Our offspring" Sources Index
History has given us globalization, both as a scholarly and public issue, and this transnational process has grabbed the interest of commentators and experts over the past decade or so. In the public realm, the phenomenon remains a buzzword for international exchanges. As defined by scholars, globalization accounts for economic expansion – including mobility of labor, goods, money, information, and natural resources. It touches scientific and technological developments, music and the arts, and the political and institutional change. As it intersects with the history of American foreign relations, globalization reflects traditional national security concerns as well as national ideals, humanitarianism, markets, business, technology, and culture.
Books in this series thus focus on transnational themes in exciting ways that speak to the contemporary interests of historians and scholars, as well as the general public.