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Hostilities escalated into the First Indochina War (beginning in December 1946). On , the French garrison at Dien Bien Phu surrendered.
By the 1950s, the conflict had become entwined with the Cold War. The defeat marked the end of French military involvement in Indochina.
They received some Japanese arms when Japan surrendered.
The Viet Minh, a Communist-led common front under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, then initiated an insurgency against French rule. There were also talks between the French and Americans in which the possible use of three tactical nuclear weapons was considered, though reports of how seriously this was considered and by whom are vague and contradictory.
See also: History of Vietnam, Cochinchina Campaign, Cần Vương, Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng, Yên Bái mutiny, Vietnam during World War II, War in Vietnam (1945–46), 1940–46 in the Vietnam War, 1947–50 in the Vietnam War, First Indochina War, Operation Vulture, Operation Passage to Freedom, and 1954 in the Vietnam War The primary military organizations involved in the war were as follows: One side consisted of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and the United States armed forces, while the other side consisted of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) (more commonly called the North Vietnamese Army, or NVA, in English-language sources) and the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF, more commonly known as the Viet Cong in English language sources), a South Vietnamese communist guerrilla force. Indochina was a French colony during the 19th century.
When the Japanese invaded during World War II, the Viet Minh opposed them with support from the US, the Soviet Union and China.
Operations crossed into Laos and Cambodia were used by North Vietnam as supply routes and were heavily bombed by U. The deposition of the monarch Norodom Sihanouk by the Cambodian National Assembly resulted in a PAVN invasion of the country at the request of the Khmer Rouge, escalating the Cambodian Civil War and resulting in a U. After 1968, Nixon's policy of "Vietnamization", saw the conflict fought by an expanded ARVN with US forces sidelined and increasingly demoralized by domestic opposition and reduced recruitment. The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities (see Vietnam War casualties).
The end of the war and resumption of the Third Indochina War would precipitate the Vietnamese boat people and the bigger Indochina refugee crisis, which saw millions of refugees leave Indochina (mainly southern Vietnam), an estimated 250,000 of whom perished at sea.In January 1950, China and the Soviet Union recognized the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam, based in Hanoi, as the legitimate government of Vietnam. At the Geneva Conference, the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh, and independence was granted to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.The following month the United States and Great Britain recognized the French-backed State of Vietnam in Saigon, led by former Emperor Bảo Đại, as the legitimate Vietnamese government. At the 1954 Geneva peace conference, Vietnam was temporarily partitioned at the 17th parallel.Between 19, the North Vietnamese government instituted various agrarian reforms, including "rent reduction" and "land reform", which resulted in significant political oppression.During the land reform, testimony from North Vietnamese witnesses suggested a ratio of one execution for every 160 village residents, which extrapolated nationwide would indicate nearly 100,000 executions.