Lead:  In September 1945 Ho Chi Minh in the wake of Japan's defeat declared Vietnamese independence. It turned out to be a futile gesture.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Two months before, at the Potsdam Conference in Germany, the victorious allies had promised Charles de Gaulle and the Free French they could reclaim their Indochinese colonies. To prepare the way, the British would move into South Vietnam to disarm the Japanese and ship them home. In the North, the Chinese would do the same. It was a prescription for disaster. Suddenly, during the fall of 1945 Vietnam was in chaos. The Free French were trying to return. The British favored the French but did not have enough troops to enforce their preference or keep the peace. Chinese troops in the north, largely illiterate and starving, like a hoard of locusts, engaged in promiscuous rape and pillage. Various factions of the native Vietnamese were fighting each other, the Chinese or the French. All the while Ho Chi Minh was trying to put together the combination of forces that could keep the French from returning and get the Chinese out.

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