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Dunn, Peter M. (1979) An interpretation of documentary and oral primary source materials for the period September 1945 until May 1946 in the region of Cochinchina and Southern Annam. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The aim of this study is to place in historical perspective the Allied (mainly British) occupation of key areas in southern French Indochina in 1945-1946. This occupation was of profound importance in the subsequent course of history in Vietnam. Although this work is concerned primarily with events in Indochina in and I946, earlier material is introduced in order to place these events in historical context. The relevant research spanned three continents, and was conducted in Saigon, Prance, Great Britain and the United States. Sources include newly-released archival material in the Public Record Office, London, and official and unofficial published material in the British Library, Imperial War Museum and the French Army's Historical Service in Paris. Personal interviews were also conducted with key contemporary British, French and Vietnamese military and civil officials. Of vital importance were the personal papers of the British Force Commander in Saigon, the late General Sir Douglas Gracey. These papers have never previously been examined, and they shed a great deal of light on events in Saigon in 1945-1946; they also refute much of what has been written on this period by various historians. It will be seen that divergent Allied policy, especially the narrow US "anticolonial" views which compelled America actively to support the Communists in Vietnam, were of fundamental importance to the formation and ultimate victory of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. It should also be apparent that the British Commander in Vietnam, General Gracey, who has consistently been inaccurately portrayed as a politically ignorant throwback to a simpler colonial past, was in fact a shrewd and farsighted officer of considerable ability who was fully attuned to the shifting tide of historical forces. It would not seem unreasonable to suggest that, in some measure, Douglas Gracey was directly responsible for South Vietnam enjoying three decades of freedom from Communist rule. This thesis is perforce based on predominantly British source material. This is because the occupation was primarily a British operation, and not to have observed this constraint would have resulted in a study of encyclopedic proportions.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:15

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