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Vietnam, protest and Second Indochina War, 1960–1974

Daniel Hémery


The first regional effect of the compromise of Geneva was the push to neutrality and non-alignment encouraged by China, which feared the installation of US military bases in Indochina. This impetus quickly weakened, except in Cambodia, where the government remained neutral for a decade under Prince Sihanouk , who seized power in 1960. Sihanouk fought American influence with Chinese support, tolerating the establishment of Vietnamese communist bases at the border of South Vietnam until the pro-American coup d'état of 1970. The US-backed coup ended Cambodia's capacity to restrain the action of the Khmer communists. In Vietnam, antagonism between the party-state installed north of the 17th parallel and the army-state that the Eisenhower administration sought to consolidate in the south under the Republic of Vietnam was evident from the start. The Republic of Vietnam was officially founded following the departure of ex-emperor Bao Dai in May 1955 and elected through a referendum of October 23, 1955, won by Ngo Dinh Ziem with 98 percent of the vote. For the powerful bureaucracy of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV), the reunification of Vietnam with the Lao Dong (Communist Party of South Vietnam) according to the model of the North was seen as a necessity. The North did not exclude the possibility of elections as envisaged in Geneva, which would probably have been favorable to ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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