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Debates Forum

  1. 21 Sep '17 20:05
    According to Ken Burns the reason the USA helped France in it's attempt to keep colonial control of Vietnam is that De Gaulle threatened to go into the orbit of the USSR.

    http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-vietnam-war/watch/

    I have no idea where Ken Burns gets his information from, but it sounds absurd to me. France was fighting Marxist communists in Vietnam and it threatened to buddy up with the other Marxist communists if the USA didn't help?
    Does that mean communism had nothing to do with it?

    Can anybody find a decent source of information on this? Does anybody know what Ken Burn's source of information is? That claim (even if false) had to come from somebody.
  2. 21 Sep '17 20:10 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by @metal-brain
    According to Ken Burns the reason the USA helped France in it's attempt to keep colonial control of Vietnam is that De Gaulle threatened to go into the orbit of the USSR.

    http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-vietnam-war/watch/

    I have no idea where Ken Burns gets his information from, but it sounds absurd to me. France was fighting Marxist communists in ...[text shortened]... what Ken Burn's source of information is? That claim (even if false) had to come from somebody.
    I don't claim to be able to read Ken Burns's mind. But this is a well-known fact.

    http://adst.org/2014/06/france-has-degaulle-to-withdraw-from-nato/#.WcQcUnGQyM8

    "On June 21, 1966, France made the somewhat shocking move to withdraw its troops from
    the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This decision led by French president
    Charles de Gaulle complicated relations between the U.S. and Europe amidst clashing
    American and Communist spheres of influence. Though France remained politically in NATO,
    its actions cast doubt onto the organization’s future as a counter to Soviet military power and influence."
  3. 22 Sep '17 18:00
    It's also known that the OSS once had sympathetic contact with Ho Chi Minh.

    http://www.historynet.com/ho-chi-minh-and-the-oss.htm

    "Ho Chi Minh and the OSS"

    "He [US Army officer Allison Thomas] asked Ho [Chi Minh] point-blank:
    Was he a Communist? Ho replied: “Yes. But we can still be friends, can’t we?”
    ...
    "He [Thomas] noted that it was impossible for the French to stay, nor were they
    welcome since the Vietnamese “hated them worse than the Japs…. Ho [Chi MInh]
    said he would welcome a million American soldiers to come in but not any French.”

    After the Second World War, most Westerners and their governments did *not* believe
    that non-white Africans or Asians were qualified to govern themselves and believed that
    they should be ruled by Western colonial powers. (Winston Churchill fiercely opposed
    independence for India.) The British, French, and Dutch hastened to use force to regain
    their colonial empires in Asia.

    So did the USA prefer that Indochina be ruled by the French or by Asians, even if they were not Communists?
    There was no doubt that the USA regarded continuing French colonial rule as the safer option.
  4. 22 Sep '17 19:10 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by @metal-brain
    According to Ken Burns the reason the USA helped France in it's attempt to keep colonial control of Vietnam is that De Gaulle threatened to go into the orbit of the USSR.

    http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-vietnam-war/watch/

    I have no idea where Ken Burns gets his information from, but it sounds absurd to me. France was fighting Marxist communists in ...[text shortened]... what Ken Burn's source of information is? That claim (even if false) had to come from somebody.
    As I recall learning learning somewhere, the French threatened alignment with Russia on the security council if the US did not take over/assist French colonialist military ops in nam. Ho was more of a nationalist than a communist, and only went to the Chinese (not Russians) for military aid. Of course aid travels with a bomb for the recipient.
  5. Subscriber mchill
    cryptogram
    23 Sep '17 19:33
    Originally posted by @metal-brain
    According to Ken Burns the reason the USA helped France in it's attempt to keep colonial control of Vietnam is that De Gaulle threatened to go into the orbit of the USSR.

    http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-vietnam-war/watch/

    I have no idea where Ken Burns gets his information from, but it sounds absurd to me. France was fighting Marxist communists in ...[text shortened]... what Ken Burn's source of information is? That claim (even if false) had to come from somebody.
    Some of this has to do with the fact that many French citizens, as well as some of their lawmakers were devout communists in the 50's and 60's. Unlike America, France looked upon communists as a political party like all the others, rather than "the enemy" This helped shape France's foreign policy.


    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/protests-mount-in-france
  6. 23 Sep '17 20:38 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by @mchill to Metal Brain
    Some of this has to do with the fact that many French citizens, as well as some of their lawmakers were devout communists in the 50's and 60's. Unlike America, France looked upon communists as a political party like all the others, rather than "the enemy" This helped shape France's foreign policy.

    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/protests-mount-in-france
    Helped by the Communists' record of bravery in the French Resistance, the French Communist
    Party got (as I recall) about 20-25% of the votes in elections shortly after the Second World War.

    "By the time the German occupation ended in 1944, the party had become a powerful
    force in many parts of France. It was among the leading parties in elections in 1945 and 1946,
    and entered into the governing Tripartite alliance, which pursued social reforms and statism.
    However, amid concerns within France and abroad over the extent of communist influence,
    the PCF was excluded from government in May 1947. Under pressure from Moscow, the
    PCF thereafter distanced itself from other parties and focussed on agitation within its
    trade union base. For the rest of the Fourth Republic period the PCF, led by Thorez and
    Jacques Duclos, *remained politically isolated*, still taking a Stalinist line, though retaining
    substantial electoral support."

    I know of no evidence that the ('politically isolated' ) French Communist Party had a
    significant influence upon France's government making decisions on foreign policy.

    It seems true, however, that Charles de Gaulle was more anti-German than anti-Soviet.
    Nikita Khrushchev wrote that Charles de Gaulle told him that he approved of the USSR
    keeping control of the GDR (East Germany) forever. And Charles de Gaulle preferred
    that Germany be further divided into more smaller, weaker nations, which never should
    be allowed to reunite and grow stronger.
  7. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    23 Sep '17 21:16
    France and Russia have a long history of mutual support aimed at suppressing Germany.
  8. 23 Sep '17 21:38
    Originally posted by @athousandyoung
    France and Russia have a long history of mutual support aimed at suppressing Germany.
    A major exception was during the Napoleonic Wars, when Prussia and Russia allied against France.

    Bismarck believed that Germany must always keep on good terms with Russia.
    His successors ignored his advice.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinsurance_Treaty

    "The secret treaty signed by Bismarck and the Russian Foreign Minister Nikolay Girs was in two parts.
    1) Germany and Russia agreed to observe benevolent neutrality, should the other be involved
    in a war with a third country. If Germany attack France or Russia attack Austria-Hungary,
    this provision would not apply. In those cases, the distinguished bilateral alliances could
    come into effect. The Reinsurance Treaty only applied when France or Austria-Hungary
    were the aggressors.
    2) In the most secret completion protocol, Germany would declare neutrality in the
    event of a Russian intervention in the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles."

    "When in 1890, Russia asked for a renewal of the treaty, Germany refused. ...
    Having become alarmed at its growing isolation, Saint Petersburg, as Bismarck had
    feared, entered into the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892, ending French isolation.
    The dismissal of Bismarck, the erratic temper of Wilhelm II and the uncertain policy of
    the men who succeeded Bismarck (partly out of consideration for England, they failed to
    renew the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia but did renew the Triple Alliance), were joint
    causes of a period of fundamental change."
  9. Subscriber mchill
    cryptogram
    24 Sep '17 19:25 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    Helped by the Communists' record of bravery in the French Resistance, the French Communist
    Party got (as I recall) about 20-25% of the votes in elections shortly after the Second World War.

    "By the time the German occupation ended in 1944, the party had become a powerful
    force in many parts of France. It was among the leading parties in elections in ...[text shortened]... into more smaller, weaker nations, which never should
    be allowed to reunite and grow stronger.
    I know of no evidence that the ('politically isolated' ) French Communist Party had a
    significant influence upon France's government making decisions on foreign policy.

    The French Communist party was not so isolated. I know a few of them, and though they were not dominant in shaping foreign policy, their party had at least some influence in the government, in addition there were millions of French communists who were looked upon by their government as simply French citizens with an alternate political view, and not as enemies of the state as were communists in America in the 50's and 60's, among these were the parents of Mireille Guiliano, author of the now famous book French Women Don't Get Fat.
  10. 24 Sep '17 19:35
    Originally posted by @mchill
    I know of no evidence that the ('politically isolated' ) French Communist Party had a
    significant influence upon France's government making decisions on foreign policy.

    The French Communist party was not so isolated. I know a few of them, and though they were not dominant in shaping foreign policy, their party had at least some influence in the governm ...[text shortened]... were the parents of Mireille Guiliano, author of the now famous book French Women Don't Get Fat.
    I already know that the Communist Party was not as demonized in France as the Communist Party in the USA.
    But that's irrelevant to my position that the Communist Party had little or no influence
    upon French government decisions in foreign policy.

    Were any French government foreign ministers or defense ministers members of the Communist Party?
    Given that the Communist Party was always in opposition, not a part of the government,
    the government never had to worry about losing Communist support for its foreign policy decisions.
    The government would not fall on account of losing support by the Communist Party.

    I would add that Communist Party members served in the French armed forces during
    France's long brutal (and losing) war against Algerian independence, which made the
    Communists more reluctant to criticize French imperialism or war crimes in Algeria.