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The Road to War: France and Vietnam 1944-1947

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Volume 2

Contemporary France

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The Road to War

France and Vietnam 1944-1947

Martin Shipway

25th Anniversary Sale, 25% off all books! Add coupon code BB25

324 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-149-3 25% OFF! $34.95/£24.00 $26.21/£18.00 Pb Published (January 2003)

eISBN 978-0-85745-682-3 eBook

Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! 25% off $34.95 $26.21 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


"... this is an important book ... If I have gone on so long, it is out of enthusiasm for the story Shipway has to tell and the skillful way he tells it. This book is extremely well written, and I found reading it almost effortless ... I recommend this book to anyone interested in the origins of what may one day be considered the second thirty-years war of our 'short' century."  · H-Net Reviews

"... an important contribution to understanding the tangled and tragic unfolding of the modern history of Indochina."  · Choice

"... in this absorbing study, Martin Shipway examines one of France's most catastrophic colonial miscalculations."  · Modern and Contemporary France

"... Well researched, clearly written and solidly argued, this study poses new questions, opens the possibility of larger comparisons ..."  · The Journal of Asian Studies


How did France become embroiled in Vietnam, in the first of long wars of decolonization? And why did the French colonial administration, in late 1946, having negotiated with Ho Chi Minh for a year, adopt a warlike stance towards Ho's régime which ran counter to the liberal colonial doctrine of liberated France? Based on French archival sources, almost all of them previously unavailable to the English-speaking reader, the author assesses the policy that emerged from the 1944 Brazzaville conference; and the doomed attempt to apply that policy in Indo-China.

Martin Shipway teaches in the Department of French, Birkbeck College, University of London.

Subject: Colonialism
Area: France


Note on Text
Map of Indochina, 1945



Chapter 1. The Brazzaville Conference and its Origins, 1940-1944: Policy Formulation and Myth Making on the Congo
Chapter 2. The Republic Strikes Back, 1944-1945: Brazzaville Policy and the Metropolitan Critique
Chapter 3. 'We are in the Midst of Colonial Crisis': The Response to International and Colonial Change
Chapter 4. The Domestic Parameters of Colonial Policy Making after the Liberation, 1944-1946


Chapter 5. Calculating the Stakes: Brazzaville Policy and the 'Return' to Indochina, December 1943-September 1945
Chapter 6. The Primacy of Action: From the 'Return' to Saigon, October 1945, to the Signing of the Accords of 6 March 1946
Chapter 7. Who Rules: Paris or Saigon? The Dalat Conference and the Cochinchina Policy, March-June 1946
Chapter 8. 'A Round of the Battle we are Fighting': The Fontainebleau Conference, June-Septe,ber 1946
Chapter 9. The Narrowing of French Policy Options, Autumn 1946: The Accords Policy Abandoned?
Chapter 10. 'The Tonkin Vespers', December 1946: Burying the Accords Policy


Appendix I: The Administrative Structure of the French Empire, 1945
Appendix II: Chronology of Events in France and Indochina, 1944-1947


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