Vietnam, 1945: The Quest for Power

Vietnam, 1945: The Quest for Power

Paperback Philip E. Lilienthal Book

By (author) David G. Marr


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  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Format: Paperback | 587 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 224mm x 38mm | 862g
  • Publication date: 3 November 1997
  • Publication City/Country: Berkerley
  • ISBN 10: 0520212282
  • ISBN 13: 9780520212282
  • Edition statement: Revised ed.
  • Illustrations note: 18 b&w illustrations, 15 tables, 1 map
  • Sales rank: 1,360,331

Product description

1945: the most significant year in the modern history of Vietnam. One thousand years of dynastic politics and monarchist ideology came to an end. Eight decades of French rule lay shattered. Five years of Japanese military occupation ceased. Allied leaders determined that Chinese troops in the north of Indochina and British troops in the South would receive the Japanese surrender. Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, with himself as president. Drawing on extensive archival research, interviews, and an examination of published memoirs and documents, David G. Marr has written a richly detailed and descriptive analysis of this crucial moment in Vietnamese history. He shows how Vietnam became a vortex of intense international and domestic competition for power, and how actions in Washington and Paris, as well as Saigon, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh's mountain headquarters, interacted and clashed, often with surprising results. Marr's book probes the ways in which war and revolution sustain each other, tracing a process that will interest political scientists and sociologists as well as historians and Southeast Asia specialists.

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Author information

David G. Marr is Senior Fellow at the Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University. He is the author of Vietnamese Anticolonialism, 1885-1925 (California, 1971) and Vietnamese Tradition on Trial, 1920-1945 (California, 1981).

Review quote

"A winning combination of scholarly tome and readable history. . . . Marr tells this extremely complicated story very well, backing up his sharp analysis with mountains of supporting factual evidence. . . . Meticulous and objective, an indispensable document for understaning the roots of American involvement in Vietnam."--"Kirkus Reviews

Editorial reviews

A winning combination of scholarly tome and readable history, examining the portentous events culminating in the "August Revolution" of 1945, when Ho Chi Minh declared the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Marr (Vietnamese Tradition on Trial, 1920-1945, not reviewed, etc.) learned the Vietnamese language as a US Marine Corps intelligence officer in 1961. He went to Vietnam the next year, then studied its history and society at graduate school in the United States before becoming a senior fellow at the Australian National University's Research School of Pacific Studies. He has scrutinized an astounding number of official documents in Vietnam, France, and the US and has interviewed many of the important players in Vietnam's post-WW II history. All that work reaches fruition in this book, which tells the historically important story of the end of Japanese occupation of Vietnam and the short-lived takeover of the country by Ho Chi Minh's revolutionary Viet Minh in August 1945. Mart successfully navigates his way through the dense web of competing and contentious factions in postwar Vietnam: the occupying Japanese army; the defeated French civilians and colonial bureaucrats; the weak Vietnamese government of Emperor Bao Dai; the communist-dominated Viet Mirth; the disparate group of anticommunist Vietnamese nationalists; the nationalist Chinese; the British army; the handful of American OSS agents on the scene to help fight the Japanese; and the various French officials working under orders from General Charles de Gaulle to recolonize Vietnam (and Laos and Cambodia) as soon as possible. Marx tells this extremely complicated story very well, backing up his sharp analysis with mountains of supporting factual evidence. He portrays Ho Chi Minh as a fervently anticolonial nationalist who looked in vain for help from the US based on vague American promises to work against French recolonization. Meticulous and objective, an indispensable document for understanding the roots of American involvement in Vietnam. (Kirkus Reviews)