Vietnam 1946


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Based on multiarchival research conducted over almost three decades, this landmark account tells how a few men set off a war that would lead to tragedy for millions. Stein Tonnesson was one of the first historians to delve into scores of secret French, British, and American political, military, and intelligence documents. In this fascinating account of an unfolding tragedy, he brings this research to bear to disentangle the complex web of events, actions, and mentalities that led to thirty years of war in Indochina. As the story unfolds, Tonnesson challenges some widespread misconceptions, arguing that French general Leclerc fell into a Chinese trap in March 1946, and Vietnamese general Giap into a French trap in December. Taking us from the antechambers of policymakers in Paris to the docksides of Haiphong and the streets of Hanoi, "Vietnam 1946" provides the most vivid account to date of the series of events that would make Vietnam the most embattled area in the world during the Cold War period.

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  • Hardback | 392 pages
  • 160.02 x 231.14 x 33.02mm | 680.39g
  • University of California Press
  • BerkerleyUnited States
  • English
  • 9 b/w photographs
  • 0520256026
  • 9780520256026
  • 1,719,086

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"A marvelous read. Tonnesson writes deftly and lucidly. His analysis sparkles with gems of detail and insight." New Mandala; Tailand-Laos-Cambodia Group "A finely layered and textured book at the intersections of international, French and Vietnamese history." H-Net Reviews "An authoritative account." -- Qiang Zhai Contemporary Southeast Asia "An important contribution to the debate about the start of the wars in Indochina that would last thirty years." -- David W. Del Testa H-France Review

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""Vietnam 1946" is a masterful narrative of the immediate origins of the first Vietnam War. It is, by turns, vivid and shocking; it is always immensely revealing. Tonnesson brings forensic clarity to crucial events about which, even now, some sixty years later, fundamental misapprehensions exist. An outstanding work of scholarship of major international importance."Martin Thomas, author of "Empires of Intelligence" "Tonnesson captures brilliantly the 1946 confrontation between two republics: France determined to redeem itself from Axis humiliation by regaining Indochina; Vietnam equally determined to retake independence after eighty years of colonial servitude. Tonnesson also demonstrates, however, that some leaders on each side really wanted a peaceful, mutually beneficial outcome. Descent into full-scale war was not inevitable. This is a carefully researched, clearly written analysis of a vital moment in the 20th century history of both countries. It is also a meditation on the elusive boundary between free will and determinism in human affairs."David Marr, author of "Vietnamese Tradition on Trial, 1920-1945" Stein Tonnesson's "Vietnam 1946" answers the fundamental question about the first of Vietnam's 20th century wars, the one fought against the French: how did it happen? He has written a meticulously researched account which restores their contingency to the events. The first Indochina war, like those that succeeded it, was not inevitable and Tonnesson explains why and how it happened anyway. Marilyn Young, author of "The Vietnam Wars 1945-1990""

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About Stein Tonnesson

Stein Tonnesson was Director of the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo, Norway, from 2001 to 2009. He is author of The Vietnamese Revolution of 1945: Roosevelt, Ho Chi Minh and de Gaulle in a World at War among other books.

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