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THE VIETNAM WAR HAD its origin in American involvement in what was French Indochina in World War II. After the capitulation of France in June 1940 to Nazi Germany, the collaborationist regime of Marshal Henri Petain at Vichy took over the French colonial empire, including Syria and Lebanon in the Middle East and Indochina in Southeast Asia. When Japan went to war in December 1941, as an ally of Nazi Germany, it technically “occupied” French Indochina, rather than conquering it as the Japanese did the Dutch East Indies or the Philippines. This fiction was continued until March 9, 1945, when the Japanese struck at the Vichy authorities and took control militarily. France's French Foreign Legion soldiers who resisted were slaughtered at Ha Giang. Some 5,000 ...

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