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1945

British troops arrive to disarm the Japanese

In accordance with the Potsdam Agreements at the end of WWII, 5,000 British troops of the 20th Indian Division, commanded by Gen. Douglas Gracey, arrive in southern Indochina to disarm the defeated Japanese forces. In August, Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh had seized power in Hanoi and proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and independence from French colonial rule. However, Gracey, who detested the Viet Minh, rearmed some 1,400 French soldiers who had been imprisoned by the Japanese. This effectively was the first step in the re-establishment of French colonial rule and set the stage for the conflict between the French and the Viet Minh that led to a bloody nine-year war which would not end until the Viet Minh inflicted a humiliating defeat on the French at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954.

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