Paradise of the Blind Historical Context

D??ng Thu H??ng
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Vietnam was under the control of the French from the late nineteenth century until the 1950s. In 1945, communists and Vietnamese nationalists combined under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh (originally Nguyen That Thanh, 1890-1969), who made a declaration of Vietnam's independence. The French opposed independence, and in 1946, a long guerilla war began. It ended when the French, whose war effort had been heavily financed by the United States, were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. This was the end of French colonialism in Indochina. In a cease-fire agreement at Geneva concluded in July, 1954, Vietnam was divided along the 17th parallel. North Vietnam became a communist state, supported by the Soviet Union, and South Vietnam by a non-communist, U.S.-backed government. This division was meant to be a temporary arrangement until an election could be held in 1956 that would unite the...

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