Historical Dictionary



Upon the establishment of the Associated State of Vietnam in 1949, the French moved to create an army for it, capable of taking on the forces of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) in collaboration with the French Expeditionary Corps. The constitution of an army was allowed for in the Franco-Vietnamese Accords of 1949 and sealed in the Franco-Vietnamese military convention signed on 30 December 1949. Shortly thereafter, a Franco-Vietnamese military committee went to work creating a national army for the Associated State. At the outset, the Associated State’s army numbered around 45,000 men. It became a regular army in 1950 and acquired its own General Staff in 1952. The real driving force, however, was General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny. He vigorously supported the jaunissement of the war effort through the creation of a pro-French Vietnamese national army. It would be cost cutting and, with increased American financial and material support, help solve the problem of finding replacement troops. And of course a large Vietnamese army would provide de Lattre with more troops to take on the DRV. Thanks to the inauguration of obligatory military service in 1951, the Associated State’s troop level reached some 167,000 troops in 1954 when it became a fully independent state. In March 1952, General Nguyen Van Hinh became chief of staff of the Vietnamese army. Militarily, the Associated State of Vietnam was divided into four regions (North, Center, South and the Highlands), with a division theoretically assigned to each of them. Morale in this Vietnamese army was, however, shaky. During the battle of Dien Bien Phu, thousands of Vietnamese deserted as the State of Vietnam’s army came close to melting down. See also ARMY, ASSOCIATED STATE OF CAMBODIA; ARMY, ASSOCIATED STATE OF LAOS; ASSOCIATED STATES OF INDOCHINA; DESERTION; EXPEDITIONARY CORPS; PEOPLE’S ARMY OF VIETNAM