Today is the first day of a new month, Canada’s 152nd birthday, and the third anniversary of the podcast! So naturally we have a special episode for today. This time, instead of the usual historical narrative, we will meet the hill tribes of Vietnam and Laos, also called the Degar or Montagnards. There are 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam, and 160 in Laos, but most of the time we only hear from the dominant majorities, the Vietnamese and the Lao. Therefore this episode will give equal time to the other groups.
Happy Father’s Day, if you are in the United States! And on this day 71 years ago, the communist revolt called "The Malayan Emergency" began. Now with today’s podcast episode, we finish our coverage of the early Cold War years by looking at the Malayan Emergency, and we will follow the path the Malay peninsula took to become independent. Hint: it was different from the rest of Southeast Asia, where nationalist movements developed many years earlier.
Today the podcast will wrap up the First Indochina War by covering the showdown which proved to the French that they couldn’t stay in Vietnam anymore — the battle of Dien Bien Phu!
For Part 4 in our podcast series on the First Indochina War, this episode covers the events of 1952 and most of 1953. We will look at the battles in northwest Vietnam, as the Viet Minh invade this area. Then we will see the opening of a second front in Laos, which will start an on-and-off civil war that will last for the next 22 years. Finally, we will learn how Laos and Cambodia achieved full independence from France.
I could have sworn I posted the announcement for Episode 65 when it was uploaded, last April 16. Was it deleted? Anyway, here it is again, just in case.
In Episode 65 we begin covering the events of the First Indochina War, waged between the French and the Vietnamese communists, then called the Viet Minh. Here we go from 1946 to 1950. For most of this time the struggle was a stalemate, with the French controlling all cities in Vietnam, while the Viet Minh roamed the countryside. Then in 1950 the Viet Minh won a key battle in the area northeast of Hanoi; this is now considered the turning point of the war.
Episode 66 is the third in our Indochina War series. Here we will look at the campaigns of 1951. In response to the successful Viet Minh (Vietnamese Communist) offensive of 1950, the French send in their best general, Jean de Lattre de Tassigny. It was only during the eleven months when de Lattre was in command (December 1950 – November 1951) that the French felt they had a good chance of winning.
Although today is April Fool’s Day, I’m not going to tell a false story here. Any prank I can think up will be more believable than the crazy stuff making headlines in the real world right now. That being said, I do have an announcement; Episode 64 of the podcast is now online! This is a “table-setting episode,” where I introduce the scene and the characters in 1945, at the beginning of the Indochina Wars. These conflicts lasted more than forty years in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, so consider this the first in a series of several episodes.
It’s that time of the month again! Yes, I mean that a new episode of the podcast is now available. This time we will learn about how modern Burma (Myanmar since 1989) became independent. Although the Burmese do not have to fight the British anymore, their troubles will come in bunches.