19 December

The First Indochina War began in French Indochina on this day in 1946 and lasted until 1 August 1954. Fighting between French forces and their Viet Minh opponents in the South dated from September 1945.

The conflict pitted a range of forces, including the French Union’s French Far East Expeditionary Corps, led by France and supported by Emperor Bảo Đại’s Vietnamese National Army against the Viet Minh, led by Ho Chi Minh and its People’s Army of Vietnam led by Vo Nguyen Giap. Most of the fighting took place in Tonkin in Northern Vietnam, although the conflict engulfed the entire country and also extended into the neighbouring French Indochina protectorates of Laos and Cambodia.