As happens so often in conflicts involving Europeans in the Asian continent, current enemies were once friends. When Japan occupied Vietnam and much of the rest of southeast Asia, the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (the precursor the Pentagon) clandestinely helped Communist leader Ho Chi Mihn to mount harassment raids against Japan. After Japan’s surrender the region was mostly an afterthought, returned by the allies to French colonial rule. But Ho Chi Mihn was not about to trade one occupier for another.
On this day, August 19, in 1945, in the “August Revolution” Ho Chi Mihn and his Viet Mihn insurgent group of 100,000 men occupied Hanoi, forcing the puppet governor to abdicate, and declared themselves as the provisional government. So began a series of uprisings against French colonial rule.
Ho Chi Mihn echoed in his country’s declaration of independence many of the same points cited by the Americans in their own document, and called on President Harry Truman to support Vietnamese independence, citing the Atlantic Charter agreement between the Allies about giving all the colonial lands self-government, but Truman would not recognize a government headed up by a communist leader.