Story: Asian conflicts

Dien Bien Phu memorial

Dien Bien Phu memorial

This memorial celebrates the Vietnamese victory over the French at Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam, in May 1954. After Dien Bien Phu the French began negotiations to withdraw from their former colonies in Indochina. The communist Viet Minh, under Ho Chi Minh, led the Vietnamese resistance to the French. The US and its allies, including Australia and New Zealand, feared that a communist takeover of South-East Asia was about to occur. In the early 1950s the Western allies had little understanding of the subtleties of Asian regional politics. They assumed that all communist activities were part of a conspiracy led by the Soviet Union with the assistance of China.

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Private collection
Photograph by Stephen Levine

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How to cite this page:

Ian McGibbon, 'Asian conflicts - Shift of focus to South-East Asia', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 13 June 2024)

Story by Ian McGibbon, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 1 Feb 2016