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    Why was France fighting in Viet Nam during the 1950's

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    Ever since the end of World War II, the French, with heavy U.S. backing, had been trying to recover their colonies in Indochina. In Vietnam, they had run into fierce opposition from forces under the leadership of Vietnamese Ho Chi Minh, who was a Communist but also a nationalist hero who had been leading the country's struggle for independence since the 1920s. In the spring of 1954, the French tried to lure the Vietnamese into a decisive battle in a remote jungle outpost called Dien Bien Phu. The fighting there turned out disastrously for the French; Ho's forces were able to surround the French completely and threatened to inflict a decisive defeat upon them. The calamitous French position at Dien Bien Phu looked likely to lead to an independent, Communist Vietnam under Ho's powerful leadership.



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