A Blunted Sickle - Thread II

I’ll admit to relative ignorance on the topic, but I fail to see why the French would want to maintain protectorates in Cambodia and Laos after granting independence to Vietnam. After all, as the census figures show, Vietnam is the crown jewel in Indochina. Wouldn’t the French interest here be more in maximizing their influence in a post-independent Vietnam than in keeping some remote underpopulated areas part of their empire?
 
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I’ll admit to relative ignorance on the topic, but I fail to see why the French would want to maintain protectorates in Cambodia and Laos after granting independence to Vietnam. After all, as the census figures show, Vietnam is the crown jewel in Indochina. Wouldn’t the French interest here be more in maximizing their influence in a post-independent Vietnam than in keeping some remote underpopulated areas part of their empire?
While Saigon is the crown jewel of Indochine, Vietnam is also the biggest pain in the ass of the French colonial government, with actively anti-French nationalism.
Thus, while keeping Bao Dai in power at independence is likely what France will push, there is a high likelihood that Vietnam will turn out hostile after independence, in a way that is not guaranteed for Cambodia and Laos.
 
Is there a way for Cochin China to be kept, at least for a while, and to remain separated from Vietnam even after an eventual indépendance? I'm thinking here about a Irak-Koweit scenario.

I know that OTL the status of Cochinchina wasn't so clear cut towards independence and union with Vietnam, so maybe in this TL where Indochina never gets occupied and the French have more l'attitude to organise decolonisation in their favour (read, much less American pressure).
 
I’ll admit to relative ignorance on the topic, but I fail to see why the French would want to maintain protectorates in Cambodia and Laos after granting independence to Vietnam. After all, as the census figures show, Vietnam is the crown jewel in Indochina. Wouldn’t the French interest here be more in maximizing their influence in a post-independent Vietnam than in keeping some remote underpopulated areas part of their empire?

I don't see the objectives as opposite. As already mentioned, keeping Cambodge & Laos either as integral parts of the empire or as associated states is unfeasible with an independant Vietnam; however, if Vietnam is given autonomy cultivating closer links with Cambodge & Laos with the same status (no way of giving one of the three more or less autonomy than the other) may be a way of keeping a firmer anchoring in the region. For instance, Vietnam might be more convinced of the value of keeping France as an ally against, say, Chinese encroachment if Paris lives up to its commitments to defend Cambodge against Thaï ambitions.
That said, this all assumes Paris doesn't just walk away like OTL. How obstinately the French sought to cling on to Indochina from 1945 to 1954 is only equalled by how lightheartedly they washed their hands of it all after 54.

Is there a way for Cochin China to be kept, at least for a while, and to remain separated from Vietnam even after an eventual indépendance? I'm thinking here about a Irak-Koweit scenario.

I know that OTL the status of Cochinchina wasn't so clear cut towards independence and union with Vietnam, so maybe in this TL where Indochina never gets occupied and the French have more l'attitude to organise decolonisation in their favour (read, much less American pressure).

OTL, Cochinchina's more "open" political life apparently allowed the independentists to implant themselves well there. They won some local elections before the war, and the Viet Minh "proper" launched its first insurrection there in 1940, centered around My Tho. Moreover, the more important european french presence there was not a force for the development of a separate identity, but instead fostered intercommunity hatred: in 1945, it was in this region that clashes began to unravel the modus vivendi between the French & the VM. At any rate, I don't know where one can find the idea that Cochinchina might have become independant - for VM nationalists it was an integral part of Vietnam, the "southward march" an integral part of the national mythos, and the region a huge part of the country; nothing to do with Koweit where a strip of land was detached from a country that didn't really exist beforehand. If you want, I see the difference like between keeping Luxembourg separate from Germany in 1870 and tearing the Rhineland appart in 1989.
 
Quick question that's a little off-topic, is there anywhere where this TL is compiled? I'm trying to read from the beginning but going through page after page of forum posts between updates is not very conducive to quickly catching up.
 
One issue that will affect colonialism is whether the League of Nations continues or is replaced by another international organisation, and what happens then to the LoN mandates? Of immediate concern for the France and the UK will be the Middle East mandates - Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Transjordan. All changed massively from TTL. But the mandates are supposed to be temporary. And more broadly, with no UN, there is much less pressure on France and the UK to end colonialism and no real structure for new states to join - unless the LoN is revived. Which risks decolonisation being longer and messier.
 
I don't see the objectives as opposite. As already mentioned, keeping Cambodge & Laos either as integral parts of the empire or as associated states is unfeasible with an independant Vietnam; however, if Vietnam is given autonomy cultivating closer links with Cambodge & Laos with the same status (no way of giving one of the three more or less autonomy than the other) may be a way of keeping a firmer anchoring in the region. For instance, Vietnam might be more convinced of the value of keeping France as an ally against, say, Chinese encroachment if Paris lives up to its commitments to defend Cambodge against Thaï ambitions.
That said, this all assumes Paris doesn't just walk away like OTL. How obstinately the French sought to cling on to Indochina from 1945 to 1954 is only equalled by how lightheartedly they washed their hands of it all after 54.



OTL, Cochinchina's more "open" political life apparently allowed the independentists to implant themselves well there. They won some local elections before the war, and the Viet Minh "proper" launched its first insurrection there in 1940, centered around My Tho. Moreover, the more important european french presence there was not a force for the development of a separate identity, but instead fostered intercommunity hatred: in 1945, it was in this region that clashes began to unravel the modus vivendi between the French & the VM. At any rate, I don't know where one can find the idea that Cochinchina might have become independant - for VM nationalists it was an integral part of Vietnam, the "southward march" an integral part of the national mythos, and the region a huge part of the country; nothing to do with Koweit where a strip of land was detached from a country that didn't really exist beforehand. If you want, I see the difference like between keeping Luxembourg separate from Germany in 1870 and tearing the Rhineland appart in 1989.
Not to mention being the homebase of the Cao Đài which is resolutely anti- French. And if you want Bảo Đại and the non-communist Vietnamese support, you must give them the region. Trying to make it an autonomous region will just resulted in Asian Algeria.
 
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Not to mention being the homebase of the Cao Đài which is resolutely anti- French.

I think that's an oversimplification. For one thing, a lot of Cao Đài had a Taoist-derived attitude of refusing to get politically entangled at all. For another, in the WWII period even the most "worldly" Cao Đài generally sought a dialogue with the French aimed at easing them out of Indo-China by negotiation rather than fighting them.

The movement did develop a militant tendency after WWII (bit of a strange development, that, because it is doctrinally quite pacifist) but militancy was directed against the Communists as much as or more than the French. Various Cao Đài groups were allies of the U.S. during the Vietnam War and had a good reputation among our Special Operations teams.

The reason I know these things is because I collect odd religions, and Cao Đài is a charmingly peculiar syncretism - a Buddhist/Taoist/Christian blend with a seasoning of French hermetic occultism. There isn't much written about them in English, but I've been collecting fragments ever since I ran across a mention of them in a military novel back in the early 1970s.
 
I think that's an oversimplification. For one thing, a lot of Cao Đài had a Taoist-derived attitude of refusing to get politically entangled at all. For another, in the WWII period even the most "worldly" Cao Đài generally sought a dialogue with the French aimed at easing them out of Indo-China by negotiation rather than fighting them.

The movement did develop a militant tendency after WWII (bit of a strange development, that, because it is doctrinally quite pacifist) but militancy was directed against the Communists as much as or more than the French. Various Cao Đài groups were allies of the U.S. during the Vietnam War and had a good reputation among our Special Operations teams.

The reason I know these things is because I collect odd religions, and Cao Đài is a charmingly peculiar syncretism - a Buddhist/Taoist/Christian blend with a seasoning of French hermetic occultism. There isn't much written about them in English, but I've been collecting fragments ever since I ran across a mention of them in a military novel back in the early 1970s.
You're right, I was confusing them with the Hoa Hao who want an independent Vietnam under Marquis Cuong De a King. Though there are divergent sects in the Cao Dai that are anti-France.
Most of what I read on them are from the Vietnamese wikipedia which did say that the French had began systematically persecuting them in 1941 so maybe that's the reason why they became so militant.
 
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8th January 1942

The British situation varies radically by front, almost entirely dictated by the petrol situation:
  • 1st Army is receiving priority for Petrol supplies, allowing I Corps to continue their investment of Berlin while II and III Corps reach and cross the Polish border, coming to within 50 miles of Poznań and making contact with the ZWZ. A subsidiary advance from II Corps has also been able to reach Stettin on the Baltic and occupy it without resistance.
  • 2nd Army has been able to carry out a series of limited advances and has linked up with the French 7th Army. Both units are now starting to concentrate on occupation duties for the time being.
  • 3rd Army's supply situation has been improving significantly, helped by a break in the weather which has allowed around a hundred tons of Petrol to be flown in. This allows them to cross the Czechoslovak border between Karlsbad and Šluknov, with the deepest penetration being at Litomerice – only 40 miles from Prague.
  • 4th Army has completed the occupation of Schleswig-Holstein, albeit largely using foot patrols thanks to the catastrophic petrol situation – just enough is available to keep radio batteries charged. This is not considered to be of major concern due to the total absence of armed opposition and the Danish army reasserting control to the north.
Meanwhile the French advance is running rather better thanks to a more robust supply of petrol:
  • 1st Army crosses the Czechoslovak border from Cheb to Domažlice, coming within 40km of the British 3rd Army at Karlsbad.
  • 4th Army reaches and surrounds Munich, leaving some units in place to surround it while the majority of the army continues on in the direction of the Austrian border at Salzburg.
  • 6th Army continues their rapid advance, capturing Innsbruck and reaching both the Reschen Pass and the Swiss border at Martina. All being well they expect to be able to occupy the Brenner Pass in the morning.
  • 7th Army meets the British 2nd Army at Bad Hersfeld and occupies the remaining German-controlled territory as far as a line Erfurt-Coburg.
  • 8th Army completes the occupation of the Rhine valley as far as Basel. It also starts to advance into the Black Forest, albeit with great difficulty due to the very poor roads and deep snow.
Reichskommissar Terboven and SS-Gruppenführer Wilhelm Rediess are arrested by the Feldgendarmerie on orders from von Falkenhorst and imprisoned at Møllergata 19. Following this, it is announced that a cease-fire will take effect in Norway at 9pm, with talks to discuss the mechanics of surrender to start in the morning.

In Poland, with Sikorski clearly taking control of the ZWZ a significantly increased number of German units have surrendered to the Polish government. Around 70% of the area of the General Government is now under their control, with many of the remaining areas being controlled by German units who have reason to suspect that they will face execution for war crimes if they do surrender.
 
@pdf27 Good to see an update. Do remember real life comes first and I hope that situation improves.

So breaking things down:

Norway seems to have been quickly resolved and Wilhelm Rediess seems likely to be convicted for his role in the gas vans TTL. Terboven's is in a similar position but I think he would have committed less crimes at this point.

The ZWZ has have very good progress in Poland and now have British support. Hopefully they don't suffer too much in eliminating the war criminals.

Czechoslovakia seems only about a day or two away from being fully liberated.

On Germany:

I'm guessing the Reichstag has either been captured surrounded at this point.

Stettin looks set to be in an interesting position. As either the British will give it to the Poles or it will remain German but be a Baltic base for the Royal Navy. I doubt the Germans will have a navy that is anything beyond a coast guard for the foreseeable future. Combined with how strategic the Baltic sea will be in the Cold War with the USSR

Since the French are taking the Brenner Pass , which Mousalini ordered an attack on either the Italians are about to accidentally attack the French or they do find out and call off their attack.

Ironically it seems Austria is currently the largest 'holdout', but due to logistics limits rather than any actual resistance.

Good update.
 
Glad to see this continuing. It looks like the main impediment for a total German surrender these days is an absence of a clear overall chain of command the majority would follow.
 
Stettin looks set to be in an interesting position. As either the British will give it to the Poles or it will remain German but be a Baltic base for the Royal Navy. I doubt the Germans will have a navy that is anything beyond a coast guard for the foreseeable future. Combined with how strategic the Baltic sea will be in the Cold War with the USSR
British/Entente Königsberg?
 
@pdf27 Good to see an update. Do remember real life comes first and I hope that situation improves.

So breaking things down:

Norway seems to have been quickly resolved and Wilhelm Rediess seems likely to be convicted for his role in the gas vans TTL. Terboven's is in a similar position but I think he would have committed less crimes at this point.

The ZWZ has have very good progress in Poland and now have British support. Hopefully they don't suffer too much in eliminating the war criminals.

Czechoslovakia seems only about a day or two away from being fully liberated.

On Germany:

I'm guessing the Reichstag has either been captured surrounded at this point.

Stettin looks set to be in an interesting position. As either the British will give it to the Poles or it will remain German but be a Baltic base for the Royal Navy. I doubt the Germans will have a navy that is anything beyond a coast guard for the foreseeable future. Combined with how strategic the Baltic sea will be in the Cold War with the USSR

Since the French are taking the Brenner Pass , which Mousalini ordered an attack on either the Italians are about to accidentally attack the French or they do find out and call off their attack.

Ironically it seems Austria is currently the largest 'holdout', but due to logistics limits rather than any actual resistance.

Good update.
  • Not much choice about real life taking priority - Thursday night for instance I had a director emailing me about an exploding machine on test, and I'm waiting to hear back from a job interview for a Chief Engineer role on the other side of the country.
  • Norway is out on one hell of a limb. It's a classic example of the misconception about "knocking out the props" from under Germany - they don't provide much support and as soon as Germany breaks it's game over for them.
  • Most of the remaining areas just need the British to get there with tanks and artillery at which point they'll surrender on the grounds probable death later is better than certain death now. The ZWZ have them mostly contained, and they'll be fully contained within a few days. After that, there really isn't much of a hurry.
  • Yeah, Czechoslovakia is pretty much liberated - looks like the British will get to Prague first, but the French and Czechoslovaks are all close enough that it isn't a foregone conclusion. The whole country will be free within a couple of days.
  • Reichstag is within the German-held zone in Berlin. The British have only I Corps available to invest it, and they aren't actually a priority for supplies - main target is still to get support to the Poles, although they obviously can't just ignore Berlin. It's pretty low on the priority list TBH.
  • Changes to the German/Polish border will be part of the postwar settlement. It's a much wider issue than just Stettin.
  • The Italians won't be ready to move for a week. They'll have worked out what's going on long before then.
  • Largest German-occupied area is actually East Prussia - mostly because it's so far away, even further than Austria.
Glad to see this continuing. It looks like the main impediment for a total German surrender these days is an absence of a clear overall chain of command the majority would follow.
Well, that and the determination of the Entente to make it very obvious that Germany has been smashed to pieces. If anybody surrenders the whole country, that potentially sets up a new Dolchstoßlegende - if the "German Government" doesn't control much more than central Berlin that's far more unlikely.
 
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