The region was relatively unaffected until 1940 when Japanese forces began occupying northern Vietnam areas. Within a year’s time, Japan had full control over Indochina. Fortunate enough for the French, the Vichy government was permitted to “remain in office until March 1945 (britannica.com).” Following March 1945, the Japanese overturned the French control allowing for self-governing, independent Vietnam. Unfortunately, this was a short-lived as the establishment of autonomy fell through following the surrendering of Japan in August of 1946.
Immediately following the Japanese over-head, the nationalist leader Ho Chi Minh who was associated with the Viet Minh took power and declared the governed state of Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Laos and Cambodia were soon re-occupied by their French Union roughly at the same time as Chi Minh took power.
Shortly after, the First Indochinese War took place. The French wanted and tried to maintain control of the region between 1949-1950, which lead to a treaty between France and the governed states of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam to be seen as independent states under the French Union. The leaders of these notably semi-independent states were loyal to the French and remained “puppet-leaders (Britannica.com).”
Post Geneva Conference, these states fully received independence and France lost their governing ability.
Berganus. "Indochina Map. Wikipedia Commons. 22 Nov. 2014.
"Indochina." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Web.
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