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Open Access The Impact of the Logistical Dilemmas of Operation Masterdom on the Allied Re-entry into French Indo-China, 1945

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Operation Masterdom was the name given the Allied re-entry into French Indo-China in 1945. This article argues that a variety of shifting global political and military pressures within and among Allied nations led to alterations in cross-regional maritime shipping schedules which critically affected Masterdom's chief mission: taking the surrender of the Japanese forces in southern Indo-China, while avoiding becoming politically entangled in the turbulent relations between French colonial authorities and Indochinese nationalists led by the Viêt Minh. When logistical issues deprived the mission's commander, British Major General Sir Douglas Gracey, of the ability to project the force he deemed necessary to uphold his authority, he fell back on his prior experiences of nationalist movements in India and Burma, which accorded with prevailing French negative views of the Viêt Minh as violent, untrustworthy hooligans. This, in turn, led him to take swift action, without prior consultation with his superiors, against the Viêt Minh that served to promote French colonial ambitions. It is contended here that, had Gracey had adequate forces in hand as was originally intended, he would have been less likely to have compromised his mission and set the stage for thirty years of conflict in the region.
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Keywords: French Indo-China; Gracey, Major General Sir Douglas; Ho Chi Minh; Mountbatten, Lord Louis; Operation Masterdom; Viet Minh

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Hawai'i Pacific University

Publication date: December 1, 2015

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  • Global War Studies (GWS) is the leading international peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the study of the Second World War, 1919-1945. GWS features articles and book reviews that explore a broad range of topics, including military, air power, naval, intelligence, and diplomatic history. Additionally, the journal publishes original research on weapons technology, geopolitics, home front studies, the Holocaust, resistance movements, and peacekeeping operations.
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