Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 August 2021
In August 1945, almost all southerners in Vietnam opposed the French and supported the Viet Minh. By the end of 1947, however, this coalition was in tatters. Mekong Delta politics fractured along ethnic and political lines. This chapter looks at the "priming" phase of this violence in 1945 and 1946. It distinguishes sharply between the development of a political fracturing among Vietnamese groups, on the one hand, and of a second, less-noticed development: the ethnic split between Vietnamese and Khmer. The chapter looks at the intervention of France, including the French military, from October 1945 onwards, emphasizing their weakness and unpreparednesss. It examines the challenges facing the Viet Minh, including its contentious relations with the Cao Dai and Hoa Hao politico-religious groups. Discusses the common use of violence, including killing, against perceived traitors.