The French did not believe Ho Chi Minh when he cautioned them against trying to reoccupy Vietnam as a French colony after the end of the second world war, and they rejected diplomatic efforts to secure independence. In November 1946, French warships bombarded the Vietnamese port of Haiphong and on 19 December 30,000 Viet Minh troops attacked French positions in Hanoi. The 30-year war for Vietnamese independence, first against the French and then against the Americans, had begun.
‘All the Vietnamese must stand up to fight the French colonials to save the fatherland. Those who have rifles will use their rifles; those who have swords will use their swords; those who have no swords will use spades, hoes, or sticks. Everyone must endeavour to oppose the colonialists and save his country. Even if we have to endure hardship in the resistance war, with the determination to make sacrifices, victory will surely be ours’ – Ho Chi Minh
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