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De Quoc Dai Dong Duong/Empire of Greater Indochina

Population

60,000,000

Capital

Saigon

Head of State

Emperor Duy Tan (of Viet Nam only from 1954-1981), Emperor Bao Vang (of all Indochina from 1981)

Ruling Party

Dong Duong Quoc Dan Dang/Indochinese Nationalist Party (from 1981), formerly Dai Viet Nam Quang Phuc Hoi/Great Viet Nam Restoration League

Head of Government

Prince Cuong De (1948-1951, of Viet Nam only), Son Ngoc Thanh (of Viet Nam only from 1951, of all Indochina from 1979)

HistoryEdit

Founded 1981 as a united state comprising virtually all of the regions of the former French Indochina (bar Laos, annexed to Thailand), including Viet Nam (known as Tonkin when ruled by France), Annam, Cambodia and Cochinchina.

Japan liberated Viet Nam from France in 1941, establishing a nominally independent Empire there in 1949, recognised by France in 1954. Viet Nam went on to annex Annam in 1975, Cochinchina in 1978 and finally occupied Cambodia in 1979. Viet Nam also received some of the territory of formerly French Laos from Thailand in 1976.

In 1980 the enlarged Viet Nam and Cambodia were unified under the rule of the new Vietnamese Emperor, Bao Vang, with a new capital at Saigon. Formerly the capital of Cochinchina while it was ruled by France, Saigon had been devastated by the three years of Cambodian rule over Cochinchina (1975-1978).

Local collaborators with the French were arrested, fled into exile, turned on by their erstwhile allies or took to the jungles to fight against the new regime. Ngo Dinh Diem, the Annamese leader, had already been murdered by the Cambodian regime. Bao Dai, the puppet king of Annam, escaped to exile in Italy and subsequently in Italian East Africa. Norodom Sihanouk, the puppet king of Cambodia, escaped to the so-called Trucial States, those parts of the Malay Peninsula under the protection of Great Britain, and from there to Burma in India, to organise his exiled supporters.

Son Ngoc Thanh, Premier of Viet Nam also assumed the Premiership of the new state, with his protege Son Ngoc Minh acting as First Vice Premier and First Minister of the Autonomous Principality of Cambodia under Prince Norodom Phurissara.

Indochina under French rule Edit

By 1941 French Indochina consisted of three distinct regions: the Protectorate of Annam (home to the nominal Emperor of the whole of Indochina), the Protected Kingdom of Cambodia and the Cochinchina Colony. These regions were, after 1946, increasingly infiltrated by Japanese-supported guerrillas from the former Protectorate of Tonkin, established as a new, independent Empire of Viet Nam in 1954 and from the former Protectorate of Laos, annexed by Thailand. By 1979 French Indochina no longer existed.

Throughout the 1970s the forces of Viet Nam, backed by Japan, ousted the French and their German and other European allies. Annam was reconquered first, at which point the Chochinchina colony was placed under the control of the King of Cambodia. Both regions were then conquered by Vietnamese forces with full integration into the unified Empire of Indochina planned.

Under the French, authority in the region lay in the hands of the Governor-General. Within each protectorate, the monarchs and their courts enjoyed substantial autonomy.

Tonkin Edit

French Protectorate of Tonkin occupied by Japan 1941, with the permission of France. For several years the Japanese maintained the pretense that the occupation was a temporary measure designed to cut off the Chinese Nationalist Army and hasten the end of the war in China. By 1949, with relations between Japan and the European Axis at a nadir, all French officials were expelled from Tonkin and an independent State of Viet Nam was established.

In 1954, France recognised the loss of Tonkin, hoping to hold on to the remaining territory of French Indochina. In the same year Japan restored Duy Tan, whom the French had deposed in 1916, as Emperor of Viet Nam (Duy Tan's distant cousin, Bao Dai, still ruled the French Protectorate of Annam as a puppet king).

In 1975 the forces of the Empire of Viet Nam conquered Annam. Full union between the two regions took place the following year.

Annam Edit

Annam was nominally ruled by the Emperor Bao Dai in Hue. However real power in the Protectorate was more dispersed. The Emperor owed his position to his French sponsors. His chief advisor, effectively the prime minister, Ngo Dien Diem also exercised substantial influence, especially through his Can Lao or Personalist Movement. Though Bao Dai was, like most of his subjects, a Buddhist, his court was dominated by Catholics. His wife was a French Catholic, Princess Monique. Ngo Dinh Diem, effectively Annam's prime minister, was the scion of a powerful Catholic Vietnamese family, and ensured that Catholics dominated the administration of the protectorate.

The French themselves found themselves increasingly reliant on the support of British and especially German military advisors and troops, to prevent the Protectorate falling to pro-Japanese nationalist forces.

By 1975 Germany had abandoned the conflict, leaving France to fight on alone against Viet Nam, aided by Japan. Annam rapidly collapsed. Ngo Dinh Diem and many of his supporters who had fled to Cambodian territory were murdered there by the anti-Vietnamese nationalist regime.

Cambodia Edit

Part of French Indochina from 1863. Unlike in the neighbouring territories, the French were unsuccessful in cultivating a Catholic, culturally Frenchified elite amongst the Cambodians. Sosthene Fernandez was the only significant Catholic member of the Cambodian elite, though the half-Italian Queen Monique was also suspected of being a Catholic. Power in Cambodia remained more fully in the hands of the royal family. The dominant native political body, the Sangkum Reastr Niyum, was Buddhist-conservative and dedicated to the preservation of the monarchy. It was created and dominated by the King, Norodom Sihanouk. Sihanouk's de facto prime minister was his cousin, Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak.

In 1975 Germany withdrew virtually all its forces, leaving the French plus a handful of German military advisors to prop up the Cambodian monarchy, the last part of the territory still loyal to France.

As Vietnamese forces conquered first Cochinchina and then marched into Cambodia itself, the Sangkum launched an all-out war against all non-Khmers and anyone else seen as disloyal to the monarchy. By 1979 Viet Nam had occupied and more or less pacified Cambodia, installing Son Ngoc Minh as regional governor as a prelude to full annexation. Prince Norodom Phurissara was placed at the head of the newly formed Autonomous Principality of Cambodia.

Cochinchina Edit

Cambodia was given control over the Cochinchina Colony. Claimed by all nations in the region, it was most closely tied to Annam, due to the influence of the Catholic, pro-French and pro-Annamese Can Lao Personalist Movement. However once Annam fell to the pro-Japanese forces out of Viet Nam, it was annexed to Cambodia. The Cambodian monarchy set about removing 'foreign' Vietnamese influence from Cochinchina.

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