The First Vietnam War: Violence, Sovereignty, and the Fracture of the South

Photo of Shawn McHale, the book cover, and Alyssa Ayres

Why did the communist-led resistance in Vietnam win the anticolonial war against France everywhere except the south? Join us for a lecture to discuss Professor Shawn McHale's new book. The event will be moderated by the Dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, Alyssa Ayres.

About this Event

The event will be held in-person and livestreamed simultaneously. We will begin with a lecture by the author, followed by a moderated Q&A with the audience. Questions will be accepted from both in-person and online audiences. 

All in-person guests are required to STAY MASKED per GW campus policy. Information on both virtual and in-person attendance will be included in your registration confirmation.

About the Book

In The First Vietnam War, Shawn McHale explores why the communist-led resistance in Vietnam won the anticolonial war against France (1945–54), except in the south. He shows how broad swaths of Vietnamese people were uneasily united in 1945 under the Viet Minh Resistance banner. The unstable union eventually shattered in 1947, and from this point on, the war in the south turned into an overt civil war wrapped up in a war against France. Based on extensive archival research in four countries and in three languages, this is the first substantive English-language book focused on southern Vietnam's transition from colonialism to independence.