On 22 August 1945 the Japanese across French Indochina announced an informal surrender. They assisted the Viet Minh nationalist group in taking over the administration and handed over their weapons before the French could bring in reinforcements. The Viet Minh then declared independence from France on 2 September 1945, shortly after their leader, Ho Chi Minh, had established a new government in Hanoi. The Chinese occupied the north of the territory to take Japanese prisoners, ending the brief Viet Minh government, whilst the French landed in the south and took Saigon. The Viet Minh were then pushed into remote regions of the country whilst fighting the French in a guerrilla war. With China’s Communist revolution in 1949, the Viet Minh gained increased support and weapons, which began to turn the war in their favour, until the French occupation was effectively ended at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in May 1954.
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