History of Southeast Asia

History of Southeast Asia


Episode 74: The Second Indochina War, Part 4

September 16, 2019

Because the previous three episodes were focused on just Vietnam, it is now time to go west and catch up on the Second Indochina War in Laos. This episode covers the history of Laos from 1954 to 1962.

Souphanouvong with Ho Chi Minh.

The communists in Laos, the Pathet Lao, would have gotten nowhere without lots of help from the communists in Vietnam. As a result, the front man for the Pathet Lao, Prince Souphanouvong, spent much of his time in North Vietnam. This picture shows him with Ho Chi Minh.

Map of Laos.

Just in case you're not familiar with the geography, here's a map of the country, courtesy of WorldAtlas.com. All the places I mention are shown here. You can also see how little flat land the country has -- just the white areas along the Mekong River, plus the Plain of Jars.

JFK press conference.

In a press conference on March 23, 1961, US President John F. Kennedy made the first call for a cease-fire in Laos. The black and grey areas on the map indicate the territories the Pathet Lao had taken up to that date; over the next month and a half, North Vietnam would help them take the rest of the land along the eastern border.

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