December 20, 1960 – Human beings have been living in Southeast Asia for a long, long time. For roughly a thousand years, the Chinese dominated the area between China and India. Then there followed several hundred years of evolution, as the borders of China and Southeast Asia were defined. Between 1859 and 1885, French Colonial Imperialism [a system whereby European powers like France could seize control of an area, its assets (a/k/a capital), and claim it as their own — forcing their government, religion and culture on the indigenous peoples] gradually eroded the power of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and in 1890 consolidated them into French IndoChina with its capital in Hanoi. Establishing large plantations for the export of indigo, tobacco, tea and coffee [a familiar formula in India, Africa, and the Americas] the greatest French influence centered around Saigon in South Vietnam. During WWII, the Vichy French administered the area under Japanese occupation. [When the Third Republic (1870 – 1940) surrendered to Nazi Germany in 1940, the Vichy Government (1940 -1944) were forced to conceded control to Germany’s ally Japan and exports were diverted to the Japanese war machine.] In 1941 the Viet Minh, lead by communist Ho Chi Minh, was formed to fight for independence from the French Empire. During the war they fought underground against the Japanese. After the war, the French were driven out and the Geneva Accords of 1954 split the country in two. Ho Chi Minh founded the communist Democratic Republic of Vietnam with Hanoi as its capital in the north while in the south, an anti-communist State of Vietnam was formed. In 1960, at a communist party meeting, the National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam was formed to combat the government formed in Saigon with the objective a forming a unified, communist Vietnam. Their ideology was extreme, and they would stop at nothing to win. These were not nice people.