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Unfortunately for the people of Vietnam, the French were in no position to hold off an attack from Japanese forces. With the German invasion and conquest of France in June 1940, French colonial holdings were on their own. The Vichy Government (the French government sympathetic to Germany) appointed colonial governors, but the Japanese quickly had control of the coastal territory.
Ho Chi Minh and other Vietnamese nationalists saw opportunity and the danger of a take over by the Japanese. Politics make strange bedfellows, but so does warfare. Ho Chi Minh and other nationalists created the Vietminh, a group dedicated to an independent Vietnam. The first objective of the group was hamper and destabilize Japanese rule in Vietnam. The Vietminh were dominated by communist party members and the Soviet Union funded and supplied the Vietminh. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States also contributed to the Vietminh efforts. Those efforts largely included guerilla tactics against the Japanese. It was not a major theatre of the war, but it did cause a drain on war materiele for the Japanese that would have been used throughout the South Pacific.