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À la barre de l'Indochine
At the Helm of Indochina
Amiral Decoux
The exceptional testimony of the last Governor-general of Indochina.
272 pages, 15x21 cm
ISBN: 978-2919-12252-3
29 €  34,90 $  1190 THB
The exceptional testimony of the last Governor General of Indochina, who preserved the "Pearl of the Empire" from the turbulence of the Second World War and laid the foundations for what could have become independent, peaceful countries associated with France.

At a time when Admiral Jean Decoux was the target of a "purge" trial - which would end in a dismissal - the King of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk, wrote to him on June 20, 1946: "... I will say with what self-sacrifice you have, in Indochina, served the higher interests of France and with what nobility of heart you have ensured, for four years, the protection of the Indochinese peoples against the enemy. I am certain that justice will be done and that France will consider you as one of her finest sons."

Such is history. Depending on its ups and downs, the hero quickly becomes a "traitor" in the eyes of an opinion misinformed by interests beyond its control, or at the very least, is "erased" from a memory that disturbs. Unfortunately, Admiral Decoux was no exception to this rule.

À la barre de l'Indochine (At the helm of Indochina ) - the story of his governorship - has been unavailable for many years. And yet... what an exceptional testimony!

In elegant writing and with extreme attention to detail, the Admiral explains how he kept the "Indochine ship" afloat amid the storms of the Second World War. He describes the chain of events and the mounting challenges he had to face, with the sole aim of accomplishing his mission: to keep Indochina in the French fold.

But the scope of his action went far beyond that. Jean Decoux's energy was also directed towards building the deep foundations of a common future freely decided between France, the kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia, and "Vietnam". Admiral Decoux was the first senior French official to use the word Vietnam for what was still known as Tonkin, Annam and Cochinchina.

The Nipponese coup of March 9, 1945 and its disastrous consequences shattered the Admiral's hopes of peaceful independence for these countries in association with France. Nevertheless,À la barre de l'Indochine clearly lays the foundations for the fraternal and privileged relations we could have in the future with peoples so close to us in so many ways. If, one day, we were willing to assume the benefits of our colonial history...

In this sense, À la barre de l'Indochine is not only an extraordinary historical document. It is also a terribly topical book.

Foreword by Jacques Decoux

On June 25, 1940, Admiral Jean Decoux was appointed Governor General of French Indochina. For nearly five years, he led the "Pearl of the Empire" through unprecedented development of its infrastructure, its agricultural and industrial fabric, its education and culture, and the considerable and enthusiastic participation of a new Indochinese and Vietnamese elite in particular. Taken prisoner by the Japanese after their coup of March 9, 1945, the Admiral was then taken to France, where he was brought before the High Court of Justice. The various charges brought against him were all dismissed in 1949. He died in Paris on October 20, 1963.

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