Myth: The level of aid from China to the Viet Minh was really tiny compared to the aid from the US to the French.

Fact: Chinese aid to North Vietnam was crucial to their success against the French and against the ARVN after the US withdrew support.

  • Chinese support in the First Indochina War increased annually until, by 1954, they were providing 4000 tons a month in material to North Vietnam
  • In April 1950 Ho Chi Minh formally requested aid in the form of equipment, advisors and training from the Chinese government. (Just two months before the Korean War began.)
  • In 1950 the Chinese established the CMAG (Chinese Military Assistance Group) and began training North Vietnamese forces who were being badly beaten by the French.
  • Between April and September 1950 the Chinese supplied North Vietnam with 14,000 guns, 1.700 machine guns and recoilless rifles, 300 bazookas and 150 cannons as well as large quantities of foodstocks, ammunition and other materiel.
  • Chinese CMAG advisors were crucial to the success of the North Vietnamese forces. They provided the Vietnamese generals with strategic and tactical plans and forumlated the long term plans for conquest.
  • War plans were devised, drawn up and proposed by CMAG advisors, then approved by Chinese leadership and only then were they presented to Ho Chi Minh for his final approval.
  • When General Vo Nguyen Giap drew up battle plans that the Chinese disagreed with, he was overridden by the Chinese rulers and Ho assented to the Chinese plans.

Confirming Evidence

China and the First Indochina War, 1950-1954

The Joint Chiefs of Staff and The First Indochina War 1947-1954

Vietnam's Giap Reappraised

The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Chapter 2, "U.S. Involvement in the Franco-Viet Minh War, 1950-1954"