Victory Day in Laos and Cambodia Date in the current year: August 1, 2024

Victory Day in Laos and Cambodia On August 1, Laos and Cambodia celebrate the anniversary of the end of the First Indochina War, known in these countries as Victory Day. Although the majority of hostilities took place in Vietnam, the war greatly affected Cambodia and Laos because the victory of the Viet Minh fully reasserted their independence.

By the late 19th century, France established control over the better part of Mainland Southeast Asia, also known as the Indochinese Peninsula. In 1887, France formed the Indochinese Union that included Cambodia and three regions of Vietnam. Laos was added to French Indochina in 1893, following the Sino-French War.

During World War II, French Indochina was occupied by Japan. During the Japanese occupation of French Indochina, its territory was divided into three puppet states: the Empire of Vietnam, the State of Laos, and the Kingdom of Kampuchea. After the liberation of France and capitulation of Japan, France reasserted itself in the region to a certain degree, but came into conflict with a Vietnamese independence coalition of nationalists and communists named the Viet Mihn.

The conflict between France and the Viet Minh escalated to a full-blown war in 1946. The conflict pitted a range of forces, with France and the Vietnamese National Army on one side, and the Viet Minh, the Pathet Lao (a Laotian communist political movement) and the United Issarak Front (a Cambodian anti-colonial movement) on the other side. After Laos and Cambodia were granted independence in 1953, their national armies supported France.

Although Cambodia and Laos gained independence, French troops remained in their territory, and both countries were members of the French Union, a political entity that had replaced the French colonial empire. The independence of Laos and Cambodia became real only after the defeat of France in the First Indochina War and the signing of the Geneva Accords.

Interestingly, the end of the First Indochina War can be commemorated on different dates. The Vietnamese celebrate it on May 7, commemorating the Battle of Dien Bien Phu that was the decisive battle of the war. The Geneva Accords were signed on July 20, 1954, but Laos and Cambodia celebrate Victory Day on August 1, commemorating the withdrawal of French troops from French Indochina. It is not a public holiday, but merely an important commemoration.

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Victory Day in Laos, Victory Day in Cambodia, observances in Laos, observances in Cambodia, First Indochina War