This essay examines Việt Minh deployment of propaganda on race hatred and cannibalism during the First Indochina War (1945––1954). It evaluates the literature on the First Indochina War and on historical institutionalism for its ability to help explain this propaganda. It then focuses on the war for the Mekong Delta, arguing that weak state control led to continued violence and the breakdown of social trust. The paper then brings culture into the explanation, arguing that the circulation of these propaganda texts makes sense only when we delve into the cultural and social history of the Mekong Delta.

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