Mayhem and misery in Saigon
24 September 1945. Apparently retaliating against the French coup the day before, during the night an unknown group of Vietnamese attacks the cité Hérault, a mixed quarter in Saigon home to many Eurasian families but its population swollen with an influx of French families. About 300 people including women and children are taken hostage. Perhaps 100 are killed and many more are injured, raped or tortured. Eurasians are key victims. The Viet Minh are blamed for the attack though more likely candidates are Binh Xuyen gangsters or Cao Dai followers. Gracey is also sharply critical of the failure of Japanese troops to intervene. In response, British and French forces, aided by the Japanese, clamp down hard on the city. The situation is exacerbated by severe water and power shortages due to the general strike. By early October, the core of Saigon is a ghost town. The incoming French high commissioner, Admiral Thierry d’Argenlieu, later dates the beginning of the Indochinese War to this day.