When the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, Lao nationalists formed a movement known as Lao Issara (15) to block the return of Laos to French jurisdiction.
In the meantime, in early 1949, the Lao Issara movement split (19) over the question of relations with the Viet Minh (Stuart-Fox and Kooyman 1992: 73), and based on the Viet Minh model Prince Souphanouvong (20) formed the Free Lao Front--by drawing together anti-French forces, including Faydang and his Hmong Resistance League formed in 1946 (Dommen 1971: 75)--which later became known as the Pathet Lao (PL)--to carry on the anti-French resistance (Stuart-Fox and Kooyman 1992: 46, 143).
It was unanimously agreed to creat e the Neo Lao Issara, or [Free Lao Front], and to set up a new Government of National Resistance" (Burchett 1959: 232; Langer and Zasloff 1970: 49-50).
In September 1945, Vientiane and Champassak united with Luang Prabang to form an independent government under the Free Laos (Lao Issara
Such a historical narrative skips over his activities in the Lao Issara in Thailand in the late 1940s and says nothing of his refusal to collaborate with the Vietnamese in 1950.
Thao Oun Sananikone, a former partisan of the Lao Pen Lao, member of the Lao Issara (see below for these movements) and close collaborator of Isan separatists, explained in secret meetings with the French in 1949 that ethnic Lao in Thailand--such as Thongin Phuriphat, Tieng Serikhan, etc.--aimed to create a 'Greater Lao' state by legal means.
All alone, Phetsarath was immediately drawn to the Lao Issara as his Japanese backers disappeared and his problems with the French and the Luang Phrabang court exploded.
Whatever its weaknesses, the Lao Issara government did take steps to create a postcolonial nation-state.
(15) The Lao Issara seized power following the Japanese surrender in August 1945.
(19) The Lao Issara Government was dissolved following the signing of the Franco-Lao Convention that recognized Laos as an independent state (although the French retained control of various functions, including defense).
If we look at Lao history in terms of continuity and discontinuity, unity and division, the period after 1945 saw a struggle to achieve the unity proclaimed by the Lao Issara. A proclamation was not enough.
The radical wing of the Lao Issara that chose to ally itself with the Viet Minh did so with exactly the same goals as those moderates who returned to take part in the political process: namely, to establish the independence and unity of the country, albeit as a communist state.(60) The advantage the Pathet Lao enjoyed lay not in external support from Vietnam -- the right always received far more than first France then massively from the United States -- but in the form of nationalism to which the movement was committed.