Refugee flows are not only an important consequence of violent decolonizations. Population movements also affect belligerents’ access to human re-sources, food, or information. In the case of competing groups vying for power, the arrival or departure of the population may also reinforce or diminish their political legitimacy. In the case of the Vietnam wars, competing factions engineered population movements and instrumentalized their representations to undermine their opponent. Contrary to the idea that population movements are a collateral damage, the politics of refugee protection in violent decolonization underscore their importance in sustaining an armed effort and backing the legitimacy of a nascent and oft-contested nation-state.