Daniel Perez A. March, 2018
Classroom Globals Assignment
Throughout history, powerful colonial countries sought to expand their political control over another country and influence by occupying them with settlers and by exploiting them economically through a policy/ practice called colonialism. They would ultimately oppress and alter the acquired territories for the purpose of abusing and exploiting their resources. Such situations of colonialism occurred within two primarily Asian countries, Vietnam and China. They were exposed to imperial powers and their colonialistic ideologies, consequently having long-lasting consequences in both countries.
Around the 1800s, French imperialism had acquired Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, to which was referred to as Indochina. At the time, French imperialists believed their people were given a responsibility to colonize and civilize certain regions in Asia as well as introduce them to modern political and social reforms. They justified their colonization by enforcing this missionary conquest known as “The mission Civilisatrice.” They controlled and conquered these lands for the purpose of exploiting them economically, acquiring raw materials, cheap labor, and resources. France’s intentions for colonizing Vietnam was partially due to the advantageous opportunities for trading, (particularly with China) and for highly valued crops, such as Vietnam’s rubber plantations. To take charge of Vietnam, France targeted it’s inconsistent and underdeveloped foundation. As the royal court was unable to effectively control the land from the south to the north, France began to invade which forced a division within the country. The opposing parties argued over the possible solutions to hinder France’s advancement onto Vietnamese territory. Many believed permanence was a greater solution, whereas others argued, stating negotiation would mediate the issue. Consequently, in 1859, French troops settled in Saigon and halted any action with South Vietnam. After several battles and the acquisition of major cities, the City of Hue, was overrun by the French by 1882, thus Vietnam was under French control. Under French authority, the Vietnamese, (as well as individuals from Laos and Cambodia) were subjugated to harsh and inhumane treatment. Farmers and residents who refused to abide by French rule were exploited for their resources, murdered and sent to work among tiring fields. However, those who did accept colonial rule were often successful both economically and socially. They were allowed to trade and engage learning across seas, but only to those who did not rebel.
The struggle for independence began shortly after the final movements during World War 2. In 1945, Japan began to focus on attacking French forces within Indochina. Revolutionary communist leader Ho Chi Minh and the United States operated several major operations to aid the withdrawal of the French. In an attempt to eliminate Chinese forces in the North, Ho encouraged a treaty with the French advising Vietnam’s independence. Although the Chinese withdrew, France provided little agreement in guaranteeing Vietnam’s independence. In 1946, after a French ship attacked Haiphong, a war had broken out. Following several guerrilla operations, the French experienced defeat in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu, which would ultimately lead to the withdrawal of French troops and to the Independence of Vietnam.
As a result of French Imperialism, it had damaging environmental repercussions, it promoted nationalism, influenced education, and introduced a set of new regulations. As the French began to develop Vietnam, they destroyed hundreds of acres of the jungle for far farming and for the construction of factories. They exhausted fertile soil from overconsumption of natural resources, such as zinc, tin, and coal. Nationalism arose as many Vietnamese residents refused to abide by colonial oppression. They would attempt to spread the ideology of maintaining great pride of their Vietnamese heritage. Several rebellions have occurred in an effort to acquire their independence and to revolt against any further damage to their culture. On the contrary, French forces managed to improve on Vietnamese education. The French established several schools with a modification of the school’s education system. The French language was implemented into the student’s curriculum, making it mandatory for students to learn and speak it. The French instituted three levels of education, infant, primary and secondary, as well as established schools for training administrative officers in 1917. Certain regulations were implemented to control the people of Indochina. For instance, for Vietnamese citizens who lived in Cochinchina, they were able to gain French citizenship, thus they could hold seats in the National Assembly of Paris. This would have also have led to the weakening of the Emperors authority as many of his officials would have worked for the French.
Daniel Perez A. March, 2018