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A history of the vietnamese french conflict in vietnam

Nearly forty years after the fall of Saigon, despite extensive academic literature on the Vietnam War, there has been no scholarly consensus in its nature and causes. What is the origin of the war? Is it a civil war or Vietnamese resistance against foreign domination? This paper addresses the roots of U.

It is primarily concerned with the progress of Vietnamese opposition to foreign rule before 1956 and the question of who was responsible for the Vietnam War.

  1. The Chinese leaders, particularly the Communists, hoped that this organization would carry out sabotage and espionage activities against the Japanese in Vietnam. In his address, Ho emphasized the unity of Vietnam and condemned the treachery of the French, who undermined their own principles of human rights and the peace the Allied powers had proclaimed.
  2. It also controlled most of the countryside and had the support of most of the people.
  3. Therefore, the United States decided to bomb the Vietminh forces. Commodity Import Program, which rapidly injected large sums of money into the small South Vietnamese economy, helped Diem fund the costs of his government.
  4. Adopting Maoist strategies, it liberated the highlanders from French rule and placed them under the party apparatus.
  5. The figure would increase as the Pacific war progressed. The Vietminh seizure of paddy stocks and delivery of rice to the needy alleviated the misery, united people against foreign rule, called for organized resistance, and recruited a large number of new members for the party.

A careful examination of historical documents from both Vietnam and the United States reveals that the Vietnam War functioned as an American war against Communists but at the same time represented the Vietnamese quest for national independence. It also supports the further claim that the Vietnam War was an international conflict rather than a civil war. Moreover, extreme anti-Communism prevented Washington from realizing the difference between Nationalism and Communism.

By conducting the war against Communism, the United States paralyzed a peasant revolution against the rule of corrupt foreigners and Vietnamese landlords. Therefore, the purpose of the U. The war, notes Lind, was only one of the Cold War conflicts, in which Americans finally achieved victory over the Communists.

Therefore, this paper analyzes the roots of the Vietnamese revolution and gives considerable attention to Vietnamese traditions and culture because such understanding of Vietnamese society is necessary to understand the Vietnam War. Vietnamese history is actually full of interactions between the Vietnamese and foreigners. After a Vietnamese kingdom first emerged in the Red River Delta over two millennia ago, the Chinese quickly conquered and occupied Vietnam for nearly one thousand years.

However, the Vietnamese neither lost their identity nor abandoned their hope of regaining independence. They pushed the Chinese out in the tenth century and successfully protected national sovereignty afterwards.

The tenacious resistance against northern invaders forms a heroic theme in the history of Vietnam.

It has not only instilled fierce patriotism in the Vietnamese people, but also persuaded them to believe in the eternal indomitability of the nation. Three centuries later, Vietnam annexed the whole southern region. Afterwards, because of dense population in the Red River Delta, more and more northern Vietnamese migrated south.

Thus, Vietnam appeared to have two major regions: The Mekong River flowed more gently and predictably than the Red River. It was more likely to produce abundant rice crops in the South than in the North. Therefore, Southerners were more prosperous than Northerners. People of two regions also behaved differently.

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Vietnam War

While Northerners tended to be sophisticated, urbane, and communalistic, Southerners tended to be rural, simple, and individualistic. While northern families lived close together, southern families lived apart. However, besides the Vietnamese, there were a number of indigenous peoples living in the Vietnamese territory. Because they primarily inhabited the highlands in the Vietnamese territory, they were usually called highlanders. The Vietnamese lowland people considered the mountains to be dangerous places so they occupied the deltas and left the highlands for the indigenous peoples.

Moreover, under the Nguyen Dynasty 1802—1945the lowlanders always attempted to contain and civilize the highlanders because the indigenous people were considered barbarians.

Thus, there were tensions between the Nguyen and the highlander authorities, which caused frequent highlander revolts. The French colonial conquest of Vietnam began in 1858 and ended in 1883. Afterwards, they brutally began to exploit Vietnamese natural resources and people.

In their eyes, Vietnam was the source of valuable raw materials. Although the Vietnamese economy was primarily agricultural, the French gradually increased their investment in rubber and coal.

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By the end of the 1920s, there were about one hundred thousand laborers in Vietnam. A new class, the proletariat, was formed. Since French colonialists and Vietnamese landlords held the lands, most of Vietnamese peasants became bankrupt and fled their villages.

In addition, industrialization had negative impacts on the indigenous peoples. Many plantations and mines were established in the highlands. Because many highlanders refused to work as industrial workers, many lowland Vietnamese migrated to the highlands to work.

The immigration of the lowlanders, along with the harsh French rule, enraged the highlanders and instilled an anti-French sentiment in them.

History of Vietnam

In the early twentieth century, a new trend of nationalism emerged in Vietnam. The new Nationalists were passionate about modernization and independence. Among them, Ho Chi Minh 1890—1969 was the most prominent individual. In 1911, he left Vietnam to travel the world. After visiting many countries, including the United States, he ended up in Paris working mainly as a photographer. However, while Ho was a Communist, he was also a Nationalist. For him, Communism was not an end in itself but rather a means to an end.

Ask The Vietnamese About War, And They Think China, Not The U.S.

That end was the absolute independence of Vietnam from France. He first protested imperialism in the international community in 1919 at the Versailles Conference, and then tried to meet with U. However, he failed to achieve his goals because he was not a legitimate official of the Nguyen Dynasty and he did not have a prestigious social status in France.

Furthermore, President Wilson actually knew nothing about Vietnam. As a consequence, they were not able to comprehend the difficulties they would face in Vietnam. In the article, Ho described a scene of lynching that took place in America in the early twentieth century.

By recounting the painful death of an American black and providing appalling statistics about American lynching, Ho strongly criticized American hypocrisy. He then traveled to Hong Kong in 1929 to join other Vietnamese Nationalists. In 1930, they created the Indochinese Communist Party ICPwhich unified all the Communist parties in Vietnam and aimed at a Communist revolution to liberate Indochina from the French, to end feudalism and capitalism, and to provide basic human rights for the common people.

Ho also promised an agrarian reform and the building of an egalitarian society ruled by worker-peasants. Thus, the ICP formed a complicated web of underground cells throughout the country. But it was not the only major party in Vietnam. This party, modeled on the Chinese Kuomintang, was mainly composed of young teachers and low-rank military officers.

Thus, the two parties could not merge together. They even competed intensely with each other for the loyalty of the northern Vietnamese. Nevertheless, the VNP did not have any sort of mass base.

  1. Selected Articles and Speeches, 1920—1967, ed.
  2. In their eyes, Vietnam was the source of valuable raw materials. The famine has long been slighted in historical studies.
  3. The Vietminh seizure of paddy stocks and delivery of rice to the needy alleviated the misery, united people against foreign rule, called for organized resistance, and recruited a large number of new members for the party. In his conversation with adviser Charles Taussig in March 1945, Roosevelt expressed his fear of diplomatic tensions between the United States and France, an important European ally.

It neither resolved tensions over gender relations nor overcame the limitation set by family ties and kinship. Nguyen Thai Hoc and his followers never concealed their traditionalist contempt for the highlanders. But the ICP successfully devised a nationalities policy. Being aware of the highlander mistrust of lowland Vietnamese, the ICP promised them the right to self-determination in an independent Vietnam and call for the abolition of colonial taxation, forced labor service, and other obligations.

The Yen Bai mutiny was quickly suppressed and Nguyen Thai Hoc and many other leaders of the party were beheaded. The VNP collapsed afterwards. However, it demonstrated the Vietnamese determination to ward off foreign invaders.

  • Truman not only abhorred Communism, but also favored Europeans himself;
  • They even competed intensely with each other for the loyalty of the northern Vietnamese;
  • Among them, Ho Chi Minh 1890—1969 was the most prominent individual.

The uprising started a wave of demonstrations, which dominated anti-colonial politics throughout Vietnam in the 1930s. The economic recessions not only increased tax demands, but also exaggerated the regressive nature of taxation.

Nearly all aspects of peasant life were taxed.

  • Because Washington refused to sign the Geneva Accords, it was not bound by the agreements;
  • However, they were prepared for a long struggle for independence.

Forced rural destitution was a frequent phenomenon during the years after 1929, particularly 1930. Disparate protests began in 1929, but they were small and loosely organized. The ICP successfully unified and coordinated those protests.

It also linked the traditional resistance movements to internationalism and tied social justice with national independence. Over all, the ICP persuaded peasants that they could change their lives through actions. Thus, the Communist activities in Nghe-Tinh increased steadily in spite of economic and political repression.

They were all dispersed when the French-led guards fired on the crowds killing many men, women, and children. Such brutal mass killings and arrests caused resentment in the demonstrators and caused mass violence to erupt. Nevertheless, increasing famine and French pressure caused the Soviet movement to wane. By early 1932, nearly all of Communist cadres were either imprisoned or killed. Thousands of peasants were confined to concentration camps. The Soviet movement came to an end. It was a critical point of transition from traditional anti-French resistance to modern Communist-led Nationalism.

The Soviet movement actually mobilized an extraordinary number of Vietnamese. Besides peasants, a significant number of industrial workers joined the movement, which linked small trade unions with massive peasant organizations. The Soviet movement helped the Vietnamese envision a life of freedom and an era of national independence. It also provided many valuable lessons and experiences for the ICP.

Therefore, the defeat in 1931 was not lasting.

Echoes from the Past:

It was only one of the necessary failures. Ho Chi Minh and many other key leaders were captured and imprisoned. However, Ho successfully escaped to Russia, studying at the Lenin Institute and teaching Vietnamese history from 1934 to 1938. Moreover, during these years, Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union advocated more cooperation between the Communists and non-Communists all over the world to check the rise of fascism and militarism.

Therefore, the ICP moderated its revolutionary programs and sought alliances with liberal and socialist parties.