22.01.2019 in Analysis
French Colonial Rule of Vietnam

Vietnam has very affluent and redolent history. In fact, it was the American War in Vietnam, which seriously captivated the attention of the West to Vietnam for the first time. However, French appeared before and the humiliating age that and Vietnamese people were not able to overcome this colonization until the second half of the 20th century. Thus, Americans were merely the last in a long range of interlopers. Regardless of all efforts and time dedicated to the Vietnamese struggle for freedom, all the interlopers were anguished. Vietnam had to go though a difficult process of French and Japan occupation in order to get a success in its rebel against colonial rule. The facts demonstrate that Japanese occupation led to Vietnamese transformation and success in defeating France and the U.S. 

1. Reasons to Rebel against French Colonial Rule

In fact, the first French settlers in Vietnam were evangelists who actually immersed in politics.  The execution of Vietnamese emperor induced Napoleon to send troops to Vietnam. French assaulted in 1858 and ultimately founded Cochinchina colony in the southern Vietnam (Faure & Schwab 28). The French progressively scoured the authority of the emperors and attempted to keep them as marionette titular heads. Vietnamese people had numerous reasons to rebel against the French colonial rule. In fact, French tried to motivate and confirm their regulation in Vietnam with the help of the idea of bringing races liberty to those peoples, who were still subjugated by barbarism and tyranny. However, in practice, Vietnam was disposed as an immense plantation refueling French industrial enterprise. Huge numbers of Vietnamese people deceased while laboring in horrible circumstances on rubber plantations (Faure & Schwab 76). Moreover, rice was send overseas even despite the fact that local people were starving. Firstly, French abolished Vietnam as a political subsistence. It may be considered as a classic example of ‘divide and conquer’ policy (Window & Chappell 6). Secondly, France subdivided Vietnam into three executive dioceses, including Tonkin in the northern part, Annam in the center of the country and Cochinchina in the southern part. Actually, Tonkin and Annam were believed to be so-called ‘protectorates’, meaning the places where Vietnamese royal authority was professedly hitherto untouched, at the same time when Cochinchina was regulated straightly as a colony (Faure & Schwab 28). Nevertheless, there was no actual difference, as protectorate was a pure fiction and the French ruled everywhere. French were the one who selected the emperor together with advisors. Thirdly, the French and their associates plundered the majority of the best land for themselves. Thousands of land acres were stolen from the Vietnamese and provided to the French at extremely low prices. Thee facts demonstrate that French possessed 3,000 to 7,000 acres of land (Faure & Schwab 42). Nevertheless, as the beginning, the majority of Vietnamese hitherto possessed at least something. However, after 1900, the French land larceny intensified. By the 1930s more than 50 percent of Tonkin and Annam peasants were landless, while 75 percent of people living in Cochinchina owned nothing. Moreover, leaseholder farmers together with sharecroppers had to disburse more than 50 to 70 percent of their crops to their landowners. Besides, they were supposed to present free gifts and accommodations to landlords (Window & Chappell 13). 

The facts demonstrate that such circumstances are actually slave-like. For example, Michelin rubber plantations were defined as slaughterhouses. In fact, rubber, which was the second largest Vietnamese export after rice, was manufactured by practically ill employees devastated by malaria, bloody flux and undernourishment that twelve thousand out of forty-five thousand employees deceased between 1917 and 1944 at one Michelin company plantation (Window & Chappell 19). On the other hand, Vietnamese people also suffered in mines, which were defined as ‘death valleys. Miners similarly to rubber employees had to acquit their food and they had no desire to live. Moreover, punishments was extremely serious for minor defaults and those workers who tied to abscond were exposed to persecution and starvation (Window & Chappell 19).

2. Factors Contributing to the Success against French

2.1 Early National Rebels

All of these reasons created as serious basis for Vietnamese rebelling against French colonial rule. A lot of factors contributed to success of these rebels. It is believed that best explanation of revolutionary success is ownership of prevailing political will and, thus, greater willingness to oblation. On the other hand, it is believed that superior strategy, including redundant occasional and illegal struggle against an existing foe, most appropriately defines insurgent victories. Both of these factors were present in a case of Vietnam. The rebel against French colonial rule started with Vietnamese nationalists in the 1880s, who subsequently started to raise against the outrageous circumstances composed by an outer authorities (Faure & Schwab 13). The major feature of the national movement within this first resistance phase was its political direction towards the past. People were inspired with the concept of pre-colonial Vietnam, therefore, its leaders desired to liquidate the French so as to reinstate the previous imperial system and conformation. Due to the fact that such desire and ambition had minor significance for the generation, which appeared after 1900, this prior stage of anti-colonial opposition did not lead to success. Ho Chi Minh is a famous Vietnamese leader, who can be considered to be a major driving factor of successful Vietnamese rebel against French (Faure & Schwab 29). After one unsuccessful rebel, Ho declared a proclamation, which states that all Vietnamese had to stand up to fight the French colonials rule in order to save their motherland. He stated that each person should attempt to oppose the colonialists and protect the country. He established Communist party (Window & Chappell 11). The young activists were as willing as their grandparents to restore their independence, but they understood that feudal system was not realizable and that the country required advanced technology and political schemes. These people desired to found a republic in order to gain independence (“Vietnam – WWII and Japanese Occupation”). A lot of them established Vietnamese independence communities in Japan, which appeared to be a crucial factor in rebelling French colonial rule. There appeared one important collateral process of modernization. It was defined as Dong Du (meaning ‘Go East’) (“Vietnam – WWII and Japanese Occupation”). It was established by Phan Boi Chau, who desired to send Vietnamese students to Japan to explore and acquire a knowledge of advanced capacities in order for them to be ready to conduct a prosperous panoplies rebel against the French (Joes 69). 


2.2 Japanese Occupation

The Japanese occupation of Vietnam started in September 1940 and lasted during the whole World War II. In fact, this occupation is believed to be the major factor of dealing French colonial rule and helped to defeat the U.S. The period of Japanese occupation significantly helped to change the Vietnamese political environment by releasing nationalist motivations and desires and provoking exaltation in political incorporation on the part of Vietnamese throughout the whole state. Japanese occupation affected the transformation of nation image, which was going through the hard and complicated process of crystallization, modernization and alteration. 

The stimulus for the intrusion was Japan’s incessant war with China, which started in 1937. The occupation of Vietnam could help Tokyo in closing off China’s southern border, which could halt its purveyance of armament and supplies. Despite the fact that French colonial rule did not allow Japan soldiers to enter Vietnam, the invasion of Nazi Germany army in France (1940) allowed it to do (Joes 18). This action provoked French government surrender and attenuated the French colonial government position in Vietnam. A treaty endorsed in June 1940 permitted the Japanese to manage and control the northern border between Vietnam and China. That was a beginning of Japanese occupation of Vietnam was underway. Japanese occupation left the French colonial regulation in place, despite the fact that their regulation was seriously restricted (Joes 18). Such strategy allowed Japanese develop Vietnam as a client state with a help of French colonial rule. In fact, the Japanese appearance in Vietnam predisposed foreign notice, especially U.S. attention. In 1940 the U.S. had not been at war with Japan as yet, but the country was looking for the possibility to limit Japanese enlargement. Moreover, the U.S. also desired to safeguard its imports of raw rubber, 50 percent of which was exported from Vietnam. Firstly, the U.S. decided to support the French colonial rule in Vietnam, but when the French collapsed under Japanese requirements, the U.S. altered its tactics (Joes 81). By 1943 president Roosevelt was publicly speaking about Vietnamese freedom and independence. The U.S. actually supported the Vietnamese opposition. They cooperated with Ho Chi Minh, who provided the US military with data concerning Japanese army quantities and operations. In fact, in the process of the Japanese occupation, Vietnamese anti-colonial operations guided by Ho Chi Minh had seriously increased in vigor (Joes 81). 

2.3 The U.S. Assistance

In fact, close to 1950, the U.S. no longer observed the Indochina war as a colonial war, which only slightly affected its strategic interests. As an alternative, it was considered to be a constituent of the U.S. struggle to comprise the impact of communism in Asia (“Dien Bien Phu & the Fall of French Indochina, 1954”). The Northern Vietnam, known as the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was regulated by Ho Chi Minh and he actually had apparent authority (Joes 200). The southern part know as the Republic of Vietnam was guided and regulated by Ngo Dinh Diem. In 1954, when Vietnam was subdivided into Northern and Southern Vietnam, Bao Dai together with his French counselors tried to control the Southern Vietnam Asia (“Dien Bien Phu & the Fall of French Indochina, 1954”). That was the time, when the U.S. opposed French, who actually lost their control of the territory (Window & Chappell 43).  Therefore, U.S., supported Ngo Dinh Diem who suited U.S. regulation and guidance. Ngo Dinh Diem was “democratically” elected as a president of Southern Vietnam Asia (“Dien Bien Phu & the Fall of French Indochina, 1954”). Any way, electors appealed because they were actually commanded who to vote for. Despite the fact that the U.S. appeared to be an important factor for dealing with both French and Japanese occupation, Vietnamese people did not know that Western authorities, incorporating the United States, were afraid of Communism and they considered that non-Western communities were not acceptable in governing themselves Asia (“Dien Bien Phu & the Fall of French Indochina, 1954”). Diem was considered to be the only disjunctive to communist govern over all Vietnam country by the U.S. The U.S. actually promised to unite two parts of the country (Anh 60). 

2.4 Rebel against the U.S.

Despite the fact that the U.S. was afraid of communist, Northern Vietnam, had not only amalgamated their local state support, but state support from the Southern Vietnamese and outlanders overseas as well. Northern Vietnam had every ‘moral cause to incorporate in rebel against the U.S. backed with the actual traditional argumentation behind warfare. S it was mentioned previously, the U.S. assured to interlock the two Vietnam and practically lied concerning this fact. Moreover, the U.S. even endured France in its attempts to re-colonize Vietnam after the Japanese occupation War (“Vietnam – WWII and Japanese Occupation”). Furthermore, the regime is the Southern Vietnam was even more corrupt than the one in the Northern Vietnam, in regards with people who lived in the country and the elections in 1954 practically demonstrated it. Therefore, the Northern Vietnam was actually believed to the smaller of two evils for the majority Vietnamese. The Japanese occupation had already revealed people’s power and desire for identity themselves and gain freedom and they had no wish to be under control or guidance of another country, be it France, Japan or the U.S. Moreover, the Northern Vietnam was actually struggling for the unification of Vietnam under the Vietnamese (“Vietnam – WWII and Japanese Occupation”). This helped them to receive the most of the state endurance within the whole Vietnam. Therefore I a case of Vietnam, the U.S. had to fight against the native people (the Vietnamese). Despite the fact that the U.S. could win, it would be a protracted, sanguinary struggle. Vietnamese made their choice, they transformed into a strong nation and demonstrated their power to the whole world (“Vietnam – WWII and Japanese Occupation”).


It is hard to believe that Japanese occupation allowed Vietnam to rebel against French and the U.S. and success in their struggles. Japanese occupation allowed Vietnamese modernize, learn, educate its generation and crystallize its identity and national image. Numerous factors led to struggles against French colonial rule, including slave-like living and working conditions, land subtraction, and absence of normal life and happiness. The coincidence of various events allowed Vietnamese become stronger and more organized in their fight for freedom. The Japanese desire to control a border was one of the major factors, which made them intrude in Vietnam and ruin French colonial rule. On the other hand, French colonial rule attempts to reinstate their authority was the second factor, which involved the U.S. in action. Both these factors allowed Vietnam to strengthen and continue their fight for independence. Their crystallized within the Japanese occupation period national image allowed Vietnamese succeeding in their rebels.    

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