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Introduction

Nationalism Movement In Indo-China of Class 10

Vietnam gained formal independence in 1945, before India, but it took another three decades of fighting before the Republic of Vietnam was formed. Nationalism in Indo-China developed in a colonial context. The knitting together of a modern Vietnamese nation that brought the different communities together was in part the result of colonisation but, as importantly, it was shaped by the struggle against colonial domination.

EMERGING FROM THE SHADOW OF CHINA:

Indo­China comprises the modern countries of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Its early history shows many different groups of people living in this area under the shadow of the powerful empire of China. Even when an independent country was established in what is now northern and central Vietnam, its rulers continued to maintain the Chinese system of government as well as Chinese culture. Vietnam was also linked to the maritime silk route that brought in goods, people and ideas. Other networks of trade connected it to the hinterlands where non­Vietnamese people such as the Khmer Cambodians lived.

Nationalism Movement In Indo-China

COLONIAL DOMINATION AND RESISTANCE:

French troops landed in Vietnam in 1858 and by the mid­1880s they had established a firm grip over the northern region. After the Franco ­ Chinese war the French assumed control of Tonkin and Anaam and, in 1887, French Indo ­ China was formed. In the following decades the French sought to consolidate their position, and people in Vietnam began reflecting on the nature of the loss that Vietnam was suffering.

Nationalist resistance developed out of this reflection.

The colonisation of Vietnam by the French brought the people of the country into conflict with the colonisers in all areas of life. The most visible form of French control was military and economic domination but the French also built a system that tried to reshape the culture of the Vietnamese. Nationalism in Vietnam emerged through the efforts of different sections of society to fight against the French and all they represented.

NEED OF COLONY FOR FRENCH:

  •  Europe was passing through a period of intense nationalism. Each of the major European powers sought to expand its sphere of influence. This was the only way they could beat their rivals.

The three important reasons that explain why the French thought colonies as necessary could be stated as follows:

  •  Intense Rivalry Among European Powers: This rivalry found expression not only within Europe, each of the big powers began to spread out and develop colonies in other continents.

France was a big European power of the time. It could not be left out when others like Great Britain were going out in a big way.

  •  Business Interests: Colonies were seen as opportunities to earn big business profits. Colonies were the source of natural products and other essential goods that were required for the ever-growing industrialization in the mother country. Similarly, colonies also provided captive markets for the goods manufactured in the mother country.
  •  Civilising Mission: The colonial masters always viewed their culture as superior to native cultures. Uninvited, they took upon themselves the task of uprooting native cultures and transplanting western culture on the natives.

THE FRENCH BUILD THE RAILWAY SYSTEM IN VIETNAM:

  •  The French undertook the construction of a trans-Indo-China rail network that would link the northern and southern parts of Vietnam and China. This link was completed by 1910. The second line was also built, linking Vietnam to Siam, via the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. Militarily, railways helped in faster movement of the army. This is turn helped in exercising effective control over the entire region.
  •  Economically, railways helped in faster movement of goods. Natural products should be speedily moved from the hinterlands to parts and other similarly, machine-made manufactured goods could be easily transported to hinterlands. Thus, railways contributed to the growth of trade and business and hence, offered opportunities for earning huge profits.

NATIONALISM EMERGE IN VIETNAM:

  •  Nationalism emerged in Vietnam through the efforts of different sections of society to fight against the French and all they represented.
  •  The colonization of Vietnam had brought the people of the country into conflict with French in all areas of life.
  •  The most visible form of French control was military and economic domination. Irrigation and railway networks were laid down to promote rice cultivation and plantation crops for exports.
  •  This enabled the big landowners and foreign trades to earn huge profits. The economic condition of the poor sections of the society deteriorated further.
  •  The French also built a system that tried to reshape the culture of the Vietnamese. This destroyed local cultures, traditions and religions.
  •  The people of Vietnam resented all these forms of domination. They were only waiting for a spark to ignite the fire of nationalist revolution.
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