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Nationalist Movement in Indo – China Notes


  • Indo-China is the place between India and China.
  • Indo-China comprises of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.
  • Vietnam gained formal independence in 1945.
  • They were ruled by Chinese emperors.
  • Even after their independence, they followed Chinese system of government and culture.
  • Vietnam was also linked to maritime silk-route that brought in goods people and idea.
  • Other networks of trade connected Vietnam it to the hinterland where non-Vietnamese people such as Khmer Comodians lived.


  1. How did France control Vietnam? 

  • The most visible form of French control was military and economic domination.
  • They tried to reshape the culture of Vietnam.
  1. How was French Indo-China formed? 

  • French troops landed in Vietnam in 1858.
  • By 1880, they had a strong grip over northern region.
  • After the Franco-Chinese war, French assumed control of Tonkin and Anaam in 1887. French Indo-China was formed.
  1. Why did French think colonies necessary? 

  • Colonies were essential to supply natural resource and other goods.
  • French also thought it was the Mission of Advanced European countries to civilize the backward region.
  • They built canals in the Mekong Delta to increase cultivation.
  • Rice production increased in Vietnam and by 1931 Vietnam became 3rd largest exporter of rice in the world.
  • Construction of Trans Indo-China rail network linked northern and southern Vietnam. Final link with Yunan in China was completed by 1910; Second line was built linking Vietnam to Siam via Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh.
  1. Why should colonies be developed? 

  • According to Paul Bernard, an influential writer & policy maker believed that the economy of the colonies must be developed.
  • He argued that the purpose of acquiring colonies was to make a profit.
  • If the colonies were developed and standard of living of people improves they would buy more goods leading to the profits to the French.
  1. What were the barriers to the economic development of Vietnam? 

  • According to Paul Bernard high population levels, low agricultural productivity and extensive indebtedness among the peasants were the barriers.
  • Suggestion-: To reduce poverty & to increase agricultural land reforms must be introduced as Japanese done in 1890.
  • Colonial economy in Vietnam was based on rice cultivation & rubber plantation owned by French and small Vietnamese elite.


French thought that it was the duty of Europeans to civilize the backward region like Vietnam even by destroying local culture traditions & religion.

  1. What was the Dilemma of colonial education? 

  • The dilemma was on what should be the medium of giving education.
  • The French feared that if the Vietnamese were given education, they would start questioning the French power.
  • They also feared that the French would lose their jobs as Policeman, Teachers, Shopkeepers, etc.
  1. Who is Colons?

French citizens living in Vietnam are called Colons.


  1. What were the broad opinions on colonial education? 

  • Some policy makers emphasized that French should be the medium of education.
  • They felt, by learning the French language the Vietnam would be influenced by the French culture. They expected that the educated Vietnamese would respect the French sentiments and ideals.
  • While some others suggested that Vietnamese must be taught in the lower classes and French should be taught in the higher classes.
  • Those who learned French and acquired French culture would be awarded French citizenship.
  1. Why were only a few admitted, passed school leaving examination?

This was because of the deliberate policy of failing the students in the final year so that they could not qualify for the better-paid jobs.

  1. C) How school textbooks glorified the French and justified colonial rule?

Vietnamese were represented as primitive and backward, capable of manual labor but not of intellectual reflection; they could work in fields but not rule themselves, they were skilled copyists but not creative.


  1. Write the short note on Tonkin, a free school? 

  • Tonkin, a free school, was started in 1907 to provide education to the Vietnamese.
  • The education included the class in Science, Hygiene, and French.
  • The school encouraged the adoption of western styles such as having a short hair calf.


  1. A) The story of protest erupted in Saigon Native Girls School.

In 1926, A Vietnamese girl sitting in one of the front seat was asked to move to the back of the class and allow a local French student to occupy front bench. She refused. The principal also a colon expelled her. When angry student protested, they too were expelled, leading to a further spread of open protest. Seeing the situation getting out of control, the government forced the school to take the student back. The principal reluctantly agreed but warned the students, “I will crush all Vietnamese under my feet. Ah‟ you wish my deportation. Know well that I will leave only after I am assured Vietnamese no longer inhabit Cochin chin.

  1. What is the role played by the students in Resistance Movement? 

  • The students fought against the colonial government efforts to prevent the Vietnamese from getting white collar jobs.
  • They were inspired by the patriotic feelings & understood the duty of educated to fight for the benefit of the society.
  • Many political parties were formed by students like Young Annam and a newspaper named “Annamese student” was also published.


  1. How did plague strike Hanoi? 
  • French wanted to create a Modern Vietnam, and so they decided to rebuild Hanoi.
  • The modern architecture & engineering skills were used to make the modern city.
  • But in 1903 the modern part of Hanoi was struck by bubonic plague.
  • The refuse from the old city drained straight out into the river or during heavy rain or flood, overflowed into the street.
  • The large sewers in the modern part of the city a symbol of modernity were an ideal and protected breeding ground or rats.


  • To prevent plague Rat Hunt was started in 1902.
  • French hired Vietnamese worker and paid them for each they caught.
  • Those who did the dirty work of entering sewers found that if they come together, they could negotiate higher bounty.
  • The money was paid for each tail was shown as proof.
  • Worker understood that they could own profit out of it they just clipped the tail and released the rats so that the process could be continued.
  • Some workers began to raise rats to earn money.
  • So the Rat Hunt was a failure.


  1. A) What were the religious beliefs in Vietnam?

Religious beliefs in Vietnam were a mixture of-:

  • Buddhism
  • Confucianism
  • Local Practices


  1. Write about Scholar’s Revolt.

 An early movement against the French control and the spread of Christianity was the

Scholar‟s Revolt in 1868.

  • This movement was led by an official at imperial court. Angered by the spread of Christianity and French control.
  • This revolt became popular in „NGU AN‟ and „HA TIEN‟ provinces where thousands of Catholics were killed.
  • But very soon the revolt was crushed by the French.
  1. Write about Hoa Hao movement. 
  • Hoa-Hao movement was an Anti-French movement started by „Huynh-Phu-So‟ and became popular in Mekong-Delta in 1939.
  • He performed miracles and helped the poor.
  • He was against useless expenditure, the sale of brides, use of alcohol and opium.
  • French wanted to suppress this movement and declared him mad and called him Mad Bonze. He was put in mental asylum.
  • The doctor who had to declare him mad became his follower and finally in 1941, French doctor declared that he was not mad. French authorities exiled him to Laos & sent many of his followers to the concentration camps.


  1. What are the different answers offered to question of modernization? 
  • Some intellectuals felt that Vietnamese tradition had to be strengthened to stop the domination of West.
  • While others believed that Vietnamese had to learn from the west.

2. Write a short note on Phan-Boi-Chau. 

  • Phan-Boi-Chau was a nationalist leader who fought against French.
  • He formed the revolutionary society (Duy Tan Hoi) in 1903 with Prince Cuong De as a head.
  • He met the Chinese reformer Liang Quichao in 1905 in Yokohama and with his influence he wrote a book named “The history of loss of Vietnam”.
  • It became the best seller in Vietnam & China.

The book focused on two connected themes-:

  1. The loss of Sovereignty.
  2. Serving of ties with China.
  1. Who was Phan-Chu-Trinh? 
  • Phan-Chu-Trinh was a nationalist leader who was against the monarchy.
  • His desire was to set up a democracy republic in Vietnam and was influenced by the democratic principle of the west.
  • He was in favor of western civilization.
  • He wanted the French to set up legal & educational institution& develop agriculture



  1. Describe GO-EAST movement? 
  • Nearly in 1907-1908, nearly 300 Vietnamese students went to Japan to get modern education.
  • But their primary objective was to drive out French from Vietnam, overthrow the puppet emperor and to re-establish Nguyen Dynasty.
  • They looked for foreign arms & help.
  • They appealed Japanese as fellow Asians.
  • Japan was unconquered by all imperialist power. It was very small country.
  • Its victory over Russia in 1907 proved its military capabilities.
  • Vietnamese Students establish a branch of restoration society in Tokyo, but after 1908, Japanese Ministry of Interior clamped down on them. Many including Phan-Boi-Chau were deported enforced to seek exile in China & Japan.
  1. Who was Sun Yat-Sen? 
  • Sun Yat-Sen was a nationalist leader of China.
  • The monarchy is China was overthrown by a popular movement started by him in 1911.
  • Later a republic was set up in China. The Vietnamese were inspired by these developments.
  • Vietnamese students organized the association for the restoration of Vietnam.


  1. What are impacts or consequent of the great depression of 1930 on Vietnam? 
  • The great depression of 1930 had a profound impact on Vietnam.
  • The prices of Rubber and rice fell leading to rural debts unemployment and rural uprisings.
  • The uprising became more in Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces because they were the poorest provinces and were known as Electrical Fuels of Vietnam.
  • The French suppress these uprising severely.
  1. Write a short note on Ho-Chi-Minh. 
  • In Feb 1930 Ho-Chi-Minh formed Vietnamese communist party. Later renamed Indo-Chinese Communist Party. He was inspired by militant activities of European Communist Parties.
  • In 1940, Japan occupied Vietnam, so Vietnamese had to fight against Japan on one side and France on another side.
  • The league for the independence of Vietnam known as Vietminh fought against Japan & recaptured Hanoi in September 1949.
  • The Democratic Republic of Vietnam was established & Ho-Chi-Minh became its chairman.


  1. Developments in the new Republic of Vietnam. 
  • French appointed Bao Dai (Vietnam Leader) as the puppet emperor. So the Vietminh fought against France and defeated them in 1954 at Dien-Bien-Phu.
  • {Supreme French commander of the French army is General Henry Navarre}.
  • It is a peace negotiation in Geneva; the Vietnamese were focused on dividing the country.
  • Ho-Chi-Minh took power in South Bao Dai took power in the south.
  • But very soon, Bao Dai rule was overthrown by a coup led by Ngo Dinh Diem and built a repressive government.
  • Those who opposed Diem were called a communist and were jailed & killed.
  • Diem made ordinance 10, a French law that permitted Christianity but outlawed Buddhism.
  • His dictatorial government was opposed by National Liberation Front (NLF).
  • With the help of Ho-Chi-Minh government in the north, the NLF fought for the unification of Vietnam.


  • America was worried about the communist gaining power in Vietnam.
  • The USA was alarmed at the spreading of communist ideologies throughout the world. So they decided to intervene to stop communist.
  • America sent thousands of troops equipped with heavy weapons like tanks, bombs, etc. B52s powerful bomb, Agent Orange, Napalm and Phosphorus bombs.
  1. What was the effect of Vietnamese war within the US? 
  • Many Americans criticized the government for involving in the war.
  • Compulsory service in the army angered the youth especially university graduates.
  • Many of those sent for fight did not belong to privileged elite but were minorities and children of working-class families.
  • The USA media and films played a major role.
  • Hollywood films such as John Wayne‟s Green Berets (1968) supported the war while the films such as Francis Ford Coppola‟s „Apocalypse Now‟ (1939) criticized the war.
  • The Americans understood the power of Nationalism.


  • It symbolizes how the Vietnamese used their limited resources to great advantage.
  • The trail, an immense network of footpath and the roads were used to transport men and material from North-South.
  • The trail had support bases and hospitals along the way.
  • In some parts supplies were transported in trucks, but mostly the supplies were carried by the porters, mostly women carried 25kg on their back or 70kg on their bicycles.
  • The US regularly bombed the trail to disrupt the supplies, but the intensive bombing failed because they were rebuilt very quickly.


  • Women in Vietnam enjoyed great quality but they had limited freedom to decide their future.
  • The writers and political thinkers began idealizing who rebelled against social norms.
  • In 1930‟s, a famous novel by the Nhar Linh caused a scandal because it showed a woman leaving a forced marriage and marrying someone of her choice who was involved in nationalist politics.


  • In 1913, the Phan Boi Chau wrote a play based on the lives of the Trung sisters who fought against Chinese domination.
  • Trieu Au; who was another nationalist lived in third-century CE. Orphaned in her childhood lived with her brother she went into the jungles gathered a large army and fought against the Chinese.


  • Photographs in magazines and journals showed women as young & brave & dedicated soldiers.
  • Some stories spoke of their incredible bravery in single-handedly killing the enemy – Nguyen Thi Xuan, For instance, was reputed to have shot down a jet with just twenty bullets.
  • They were represented not only a s warriors but also as workers; They were shown as carrying a rifle with one hand and hammer with the another one.
  • Many women joined the army, helped in nursing the wounded, constructing underground rooms & tunnels and fighting the enemy.
  • 70% of 80% workers who worked as potters were women
  • At the end of war, women were shown working in agricultural cooperatives, factories & production units.


  1. What are results of Vietnamese war? 
  • The US had failed to achieve its objective they could not crush the Vietnamese resistance.
  • Thousands of US soldiers, as well as Vietnamese, lost their lives. This was the first

“Television War”.

  • The Vietnamese writer like Mary McCarthy, actors like Jane Fonda, praised the Vietnamese and even visited Vietnam.
  • A peace settlement was signed in Paris in January 1974 and ended the conflicts.
  • The NLF occupied the presidential palace on April 30, 1975, and Vietnam was unified.


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