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Nationalist Movement in Indo-China: 10 SST

Effects of US Involvement on Life within US itself: The US involvement in Vietnam had a far reaching effect on US itself. America had to suffer a huge loss of men and money though she caused great destruction in North Vietnam through bombardment.

America lost about 75,000 soldiers in the war by 1975 A.D. It evoked strong reaction in America. Various countries of the world strongly criticized the American intervention in the internal affairs of Vietnam. As a result, America was compelled to start the withdrawal of its troops in April 1975. Saigon also surrendered after the withdrawal of the American troops. In this way, the United Vietnam came into existence on April 30, 1975 A.D.

(II) The Vietnamese had to fight a long struggle first against France, and then against Japan and lastly, against USA. Following were some of the causes for the involvement of US in Vietnam:

  1. Spread of Communism: First and the foremost was the fear of the spread of Communism in Vietnam. The United States (US) regarded the spread of Communism a great danger to the capitalist countries. The US was ready to fight against Communism in any part of the world. So when Communism showed its head in Vietnam, it at once came forward to check it.
  2. To Support France: The second cause of US entry in Vietnam was the humiliation that France had to face in Vietnam. Being the champion of the capitalist countries, US wanted to crush Vietnam at all costs to save the prestige of the capitalist countries, especially France which was an ally of the US in the Second World War.
  3. Against Unification: USA was against the unification of Vietnam. The Geneva Conference had divided Vietnam into two parts: North Vietnam and South Vietnam. When the Ho Chi Minh government in North Vietnam and National Liberation Front in South Vietnam tried to unify the two parts, in violation of the Geneva Conference, US could not tolerate this. Hence, it decided to intervene in Vietnam.
    Within no time, the United States sent a large number of US soldiers with the latest war equipment. This dragged on for many years (1965-1972).

Effects of US Involvement on Life within US itself: The US involvement in Vietnam had a far reaching effect on US itself. America had to suffer a huge loss of men and money though she caused great destruction in North Vietnam through bombardment.

America lost about 75,000 soldiers in the war by 1975 A.D. It evoked strong reaction in America. Various countries of the world strongly criticized the American intervention in the internal affairs of Vietnam. As a result, America was compelled to start the withdrawal of its troops in April 1975. Saigon also surrendered after the withdrawal of the American troops. In this way, the United Vietnam came into existence on April 30, 1975 A.D.

Question: Write a note on

  1. What was meant by the ‘civilizing mission’ of the colonizers?
  2. Huynh Phu So.

Answer:

  1. Like the British in India, the French claimed that they were bringing modem civilization to the Vietnamese. They were of the opinion that Europe had developed the most advanced civilization. So it became the duty of the Europeans to introduce modem ideas in their colonies.
    (i) They introduced modern education.
    (ii) Tonkin Free Schools were opened to provide modern education.
    Motive: The real motive behind this motion was to exploit the natural and human resources of Vietnam.
  2. Huynh Fhu So was a Buddhist religious scholar who was a native of the Mekong river delta.
    His role in arousing the anti-imperialist sentiments:
    (i). Founder of Hoa Hao Movement: Huynh Phu was the founder of the Hoa Hao Movement which drew on religious ideas popular in the anti-French uprisings of the nineteenth century.
    (ii). Social reformer : He was a great social reformer as he opposed the sale of child brides, gambling, and the use of alcohol and opium.
    (iii). Struggle against foreign rule: Huynh Phu So faced a great deal of trouble when he began to spread his ideas of religion, because most of his followers were Vietnamese nationalists.
    The colonial government declared him mad, called him the Mad Bonze, and put him in a mental asylum. The French authorities exiled him to Laos, and sent many of his followers to concentration camps.

Question: Explain the following:

  1. Only one-third of the students in Vietnam would pass the school-leaving examinations.
  2. The French began building canals and draining lands in the Mekong delta.
  3. The government made the Saigon Native Girls School take back the students it had expelled.
    Or
    Why did a major protest erupt in 1926 in the Saigon Native Girls School in Vietnam? Explain.
    Or
    Describe the incident that took place in 1926 in Saigon Native Girls School.
  4. Rats were most common in the modern, newly built areas of Hanoi.

Answer:

  1. This was largely because of a deliberate policy of failing students, particularly in the final year, so that they could not qualify for the better-paid jobs. Usually, as many as two-thirds of the students were failed, (b) The French began by building canals and draining lands in the Mekong delta to increase cultivation. The vast system of irrigation works – canals and earthworks – built mainly with forced labour, increased rice production, and allowed the export of rice to the international market. The area under rice cultivation went up from about 274,000 hectares in 1873 to around 1.1 million hectares in around 1900 and about 2.2 million in 1930. Vietnam exported two- thirds of its rice production and by 1931, had become the third largest exporter of rice in the world.
  2. In 1926, a major protest erupted in the Saigon Native Girls School. A Vietnamese girl sitting in one of the front seats was asked to move to the back of the class, and allow a local French student to occupy the front bench. She refused. The principal, also a colon (French people in the colonies), expelled her. When angry students protested, they too were expelled, leading to a further spread of open protests. Seeing the situation getting out of control, the government forced the school to take the students back.
  3. The French part of Hanoi was built as a beautiful and clean city with wide avenues and a well-laid-out sewer system, while the ‘native quarter’ was not provided with any modem facilities. The refuge from the old city drained straight but into the river or, during heavy rains or floods, overflowed into the streets. Thus, what was installed to create a hygienic environment in the French city became the cause of the plague. The large sewers in the modern part of the city, a symbol of modernity, were an ideal and protected breeding ground for the rats. The sewers also served as a great transport system, allowing the rats to move around the city without any problem. And rats began to enter the well-cared homes of the French through the sewage pipes.

Question: Describe the ideas behind the Tonkin Free School. To what extent was it a typical example of colonial ideas in Vietnam?

Answer: Ideas behind Tonkin Schools:

  1. Spread of Western style Education: These schools were started in 1907 to provide a Western style education. This education included classes in science, hygiene and French (these classes were held in the evening and had to be paid for separately).
  2. To consolidate their power: The French were faced with yet another problem in the sphere of education: the elites in Vietnam were powerfully influenced by Chinese culture. To consolidate their power, the French had to counter this Chinese influence. So they systematically dismantled the traditional educational system and established French schools for the Vietnamese.
  3. Educated labour for administration : The French needed an educated local labour force.
  4. To demonstrate superiority of French culture: Many scholars believed that by learning the language, the Vietnamese would be introduced to the culture and civilization of France. This would help create an ‘Asiatic France solidly tied to European France’. The educated people in Vietnam would respect French sentiments and ideals, see the superiority of French culture, and work for the French
    It was a typical example of colonial ideas as
  5. Civilizing Mission: Like the British in India, the French claimed that they were bringing modern civilization to the Vietnamese. They took for granted that Europe had developed the most advanced civilisation. So it became the duty of the Europeans to introduce these modern ideas to the colony even if this meant destroying local cultures, religions and traditions, because these were seen as outdated and prevented modem development.
  6. Racial Discrimination policy: The French considered themselves as superior race. They started policy of discrimination even in schools also. The front rows in the schools were reserved for the French students only.
  7. Justification of French rule: School textbooks glorified the French and justified colonial rule. The Vietnamese were represented as primitive and backward, capable of manual labour but not of intellectual reflection; they could work in the
  8. fields but not rule themselves: they were ‘skilled copyists’ but not creative. School children were told that only French rule could ensure peace in Vietnam.
  9. Use of education to change the values and culture: By introducing French schools the French tried to change the values, norms and perceptions of the people, to make them believe in the superiority of French civilization and the inferiority of the Vietnamese.
  10. Failing the Vietnamese in the final year: Only the Vietnamese elite – comprising a small fraction of the population – could enroll in the schools, and only a few among those admitted ultimately passed the school ­leaving examination. This was largely because of a deliberate policy of failing students, particularly in the final year, so that they could not qualify for the better-paid jobs.

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