Throughout history, powerful colonial countries sought to expand their political control over another country and influence by occupying them with settlers and by exploiting them economically through a policy/ practice called colonialism. They would ultimately oppress and alter the acquired territories for the purpose of abusing and exploiting their resources. Such situations of colonialism occurred within two primarily Asian countries, Vietnam and China. They were exposed to imperial powers and their colonialistic ideologies, consequently having long-lasting consequences in both countries.
Around the 1800s, French imperialism had acquired Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, to which was referred to as Indochina. At the time, French imperialists believed their people were given a responsibility to colonize and civilize certain regions in Asia as well as introduce them to modern political and social reforms. They justified their colonization by enforcing this missionary conquest known as “The mission Civilisatrice.” They controlled and conquered these lands for the purpose of exploiting them economically, acquiring raw materials, cheap labor, and resources. France’s intentions for colonizing Vietnam was partially due to the advantageous opportunities for trading, (particularly with China) and for highly valued crops, such as Vietnam’s rubber plantations. To take charge of Vietnam, France targeted it’s inconsistent and underdeveloped foundation. As the royal court was unable to effectively control the land from the south to the north, France began to invade which forced a division within the country. The opposing parties argued over the possible solutions to hinder France’s advancement onto Vietnamese territory. Many believed permanence was a greater solution, whereas others argued, stating negotiation would mediate the issue. Consequently, in 1859, French troops settled in Saigon and halted any action with South Vietnam. After several battles and the acquisition of major cities, the City of Hue, was overrun by the French by 1882, thus Vietnam was under French control. Under French authority, the Vietnamese, (as well as individuals from Laos and Cambodia) were subjugated to harsh and inhumane treatment. Farmers and residents who refused to abide by French rule were exploited for their resources, murdered and sent to work among tiring fields. However, those who did accept colonial rule were often successful both economically and socially. They were allowed to trade and engage learning across seas, but only to those who did not rebel.
The struggle for independence began shortly after the final movements during World War 2. In 1945, Japan began to focus on attacking French forces within Indochina. Revolutionary communist leader Ho Chi Minh and the United States operated several major operations to aid the withdrawal of the French. In an attempt to eliminate Chinese forces in the North, Ho encouraged a treaty with the French advising Vietnam’s independence. Although the Chinese withdrew, France provided little agreement in guaranteeing Vietnam’s independence. In 1946, after a French ship attacked Haiphong, a war had broken out. Following several guerrilla operations, the French experienced defeat in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu, which would ultimately lead to the withdrawal of French troops and to the Independence of Vietnam.
As a result of French Imperialism, it had damaging environmental repercussions, it promoted nationalism, influenced education, and introduced a set of new regulations. As the French began to develop Vietnam, they destroyed hundreds of acres of the jungle for far farming and for the construction of factories. They exhausted fertile soil from overconsumption of natural resources, such as zinc, tin, and coal. Nationalism arose as many Vietnamese residents refused to abide by colonial oppression. They would attempt to spread the ideology of maintaining great pride of their Vietnamese heritage. Several rebellions have occurred in an effort to acquire their independence and to revolt against any further damage to their culture. On the contrary, French forces managed to improve on Vietnamese education. The French established several schools with a modification of the school’s education system. The French language was implemented into the student’s curriculum, making it mandatory for students to learn and speak it. The French instituted three levels of education, infant, primary and secondary, as well as established schools for training administrative officers in 1917. Certain regulations were implemented to control the people of Indochina. For instance, for Vietnamese citizens who lived in Cochinchina, they were able to gain French citizenship, thus they could hold seats in the National Assembly of Paris. This would have also have led to the weDaniel Perez A. 2/27/18
As countries began to expand and develop, drastic measures were taken in order to extend the country’s power through diplomacy and military force. This was known as the practice of Imperialism. While countries obtained vast authority and territorial acquisitions, the colonized lands encountered differing perspectives on imperial conquests. Take for instance Great Britain and Africa. One had immense control over many predominantly developing countries and the other had abundant resources. Subsequently, each had distinctive views and experiences regarding the oppressor and the oppressed/colonized.
Great Britain, being the imperialist power, in this case, sought to create newer markets among colonies and civilize those deemed inferior. As said by Joseph Chamberlain in the provision “Foreign and colonial speeches,” “We must recognize that in order that we may have more employment to give we must create more demand. Give me the demand for more goods and then I will undertake to give plenty of employment in making the goods…that new markets shall be created and that old markets shall be developed.” As author Chamberlain mentioned, he affirmed that by acquiring colonies, Great Britain would conclusively benefit the colonies by providing employment as soon as a there was a higher demand for goods. The establishment of newer markets would increase overall profits and would encourage older markets to develop. As mighty countries acknowledged their superiority over underdeveloped countries, they made efforts to “civilize,” them. As said by Frederick D. Lugard, in “The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa,” ” We are endeavoring to teach the native races to conduct their own affairs with justice and humanity and to educate them alike in letters and in industry.” Evidently, as Great Britain was a powerful nation, and like most dominant authorities were, they believed they were given the responsibility of providing and educating these countries with the necessities of understanding self-conduct and knowledge.
On the contrary, colonized lands experienced detrimental consequences as a result of imperialistic behavior. Take for example Africa, several Asian countries, and India whom all suffered at the cost of imperialism. As demonstrated in the document, “Amount of African Land Controlled by Europeans,” by Prentice Hall, around the late 1800s, Africa had controlled a majority of their land. However, by 1914 the last remaining free nations within Africa were Ethiopia and Liberia, the rest were dominated by Europeans, such as the French, Portuguese, Germans as well as the British etc…Ultimately, the desire to conquer led to the acquisition of several nations by force. Similarly, Japan managed to obtain several Asian countries along the west coast of China. The document titled “The Growth of the Japanese Empire,” by Geoffrey Barraclough shows the possessions and influences of Japan. it illustrated that it had gained Korea, Taiwan, and Karafuto. It had also implemented political and economic control over Fukien, Shantung, and South Manchuria. Essentially, these areas were known as Japan’s Spheres of Influence. It was able to control these locations typically by agreements of those who were controlled; however, Japan was able to intervene in the country’s affairs, regardless if they disapproved of it. Lastly, India was also exposed to the harsh consequences of imperialism. In the article “The Discovery of India,” by Jawaharlal Nehru, it stated “This was followed by vigorous attempts to restrict and crush Indian manufacturers…which prevented the flow of Indian goods within the country itself…The Indian textile industry collapsed, affecting vast numbers of weavers and artisans. ” Seemingly, as result of British imperialism, the British were able to economically exploit India, by restricting the distribution of goods within the country and by forcing industries to collapse. As a consequential result, many Indians lost their jobs.
Moreover, the yearning of a country to politically, socially and economically advance, accompanied the exploitation and abuse of underdeveloped countries. Many of these countries disregarded the negative aftermath that their imperialistic actions would have on those being colonized. It is accurate to conclude that the countries performing the colonization, and those being colonized, would not share similar perspectives regarding imperialism, as the viewpoints would depend on the purpose colonizing.
akening of the Emperors authority as many of his officials would have worked for the French.