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France in Vietnam

Following the Sino-French war in the 1880s France took control of Indochina or Vietnam as referred to by the Europeans. Vietnam at the time consisted of three areas of Indochina known as Annam, Tonkin, and Cochinchina. Around the 1950s the French had appeared to have left Indochina and left local rulers in power of Vietnam. However this was just a sham and in fact the so called Emperors of Vietnam were just figureheads for Vietnam. The french had first landed troops in Vietnam in 1850s after which from 1885 to 1895, there was a rebellion in order to stop France’s colonization of Vietnam, led by Phan Đình Phùng. Though they tried, all efforts were useless to see any real results in the French’s colonization. The Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang were a revolutionary socialist party which wanted Independence from the French imperialism. The VNQDD on February 10, 1930 carried out a daring uprising against the French rule, around 40 troops under the 2nd Battalion of the Fourth Régiment de Tirailleurs Tonkinois stationed at Yen Bai. They were supported with about 60 civilians, they attacker French officers and warrant officers, taking place in Yen Bai. The ones who brewed up the attack were the Can Vuong movement: a Vietnamease insurgency against the French colonial rule. After World War II the French tried to regain control of Vietnam and put them back in power, however the United States supported the Vietnamese nationalists and communists because of their resistance of the Japaneses. After which the United States informed the French that they were not to reacquire Indochina. Vietnam finally gained their Independence in 1954, when the fighting finally stopper and they declared themselves as Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Comparative Analysis

The British Empire in the 18th through the 20th centuries Great Britain or the British Empire were colonizing and expanding to other less developed parts of Europe. However unlike France, they didn’t do it just for power, the main reason for it was in order to collect resources that other colonies had, However great economical benefits came with it. France’s imperialism and the British Empires are comparable in the sense that they both gained more power through colonization, but France mainly expanded into Vietnam in order to keep up with the expanding British Empire. Almost like children wanting the bigger piece of bread and fighting over it. On the other hand France wanted to find an alternative route to China, which is another reason they colonized Vietnam. Another comparable factor between the two is that they both had colonies that did not agree with them and wanted to separate and be independent. Vietnam fought for years trying to win their Independence without much success however. While in the British Empire many colonies wanted to be separate countries, for a multitude of reasons for both France and Britain. The Vietnamese felt that they were being ruled by the French and did not like how they did not have a choice in the matter. In the British Empire 13 colonies in the ‘New Word’ wanted to become independent by joining together to form a new country.
France Imperialism
British Empire Imperialism
Wanted to rival with the British Empire for power
Wanted to expand and colonize in order to increase economy
Colonized Indochina or Vietnam in order to find an alternative route to China
Colonized multiple areas for resources that they did not have
Vietnam was very unsatisfied with being a colony under France
multiple colonies were unhappy with the British Empire mainly, because of the high tariffs and poor treatment they endured in the colonies
Tried and tried again in order to become independent from France
The original 13 colonies of the United States were unhappy and joined together to become independent
France eventually left Vietnam and left local rulers in charge (the rulers left in charge were more like figureheads, which the french controlled; therefore in the end they weren't really free)
The United States won their freedom and became independent
The French tried to reclaim Vietnam but were unable too since they had the help of the United States and declared themselves independent.


An example of modern day imperialism could be how the United States landed troops in Iraq in 2003, because of how they just simply invaded another country with no consideration. Though the country had claimed to have nuclear weapons, no evidence was ever found. Moreover, this invasion’s initial goals were disarm any nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, end Saddam Hussein’s rein: the leader of Iraq at the time, and to free Iraq. On the first of May the end of the invasion was declared and military occupation period began, the final end of the occupation only ended last year. Like the imperialism which was happening in the 19th and 20th centuries, a country controlled their dominions through military power and influence. 

For the most part, Vietnam expressed little desire to be taken over by French imperialism for they had been struggling with accumulating Vietnamese independence and unity for decades, one dynasty at a time. At one point when Vietnam was divided, Nguyễn Ánh, a remnant of the southern rulers of Vietnam, influenced France to aid in taking control of Vietnam as a whole, therefore unifying the country. They signed an agreement where France would supply military aid in exchange for Vietnamese compliance, already establishing a sense of power in Vietnam. Through that, France was able to impose their religious beliefs and political system into Vietnam to a point where in the 1900s the younger generations that were only exposed to the colonial environment French imperialism created, they were able to see the benefits of a modern governmental systems as opposed to the old feudal society the older generations were still wanting to restore.


French imperialism that is imposed on other nations could damage their relations and could increase the hostility and tension towards one another. With growing distrust it could cause problems with trade, evidently effecting economy of certain nations. It isn’t uncommon for grudges and hostility between nations to be passed down through the generations as if it were tradition, so if that lack of trust and want for an alliance or truce is still in effect there will be no moving forward; every issue will revert back to past conflicts. Moreover after they were free they internal dispute soon erupted between whether or not they are to be communist or democratic.