Tuesday, August 27, 2019

How did the French colonialism affect the class structure of Vietnam Essay

How did the French colonialism affect the class structure of Vietnam - Essay Example    The French colonization displaced much of the culture of Vietnam. While the Vietnamese adhered to the system of group ownership of land and resources that revolved around the village structure, the French were advocates of the capitalist school of single ownership in land or resources. As the French extended their political power over Vietnam, they also drastically implemented economic ideas that were detrimental to the existing village system. For some Vietnamese, those who served the French colonial government, life was good for they enjoyed certain privileges such as good education for their children at private schools and to some extent university studies in Paris, France. But majority of the Vietnamese suffered hardship. Many peasants were stripped off their lands and were forced to work in mines and in large farms owned by the colonizers (Levy 9). The poor farmers worked under miserable conditions with little pay. This system of forced labor established by the French was k nown as corvee (Seah & Nair 22). Audrey Seah and Charissa Nair in their book Culture of the World: Vietnam noted three kinds of Vietnamese during the French period from the point of a Vietnamese journalist in 1937 – â€Å"the Vietnamese were so poverty-stricken that they can be categorized by their diet: those who lived on bran and vegetables, like pigs of rich property owners; those who lived on bran and water, like pigs of poorer property owners; and those who survived by tasting samples while pretending to bargain with bran sellers.† The lowly life of the Vietnamese villagers in the hands of the French is captured vividly in the 1914 account of Nguyen Thuon Hien, a Vietnamese poet, on the fate of the villagers who were killed by the French colonial authorities when they pleaded for lower taxes. These are but the a few instances of the indignities and mistreatments endured by the Vietnamese during the colonial rule of France (Long 71). The French colonized Vietnam to get advantage of the many natural resources of the country and to bring prosperity to France. The exploitation went on for many years and by 1945, during World War II, â€Å"France was earning a great deal of money from the sale of goods produced in Vietnam† (Levy 9). The oppression did not go unnoticed by Vietnamese who organized to resist the French ruling. These groups called themselves nationalists who were fighting for self-governance. The nationalists produced their most influential leader in the person of Ho Chi Minh (9). Ho Chi Minh joined the Communist Party in France which was advocating the Soviet Communism where the economy of the state was controlled by the central Communist Party, the government, and the military – private ownership of land and resources was not allowed (10). Ho Chi Minh together with other Vietnamese revolutionaries, like Pham Van Dong and Vo Nguyen Giap formed the Vietnam Independence League, more known as the Viet Minh. The membership to the league was open to Communists and non-Communists who are aiming for the abolition of foreign rule in Vietnam (11). The Vietnamese responded to Ho Chi Minh’s call of â€Å"Let him who has rifle use his rifle, let him who has sword use his sword. And let those who have no sword take pickaxes and sticks.† (Seah & Nair 24) to lead the mass action against their French oppressors. Land issues led to the Vietnam War. Many Vietnamese who were peasants or poor

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