• Assess France's Attempts to Restore Its Colonial Rule in Indo-China Between 1945-1954

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Decolonisation in Indo-China Assessment

“You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours. But even at these odds, you will lose and I will win.” – Ho Chi Minh

• Assess France’s attempts to restore its colonial rule in Indo-China between 1945-1954.

Between 1945 and 1954 France’s attempts to restore its colonial rule in Indo-China, through both negotiation and military conflict, were largely unsuccessful. This lack of success on the part of a major European power in putting down the resistance of a (relatively) small guerilla force of rebels within its own colony is a cause for much debate.

There are many opinions as to where France’s biggest short comings fell or what their biggest mistake was. Some argue it was their treatment of the Vietnamese villagers, while others believe the environment posed an insurmountable barrier for the French. Still others argue that France’s biggest short coming was its lack of adaptability or its limited understanding of Vietnamese society.

It is undeniable that these factors could all be explanations to the problems France faced in its attempts to restore its colonial rule in Indo-China, however, it was the combination of all these factors (and more) within the volatile environment which was world politics at the time which resulted in France’s ultimate lack of success.

One thing which was certainly a contributing factor to France’s lack of success was that the French underestimated the resistance they were faced with. The French “underestimated the strength of the Viet Minh and the support it would gain from the ordinary Vietnamese.”[1] This was partly due to a lack of understanding of the structure of Vietnamese society and the importance of the village within it.
“The most important battle rages in each village”[2] writes Pollock highlighting that the good will of the villagers was very important to…...

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