The French and Indo-China

The connexions of the French with Vietnam began in the eighteenth century; D.R. Watson describes how their legacy was passed to the United States in 1954.

Anyone who asks why Vietnam has suffered almost a quarter of a century of warfare in our own day must follow a chain of historical causation that leads back to the years between 1883 and 1887 when the French government decided to establish its authority in that part of the world.

Had Vietnam not been part of the French empire it does not follow, of course, that its history would have been happier; but it would certainly have been different, and it is hard to imagine that it could have been worse. And the particular circumstances that led to the American involvement in Vietnam were closely bound up with the nature of the final French abandonment of their empire in Indo-China.

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