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Historical Understanding. Eastern Asia. Nationalism. Belief that people should be loyal to those with whom they share common history, customs, origins, and sometimes language or religion. Nationalism - VIETNAM.

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Belief that people should be loyal to those with whom they share common history, customs, origins, and sometimes language or religion.

nationalism vietnam
Nationalism - VIETNAM

Originally, known as Indochina, was controlled by France. France wanted control in Indochina because they used the seaports and the area was rich with agricultural products and natural resources.

NATIONALISM was strong in this region. Indochina had fought hard to maintain independence from China. This was also directed toward the French colonial rulers.


Ho Chi Minh began to work for independence from France. He felt the Communist Party might be the best route to take because they were outspoken critics of European colonialism. They staged protests against French rule – he had to flee the country to avoid the death penalty.

When WWII began, Ho Chi Minh helped found the Vietminh League hoping that the war would end French rule. When the war ended, French moved back in. For the next nine years, fighting ensued.


While the French maintained control of the cities, the people in the countryside supported Ho Chi Minh. In 1954, the French surrendered control of the country to Ho Chi Minh.


US saw Ho Chi Minh as a communist rather than a national leader. They feared that a communist Vietnam would lead to other countries in the region becoming communist. The US used their influence to have Vietnam divided – US controlled the south and Ho Chi Minh controlled the north.


The plan was to find a democratic leader that could take over with a free election. Feelings of nationalism were stronger than ideas about what type of political system. After many years of involvement and the loss of thousands of lives among the Vietnamese and American soldiers, the United States withdrew their last forces by helicopter in April of 1975. The North Vietnamese army took over the country and it was unified the next day as the Republic of Vietnam. While they were communist, most of the other countries in the region did not become communist.

japan us role after wwii
JAPAN – US role after WWII

After Japan’s surrender in September 1945, the country was reduced to rubble. Industries and farms were destroyed, the government was in shambles, the people were demoralized, and the emperor had been exposed as an ordinary mortal rather than a god the Japanese people had believed him to be.

General Douglas MacArthur was given the job of putting Japan back together in a way that would guarantee they would not pose a military threat again.


MacArthur wanted to create a democratic government. However he did appreciate the importance of the Emperor in the Japanese culture. It was decided that Japan would be a constitutional monarchy. MacArthur wrote the constitution for Japan. It is still referred to as The MacArthur Constitution.


The constitution created the Diet, the two-house parliament. The Emperor remained as a symbol of the country. The new constitution included a Bill of Rights and basic freedoms were guaranteed.


A clause was included in the new constitution that prevents Japan from declaring war.


They signed all peace treaties to end the war. The agreed to pay war reparations to the countries that they harmed during World War II. American troops remained in Japan. They were not permitted to rebuild their military.


Communism in China

At the end of World War I nationalism was a powerful influence. The Qing Dynasty was overthrown in 1912 by the Chinese nationalist. The Republic of China was the new government. The end of foreign control in China’s affair was one of their main goals. They were lead by Sun Yixian.

This new government was unable to bring order to China or help the people. Agriculture was a wrecked and many faced famine. The attention of most people was not on China and their problem due to World War I. At the end of the war the Treaty of Versailles was signed which restored the government of Sun Yixian and gave Japan some control of Chinese territory.


Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party

The treaty caused much anger among many young Chinese and they wanted to end what they felt was the failed government of Sun Yixian. They looked to Russia and their Communist Revolution because they were disillusioned with western style of democracy. The first Chinese Communist Party was formed in 1921 when a group of young men met in Shanghai. Among them was Mao Zedong a young teacher.


When Jiang Jieshi became the new head of the Nationalist Party after Sun Yixian death he tried to make alliances with the new Chinese Communist Party. They did try to work together and bring order to China for some years. However, Jiang Jieshi’s government eventually turned on the communist and many were killed.

In 1929, Jiang Jieshi announced the formation of his new government the Nationalist Republic of China.


Mao Zedong survived the attack by Jiang Jieshi’s government. It was than decided that the future of the communist party would be founded in the countryside with the support of the peasants. This lead to a civil war between Mao and his followers and the Nationalist government.

In 1933, Mao led his followers into the mountains to escape being defeated by the nationalist government. This march became know as the Long March and the Chinese communists today look back at as a sign of Mao’s dedication to his cause and to what he felt was the cause of the Chinese people.


A temporary truce was called between the Chinese communist and the Nationalist during World War II to keep the Japanese form taking over China. At the end of the war the truce ended between the two parties.

From 1946 until 1949 a civil war occurred between the two groups until Mao’s communist, the Red Army, removed the Nationalist from power. The People’s Republic of China was declared in 1949 by Mao making one of the largest countries in the world a communist government.


Mao’s Reorganization

Mao tried to reorganize all of China along communist lines. This included collective ownership of farms and factories. This eliminated private ownership and production quotas were set for agricultural and industry.

In 1958, Mao decided to organize all farms in to large collectives and all decisions were made by the government. This program became known as the Great Leap Forward. He believe positive changes would soon follow.


Many of the farmers did not like this program of large farms. They missed owning their land, so they felt they had little reason to work hard. China soon went through a period of famine due to a series of crop failure.

In 1960 the Great Leap Forward was abandoned. Once this program failed some believed that private ownership would be better. This lead to some farmers and factory workers do some work for themselves.


Once Mao saw this occurring he realize that his idea of a classless society drifting away.

Cultural Revolution

In 1966, he decided to launch a new reform, the Cultural Revolution. During this reform Mao encouraged students to leave school and to make war on anything that looked like it was encouraging class differences. This lead to students being organized into an army known as the Red Guards.


Red Guards

Their job as a member of the army was to remove anyone who was preventing China from becoming a classless society. Mao’s goal was to have a nation of farms and workers, who were all equal. If someone was not in line with goal they could be put in prison or even killed. This reform continued for almost ten years. Mao even had to admit this was a mistake. The Red Guard ended in 1976 and slowly order was returned.


Deng Xiaoping

In 1976 Mao died and this lead to Deng Xiaoping being named as China’s new leader in 1980. He had been part of Mao group since the Long March, however he was more moderate in his ideas. He made many changes with his reforms. They included allowing farmers to own their own land and make decisions about what they grow. Private businesses were allowed to organize and opened to foreign investments and technological advances.


Western Influence

He soon found out that opening the economy that the people would be exposed to western ideas. This lead to China going through a period of student protest since many communist governments were under siege around the world.

Tiananmen Square

In 1989, over 10,000 students gathered to protest what they felt was corruption in the Chinese government. During the protest they went so far as to raise a statue they called the Goddess of Democracy, modeled after the Statue of Liberty.


One June 4, 1989, Soldiers were ordered to break up the demonstration and destroy the statue. Soldiers fired on the students and lead to thousands being arrested. The brief pro-democracy movement was destroyed and Deng Xiaoping was still in control and remain until his death in 1997.


Yalta Meeting

Leaders for United States, Soviet Union and Great Britain met during the last few months of the War at Yalta. While they met they drew up an agreement about how to restore order after Germany and Japan were defeated. This plan is known as the Yalta Agreement. This plan allowed each country to temporary occupy the land were their troops are located when the war ended. This was also a time to discuss the proposed United Nations and all three countries agreed to join and work together to achieve peace and restore order to the world.


When the war ended the US and the Soviet Union had some different goals.

Soviet Union

The Soviet Union had many major cities, farms and factories were destroyed. The Soviet Union wanted to make sure they did not face invasion again from Western Europe. They found themselves occupying most of the countries in Eastern Europe and were reluctant to pull out even after peace was declared. As each new state was created in Europe they worked hard to make sure it was a communist state.


United States

The US saw the Soviet Union action as breaking the promises made at the Yalta meeting. The US and Soviet Union soon found themselves in a Cold War even though World War II was over. This soon lead to the competing with each other to put as many governments in place as they could around the world and were only sympathetic to their own plans.


Korea after World War II

One place that this struggle was clearly seen was Korean Peninsula. At the end of the war the Soviet Union controlled the north and the US controlled the south. Even though the treaty called for elections to be held and Korea to be unify into one country. This lead to the country being divided into two countries. The US insisted on supporting a free South Korea, because they feared if any more countries in Southern Asia became communist others would soon follow.


This idea was called the Domino Theory.

War in Korea

In 1950, a war broke out between the two countries. After three years of fighting a truce was called, the original boundary was redrawn as it remains today.

North Korea today is lead by autocratic ruler Premiere Kim Jong-II and remains a communist country. Even though the country has heavy industry and well-armed military, they face many problems such as famine.


South Korea continues with free elections and a democratic constitution. Due to trade and foreign aid from the US they have been prosperous.