Chapter : 2. The Nationalist Movement in Indo-China

Why the French thought Colonies Necessary ?

(ii) Why the French thought Colonies Necessary ? :
(1) Colonies were considered necessary to supply natural resources and other necessary goods.
(2) They also thought that it was the mission of the ‘advanced’ European countries to bring the benefits of civilisation to backward countries.
Steps taken by the French to establish colonies:
(1) The French began to build Canals and irrigation system with forced labour and increased rice production and allowed the export of rice. By 1931 Vietnam became the third largest exporter of rice in the world.
(2) Construction of a trance Indo-China rail network that would link the Northern and Southern parts of Vietnam and China was began. This was completed in 1910. The second line was also built, linking Vietnam to Siam (Thailand).
(3) French business interests were pressurising the government in Vietnam to develop the infrastructure further. So that they may earn more and more profits.
(iii) Should Colonies be Developed ? :
(1) One of the writers Bernard says that if the economy was developed and the standard of living of the people improved, they would by more goods. So the chances of better profits for French business will be increased.
(2) According to Bernard there were several hindrances to economic growth in Vietnam : high population level, low agricultural productivity and extensive indebtedness amongst the peasants.
(3) The colonial economy in Vietnam was mainly based on rice cultivation and rubber planations owned by the French and a small Vietnamese elite.
(4) Rail and port facilities were setup to service this sector. Indentured Vietnamese labour was widely used in the rubber plantations.

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