The Roots of French Imperialism in Eastern Asia

The Roots of French Imperialism in Eastern Asia

The Roots of French Imperialism in Eastern Asia

The Roots of French Imperialism in Eastern Asia

Excerpt

Since 1952, when this book was written, the official French presence in eastern Asia has almost come to an end. In that year the struggle between the Viet Minh nationalists on the one side and the French Foreign Legion and Bao Dai forces on the other had reached a virtual stalemate, while at the same time attempts were being made, through painfully difficult negotiations, to conclude the Korean peace. Following the disastrous French gamble at Dienbienphu and the subsequent Geneva Conference in 1954, the Viet Minh came to power in North Vietnam, while France was given two years to detach itself and withdraw from the rest of Indo-China. French retirement was hastened in 1956 by the actions of the American-sponsored regime of Ngo Dinh Diem. Apart from General de Gaulle's continuing allegations of America's failure as the surviving western power in Southeast Asia, almost no trace of French political involvement is now evident.

Even so, three-quarters of a century of French presence in Indo- China has left more than a historical memory. French interests have managed to hold on in the plantation areas of Cochin-China, and the French are still active in educational and missionary work and in varied other expressions of nostalgic concern for France's traditional mission civilatrice. The French cultural impact on the elite classes of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos still remains strong. The with-

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