War in Shangri-La: A Memoir of Civil War in Laos by Mervyn Brown

Mervyn Brown, War in Shangri-La: A Memoir of Civil War in Laos, Radcliffe Press / I. B. Tauris, 2001, 288 p.

Sandwiched between US-supported Thailand and Communist North Vietnam, the tranquil Buddhist Kingdom of Laos–the original Shangri-La–became the center of a major Cold War crisis in the early sixties, when Mervyn Brown served there as deputy to the British Ambassador. He has written a fascinating and highly readable account of his often hazardous experiences, which included the battle of Vientiane passing through his garden and a grueling month as prisoner of left-wing Pathet Lao guerrillas in remote mountainous jungle inhabited by Stone Age aboriginal people. His story is set against a detailed account of the developing political and military crisis. It reveals the tensions that developed in the US between the newly elected President Kennedy, his Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and their advisors in the State Department, the CIA, and the Pentagon while a regional policy was formulated in the face of the perceived communist threat.

Sir Mervyn Brown, after Oxford where be gained a tennis blue and formed life long friendships with Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin mainly through jazz, became a career diplomat, and served in Buenos Aires, Singapore and Vientiane, as Ambassador to Madasgascar and Benin, and as High Commissioner to Tanzania and Nigeria, with spells at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the United Nations.

Table of contents:

Foreword–The Rt Hon The Lord Carrington, KG, CH * Life Before Laos * A Short History Lesson * Last Days of Peace * The Little Captain and the Invisible King * The Battle of Vientiane * World Crisis * The Plain of Jars * Stalemate in Vientiane * An Involuntary Tour of the South * Success at Last * Things Fall Apart * Dream Turns to Nightmare * Ends and Means

Aperçu sur Google Books

Review: Pierre Brocheux and Daniel Hémery, “Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization, 1858-1954”

Review by David Del Testa, Bucknell University – 1 June 2011.

Pierre Brocheux and Daniel Hémery, Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization, 1858-1954. Series “From Indochina to Vietnam: Revolution and War in a Global Perspective.” Translated by Ly Lan Dill-Klein, with Eric Jennings, Nora Taylor, and Noémi Tousignant. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2009. XV + 490 pp. $60 U.S. (hb). Illustrations, notes, index. ISBN 978-0-520-24539-6.

Pierre Brocheux and Daniel Hémery’s excellent Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization offers an English-language audience its first modern, single-volume, critical study of the history of France’s colonial occupation of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos and the creation of a colonial collectivity known as Indochina. Over the years, many authors have addressed colonial Indochina’s history in volumes focusing on Vietnam, such as Joseph Buttinger in his classic, The Smaller Dragon: A Political History of Vietnam; or focused on the Vietnamese, such as David Marr, in his unparalleled texts, including Tradition on Trial, 1920-1945; or on the relationship of France’s interaction with the Vietnamese, such as Eric Jennings with his excellent chapter, “Toward a New Indochina,” in his book, Vichy in the Tropics: Pétain and the National Revolution in Madagascar, Guadeloupe, and Indochina, 1940 – 1945. [1] But not since Virginia Thompson’s French Indo-China has an author attempted a comprehensive historical analysis of France’s Southeast Asian colony. [2] This book then satisfies an important need, not only for scholars interested in French colonial Indochina, but also anyone wanting a strong, critical summary of the events preceding the French and American wars in the countries that emerged from Indochina; those who want to make strong comparisons between contemporaneous colonial efforts; and those wishing to understand the potential impact of the colonization of Indochina on France.

The core of this book is not exactly a new. Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization is a revised and extended English-language version of Brocheux and Hémery’s Indochine: Une Colonisation ambiguë. [3] Many interested individuals snapped up therelatively few copies of the original edition of Indochine: Une Colonisation ambiguë issued by La Découverte in 1995 or the revised edition issued by the same publishing house in 2004. The French edition itself had already had a long genesis, with the original manuscript completed by 1988, but delayed for editorial reasons until 1995. Thus, the authors have had the time to eliminate many of the faults of its French-language predecessor (such as the incomplete replication of citations in the bibliography), to incorporate to an important degree the ample English- and French-language scholarship on Indochina that bloomed between 1995 and 2009 (including that of the author of this review), and to refine the overall presentation. Few local language sources informed the French-language editions and that remains the same for this version as well, but the volume is comprehensive otherwise.

In brief, Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization documents France’s colonization of what became known as Indochina between 1858 and 1954. The authors explore quickly the initial motivations for Napoleon III to authorize an attack on the pre-colonial, independent, imperial Vietnam in 1857, the conquest of what is now southern Vietnam, and the resistance to the French that accompanied its colonization. Thereafter, they illustrate in much greater detail the politics of the government of France and the court of Vietnam in, respectively maintaining or resisting colonialism, illustrating that certainly not all French wanted a colonial empire and that not all Vietnamese rejected the presence of the French. They also spend some time explaining why the Cambodian court would ally itself with France and subject the Cambodians to colonial occupation. After the treaties, commercial interests, and early anti-colonial resistance groups receive detailed attention, Brocheux and Hémery address the imposition of complete control over all of Vietnam and the extension of that control over Laos.

The remainder of the text addresses the hardening of colonialism and French control over these areas, with a strong focus on Vietnam, and the resistance to a hardening position that the opportunities provided by colonialism created. The modern state and commercial apparatus that the French imposed needed local collaborators who knew French and modern methods of accounting, engineering, and so on. This need, combined with an enduring official sponsorship of a colonial civilizing mission, created Vietnamese and to a much lesser extent Cambodians, Laos, and highlanders, well versed in modern Western thought. Brocheux and Hémery subtly illustrate how local peoples grappled with the fundamental hypocrisy of republican France’s colonialism and in the end used the very revolutionary ideas that the French had personified against them. They also show how, by the 1930s, Indochinaincreasingly became the stage for a global Realpolitik that had little to do with local people and more to do with life-and-death struggles between larger actors.

Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization provides an impressive amount of detail in 490 pages. A long series of introductory features (foreword, preface, and introduction) precedes eight substantial chapters, and there is a substantive conclusion and supplementary materials as well. Each of the eight chapters of Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization addressesa particular theme (conquest, economics, culture) in a chronological fashion for greater or lesser periods of time between 1858 and 1940. For example, chapter three, “Colonial Capitalism and Development, 1858-1940,” covers the entire time-period of the book, whereas chapter seven, “Resistance, Nationalism, and Social Movements, 1900-1939” covers a briefer period. Some readers might find the constant back-and-forth coverage of the same eras annoying or repetitious, but Brocheux and Hémery explain each of the themes so carefully and holistically that little confusion results from the reading of them. Ten maps and thirteen charts within the main text, as well as thirty-seven tables distributed within the text and in appendices, aggregate and appropriately illustrate the exchanges, regional movements, and volumes of trade that the authors analyze in thorough detail throughout the book.

It is important to remember that this text is an overview of the whole history of the colonization of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos and that in so doing it must tackle simultaneously the dynamics of French, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian societies, the motivations for and consequences of the encounters between those societies facilitated by colonialism, and transformations in each society as a result of this colonial occupation. Thus, it cannot address indetail any of those societies and it suffers from a lack of scholarship andperhaps expertise on some aspects of the relationships that it addresses, thus over-representing (perhaps justifiably) France’s presence in Vietnam and the consequences of colonialism for the Vietnamese, while hardly presenting any discussion of Cambodia and even less on Laos. Some critics may fault the authors for not addressing, for example, the importance of certain aspects of local societies, such as Vietnamese family networks or Cambodian social hierarchy, that influenced who participated and how in colonial society or resistance to it. Readers cannot expect in-depth analyses of the minutiae, but at least the authors present an up-to-date twenty-page bibliography in which interested individuals could trace those details should they wish to do so.

Because of the high vantage point from which Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization surveys the creation and eventual unraveling of colonial Indochina and because of their particular scholarly approaches to colonization, Brocheux and Hémery strongly favor analyses of elite political and economic institutions and the resulting politico-economic relationships to describe the institutional structures that provided the colony with its momentum. Individuals and conflicts between individuals receive ample attention, but they and their conflicts are always a part of a larger structure on which they depend or from which their perspective emanated. Both men are professors emeriti from the particularly productive Department of History at the University of Paris VII campus at Jussieu. They worked together productively for decades on various projects concerning colonialism and Vietnam, and they focused particularly on revolutionary history and colonial economics. The cross-fertilization of those topics between them is evident in this text.

Despite its subtitle, An Ambiguous Colonization, the reader leaves the text with a number of sureties about colonialism in Indochina. One is sure, particularly for Vietnam, that colonialism created modern Vietnam by simultaneously generating the skills necessary among the Vietnamese to operate a modern state and the hatred necessary to expel a modern occupier. One is sure that the French, or at least a certain well-positioned segment of French society, profited luxuriously from the imposition of a colonial economy over Indochina, and that the members of the colonial and metropolitan financial and commercial sectors used an ever-changing notion of a civilizing mission to provide excuses to encourage certain forms of development that favored their interests. Simultaneously many politicians, military leaders and idealists, both French and local, believed fervently in a civilizing mission for Indochina, and their dedication to the civilizing mission made colonialism there a going concern, even if they made choices that aligned with the desires of Indochina’s financial and commercial sectors. And one is sure that local people—Vietnamese, French, Lao, Khmer, highlander—left the experience of colonialism and entered independence profoundly changed because of the colonial experience. A reader must delve more deeply and elsewhere, however, to understand the peculiarities of the transformations that occurred and their longer-term origins and consequences. In this way, the strength of this text will remain its holism, and it will certainly serve in this capacity for decades to come.

David Del Testa
Bucknell University


[1] Joseph Buttinger, The Smaller Dragon: A Political History of Vietnam (New York: Praeger, 1966); David Marr, Vietnamese Tradition on Trial: 1920- 1945 (Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1982); Eric Jennings, Vichy in the Tropics: Petain’s National Revolution in Madagascar, Guadeloupe, and Indochina, 1940-44 (Stanford,Cal.: Stanford University Press, 2004).

[2] Virginia Thompson, French Indo-China (New York, Macmillan, 1937).

[3] Pierre Brocheux and Daniel Hémery, Indochine: La Colonisation ambiguë 1858-1954 (Paris: La Découverte, 1995, 2001, 2004).

* H-France Review Vol. 11 (June 2011), No. 121. Copyright © 2011 by the Society for French Historical Studies, all rights reserved. This review may be found on the H-France website.





Unraveling the Ambiguities of Colonial Indochina

Pierre Brocheux, Daniel Hémery. Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization, 1858-1954. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009. xv + 490 pp. $60.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-520-24539-6.

Reviewed by Bruce Lockhart (Department of History, National University of Singapore)
Published on H-HistGeog (April, 2011)
Commissioned by Eva M. Stolberg

Indochine: La colonisation ambiguë, 1858-1954 (Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization) is one of the most important and authoritative studies of colonial Indochina to have appeared in any language, and it is now available to an English-language audience. Authored by Pierre Brocheux and Daniel Hémery, two of the foremost historians of colonial Vietnam, the book (first published in French in 1995) is one of only a small number of academic monographs to look at colonial Indochina as a single entity and one of the very few to combine political, economic, and social perspectives. Like most studies of Indochina, the book devotes the bulk of its discussion to Vietnam, but there is enough information on Cambodia and Laos–some of it added to the English translation based on recent scholarship–to make the study reasonably “Indochina-wide.” Although the strong emphasis on quantitative data means that the text is more liberally sprinkled with numbers than some readers might want in a book that is not strictly speaking an economic history, the facts and figures are well integrated into a broader narrative of the colonial era from start to finish.

Brocheux and Hémery in their preface lay down several principal objectives for the book. First, they “have chosen to approach Indochina as a historical construct … rooted … within the tensions and dynamics of the social and anthropological space of the peninsula.” Second, as noted above, they “approach Indochina through its multiple dimensions–political and military, economic, social, and cultural–and various temporalities,” including both the period of colonial rule and “the brief, violent ruptures of decolonization.” Finally, they attempt to transcend the dichotomy between a “colonial” historiographical perspective, which treats French rule as “fundamentally civilizing, even if faulty,” and an anticolonial and national one, which portrays it as “purely dominating, repressive, and exploitative” (pp. xiv-xv).

The authors are arguably the most successful in achieving the last of these three objectives, no mean feat considering the ideological divide among French academics working on Indochina. The book is an articulate critique of colonial rule in Indochina, yet it is not polemical, and it does not essentialize or oversimplify the complexities of the colonial system. When it comes to the various strains of Vietnamese nationalism, the authors do tend to focus more on the Left of the political spectrum than on the Right. Although this is to some extent understandable given their own particular research interests and ideological proclivities and the historical reality that the Left was ultimately triumphant in Vietnam, a more balanced treatment would have been welcome. Similarly, despite the presence of a chapter entitled “Cultural Transformations,” much of the text is devoted to political and economic developments, with comparatively little attention to the cultural dilemmas that plagued the indigenous elites. Cambodia and Laos are given particularly short shrift in this respect, but to be fair, much of the important work done on the interaction among nationalism, Buddhism, and colonialism in Cambodia has appeared since the book was written. Thus although the book’s approach is perhaps sufficiently “multi-dimensional” to fulfill the second of the authors’ stated objectives, it leaves the reader somewhat unsatisfied where cultural and intellectual developments are concerned.

The relative lack of careful attention to noneconomic developments in Cambodia and Laos means that the first of the three stated objectives, to look at “Indochina” as a “historical construct” within its broader “social and anthropological space,” is not pursued as completely as the reader might wish. The book provides a thorough overview of policy developments in Indochina within the broader framework of French colonialism, but there is not much attention to the specific issues involved in attempting to construct “Indochina” or an “Indochinese identity.” The complexities and contradictions of this agenda–notably the promotion of Vietnamese immigration into the areas traditionally most wary of Vietnamese influence–and the interplay between anti-Vietnamese and anti-French elements in Cambodian and Lao nationalism are matters that deserve more attention than they receive in most studies of “Indochina,” including this one. The authors argue that “a number of Vietnamese ended up, at least for several decades, also thinking of themselves as ‘Indochinese,’” but they do not thoroughly examine the implications of that claim (p. 378).

That said, however, Brocheux and Hémery do succeed admirably in their determination to show the many ways in which French colonization of Indochina was “ambiguous.” They articulate these ambiguities quite clearly and accurately in their preface: “the appropriation by the colonized of the innovations imposed by colonization,… the reversibility of modes of domination as soon as circumstances permitted them, and … the subtle investment in these modes on the part of subjugated societies who redirected and deflected them” (p. xv). They pay particular attention to the extremely ambiguous nature of “modernity” and “modernization” as a product of colonial rule. None of these, of course, are unique to the particular colonial experience of Indochina, but the authors do provide a solid and articulate overview of the ways in which these issues played out in this particular context.

Although it is certainly valuable to have an English edition of this important book, it is unfortunate that the translation itself is mediocre to say the least. It reads as if it had been done by a translation program that stuck as closely as possible to the original French syntax and automatically chose French cognates in English whether or not they were the best equivalents. There is a good reason why deceptively similar cognates are called “faux amis” (false friends), and the text is riddled with them from start to finish. In a few cases the translations are quite simply wrong (such as “high commissioners” for “hauts fonctionnaires,” meaning high-ranking civil servants, or “genius” for “génie” in a context where it means “spirit” in the sense of a supernatural entity). Academic French is admittedly a difficult challenge, but if it is going to be translated, then the final product should not be a literal translation that sounds as if it had been written by a native French speaker.

Citation: Bruce Lockhart. Review of Brocheux, Pierre; Hémery, Daniel, Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization, 1858-1954. H-HistGeog, H-Net Reviews. April, 2011.
Source: H-Net Reviews

Nguyễn Ái Quốc : Le procès de la colonisation française

Nguyen Ai Quoc, Le procès de la colonisation française – Première série : Moeurs coloniales, Paris, Librairie du travail, Petite bibliothèque coloniale, s.d., 123 p.

Comme son nom l’indique, le texte se présente sous la forme de pièces et de témoignages comme autant de preuves des exactions françaises dans les colonies. Violence de guerre, brutalités, humiliations, racisme, spoliation de biens, exploitation économique, les principaux fléaux qui accablent les peuples colonisés sont décrits et exposés sans complaisance avec une touche d’ironie sur la mission civilisatrice de la France. Des personnalités coloniales sont accusées nominativement. L’appareil du système colonial est décrié et condamné dans ses grandes missions. Pour y remédier, les solutions politiques appelant à la résistance et à la révolution sont préconisées dans le dernier chapitre. Une source fondamentale sur la réception politique de la colonisation par les colonisés eux-mêmes.

Certains historiens comme Pierre Brocheux rappellent que le texte a sans doute été écrit par Nguyen The Truyen, le préfacier du livre, qui aida beaucoup Quoc à cette époque. Le jeune révolutionnaire ayant des difficultés dans l’expression écrite de la langue française avait aussi recours à l’avocat Phan Van Truong pour corriger ses articles (voir : Pierre Brocheux, Ho Chi Minh, Presses de Sciences Po, Références Facettes, 2000, p. 112 et note 2).

Plan de l’ouvrage

L’ouvrage se découpe en 12 chapitres :

Préface de Nguyen The Truyen.

Ch. I : L’impôt du sang

  1. La guerre et les « indigènes »
  2. Le volontariat
  3. Le fruit du sacrifice
  4. Le militarisme continue

Ch. II : L’empoisonnement des Indigènes

Ch. III : les Gouverneurs

  1. M. Fourn
  2. M. Long
  3. M. Garbit
  4. M. Merlin
  5. M. Jérémie Lemaire
  6. M. Outrey

Ch. IV : Les Administrateurs

  1. M. Saint
  2. M. Darles
  3. MM. Boudineau, Beaudoin et autres

Ch. V : Les Civilisateurs

Ch. VI : La Gabegie administrative

Ch. VII : L’exploitation des Indigènes

Ch. VIII : La justice

Ch. IX : Obscurantisme

Ch. X : Le Cléricalisme

Ch. XI : Le martyre de la femme indigène

Ch. XII : Le réveil des esclaves

  1. En Indochine
  2. Au Dahomey
  3. En Syrie
  4. La révolution russe et les peuples coloniaux
  5. Prolétaires et paysans des colonies !
  6. Un appel de l’internationale paysanne aux paysans travailleurs des colonies
  7. L’organisation syndicale dans les colonies

+ Manifeste de l’ « Union intercoloniale », association des Indigènes de toutes les colonies

Appendice : A la jeunesse annamite.

L’ouvrage est d’abord paru sous la forme d’articles publiés dans le journal L’Humanité et dans la revue communiste russe Imprekor en 1925-1926. Il est publié la première fois en 1924 par la Librairie du travail. Il est réédité en 1946 au Viêt-Nam dans une édition nationale de la RDVN puis aux Editions des langues étrangères en 1960 et 1962. L’ouvrage ne reparaît en France qu’en 1999 chez Le Temps des Cerises puis une nouvelle édition augmentée et préfacée par Alain Ruscio voit le jour en 2007 et 2012. Une édition en langue vietnamienne Bản án chế độ thực dân Pháp a été publiée en 1960 et en 1985 aux éditions Sự thật (La Vérité) donnant suite à de nombreuses rééditions.



A défaut d’avoir accès à l’ouvrage complet en ligne, on se reportera sur :

  • Les pdf des chapitres sur Chez Alice, un site politique (d’obédience communiste)
  • Une version vietnamienne est en ligne sur : VN Military History

Revendications du Peuple Annamite – juin 1919

Revendications du Peuple Annamite
Depuis la victoire des Alliés, tous les peuples assujettis frémissent d’espoir devant la perspective de l’ère de droit et de justice qui doit s’ouvrir pour eux en vertu des engagements formels et solennels, pris devant le monde entier par des différentes puissances de l’Entente dans la lutte de la Civilisation contre la Barbarie.

En attendant que le principe des Nationalités passe du domaine de l’idéal dans celui de la réalité par la reconnaissance effective du droit sacré pour les peuples de disposer d’eux- même, le peuple de l’ancien Empire d’Annam, aujourd’hui Indo-Chine Française, présente aux Nobles Gouvernements de l’Entente en général et à l’honorable Gouvernement Français en particulier les humbles revendications suivantes:

1- Amnistie Générale en faveur de tous les condamnés politiques indigènes
2- Réforme de la justice indochinoise par l’octroi aux Indigènes des mêmes garanties judiciaires qu’aux Européens, et la suppression complète et définitive des Tribunaux d’exception qui sont des instruments de terrorisation et d’oppression contre la partie la plus honnête du peuple Annamite.
3- Liberté de presse et d’opinion.
4- Liberté d’association et de Réunion
5- Liberté d’émigration et de voyage à l’étranger,
6- Liberté d’enseignement et création dans toutes les provinces des écoles d’enseignements techniques et professionnels à l’usage des indigènes.
7- Remplacement du régime des décrets par le régime des lois
8- Délégation permanente d’indigènes élus auprès du Parlement Français pour le tenir au courant des désidérata indigènes.

Le peuple Annamite, en présentant des revendications ci-dessus formulées, compte sur la justice mondiale des toutes les Puissances et se recommande en particulier à la bienveillance du Noble Peuple Français qui tient son sort entre ses mains et qui, La France étant une République, est censée d’avoir pris sous sa protection. En se réclamant de la protection du Peuple Français, Le Peuple Annamite, bien loin de s’humilier, s’honore au contraire; car il sait que le Peuple Français représente la liberté et la justice, et ne renoncera jamais à son sublime idéal de Fraternité universelle. En conséquence, en écoutant la voix des opprimés, le Peuple Français fera son devoir envers la France et envers l’Humanité.

Pour le Groupe des Patriotes Annamites: Nguyễn Ái Quấc


 Thỉnh nguyện của dân tộc Annam
Từ khi Đồng Minh thắng trận và các cường quốc long trọng cam kết minh bạch trước thế giới quyết tâm tranh đấu lấy Văn Minh chống lại Hung Tàn, tất cả những dân tộc bị áp bức đều nôn nao hy vọng trước viễn ảnh sẽ được sống trong công bằng và luật pháp.
Trong khi chờ đợi nguyên tắc dân tộc tự quyết từ lý tưởng sang thực tế, bằng sự nhìn nhận thực sự quyền thiêng của mỗi dân tộc tự định đoạt lấy số phận mình; Chúng tôi, Thần dân của Đế quốc An Nam ngày trước, nay là Đông Dương Pháp, trình bày với Cao Quyền Đồng Minh nói chung và Kính Quyền Pháp nói riêng, những thỉnh nguyện khiêm tốn sau đây:

1- Ân xá tất cả tù binh chính trị bản xứ.
2- Cải tổ luật pháp Đông dương, bằng cách bảo đảm cho người bản xứ những điều kiện về luật pháp như người Âu châu. Bỏ hẳn các toà án đặc biệt là những công cụ khủng bố và đàn áp thành phần lương thiện nhất của dân tộc An Nam.
3- Tự do báo chí và tư tưởng.
4- Tự do lập hội và hội họp.
5-Tự do di dân và du lịch ra nước ngoài.
6-Tự do giáo dục và xây dựng những trường kỹ thuật và thực nghiệp tại các tỉnh cho người bản xứ.
7- Thay thế Chế độ pháp lý.
8- Có phái đoàn đại diện thường trực dân biểu bản xứ tại Nghị viện Pháp để thông báo những nguyện vọng của người dân bản xứ.

Dân tộc An Nam, qua những thỉnh nguyện trên đây, tin tưởng ở công pháp quốc tế của các cường quốc và đặc biệt trông cậy vào lòng thành của dân tộc Pháp cao quý, đang cầm vận mệnh của chúng tôi trong tay, nước Pháp là một nước Cộng hoà, cầm bằng như đã bảo hộ chúng tôi. Khi thỉnh cầu sự bảo trợ của Dân tộc Pháp, Dân tộc An Nam, không hề tự hạ mình, mà ngược lại còn lấy làm vinh hạnh, vì họ biết Dân tộc Pháp biểu hiện tự do và công bằng, không bao giờ từ khước lý tưởng cao cả: Tứ hải giai huynh đệ. Vì vậy, khi đáp ứng tiếng kêu của người bị áp bức, Dân tộc Pháp không những làm tròn bổn phận đối với nước Pháp mà còn đối với cả Nhân loại.
Thay mặt nhóm An Nam Yêu Nước – Nguyễn Ái Quấc.

(Thụy Khuê dịch)

Photo extraite du blog de Le Minh Khai

Source article de Thụy Khuê : Ai viết bài ký tên Nguyễn Ái Quấc tại Pháp từ 1919 đến 1923?

Les décolonisations au XXe siècle : La fin des empires européens et japonais

Pierre Brocheux (dir.), Les décolonisations au XXe siècle. La fin des empires européens et japonais, Paris, Armand Colin, coll. U, 2012, 336 p.

« Tout empire périra » , Jean-Baptiste Duroselle.

La guerre est à l’origine des empires, elle est également la cause principale de leur chute. La défaite de 1914-1918 a fait disparaître les empires « monarchiques » (austro-hongrois, russe, ottoman). Les empires coloniaux ont été effacés de la carte du globe à partir de 1945 : les uns à cause de leur défaite (Japon, Italie), les autres en dépit de leur victoire (Royaume- Uni de Grande-Bretagne et d’Irlande, France, Pays-Bas).

Ce livre illustre une autre remarque de J.-B. Duroselle, « il n’y a pas d’histoire sans événements » ; il est un récit d’événements où les auteurs essaient d’en cerner les causes, de lier les facteurs et acteurs en faisceaux dynamiques et en établissant des liens voire des interactions entre eux. La déconstruction des grands empires coloniaux édifiés outre-mer en plus d’un siècle s’est achevée en une trentaine d’années, le temps d’une génération d’hommes et de femmes.

Cette histoire est déployée dans quatre théâtres géostratégiques : l’Asie orientale et méridionale, le monde méditerranéen méridional et oriental, l’Afrique subsaharienne et orientale et le monde du Pacifique. Aux quatre aires ainsi délimitées correspondent, grosso modo, quatre temporalités qui se succèdent de 1945 à 1990.

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Pierre Brocheux a enseigné l’histoire et la géographie au lycée français de Saïgon de 1960 à 1968. Puis, l’histoire du XXe siècle à l’Université Paris VII-Denis Diderot de 1970 à 1997. Il consacre ses recherches à l’histoire contemporaine de l’Asie du Sud- Est tout en focalisant l’histoire de la péninsule indochinoise. Il a publié plusieurs ouvrages sur l’histoire contemporaine du Viêt Nam dont deux biographies sur Ho Chi Minh et de très nombreux articles dans les revues d’histoire générale, d’histoire coloniale et d’histoire asiatique, en français et en anglais.


Séminaire “Mémoires d’Indochine” : Mémento personnalités – séance 1

Mémoires d’Indochine :

Regards internes sur la décolonisation et la guerre au Viêt-Nam, Laos et Cambodge

* * *

Mémento Personnalités

Rappel biographique succinct des personnalités historiques vietnamiennes de la Séance 1

Le groupe des “Cinq Dragons” en France :
Nguyen Ai Quoc (à gauche), Phan Van Truong, Phan Chu Trinh, Nguyen An Ninh et Nguyen The Truyen (de gauche à droite et de haut en bas).


Les Cinq Dragons


  • Nguyễn Ái Quốc, Hồ Chí Minh (Nguyễn Sinh Cung, 1890-1969)

Révolutionnaire communiste, agent du Komintern. Adopte de nombreux pseudonymes lors de son long parcours révolutionnaire (Nguyễn Tất Thành, Nguyễn Ái Quốc, Lý Thụy, Lucius). Fondateur du PCI en septembre 1930 et du front Viêt-Minh en mai 1941. Président de la RDVN de 1945 jusqu’à sa mort le 3 septembre 1969. Fait l’objet d’un culte de la personnalité dès les années 1950, reste la figure politique la plus populaire et la plus controversée en RSVN. Repose dans son mausolée place Ba Đình à Hanoi.

Voir aussi la fiche Ho Chi Minh (Encyclopédie Larousse en ligne)

  • Nguyễn An Ninh (1900-1943)

Ecrivain et journaliste, révolutionnaire. Se rend en France en 1920 pour poursuivre ses études de droit où il rejoint le groupe des « cinq dragons ». De retour à Saigon, il fonde le journal La Cloche Fêlée en 1923 et organise en 1926-1927 le Parti des Aspirations de la Jeunesse (Thanh niên Cao vọng Đảng). Déporté au bagne de Poulo-Condore pour ses activités politiques, il y meurt en 1943.

  • Nguyễn Thế Truyền (1898-1969)

Journaliste et homme politique. Un des artisans du groupe des Cinq Dragons en France, rédacteur-en-chef du journal Le Paria pendant un temps. Il abandonne le communisme pour le nationalisme avec la création du journal Viêt Nam Hôn (L’âme vietnamienne) en 1926 puis s’exprime au sein d’autres périodiques indépendantistes. Il prend la tête du Parti pour l’Indépendance du Viêt-Nam (Đảng Việt Nam Độc lập) en 1928. Il est arrêté par la Sûreté coloniale et incarcéré de 1941 à 1946 pour ses sympathies pro-japonaises. Il rejoint le Sud Viêt Nam en 1954 et se présente aux élections présidentielles de 1961 contre Ngô Dinh Diêm mais il échoue.

  • Phan Chu Trinh (1872-1926)

PhanChauTrinh2Lettré moderniste, nationaliste réformateur, partisan d’une solution pacifique pour accéder à l’indépendance. Il participe à l’aventure de l’Ecole de la Juste Cause (Đông Kinh Nghĩa Thục – 東京義塾) en 1907 à Hanoi et soutient l’agitation anti-fiscale de 1908 dans le Centre du pays. Son combat politique lui vaut d’être condamné à mort par le régime colonial puis déporté à Poulo-Condore et enfin d’être assigné à résidence suite aux vives protestations de la Ligue des Droits de l’Homme. Il se rend en France en 1911 et organise le combat anti-colonial au sein du groupe des Cinq Dragons. De retour au Viêt-Nam en 1925, il poursuit sa lutte pour une réforme républicaine, milite pour l’amnistie de Phan Bội Châu mais décède un an plus tard. Son enterrement donne lieu à d’importantes manifestations populaires dans tout le pays. Auteur de nombreux écrits politiques, il reste considéré comme le père de l’idéal démocratique.

  • Phan Văn Trường (1878-1933)

EPSON scanner ImageAvocat, écrivain, révolutionnaire. Un des artisans du groupe des “Cinq Dragons” à Paris regroupant Phan Chu Trinh, Nguyễn Thế Truyền, Nguyễn Tất Thành et Nguyễn An Ninh). Auteur de nombreux textes anti-colonialistes. Il publia notamment Une histoire de conspirateurs annamites à Paris ou la vérité sur l’Indochine (réédité en 2003 chez L’Insomniaque). Pour en savoir plus voir l’introduction de Ngo Van en ligne.

Né en 1878, Phan van Truong s’installe en 1908 à Paris, où il se lie avec Phan châu Trinh, opposant au régime colonial. Ensemble, ils animent la Fraternité, groupe d’Indochinois émigrés. Emprisonné de septembre 1914 à juillet 1915, Phan van Truong rédige en 1919 le mémorandum des Revendication du peuple annamite, adressé à la Conférence de paix de Versailles. Rentré au pays en 1924, il collabore au journal La Cloche fêlée qui affronte le pouvoir colonial. En 1928, il est condamné à deux ans de prison pour “provocations de militaires à la désobéissance dans un but de propagande anarchiste”. Il retourne à Paris pour se défendre devant la Cour de cassation. Emprisonné à nouveau, il n’est libéré qu’en 1930. Il meurt à Hanoi en 1933 (texte de la 4e de couverture).


Autres personnalités

  • Bùi Quang Chiêu (1873-1945)

Homme politique et journaliste. Fondateur du journal La Tribune indigène en 1917 et du Parti Constitutionnaliste, de tendance réformiste, en 1923. Notable intégré au système colonial dans les années 1930. Exécuté par le Viêt-Minh en 1945 ainsi qu’une partie de sa famille.

Voir aussi sa fiche sur Notabilités d’Indochine (1943)

  • Phạm Quỳnh (1892-1945)

PhamQuynhEcrivain et journaliste de renom. Entre dans le Cabinet de l’Empereur Bảo Đại en 1932, puis devient ministre de l’Intérieur du gouvernement impérial. Il dirige la revue d’idées Nam Phong (Vent du Sud) entre 1917 et 1932 et fonde avec Nguyen Ba Trac l’AFIMA (Association pour la Formation Intellectuelle et Morale des Annamites / Hội Khai Trí Tiến Đức) en 1919. Assassiné par le Viêt-Minh en 1945. Auteur de nombreux essais en vietnamien et en français.

Voir aussi sur Mémoires d’Indochine : Odo, Georges, Phạm Quỳnh : Franc-Maçon francophile et nationaliste

Goscha, Christopher E., L’Indochine repensée par les « Indochinois » : Pham Qùynh et les deux débats de 1931 sur l’immigration, le fédéralisme et la réalité de l’Indochine (Revue française d’histoire d’outre-mer sur Persée)

Morlat, Patrice, Projets coloniaux et mise en pratique : la politique des « fils » de Sarraut en Indochine dans les années vingt (Cahiers d’Histoire. Revue d’histoire critique, en ligne sur Revues.org)

  • Phan Bội Châu (1867-1940)

PhanBoiChauLettré moderniste, révolutionnaire, grande figure nationaliste. Opte pour la solution radicale contre le gouvernement colonial (résistance armée et instauration d’un gouvernement vietnamien). Monarchiste puis républicain. Organisateur du Voyage vers l’Est (Đông Du) où 200 jeunes nationalistes sont envoyés en formation au Japon. Fondateur de l’Association pour le Renouveau du Viêt-Nam en 1904 (Việt Nam Duy Tân Hội) puis de l’Association de Restauration du Viêt-Nam en 1912 (Việt Nam Quang Phục Hội) et enfin d’un Parti national du Viêt-Nam en 1924 (existence éphémère). Arrêté en 1925, il est d’abord condamné à mort par le régime colonial puis sa peine est commuée en assignation à résidence jusqu’à sa mort à Huế. Auteur de nombreux écrits, il est considéré comme le père du nationalisme révolutionnaire vietnamien.

La décolonisation et la guerre vécues par les populations du Viêt-Nam, du Laos et du Cambodge

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