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Martin Thomas

My governor-generalship of Indo-China lasted, in one piece, for almost five years (20 July 1940–9 March 1945). That, in itself, appears an exceptional historical fact, which should inspire in all those who wish to embark upon an impartial study of my proconsulate, if

in The French empire at war 1940–45
Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles
Rony Brauman

), obediently carried out the orders of the Vichy government’s ‘national revolution’ and was an active partner of the colonial authorities during the wars in Indochina and Algeria, to name a few striking examples. The same can be said for all the other national societies, though we should note that this is not the case for the ICRC itself, which has maintained its neutrality to the point that it has sometimes been criticised for it ( Favez, 1999 ). In that historical context, the Red

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Abstract only
French Indochina as a failed symbolic resource
John Hennessey

Colonialism during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was an enormously complex and multifaceted enterprise. Especially in the case of larger colonies like French Indochina, it is difficult to evaluate the overall ‘success’ or ‘failure’ of the colonial project from the standpoint of the colonizing country, since this consisted of many dimensions. ‘Success’ could be

in Imperial expectations and realities
Imperialism, Politics and Society

In the twenty years between the end of the First World War and the start of the Second, the French empire reached its greatest physical extent. At the end of the First World War, the priority of the French political community was to consolidate and expand the French empire for, inter alia, industrial mobilisation and global competition for strategic resources. The book revisits debates over 'associationism' and 'assimilationism' in French colonial administration in Morocco and Indochina, and discusses the Jonnart Law in Algeria and the role of tribal elites in the West African colonies. On the economy front, the empire was tied to France's monetary system, and most colonies were reliant on the French market. The book highlights three generic socio-economic issues that affected all strata of colonial society: taxation and labour supply, and urban development with regard to North Africa. Women in the inter-war empire were systematically marginalised, and gender was as important as colour and creed in determining the educational opportunities open to children in the empire. With imperialist geographical societies and missionary groups promoting France's colonial connection, cinema films and the popular press brought popular imperialism into the mass media age. The book discusses the four rebellions that shook the French empire during the inter-war years: the Rif War of Morocco, the Syrian revolt, the Yen Bay mutiny in Indochina, and the Kongo Wara. It also traces the origins of decolonisation in the rise of colonial nationalism and anti-colonial movements.


Between 1940 and 1945 the French empire divided against itself. This book presents the events in the French empire in the 1940s, and traces the period of wartime French imperial division, setting it within the wider international politics of the Second World War. It discusses the collapse of France's metropolitan forces during the second week of June 1940, which became a calamity for the French empire. The final breakdown of the Anglo-French alliance during the latter half of 1940 was played out on the African continent, in heavily defended French imperial territory of vital strategic importance to Allied communications. The Vichy empire lost ground to that of the Charles de Gaulle's Free French, something which has often been attributed to the attraction of the Gaullist mystique and the spirit of resistance in the colonies. Indo-China was bound to be considered a special case by the Vichy regime and the Free French movement. Between late 1940 and 1945, the French administration in Indo-China was forced by circumstances to plough a distinctive furrow in order to survive intact. The book discusses the St Pierre and Miquelon affair, and the invasion of Madagascar, and deals with the issue of nationalism in North Africa, before and after the Operation Torch. The contradiction between the French commitment to constitutional reform and the few colonial subjects actually affected by it was echoed in the wartime treatment of France's colonial forces.

El Dorados, utopias and dystopias

Modern imperialism was a phenomenon which had highly complex motivations arousing intense emotional desires. This book explores how imperial powers established and expanded their empires through decisions that were often based on exaggerated expectations and wishful thinking, rather than on reasoned and scientific policies. It examines a variety of El Dorados, utopias and dystopias - undertakings that are based on irrational perceived values. By exploring various cases, the book seeks to show how El Dorados arose in Europe across imperial traditions, colonial projects and periods in time. The Darien project was an aborted Scottish colony, which pointed out that women in Scotland might not have possessed any special immunity from the financial mania and risk-taking in markets. While modern industrial methods made Bambuk gold extraction productive and profitable, for the people, the industrialized extraction of gold is more a curse than a blessing. By the early twentieth century Indochina was arguably France's most prosperous colonial possession; however a closer investigation reveals Indochina's repeated failure to live up to its rulers' expectations. The Swan River Colony remained an 'inconsequential possession' of the British Empire until the discovery of gold in the 1890s. Included in the discussions are cases related to Patagonia, the land of broken Welsh promise; the German Templer colonies in Palestine; and the British Mesopotamian El Dorado. The book offers new insights into the nature of imperialism and colonial settlement, but recognized that imperial causality consists of interlocking motivations.

Milton Osborne

It is an ironic fact that among South-East Asian societies, those of Indo-China are among the least accessible through the medium of English-language fiction. For almost a decade before it ended in 1975, the Second Indo-China War was a dominant feature of American life, causing controversy which spread throughout the Western world. Yet, in the West today, the region where the war was

in Asia in Western fiction
The French army, African soldiers and military propaganda during the 1950s
Ruth Ginio

4 ‘Saving French West Africa’: the French army, African soldiers and military propaganda during the 1950s1 Ruth Ginio When the French Army, in the years following the Second World War, was sent to defend the Empire in Indochina, Madagascar, and Algeria, African soldiers recruited in French West Africa (Afrique occidentale française: AOF) fought sideby-side with French soldiers against the anti-colonial movements in these turbulent parts of the French Empire. Nevertheless, while each of these subjects – the decolonisation of the French Empire and the military

in Francophone Africa at fifty
Abstract only
Martin Thomas

1945 than it had been in 1919. But the Sétif uprising, France’s continuing humiliation in Syria and Lebanon, the uneasy return to Indo-China and the unfinished business of Brazzaville and the French Union – all kept imperial matters to the fore within de Gaulle’s provisional government and the French General Staff. On 16 June 1945, the African section of French military intelligence submitted a coldly

in The French empire at war 1940–45
Bao Dai, Norodom Sihanouk and Mohammed V
Christopher Goscha

and colonised the Vietnamese kingdom ruled by the Nguyen dynasty since 1802. 1 By the turn of the twentieth century, they had divided the country into three parts, a colony in the south, Cochinchina, and two protectorates located to the north, one in the central part of the country, Annam, the other covering the Red River delta, Tonkin. This truncated Vietnam was in turn part of a wider colonial state known as French Indochina, which also included Laotian and Cambodian monarchies. In theory, as a protected state, the Nguyen monarchy would continue to administer

in Monarchies and decolonisation in Asia