French Colonization: The Underlying Cause of the Vietnam War

China ruled over Vietnam from 111 BC to 938 AD. The Han Dynasty came to Vietnam for fertile lands and trade routes, starting in 111 BC. They controlled Northern Vietnam. But in 939 AD, Vietnam declared independence and kept it until French colonial rule began with French Indochina.

The French established French Indochina in 1887, comprising Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, as a colonial federation. French colonial rule in Vietnam lasted for around 87 years, from 1887 to 1954.

However, their efforts were hindered by the resistance of the Black Flag Army led by Liu Yongfu. In 1873, Lieutenant de Vaisseau Francis Garnier led a French force to attack northern Vietnam but was ultimately defeated by the Black Flag Army led by Liu Yongfu. His forces in resisting French colonial expansion, making him a symbol of Vietnamese resistance and the fight for independence.

The Sino-French War, also known as the Tonkin War, took place from August 1884 to April 1885. It involved China, France, and Vietnam, resulting in a limited conflict. Despite the absence of a formal war declaration, the war had significant implications. China faced challenges such as limited foreign support, the strength of the French navy, and threats from Russia and Japan.

Eventually, negotiations were imposed on China, leading to the signing of the Treaty of Tianjin. However, neither side gained substantial diplomatic advantages.

During World War II, Japan occupied Vietnam and used it for its own interests. When Japan surrendered in 1945, Vietnam faced a power vacuum. The Viet Minh, led by Ho Chi Minh, took advantage and declared independence from French rule.

France refused to recognize this and fought against the Viet Minh in the First Indochina War from 1946 to 1954. The war ended with France's defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, leading to the Geneva Accords that temporarily divided Vietnam into North and South.

France's attempt to regain control over Vietnam after Japan's surrender fueled escalating hostilities, which eventually led to the Vietnam War. The conflict involved North and South Vietnam, with the United States and other countries getting involved.