The early days - 1000 years of chinese domination- Liberation from china - China bites back - Le lo enters the scene - The coming of the europeans - Lording it over the people - Tay son rebrllion - The last of the nguyens - The french takeover - Independence aspiration - WWII breaks out - A false dawn - War with the french - A separate south vietnam - A new north vietnam - The north south war - Enter the cavalry - The turing point - Nixon his doctrine- Other foreign involvement - The fall of the south - Reunification of vietnam - Opening the door - Vietnam today


Throughout the colonial period, a desire for indep endence simmered under the surface. Seething nationalist aspirations often erupted into open defiance of the French. This ranged from the publishing of patriotic periodicals to a dramatic attempt to poison the French garrison in Hanoi. The imperial court in Hue, although quite corrupt, was a centre of na­tionalist sentiment and the French orchestrated a game of musical thrones, as one emperor after another turned against their patronage. This comical caper culminated in the accession of Emperor Boa Dai in 1925, who was just 12 years old at the time and studying in France. Ultimately, the most successful of the anticolonialists were the com­munists, who were able to tune into the frustrations and aspirations of the population - especially the peasants - and effectively channel their demands for fairer land distribution. The story of Vietnamese communism, which in many ways is also the political biography of Ho Chi Minh, is complicat ed. K eeping it simple, the f irst Marxist grouping in Indochina was the Vietnam Revo­lutionary Youth League , founded by Ho Chi Minh in Canton, China, in 1925. This was succeeded in February 1930 by the Vietnamese Communist Party. In 1941 Ho formed the League for the Independ ence of Vi etnam, much better known as the Viet Minh, which resisted the Japanese and car­ried out extensive political activities during WWII . Despite its nationalist programme, the Viet Minh was, from its inception, dominated by H o's communists. But Ho was pragmatic, patriotic and populist and understood the need for national unity.