Historical Background

The resilience of a nation can be seen through its history, and Vietnam’s constant clash with colonial powers is evidence of its ability to restore itself. With a continuous power struggle with China and Western nations after that, it took up to 1976 for the Republic of Vietnam to be declared as a country. The War in Vietnam, also known as the Second Indochina War and the Resistance War Against America was a long and bitter conflict involving North Vietnam & South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia as well as the Soviet Union, China, United States, South Korea, the Philippines and Australia. Considered a Cold War era proxy war, it was spread over 19 years from 1955 to 1975. This not only resulted in devastating loss of lives but was also a massive blow to the infrastructure and economy.

Largely an agrarian economy, Vietnam maintained its rural structure till the 20th century. This positioned the country as an ideal hunting ground for Western colonial expansion and practices such as growing opium with the French colonizing Vietnam for 60 years from 1858. It became a part of French Indochina in 1893.

Soon after the start of World War II in 1939, Japan took over Vietnam from the French, as a fall-out of its war with China in an attempt to close the southern border and block off weapons supply. Shortly after the war ended, France tried to reclaim Vietnam but was ultimately defeated in the First Indo-Chinese War. This loss was followed by Vietnam being temporarily partitioned by the Geneva Accords in 1954 with a promise of future reunification. However, Vietnam remained divided. The communist and capitalist divide in South and North Vietnam as a result of conflicts between United States and China got militarized resulting in the war between the two.

Despite the struggles of continued suppression, Vietnam managed to not only restore, but also develop itself. This displays the resilience of the people along with their optimism as they take up the challenge of becoming a globally competitive power.


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