Can anyone please explain about the impact of the great depression of 1929 on Vietnam?

1 Answer
Nov 1, 2016

Because the Colonial Economy expected high returns, falling market prices for raw materials made French landowners exploit the land and people more, creating hardship and rebellion.


French Colonialists were in it for the money. Rubber, textiles and rice were major products of Cochin China. The rise of the latex rubber market for tires brought on by increase automobile manufacturing in the 1920s created an opportunity for the French. Areas of Vietnam are suitable for rubber plantations.

Creating and a rubber plantation out of the jungle is a harsh and labor intensive process. There was a serious labor shortage and workers were brought in from Northern Vietnam. Among these workers were Communists that were just starting to develop in the North.

The French had started educating Vietnamese earlier in France to become low level civil servants in Vietnam. French democratic values were instilled in them but the reality of the colonies was much different. A variety of movements for change arose.

The plantation workers were trapped in jobs that were very much indentured servitude. Jobs were for 3 year terms. Deaths were common among the workers. Hours were long. Combined with a payment process that guarantee increasing debt. They were also taxed.

In response to falling prices of the great depression the colonial government devalued the currency and increased taxes on the people. This was to protect the profits of the French landowners.

A strike organized by communists at a Michelin rubber plantation north of Saigon was harshly suppressed. Further job action followed and the strength of the Communists and Nationalists grew.

By the time World War 2 came the Viet Minh were a powerful and growing force.