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Rubbery Revolution: Plantations as Battlefields in the First Indochina War, 1945–1954

  • Michitake AsoEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 64)

Abstract

This chapter analyzes the First Indochina War as a watershed in Vietnamese environmental history. It focuses on southeastern Vietnam, a region whose strategic value largely resulted from its existence as a border area, not only geopolitically between Cambodia and Vietnam but also physically as a terrain marked by sharp divergence between a rubber monocrop and a forest environment. This chapter examines how the Việt Minh strategy evolved from one that sought to destroy imperial landscapes of labor to one that worked to co-opt the resources derived from rubber. At first, the Việt Minh accepted previously articulated definitions of plantations as places of rubber production and exploitation, and thus they sought to sabotage plantation operations. Only after 1950, when the Việt Minh imagined plantations as a potential source of supplies that could support their war effort, did they begin to tap into the food, money, and arms made available by rubber. Ironically, the regional characteristics that made this region useful for anticolonial resistance arose from the colonial refashioning of nature for rubber production.

Keywords

Rubber plantations First Indochina War Việt Minh Đông Nam Bộ French Rubber Institute Plantation landscapes 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryState University of New YorkAlbanyUSA

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