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The Empire
Empire
of Vietnam
Vietnam
(Vietnamese: Đế quốc Việt Nam; Hán tự: 越南帝國; Japanese: ベトナム帝国) was a short-lived client state of Imperial Japan[1] governing the whole of Vietnam
Vietnam
between March 11 and August 23, 1945.

Contents

1 History 2 Policies

2.1 Constitutional issues 2.2 Educational reform 2.3 Judicial reform 2.4 Encouragement of mass political participation 2.5 Territorial unification

3 Military 4 Decline 5 Viet Minh
Viet Minh
takeover 6 See also 7 Notes 8 References 9 External links

History[edit] During World War II, after the fall of France
France
and establishment of Vichy France, the French had lost practical control in French Indochina to the Japanese, but Japan stayed in the background while giving the Vichy French administrators nominal control. This changed on 9 March 1945 when Japan officially took over. To gain the support of the Vietnamese people, Imperial Japan declared it would return sovereignty to Vietnam. Emperor Bảo Đại
Bảo Đại
declared the Treaty of Huế
Huế
(1884) made with France
France
in 1884 void. Trần Trọng Kim, a renowned historian and scholar, was chosen to lead the government as prime minister.[2] Policies[edit] Constitutional issues[edit]

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Bảo Đại, previously emperor of Annam, was the nominal ruler of the 1945 Empire
Empire
of Vietnam.

Kim and his ministers spent a substantial amount of time on constitutional matters at their first meeting in Huế
Huế
on 4 May 1945. One of their first resolutions was to alter the national name to Việt Nam. This was seen as a significant and urgent task. It implied territorial unity; "Việt Nam" had been Emperor Gia Long's choice for the name of the country since he unified the modern territory of Việt Nam in 1802. Furthermore, this was the first time that Vietnamese nationalists in the northern, central and southern regions of the country officially recognized this name. In March, activists in the North always mentioned Đại Việt (Great Việt), the name used before the 15th century by the Lê Dynasty
Lê Dynasty
and its predecessors, while those in the South used Vietnam, and the central leaders used An Nam (Peaceful South) or Đại Nam (Great South, which was used by the Nguyễn Lords). Kim also renamed the three regions of the country — the northern (former Tonkin or Bắc Kỳ) became Bắc Bộ, the central region (former Annam or Trung Kỳ) became Trung Bộ, and the southern areas (former Cochinchina or Nam Kỳ) became Nam Bộ. Kim did this even though at the time the Japanese had only given him direct authority over the northern and central regions of Vietnam. When France
France
had finished its conquest of Vietnam
Vietnam
in 1885, only southern Vietnam
Vietnam
was made a direct colony under the name of Cochinchina. The northern and central regions were designated as protectorates as Tonkin and Annam. When the Empire
Empire
of Vietnam
Vietnam
was proclaimed, the Japanese retained direct control of Cochinchina, in the same way as their French predecessors.[3] Thuận Hóa, the pre-colonial name for Huế, was restored. Kim's officials worked to find a French substitute for the word "Annamite", which was used to denote Vietnamese people and their characteristics as described in French literature and official use. "Annamite" was considered derogatory, and it was replaced with "Vietnamien" (Vietnamese). Apart from Thuận Hóa, these terms have been internationally accepted since Kim ordered the changes. Given that the French colonial authorities emphatically distinguished the three regions of "Tonkin", "Annam", and "Cochinchina" as separate entities, implying a lack of national culture or political integration, Kim's first acts were seen as symbolic and the end of generations of frustration among Vietnamese intelligentsia and revolutionaries. On 12 June 1945, Kim selected a new national flag — a yellow, rectangular banner with three horizontal red stripes modeled after the Li Kwai in the Book of Changes
Book of Changes
— and a new national anthem, the old hymn Dang Dan Cung (The King Mounts His Throne). This decision ended three months of speculation concerning a new flag for Vietnam.[3] Educational reform[edit] Kim's government strongly emphasised educational reform, focusing on the development of technical training, particularly the use of romanised script (quốc ngữ) as the primary language of instruction. After less than two months in power, Kim organized the first primary examinations in Vietnamese, the language he intended to use in the advanced tests. Education minister Hoang Xuan Han strove to Vietnamise public secondary education. His reforms took more than four months to achieve their results, and have been regarded as a stepping stone for the successor Viet Minh
Viet Minh
government's launch of compulsory mass education. In July, when the Japanese decided to grant Vietnam full independence and territorial unification, Kim's government was about to begin a new round of reform, by naming a committee to create a new national education system.[4] Judicial reform[edit] The Justice minister Trịnh Đình Thảo launched an attempt at judicial reform. In May 1945, he created the Committee for the Reform and Unification of Laws in Huế, which he headed. His ministry reevaluated the sentences of political prisoners, releasing a number of anti-French activists and restoring the civil rights of others. This led to the release of a number of Communist cadres who returned to their former cells, and actively participated in the destruction of Kim's government.[4] Encouragement of mass political participation[edit] One of the most notable changes implemented by Kim's government was the encouragement of mass political participation. In memorial ceremonies, Kim honoured all national heroes, ranging from the legendary national founders, the Hùng kings
Hùng kings
to slain anti-French revolutionaries such as Nguyễn Thái Học, the leader of the Vietnamese Nationalist Party (Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng) who was executed with twelve comrades in 1930 in the aftermath of the Yên Bái mutiny.[4] A committee was organised to select a list of national heroes for induction into the Temple of Martyrs (Nghia Liet Tu). City streets were renamed. In Huế, Jules Ferry
Jules Ferry
was replaced on the signboards of a main thoroughfare by Lê Lợi, the founder of the Lê Dynasty
Lê Dynasty
who expelled the Chinese in 1427. General Trần Hưng Đạo, who twice repelled Mongol invasions in the 13th century, replaced Paul Bert. On August 1, the new mayor of Hanoi, Tran Van Lai, ordered the demolition of French built statues in the city parks in his campaign to Wipe Out Humiliating Remnants. Similar campaigns were enacted in southern Vietnam
Vietnam
in late August. Meanwhile, the freedom of the press was instituted, resulting in the publication of the pieces of anti-French movements and critical essays on French collaborators. Heavy criticism was even extended to Nguyen Huu Do, the great grandfather of Bảo Đại who was notable in assisting the French conquest of Dai Nam in the 1880s.[4] Kim put particular emphasis on the mobilisation of youth. Youth Minister Phan Anh, attempted to centralise and heavily regulate all youth organizations, which had proliferated immediately after the Japanese coup. On May 25, an imperial order decreed an inclusive, hierarchical structure for youth organizations. At the apex was the National Youth Council, a consultative body, which advised the minister. Similar councils were to be organised down to the district level. Meanwhile, young people were asked to join the local squads or groups, from provincial to communal levels. They were given physical training and were charged with maintaining security in their communes. Each provincial town had a training centre, where month-long paramilitary courses were on offer.[4] The government also established a national center for the Advanced Front Youth (Thanh nien tien tuyen) in Huế. It was inaugurated on June 2, with the intention of being the centrepiece for future officer training. In late July, regional social youth centers were established in Hanoi, Huế, and Saigon. In Hanoi, the General Association of Students and Youth (Tong Hoi Sinh vien va Thanh Nien) was animated by the fervor of independence. The City University in Hanoi
Hanoi
became a focal point of political agitation. By May and June, there was evidence that communist Cadres of the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
front, had infiltrated the university's youth and famine relief associations. In the face of the rising Viet Minh
Viet Minh
front, the Japanese attempted to contact its leaders, but their messengers were killed by the Viet Minh. The Kempeitai
Kempeitai
retaliated, arresting hundreds of pro-communist Vietnamese youths in late June.[5] Territorial unification[edit] The most notable achievement of Kim's Empire
Empire
of Vietnam
Vietnam
was the successful negotiation with Japan for the territorial unification of the nation. The French had subdivided Vietnam
Vietnam
into three separate regions: Cochinchina (in 1862), and Annam and Tonkin (both in 1884). Cochinchina was placed under direct rule while the latter two were officially designated as protectorates. Immediately after terminating French rule, the Japanese authorities were not enthusiastic about the territorial unification of Vietnam. However, after the formation of Kim's cabinet in April, Japan quickly agreed to transfer what was then Tonkin and Annam to Kim's authority, although it retained control of the cities of Hanoi, Haiphong, and Da Nang. Meanwhile, southern Vietnam
Vietnam
remained under direct Japanese control, just as Cochinchina had been under French rule.[5] Beginning in May 1945, Foreign Minister Tran Van Chuong negotiated with the Japanese in Hanoi
Hanoi
for the transfer of the three cities to Vietnamese rule, but the Japanese stalled because Hanoi
Hanoi
and Haiphong were seen as strategic points in their war effort. It was only in June and July that the Japanese allowed the process of national unification to take place. On June 16, Bảo Đại
Bảo Đại
issued a decree proclaiming the impending reunification of Vietnam. On June 29, General Yuitsu Tsuchihashi signed a series of decrees transferring some of the duties of the government (including customs, information, youth, and sports) to the governments of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, effective July 1. Bảo Đại
Bảo Đại
then issued imperial orders establishing four committees to work on a new regime: the National Consultative Committee (Hoi dong Tu van Quoc Gia); a committee of fifteen to work on the creation of a constitution; a committee of fifteen to examine administrative reform, legislation, and finance; and a committee for educational reform. For the first time, leaders from southern regions were invited to join these committees.[5] Other developments in southern Vietnam
Vietnam
in early July were seen as preparatory Japanese steps towards granting territorial reunification to Vietnam. In early July, when southern Vietnam
Vietnam
was abuzz with the spirit of independence and mass political participation due to the creation of the Vanguard Youth organizations in Saigon
Saigon
and other regional centres, Governor Minoda announced the organization of the Hoi Nghi Nam (Council of "Nam Bo", i.e. Cochinchina) to facilitate his governance. This council was charged with advising the Japanese based on questions submitted to it by the Japanese and for overseeing provincial affairs. Minoda underlined that its primary aim was to make the Vietnamese population believe that they had to collaborate with the Japanese, because "if the Japanese lose the war, the independence of Indochina would not become complete." At the inauguration of the Council of Nam Bo on July 21, Minoda implicitly referred to the unification of Vietnam. Tran Van An was appointed as the president of the Council, and Kha Vang Can, a leader of the Vanguard Youth, was appointed to be his deputy.[6] On July 13, Kim arrived in Hanoi
Hanoi
to negotiate directly with Governor-General Tsuchihashi. Tsuchihashi agreed to transfer control of Hanoi, Haiphong, and Da Nang
Da Nang
to Kim's government, taking effect on July 20. After protracted negotiation, Tsuchihashi agreed that Nam Bo would be united with the Empire
Empire
of Vietnam
Vietnam
and that Kim would attend the unification ceremonies on August 8 in Saigon.[7] Military[edit]

Yuitsu Tsuchihashi
Yuitsu Tsuchihashi
served as adviser of Vietnamese Imperial Army.

After the creation of the puppet Empire
Empire
of Vietnam, the Japanese began raising an army to help police the local population. The Vietnamese Imperial Army was officially established by the IJA 38th Army to maintain order in the new country. The Vietnamese Imperial Army was under the control of Japanese lieutenant general Yuitsu Tsuchihashi, who served as adviser to the Empire
Empire
of Vietnam. Decline[edit] Kim's historic achievement was immediately overshadowed by external pressure and domestic infighting. On July 26, the leaders of the Allies issued a declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of Japan. Japan was on the defensive and quickly losing ground, and its aim was no longer to win the war, but simply to find an honorable ceasefire. On the Vietnamese front, the possibility of future punishment by the Allied forces for collaboration with the Japanese discouraged many possible supporters of Kim. His ministers and public servant corps began to dwindle in number. The Imperial Commissioner of Bac Bo, Phan Ke Toai, accompanied by his son and other Viet Minh sympathisers and secret communists such as Nguyen Manh Ha and Hoàng Minh Giám, submitted his resignation. Nguyen Xuan Chu, a leader of the Vietnamese Patriotic Party (Viet-Nam Ai Quoc Dang) and one of the five members of Cường Để's National Reconstruction Committee, refused the offer of replacing Toai. Returning to Thuận Hóa, Kim arrived to find increasing conflict among his ministers. Chuong wanted credit for arranging the integration of the three ceded cities and southern Vietnam
Vietnam
to Kim's government and was regarded as having Prime Ministerial designs himself. The government meetings of August 5 and 6 were headlined by personal disputes and the resignation of the ministers of interior, economy, and supplies. Ho Ta Khanh, the economic minister, went further and demanded the resignation of the government. Khanh proposed that the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
be given a chance to govern because of its strength. The government resigned on August 7. Bảo Đại
Bảo Đại
asked Kim to form a new government, but the end of the war made this impossible.[7] On August 8, 1945, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuria. The following day, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, and Japan's resistance to the Allies was quickly ended. Japan decided to give Kim and Vietnamese nationalists the full independence and territorial unification that they had sought for decades. Kim was urged many times to come to Saigon
Saigon
to officially accept control of Nam Bo. Multiple factors prevented Kim from leaving the capital. From August 8 onward, Pham Khac Hoe, Bảo Đại's office director, was instructed by Ton Quang Phiet (the future chairman of the Viet Minh's Revolutionary Committee in Huế) to persuade the Emperor to abdicate voluntarily.[8] In order to carry out his mission, Hoe persistently disrupted Kim's activities, particularly by citing Kim's failure to call the most influential figures to Thuận Hóa to form a new government. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Nam, cited the communist uprisings in Thanh Hóa
Thanh Hóa
and Quảng Ngãi
Quảng Ngãi
in central Vietnam
Vietnam
to discourage Kim from traveling to Saigon. The acceptance of the handover of Nam Bo was thus temporarily placed at the feet of the Council of Nam Bo.[9] On August 14, Bảo Đại
Bảo Đại
appointed Nguyen Van Sam, former president of the Journalists' Syndicate, to the post of Imperial Commissioner of Nam Bo. Sam left Thuận Hóa for Saigon. However, he was delayed en route as the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
had taken advantage of the military power vacuum caused by the Japanese surrender to launch a general insurrection with the aim of seizing control of the country.[9] Viet Minh
Viet Minh
takeover[edit] In August, Vietnam
Vietnam
went through a period regarded as one of its most eventful phases, amidst the backdrop of rapid change in global politics. On the one hand, the Allies began to put into effect their postwar plans for Vietnam, which included the disarmament of Japanese troops and the division of Vietnam
Vietnam
into spheres of influence. The Japanese military and civilian personnel in Vietnam
Vietnam
were hamstrung by the unconditional surrender of their government and the possibility of Allied retribution. With respect to the Vietnamese, the Japanese were split psychologically and ideologically. Some Japanese favoured the Viet Minh, releasing Communist political prisoners, arming the Viet Minh front, and even volunteering their services. Others, including senior military officers, wanted to use their forces to support Kim's government and to crush the communists. Amid the political confusion and power vacuum engulfing the country, a race to power by diverse Vietnamese political groups took place.[9] On the eve of Japan's surrender, Kim and his supporters tried to take control of the situation. On August 12, Kim's outgoing government was retained as "Provisional Government" to oversee the day-to-day running of the country. Kim asked Bảo Đại
Bảo Đại
to issue an imperial order on August 14 repealing the Treaties of Saigon
Saigon
of 1862 and 1874, thus removing the last French claims to sovereign rights over Vietnam. Messengers were sent from the central capital to northern and southern Vietnam
Vietnam
to reunify diverse groups under the central government in Thuận Hóa, but they were apprehended en route by the Viet Minh.[9] Even though Bảo Đại's messengers were cut off, non-communist leaders in northern and southern Vietnam
Vietnam
attempted to challenge the Viet Minh. In Bac Bo, Nguyen Xuan Chu obtained Kim's approval to form the Committee for National Salvation, and he was appointed by Kim as chairman of the Political Directorate of Bac Bo. In Nam Bo, on August 17, it was announced that all non- Viet Minh
Viet Minh
factions, including Trotskyites and the southern religious sects of Cao Đài
Cao Đài
and Hòa Hảo, had joined forces to create the Mặt trận Quốc gia Thống nhất (National Unified Front).[10] Trần Quang Vinh, the Cao Đài leader, and Huỳnh Phú Sổ, the founder of the Hòa Hảo, also issued a communique proclaiming an alliance. On August 19 in Saigon, the Vanguard Youth organised their second official oath-taking ceremony, vowing to defend Vietnamese independence at all costs. The next day, Ho Van Nga assumed the interim office of Imperial Commissioner and appointed Kha Vang Can, the Vanguard Youth leader, commander of Saigon
Saigon
and Cholon. Nguyen Van Sam's arrival in Saigon
Saigon
on August 22 provided the National Unified Front with the official declaration of national independence and territorial reunification.[11] Nevertheless, the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
prevailed in the power struggle with their August Revolution. On August 17, Viet Minh
Viet Minh
cadres in Hanoi
Hanoi
took control of a mass demonstration organised by the General Association of Civil Servants. The rally was originally aimed at celebrating independence and territorial reunification and supporting Kim's government. Two days later, Nguyen Xuan Chu was forced to hand over authority to the Viet Minh. Combined with the official cease-fire of the Japanese army on August 21, this threw Kim's government into disarray and it collapsed. On August 23, the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
seized power in Huế. Two days later, Bảo Đại
Bảo Đại
officially abdicated, and Nguyen Van Sam handed over power to the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
in Saigon. The Empire
Empire
of Viet-Nam had fallen along with Japan's Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.[12] See also[edit]

Annam (French protectorate) Tonkin (French protectorate) French Cochinchina Democratic Republic of Vietnam

Proclamation of Independence

Vietnam
Vietnam
during World War II

Japanese invasion of French Indochina Japanese coup d'état in French Indochina

Notes[edit]

^ Lebra, Joyce C. Japan's Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
in World War II: Selected Readings and Documents. New York: Oxford University Press, 1975, p. 157, 158, 160 ^ Chieu, p. 301. ^ a b Chieu, pp. 303–304. ^ a b c d e Chieu, p. 309. ^ a b c Chieu, p. 310. ^ Chieu, pp. 310–311. ^ a b Chieu, p. 311. ^ Chieu, pp. 311–312. ^ a b c d Chieu, p. 312. ^ Jessica M. Chapman Cauldron of Resistance: Ngô Đình Diệm, the United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam
Vietnam
2013 p28 "On August 17, a group of non– Viet Minh
Viet Minh
parties and organizations in the south, including the Trotskyites, the politico-religious organizations, Catholics, .." ^ Chieu, pp. 312–313. ^ Chieu, p. 313.

References[edit]

Vu Ngu Chieu (February 1986). "The Other Side of the 1945 Vietnamese Revolution: The Empire
Empire
of Viet-Nam". Journal of Asian Studies. 45 (2). 

External links[edit]

Preceded by Nguyễn Dynasty Dynasty of Vietnam 1945 Succeeded by Democratic Republic of Việt Nam Republic of Cochinchina

v t e

Vietnamese independence movement

Events

Bombardment of Tourane Siege of Saigon Capture of the Citadel of Saigon Conquest of Cochinchina Ba Dinh uprising / Cần Vương Pacification of Tonkin Hanoi
Hanoi
Poison Plot World War I 1916 Cochinchina uprising Thái Nguyên uprising Bazin assassination Yên Bái mutiny Nghệ-Tĩnh Soviets World War II 1940 Cochinchina uprising Japanese coup d'état in French Indochina August Revolution Proclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam First Indochina War Battle of Dien Bien Phu Geneva Conference

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Cần Vương Đông Du Duy Tân
Duy Tân
hội Empire
Empire
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Revolutionaries

Cường Để Đinh Công Tráng Ho Chi Minh Huỳnh Thúc Kháng Lương Văn Can Ngô Đức Kế Nguyễn An Ninh Nguyễn Quang Bích Nguyễn Quyền Nguyễn Thái Học Nguyễn Thần Hiến Nguyễn Thành Nguyễn Thiện Thuật Nguyễn Thượng Hiền Nguyễn Trung Trực Nguyen Xuan On Phạm Bành Phan Bội Châu Phan Chu Trinh Phan Đình Phùng Phan Thanh Giản Phan Xích Long Tạ Thu Thâu Tôn Thất Thuyết Trần Cao Vân Trương Định Vũ Hồng Khanh

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Tự Đức Hàm Nghi Thành Thái Duy Tân Bảo Đại

French rulers

Albert Sarraut Jean Decoux French Indochina

Governor-General

Collaborators

Hoàng Cao Khải Trần Bá Lộc

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