A little known history professor once argued that the colonization that took place in Southeast Asia during the nineteenth century occurred in fundamentally the same manner. Colonial powers entered the country, subjugated the local people and exploited valuable resources for economic and political gain. In response, each nation rose up to throw off Western rulers. Although the professor's hypothesis is one that attempts to succinctly encapsulate the period of colonialism that occurred in Southeast Asia, the reality is that the development and evolution of colonialism as described by this professor was not as cohesive as this hypothesis makes it sound. In fact, as noted by SarDesai (1997) "The impact of colonial rule on the people varied from unashamedly exploitative to the benign and benevolent. It generated forces of industrialization, urbanization, modernization, intellectual ferment, and political ambition that inspired at least a small elite in each colony to abandon part of the traditional trappings and step into the modern age" (p. 141).With the realization that colonialism did not have a uniform impact on the development and evolution of countries in Southeast Asia, there is a clear impetus to examine some of the differences that manifested during this time period. To this end, this investigation considers the nationalist movements that took place in the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam in an effort to overthrow colonial rule.
[...] The Philippines Critically reviewing what has been written about the struggle of the Philippines to gain its independence from colonial rule, it seems reasonable to argue that the Western powers that played such a role in the subjugation of the state were ultimately the ones that afforded the country the ability to become free and independent. In the early years of the country's development, the Philippines were ruled by the Spanish. Although the Filipinos were dissatisfied with this situation, the problem became exacerbated when the US brokered a deal with the Spanish that left America in charge of the state. [...]
[...] While SarDesai notes that process was due in part to the nationalist sentiment which served as the basis for the development of government in the post-War years, the author also notes that pressure on the French government to end its war in Vietnam also played a role in the independence of Vietnam. “French forces were thoroughly demoralized, particularly by the public opinion at home, which overwhelmingly pressed for ending the "dirty war." Cabinets fell rapidly until Pierre Mendes- France, who became premier on June vowed to resign his office if a settlement on Indochina were not reached by July 20, 1954” (p. [...]
[...] The Dutch were eventually forced out as a result of international pressure to withdraw from the country. As such, the process of liberation is one that involved powers outside of the nationalist movement that took place in Indonesia. Vietnam Vietnam also faced colonial rule by the West. Specifically, SarDesai (1997) notes that Vietnam faced problems with French rule throughout the course of its development. “Opposition to French rule began almost as soon as they had occupied Cochin China in 1862. [...]
[...] Because of the specific international responses that were garnered in response to the nationalist movements, Southeast Asian nations such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam were able to acquire control of their own destiny. While it is evident that these international responses were not the sole factor that contributed to the overthrow of colonial powers, it is evident that this issue contributed considerably to the process of development that occurred with respect to the end of colonialism. In addition to the fact that international politics facilitated the development of independence in many Southeast Asian countries, this research also demonstrates that while the “Western oppressors” that had assumed colonial control of countries in Southeast Asia clearly had an oppressive element to their regimes, in most instances the West had a positive influence on the development of nationalism and the state. [...]
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