Easternization Meets Westernization

Patriotic Youth Organizations in French Indochina during World War II

in French Politics, Culture & Society
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  • 1 National University of Singapore
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Although colonizers generally repressed emergent national movements as potential vehicles of national liberation, the French encouraged patriotic mobilizations in Indochina in the early 1940s as a way to counteract Thai irredentists, Vietnamese revolutionaries, and Japanese occupiers and their claims of “Asia for Asians.”1 Here, colonial authorities sought to build allegiance to the empire by “patriotizing” youth attitudes through sports activities and youth corps. Participation in such youth organizations mushroomed in Indochina between 1940 and 1945, gaining over a million members in that short span.2 The governor general of Indochina reported 600,000 members in youth corps in February 1944 alone.