1914 World War I breaks out in Europe.
1919 Association of Patriotic Vietnamese in France sends “Eight Points” seeking ‘self-determination’ for Viet Nam signed by Nguyễn Ái Quốc (Hồ Chí Minh as of 1941) (1890–1969) to U.S. President Wilson. Wilson rebuffs him. At the Versailles Peace Conference, Hồ Chí Minh delivers a petition for gradual independence for Viet Nam to the U.S. delegation, in which his contemporaries John Foster Dulles (1888–1959) and Allen Dulles (1893–1969) are members. The U.S. turns down the petition. During their youth, the Dulles brothers had received an education in the benefits of U.S. resource control by force.
1920 Hồ Chí Minh joins the newly formed French Communist Party.
1921 Through 1921, the U.S. led in automobile sales in Viet Nam.
1921 The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) forms in New York with a consensus view later described by Michael Wala as: “Access to raw materials and markets of the whole world should be secured for the United States.” [Italics added.] Most members are connected to wealthy corporations and banks. CFR founders include banking giants J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, as well as members of the next three top financial companies in the U.S. Morgan banking’s U.S. Rubber and Rockefeller’s Standard Oil are in Viet Nam. John Foster Dulles is a founding member and had joined an international law firm in 1911. Allen Dulles joins the CFR in 1927 as a director.
November 1921 The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce visits Sai Gon exploring business opportunities. Based on available records from 1925 onward, exports from San Francisco to the region were increasing.
Mid-1920s The U.S. receives an increasing amount of rubber from Viet Nam plantations, for the fast-growing US automobile industry.
1923 Hồ Chí Minh says suffering farmers in colonies would be a strong force for a revolt, but socialists in Paris and communists in Moscow say a revolution must start in European capitals, the center of capitalism. Ho gains a reputation as a spokesperson for colonial peoples. He is invited to the Soviet Union to study Karl Marx and work at Communist headquarters. He arrives there June 30, 1923.
June 23, 1924 Ho criticizes the Communist Party in a speech at a major meeting in Moscow:
What have they done from the day they accepted Lenin’s political program to educate the working class of their countries? I am very sorry to say that our Communist Party has done hardly anything for the colonies.
1924 Viewing U.S. racism as supporting colonial attacks, Ho writes news articles titled “Lynching” and “Ku Klux Klan.”
1924–25 Ho feels like a “voice crying in the wilderness,” says William Duiker. He asks for a position in southern China. Refugees are streaming there from Viet Nam, as the French refuse reforms. He arrives in Canton, China on November 11, 1924, as a representative of the Farmer’s International, and as an interpreter for communists openly on the staff of the Nationalist Party. In Canton, he meets Viet refugees.
1925–26 Andre Malraux publishes L’Indochine Enchainee, a Sai Gon newspaper criticizing the brutality. The abuses include widespread malnutrition through the entire colonial period, due to French exports of most of the nation’s rice after harvests. Malraux soon gains status as a world-class author, writing La Condition Humaine (1933), published in English as Man’s Fate (1934). His newspaper says:
When they hear the population cry, suffering from famine, they say they may not have heard clearly, or that may be the population has given a wrong report . . . They talk of a French miracle in Asia . . . That makes us laugh.
“Annamite infants (Viet infants) are dying in considerable numbers,” Malraux writes. He explains that high taxes are a cause.
1928 Ho remains in China, while a Revolutionary Youth League he has formed enters Viet Nam and organizes in villages and rubber plantations.
February 1930 Nguyễn Ái Quốc (Hồ Chí Minh) facilitates Hong Kong meeting that founds the Vietnamese Communist Party, later called the Indochinese Communist Party; then the Việt Nam Workers’ Party; currently the Vietnamese Communist Party.
1930–31 In Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces, farmers rise up due to malnutrition and misery. They set up local governments. But Ho has no army to defend them. He cautions against the uprisings. The French army kills tens of thousands and regains control. U.S. Consul Henry S. Waterman reports that for the future, the U.S. needs to understand “the present political, military and economic background.”
1931 Consul Waterman writes that “The shelves of all the groceries, in the cities and country both, were stocked with the finest brands of California canned fruits.”
1936 Popular Front Government comes to power in France; Indochinese. Communist Party functions more openly.
1939 U.S. receives 12 percent of the exports of Viet Nam, the most lucrative part of France’s most lucrative colony, Indochina.