Hanoi, Anti-French resistance war, General uprising 1945

In 1854, on hearing that the French had occupied the three eastern provinces of the South (Gia Dinh, Bien Hoa and Dinh Tuong), candidates left their examinations in Hanoi for a demonstration in Van Mieu and around Ho Guom (Restored Sword Lake) to show their willingness to fight the enemy in the South.
In early November 1873, F. Garnier advanced to Hanoi and opened fire on 20 September 1873. Hanoi was defeated because the Court had long been weak. But the people of Hanoi were not easily subdued. They rose up under Nguyen Tri Phuong’s banner against the French, and on 21 December 1873 F. Garnier's troops were suppressed in Cau Giay.

In spite of the Hanoi people’s bravery, the Court did not change their mind. They pursued a policy of peace and negotiation. This resulted in the Court being forced to place Don Thuy under the French occupation. Henri Riviere was sent to Hanoi to replace F. Garnier. Immediately on his arrival he delivered an ultimatum to Hoang Dieu (then the Governor of Hanoi) forcing the people to surrender. Hoang Dieu led the people of Hanoi to fight for the defense of the city but finally he committed suicide.

Later Henri, the commander-in chief of the invaders was killed at the Cau Giay battle on 19 May 1883. If King Tu Duc had then sent reinforcements, the French would have been destroyed and Hanoi would have been liberated. But he clung to his hope of winning back Hanoi by a compromise and he signed a shameful treaty in 1884 placing Vietnam under the French "protectorate".

A patriotic organisation called Đong Kinh Nghia Thuc (the Tonkin Study Institute) was established in February 1907 by a group of scholars (Luong Van Can, Nguyen Quyen and Le Dai) under the name of a school, at No. 10 Hang Dao street. The organisation introduced new ideology, enhanced patriotism and encouraged the struggle against the French colonialists. It exerted a great influence over Hanoi and many other provinces, which so frightened the French that they ordered the school to close in December 1907.

In 1908, another patriotic group planned to poison the French troops, who were stationed in the inner city in support of the resistant force, but they failed. Many of them were captured and executed.

It was during this time, in 1925, that an event shocked the country. It was the trial of Phan Boi Chau, a patriot. Under the people’s angry protests the French Governor General had to free him.

In 1926, a great meeting was held in Trung Sisters Temple to observe a memorial service for Phan Chu Trinh. The French sent troops to break up the meeting, but they could not prevent the huge crowd continuing the ceremony. It is obvious that, from the very beginning of their domination, the French experienced protests which grew stronger and stronger, especially after the founding of the Communist Party of Indochina.

The years following the First World War were marked by the French increasing their exploitation of Indochina. Hanoi saw important changes with the working class coming into existence.

In 1919 several strikes broke out in the printing workshops in Hanoi. Between 1919 and 1929 strikes became more and more frequent. New revolutionary organisations began to emerge. The Thanh Nien Cach Mang Đong Chi Hoi (Revolutionary Youth Association) was founded in Hanoi. The first communist section was set up in March 1929 at No. 5D Ham Long Street. They sent their representatives to attend the Youth Congress in Hong Kong.

Due to disagreements at the Congress, three representatives left for Hanoi and announced the establishment of the Communist Party of Indochina in June 1929,at No.312 Kham Thien Street, Hanoi. From then, the revolutionary campaign in Hanoi, together with the So Viet Nghe Tinh (the Nghe Tinh Soviets), demonstrated their strong development. It was in this period that the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang (National Party of Vietnam), who recruited members mainly from the educational circle, had positive activities in Hanoi. But it failed to organise mass action after the Yen Bai upsurge was doomed (1930).

The French bloody repression and their acute exploitation brought about an economic crisis, which exacerbated the people’s plight, but it in no way hindered their revolutionary movements. The campaign grew larger when many of the bourgeoisie went bankrupt and the industry and trade remained weak.

When the French Popular Front came to power, the Communist Party of Indochina launched a movement to struggle for democratic freedom against the colonial traitors. This was during the period of 1936-1939. On 1 May 1938 a huge meeting, the biggest one since the French domination, was held in front of the Dau Xao to celebrate May Day. This, together with many other demonstrations, contributed to the growth of the emulation movement. A "rehearsal" and preparation for the general upsurge began./.