Commemorating the Vietnamese First World War Dead, 1915-2011: French Hegemony Uncontested?

Publication Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



About 3,000 of the roughly 90,000 Vietnamese who served ‘their’ imperial mère-patrie during WWI as soldiers and workers in France and the Mediterranean theatre paid the blood tax with their life. With the exception of Captain Do Huu Vi, whose remains were repatriated by his family in the early 1920s, other families lacked similar means and status. Based on descriptions in contemporary and later ethnographic studies, the first part of the paper conjectures about family members’ likely socio-spiritual anguish, their milieux de mémoire, and chosen mourning and remembrance rituals. The paper’s second part will compare and discuss memorialisation projects such as cemeteries, memorials, livres d’or, public ceremonies, Ph.D. theses, books, and the world-wide web. Furthermore, it examines the motivation of the organisations and individuals behind these memorialisation projects – e.g. the French state and subsidiary bodies such as the army and the Ministry of Anciens Combattants; civil society organisations such as the Souvenir indochinois and the ANAI; and scholars and publicists.


Asian History | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies

Research Areas



Association for Asian Studies (AAS)-International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) Joint Conference

City or Country

Honolulu, HI

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