Position of France as a Colonial Power
Critical Nature of Struggle in French Indo-China
France, confronted by insurrection in Indo-China, is now mobilizing forces for whatever military operations may be necessary to re-establish her authority in that outpost of empire. The Viet Nam revolt is a major challenge to the fledgling Fourth Republic. Loss of Indo-China, richest and most populous of all French colonies, might be a signal for revolt in North Africa and might lead eventually to virtual dissolution of the world's second largest empire.
Achievement of independence by the mandated territories of Syria and Lebanon has already deprived France of influence in the Near East. If she were now to lose her strategic position in the Far East and the strength derived from possession of trans-Mediterranean territories, it would be impossible for her to regain the rank of a great power. The struggle in Indo-China is thus not alone a struggle to retain the fruits and prestige of empire. Upon its outcome may depend the future of France herself as a first-class nation.
Threat to the French Empire from Native Unrest
After the United States acquired Louisiana in 1803, there were left to France only remnants of a great overseas empire previously won by French explorers and traders. Native unrest played small part in loss of the old empire; its fate was determined largely on the battlefields of Europe or by the issue of clashes in the colonies between French troops and the forces of rival European powers. Today, on the contrary, the threat to the empire built up during the 19th century comes, not from other colonial powers, but from the colonies themselves.