The use of the British resettlement village in Malaya and Vietnam, 1948-1965



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Texas Tech University


In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, scholars have created extensive literature about wars in Vietnam. Many of these works address campaigns and Vietnam's millennium-long struggle against Chinese domination; the bulk of the literature, though, examines the war for independence from France and the long struggle to unify postcolonial Vietnam under the communists, in which the United States playcd such a significant role in combating the communists. This study, too, addresses the Vietnamese struggle for independence in the twentieth century; however, rather than concentrating on France and the U.S., it will examine the efforts of another world power at that time, Great Britain, and how the British influenced events in Vietnam.

This study examines the role of the British in Southeast Asia during the midtwentieth century, specifically Malaya and South Vietnam, in combating communist insurgent forces. The primary focus is on the use of Britain's village resettlement model, a counter-insurgency technique originally implemented in Malaya, in order to battle communist guerrillas in Vietnam. In addition to the resettlement village, this study will also address military and civil defense tactics considered important for defeating an insurgency.

This study will examine the use of the British resettlement model and other counter-insurgency tactics during the Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960, the First Indochina War, and the Second Indochina War, respectively. For this study, thc first Indochina War signifies the war between the French and Viet Minh in Vietnam, 1945-1954, while the Second Indochina war denotes the period of American involvement in Vietnam, 1954-1975.

The principal focus of this study is the counter-insurgency tactics used during thc Malayan Emergency and the early period of American involvement in Vietnam, 1954-1963. In the end, this study concludes that the British resettlement model helped to defeat the communist guerrillas in Malaya, while circumstances unique to Vietnam ensured its failure in Vietnam.



Counterinsurgency, Forced migration, Malaya