French Indochina, Part 4

 

 

This is the last episode in the French Indochina mini-series (the others are Episodes 25, 26 and 34), and the last episode for 2017.  Here we wrap up by looking at the development of nationalist movements in Vietnam before World War II, with special emphasis on Ho Chi Minh, who will be the most important nationalist after the war.  And then we will meet the Cao Dai and Hoa Hao, two new religious sects that got started in South Vietnam in the early twentieth century.

https://www.blubrry.com/hoseasia/29581123/episode-35-french-indochina-part-4/

French Indochina, Part 3

 

 

Episode 34 is now available!  This time we continue our look at Southeast Asia in the early twentieth century (up to 1941), with a visit to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, while the French were running those countries.  If you’re interested in the Vietnam War coming later on, you may consider this episode a prequel, or a table-setting episode.  Don’t miss it!

https://www.blubrry.com/hoseasia/29368240/episode-34-french-indochina-part-3/

Nationalism in the Dutch East Indies

 

 

The latest podcast episode continues our narrative on Southeast Asia in the early twentieth century, by looking at Indonesia, then called the Dutch East Indies, from 1901 to 1941 (A.D.).  First we will learn how oil was discovered in the islands, and how it replaced spices as Indonesia’s most important product.  Then we will see how the Dutch administered the islands during that time.  Finally we will follow the development of Indonesian nationalism, and meet Sukarno, the first leader of modern Indonesia.

https://www.blubrry.com/hoseasia/28992958/episode-33-nationalism-in-the-dutch-east-indies/

Nationalism in British Burma

 

 

For the podcast’s 32nd episode (33rd if you count the introduction), we will return to the Southeast Asian mainland, and cover the history of Burma, modern-day Myanmar, in the early twentieth century.  In particular we will concentrate our attention on the nationalist movements that sprang up, to oppose British rule.  Three of the nationalists we will meet here, Aung San, U Nu and Ne Win, will become important in future episodes, so remember their names!

https://www.blubrry.com/hoseasia/28583933/episode-32-nationalism-in-british-burma/

The Sonderbund War

 

We have four more days before my next podcast episode goes online, so while you’re waiting for it, here’s another story about an obscure war that I recently added to the website.  This one took place in Switzerland, believe it or not, and I added it to Chapter 13 of the European history series.

The Sonderbund War

We don’t get many opportunities to discuss Switzerland in a European history narrative, because the Swiss kept to themselves most of the time, and the outside world didn’t bother them much. The most recent outsider who did bother them was Napoleon Bonaparte, who conquered Switzerland in 1798, and turned most of it into a "Helvetian Republic." Then in 1803, because the Swiss refused to cooperate with him, he brought back the previous canton system, though the cantons remained satellite states of the French Empire until 1814. With the Congress of Vienna, Switzerland’s independence was restored, and Valais, Neuchâtel and Geneva were added as new cantons, establishing Switzerland’s present-day boundaries. Most important of all, the Congress declared Switzerland neutral, and the Swiss have followed this to the letter; they have not been involved in any foreign war since 1815, nor will they join any international organization.

However, the Swiss could still fight other Swiss, and they did that once, in a conflict that was short and is now nearly forgotten. Thanks to Ulrich Zwingli, today’s Swiss population is predominantly Protestant, but a large Catholic minority remained after the Reformation era ended. In the 1840s a new liberal party rose, the Free Democratic Party of Switzerland. This party wanted a new constitution that would turn the Swiss Confederation into a more centralized state, and it wanted to reduce the power of the Catholic Church, especially in the schools. To protect their rights, seven cantons that were both conservative and Catholic formed an alliance called the Sonderbund ("Separate Alliance"). This was illegal according to the 1815 treaty and the constitution. The liberals ordered the alliance dissolved, and the Sonderbund members refused. Among the other cantons, fifteen supported the Bern government, and two were neutral.

The resulting Sonderbund War lasted less than four weeks, in November 1847. The Protestants had the advantage of numbers, recruiting 99,000 troops to go against the Sonderbund’s 79,000. In response, the Sonderbund requested aid from the two strongest Catholic nations in Europe, France and Austria. Therefore, Bern’s strategy was to win the war as quickly as possible, before any foreigners could get involved. The Sonderbund began the fighting by launching two offensives, against Ticino and Aargau, but they failed to gain anything important before the government struck back. Those counter-offensives conquered Fribourg and Lucerne, and broke the Sonderbund forces. By December 1 the last Sonderbund canton (Valais) surrendered, and it was all over.

There is nothing "civil" about most civil wars, but the Swiss managed to make the Sonderbund War one of the most polite conflicts of all time. The government army commander, Guillaume-Henri Dufour, refused to equip his army with Congreve rockets, a weapon the enemy did not have, because he felt the rockets would cause too much damage. And he actually let the other side know where he was planning his next attacks, in the hope that this would make them surrender before the attacks took place. In addition, a lot of people in the Sonderbund did not really want to secede from Switzerland, so when government troops entered rebel towns, they received a warm welcome. Finally, both sides had standing orders to give medical aid to wounded enemies. All this meant that casualties were minimal (60 federal troops and 26 rebels killed), and when a new constitution was introduced in 1848, one which turned Switzerland into the federal state that exists today, the Catholics were willing to give it a chance. In fact, they are still in Switzerland now. As for General Dufour, he went on to preside over the First Geneva Convention, which founded the International Red Cross in 1864.

The Philippines, the Hollywood Years

 

 

I posted Episode 31 late on Monday; sorry I didn’t announce it here sooner.  With this podcast episode, we begin a narrative completely in the twentieth century, so welcome to recent history!  Here we also conclude the four-part miniseries about the Philippines.  This time we cover the years from 1902 to 1941, looking at the minor wars that came after the Philippine Insurrection (or Philippine-American War, if you’re politically correct), and seeing how Americans and Filipinos learned to work together, so that the Philippines can become independent someday.

https://www.blubrry.com/hoseasia/28123464/episode-31-the-philippines-the-hollywood-years/

The American War in the Philippines

 

 

This is the third episode in the mini-series that the podcast is currently doing about the Philippines.  Here we cover the three-year war the Americans fought to keep the islands after they arrived in 1898.  This also completes our narrative on Southeast Asia in the nineteenth century.

https://www.blubrry.com/hoseasia/27686153/episode-30-the-american-war-in-the-philippines/