Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian HistoryMain MenuGet to Know the SiteGuided TourShow Me HowA click-by-click guide to using this siteModulesRead the seventeen spatial stories that make up Bodies and Structures 2.0Tag MapExplore conceptsComplete Grid VisualizationDiscover connectionsGeotagged MapFind materials by geographic locationLensesCreate your own visualizationsWhat We LearnedLearn how multivocal spatial history changed how we approach our researchAboutFind information about contributors and advisory board members, citing this site, image permissions and licensing, and site documentationTroubleshootingA guide to known issuesAcknowledgmentsThank youDavid Ambaras1337d6b66b25164b57abc529e56445d238145277Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5fThis project was made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Reporting Biological Warfare
12019-11-18T15:48:27-05:00Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5f357Reporting Biological Warfareplain2021-08-26T18:50:39-04:00Northeast China and Korea1953?Nhan Dan Trieu Trung Chien Thang Chien Tranh Vi Trung. Published by Phong Phong Benh Cuc Quan Y. Held at the Vietnam National Library, Hanoi.Public domain.Michitake AsoMA-0045Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5f
12019-11-18T15:48:28-05:00Vietnamese Patriotic Hygiene Movement20The Việt Minh use the PRC's patriotic hygiene movement to motivate peasants in northern Vietnamgallery45142021-10-05T15:57:16-04:00Michitake AsoViệt MinhCommittee to Prevent Germs
The Việt Minh witnessed how effective the patriotic hygiene movement was in motivating the Chinese masses to resist biological weapons and to participate in hygiene improvement projects (Rogaski 2004). The Việt Minh sought to reproduce the patriotic hygiene movement’s successes in northern Vietnam. Thus they included a representation of the PRC's patriotic hygiene movement and its effects in the pamphlet they produced about biological warfare (see especially images one, four, and five in the gallery above). You can compare the imagines above to the PRC's own.
What are the similarities and differences in the themes presented? What might the differences in the quality and presentation of the information say about the state capacities of the Việt Minh and the PRC?
The Việt Minh planners believed that changing peasant mentalities would lead to transformations in hygiene practices and improvements in health. Thus, they hoped to simultaneously mobilize peasants for battle against the French, to spread knowledge about germ (vi trùng) theory, and to eliminate practices that were deemed “unscientific” (phản khoa học) and “unhygienic” (phản vệ sinh) (Malarney 2012).
In this way, the Việt Minh pamphlet suggests that biological warfare encouraged Vietnamese medical doctors on the Committee to Prevent Germs to view germs as part of both their broader natural and social environments. Biomedical knowledge and laboratory research were both important to counter biological warfare but so too was the social knowledge related to mass movements and motivating peasants. In other words, the farmer's tool and the soldier's weapon were just as important as the medical doctor's instruments and the scientist's notebook in combatting biological weapons (see image five in the gallery above). And as the waning farmer enthusiasm for reporting suspected French use of biological weapons shows, misunderstanding the social environment was just as dangerous as misunderstanding the natural environment for the Việt Minh.
Finally, this pamphlet as suggests the importance of individuals in preventing biological invasions during the Cold War. Even though the Việt Minh and the subsequent Democratic Republic of Vietnam projected the image of a strong state, they were still reliant on the cooperation and efforts of the people to carry out state-led projects. This pamphlet thus pleads with readers to accept state control of people and places (see images two and three in the gallery above). The confident state-centric view projected in this pamphlet was, however, at odds with the individual voices of concern and worry recorded in reports and letters held in state archives.