Japanese-Occupied Hanoi

War, Famine, and Famine Management in the Red River Delta
  • Geoffrey C. Gunn
Part of the Palgrave Studies in World Environmental History book series (PSWEH)


While the resilience of the citizens of Hanoi under the onslaught of American bombing during the “Vietnam War” is legendary, the experience of the city and its vast rural hinterland under Japanese wartime occupation in March–August 1945 is less well known. This chapter examines the Great Famine of March–April 1945 especially as it impacted Hanoi, arguing that environment—here taken as a rural-urban continuum—was finely tuned according to a millennium-long hydraulic pact between an imperial state and its population in the management of rice fields and food production, but also a pact subverted under colonial auspices by a series of shocks, both man-made and natural, largely preventable and therefore inexcusably human.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey C. Gunn
    • 1
  1. 1.Emeritus, Nagasaki UniversityNagasakiJapan

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