Vietnamese nationalism was marked by the opposition of colonialism in all spheres of life. One group of intellectuals were in favour of strengthening Vietnamese traditions in order to resist western domination. The other group felt that Vietnam could imbibe the best from the west even while opposing their domination.
A famous Confucian nationalist Phan Boi Chau formed the Revolutionary Society, Duy Tan Hoi in 1903. In 1905, a Chinese Reformer Liang Qichao guided Chau in writing his influential book, The History of the Loss of Vietnam.
However, Phan Chu Trinh was one nationalist who differed in opinion with Phan Boi Chau. Phan Chu Trinh accepted the French revolutionary ideal of liberty but accused the French for not abiding by the ideal.
Japan and China became the centre for revolutionaries to build their network comprising other Asian revolutionaries.
In 1907and 1908 students visited Japan to get modern education. They wanted help from Japan to overthrow the French in Vietnam and re-establish the deposed Nguyen dynasty.
In 1911, the Chinese monarchy was overthrown by a popular movement under Sun Yat-sen and a Republic was set up. The objective of the revolutionaries was to establish a Democratic republic in Vietnam and not a constitutional monarchy.