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Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese Independence

Ho Chi Minh was, without a doubt, one of the most important personalities in Southeast Asia’s recent history, albeit a divisive one. During the World War II, he led the Vietnamese resistance against both the French and Japanese occupants and eventually rid his country from the occupation completely, declaring Vietnam’s independence on September 2, 1945. That day, he made a grandiose speech in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh square. The goal of this essay is to take a closer look into Ho Chi Minh’s speech and, using it, explore the three important questions of Vietnam’s involvement in World War II, the philosophical principles behind Vietnam’s independence and the suffering inflicted on Vietnam by the French occupants.

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The Vietnamese Involvement in World War II

First, Ho Chi Minh states that the world must grant Vietnam its independence partially as payment for services rendered during World War II. By “services”, he most likely meant establishing the League for the Independence of Vietnam, or Viet Minh on May 19, 1941, and its effort to unite the divided people of Vietnam in a common struggle against foreign invaders. (Cima 1987) Among Viet Minh’s activities were providing education, collecting taxes and intelligence on enemy forces, providing counterintelligence of their own and forming local militias. Ultimately, the Viet Minh started the August Revolution in 1945, which served to drive away the remaining occupants and unite the northern, central, and southern parts of Vietnam under the uniform rule of the Provisional Democratic Republic. (Cima 1987)

The Moral Principles

Second, Ho claims that the Vietnamese independence is consistent with philosophical principles the Allies adhered to during World War II. Those principles are self-determination and the equality of nations. The first principle, according to him, was reasserted through Vietnam’s nearly century-long struggle to oppose the French oppression, as well as by fighting alongside the Allied forces against the Imperialist Japan, which invaded Vietnam in 1940 and eventually gained full control of all its territories. The second principle comes in the fact that, despite being oppressed by the French colonialists for nearly eighty years, the Vietnamese people still strived to act humanely towards them by protecting their lives and property from the Japanese invaders. (Ho 1960)

The French Crimes

Finally, Ho Chi Minh lists a number of ways in which the French oppressors inflicted suffering upon the people of Vietnam. Among them, he mentions the French enforcing the use of alcohol and opium to make people weaker and more controllable, taking the mines, forests and rice fields under their control, thus leaving the native inhabitants without any resources and making them dependable and prioritizing prisons over schools. (Ho 1960) However, of all the crimes, the most severe one, as well as the one most conducive to the fight for independence, was the deliberate division of the country into three parts, all of which were ruled by three separate regimes. (Ho 1960)


To sum up, the speech made by Ho Chi Minh in 1945 demonstrates clearly what his motivations were during World War II. Namely, he wanted to give his country independence it was missing for nearly a century, as well as building a socialist state within that country. He wanted Vietnam to be treated equally to every other country and, while not without a price, his dream came true eventually.

Reference List

Cima, Ronald J., ed. (1987), “Establishment of the Viet Minh”, Vietnam: A Country Study, Library of Congress

Ho Chi Minh (1960), Selected Works Vol.3, Hanoi: Foreign Languages Publishing House

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"Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese Independence." StudyCorgi, 30 Dec. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese Independence." December 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese Independence." December 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese Independence." December 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese Independence'. 30 December.

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