What ‘service’ did Vietnam render during that conflict?
Although the role of Vietnam in World War II is quite often overshadowed by the superpowers participating in it, it would still be wrong to overlook how much the country contributed to the resolution of the conflict. Ho Chi Minh claimed in his speech that the independence of the country is a payment for the services rendered during the war, and his statement cannot be called groundless. The major service that he means is the assistance Vietnam rendered to France and the French, to whom, according to the leader, the Vietnamese always demonstrated “a tolerant and human attitude” (Chen, 2015). While the war was gaining momentum, the tension between the Japanese and the French quickly erupted into violence and started to penetrate Vietnam. Both nations were fighting to obtain supremacy over the territory, which implies that Vietnam was the only side that had to suffer the consequences. Nevertheless, it continued to help the French avoid Japanese jails and protect their lives and property from the enemy. Moreover, Vietnamese citizens always showed French people tolerance and compassion. According to Ho Chi Minh, the best way to pay Vietnam back for the services it rendered would be to accept the nation’s claim for self-determination (Gelb & Betts, 2016).
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What principles was Ho referring to, and does he make references to occasions where those principles were reasserted?
In his speech, Ho Chi Minh claims that the independence of the nation logically follows from the key principles that were proclaimed as the major guidelines by the Allies. These principles are equality and self-determination. In making the case of freedom of the Vietnamese, the leader states that the independence of his nation derives from the same ideas and therefore should be acknowledged. He also makes references to occasions where these basic principles were reasserted: these are post-war peace conferences that were held in Tehran and San Francisco, during which the same beliefs were clearly articulated. Also, the leader specifically singles out self-determination as the major factor that helped the nation achieve its independence from both its enemies and its allies. Equality is mentioned to emphasize that other allied nations already acquired a status of independent states, which is unfair to Vietnam taking into account all the services it rendered to the French during the war (Gelb & Betts, 2016).
Which crimes most severe and justified Vietnamese independence?
It is clear from the speech of Ho Chi Minh that the French are guilty of numerous crimes that they committed during their occupation of Vietnam. However, the major message he wants to communicate is not connected with the oppression of the nation. The leader states that the most severe of the crimes justify the independence of the Vietnamese. This claim is quite fair taking into consideration that this list of the crimes is rather long. The most evident ones include: 1) selling a part of the country’s land to the Japanese instead of offering protection against the enemy; 2) oppressing and humiliating the nation despite its tolerant and humane disposition; 3) robbing citizens of their resources. Ho Chi Minh describes the deplorable position of Vietnamese people, who were subject to double oppression on behalf of the French and the Japanese. This brought about a lot of sufferings, including starvation that claimed more than two million lives. According to him, the French not only demonstrated their total incapability to protect the Vietnamese but also betrayed their allies selling them to Japan twice in five years. Moreover, their terrorist activities against the nation were intensified. All these factors justify the right of Vietnam to obtain independence (Chen, 2015).
Chen, K. C. (2015). Vietnam and China, 1938-1954. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Gelb, L. H., & Betts, R. K. (2016). The irony of Vietnam: The system worked. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.