After France withdrew its troops from Indochina, Vietnam was open to the Japanese invasion. Soon after Pearl Harbor, Vietnam was fully occupied by the Japanese forces. In May 1941, the Vietnamese League for Independence was created. It was an independent guerrilla network of peasants, socialists and nationalists designed to resist Japanese occupation. The Vietnamese opposition was led by a group of communists, Vo Nguyen Giap and Ho Chi Minh, which later played a key role in the founding of an independent Vietnam. The anti-Japanese resistance of the Vietnamese people was a great service to the free world rendered by Vietnam during the Second World War (Declaration of Independence, n.d.).
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Ho Chi Minh started his speech with the quote from the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America: “All men are created equal”(Declaration of Independence, n.d., para. 2). He followed it with another quote from the Declaration of the French Revolution: “All men are born free and with equal rights, and must always remain free and have equal rights” (Declaration of Independence, n.d., para. 4). When Ho proclaimed that Vietnam’s independence is consistent with the philosophical principles that were paramount during the Second World War, he referred to the “principles of self-determination and equality” (Declaration of Independence, n.d.). Those principles were reasserted in the courageous opposition of Vietnamese people to both French and Japanese domination.
The ideals of humanity stated in the Rights of Man and the Citizen were trampled by the French colonial power during the occupation of Vietnam. They tried to destroy the national unity by dividing the country in three political districts with separate regimes in the Center, the South and the North of Vietnam (Declaration of Independence, n.d.). Every uprising was mercilessly suppressed by the French authorities. The political repressions were evident by the construction of countless prisons across the country. The number of penal institutions was higher than the number of schools. As a result of extreme taxation, people were impoverished and the land was devastated (Declaration of Independence, n.d.). The Vietnamese were subjected to the harmful influence of opium and alcohol. But the most egregious violation of equality that justified Vietnam’s independence was the deprivation of its democratic liberty.