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Case Study: Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese Independence

Was Ho Chi Minh a Communist? To many Americans he was. But to many Vietnamese he was a nationalist hero, and to even a few Americans he was that as well, plus a friend, and ally and a comrade in arms during World War 2.  It may be hard to paint Ho with any color other than gray, and now, nearly 50 years after his death and 40 years after the end of the American war in Vietnam, even that color has faded with time. What we do have are his words. 

The link below will take you the speech Ho Chi Minh gave on September 2, 1945, in which he proclaimed Vietnam's independence, and its arrival on the world stage.  Your assignment will be to read the speech and provide answers to the following questions:

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5139/

Complete your Case Study in a Word document, approximately 300-400 words in length.

Questions for exploration: 

  1. Ho's speech proclaiming Vietnam's independence contains a demand that the free world support that independence in part as payment for services rendered during World War 2.  What 'service' did Vietnam render during that conflict?
  2. Ho claims that Vietnam's independence is consistent with the philosophical principles which the Allies claimed were paramount during World War 2.  What principles was Ho referring to, and does he make references to occasions where those principles were reasserted?
  3. In the speech, Ho mentions crimes committed by the French during their occupation of Vietnam.  Which crimes, as you read them, were in your opinion most severe and justified Vietnamese independence?

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