Vietnamese Nationalism

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By the 1930s Vietnamese nationalists, led by Ho Chi Minh, had burnt out most options for achieving self-determination peacefully. The revolutionary activism that followed was the only choice Vietnam had to attain their freedom from the occupying colonial France. A few years before World War I all the way through the 1960s, Ho Chi Minh tried persistently to gain basic rights and freedoms for his people to no avail. The French had oppressed the Vietnamese during the duration of their occupation and had no intention of giving that up. Ho Chi Minh never intended to have a revolutionary war as his first solution to the increasing hardships against his fellow countrymen. Instead he asked the French peacefully for these freedoms. France’s colonial stubbornness refused to answer Minh’s wishes and as a result relations intensified to out of control and boiled over to say the least. After years of being put on the back burner by world powers who opposed colonialism, including the US, the Vietnamese nationalists fighting for self-determination turned towards revolution. The ignorance and underestimation shown towards the Vietnamese ultimately was the catalyst that spurred on the future wars against France and eventually the United States.

In 1919, after the Entente powers, Russia, France and England, toppled the Central powers, Italy, Germany, and Austria, in the Great War. The Versailles Peace Conference was held in France, and at the conference President Wilson promoted anti-colonialism. Woodrow Wilson identified the US with the goal of self-determination for all nations, and during World War II President Franklin D. Roosevelt was equally eloquent on the rights of the colonial people to their independence. These notions led nationalists around the world to believe that the US would be willing to aid revolutions for independence. Ho Chi Minh, known as Nguyen Ai Quoc during the time of the conference saw this as an opportunity to appeal to not just Wilson but to the...
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