A Vietcong Memoir
The book A Vietcong Memoir by Truong Nhu Tang gives a first person account of the Vietnam War through the eyes of a Vietnamese revolutionary. Tang tells of how he was a pharmaceutics student in Paris and was inspired to join the nationalist movement when he met Ho Chi Minh. This newfound pride in his country led Tang to become the Minister of Justice for the Vietcong. His story revolves around the themes of nationalism and sacrifice.
In the years leading up to and during the Vietnam War, feelings of nationalism were strong throughout the country. Vietnam’s victory over France gave the Vietnamese a sense of unity and pride in their country. They had finally dispelled their French oppressors and declared their independence. But, shortly after gaining freedom from French colonial rule, the country was split in half by the Geneva Accords. Sentiment for reunification was strong throughout Vietnam. The Vietnamese people were furious that their country had been cut in half, even if it was only temporary. It went against their sense of national pride. Tang was willing to accept Ho Chi Minh’s northern government even though it was communist. He, along with many others, believed national unification was more important than political ideologies. Furthermore, Ho Chi Minh was viewed as a national hero in both North Vietnam and South Vietnam which made people more accepting of his leftist ideologies. But when Ngo Dinh Diem was named Prime Minister in South Vietnam reunification became impossible. Diem not only refused to take part in a national election, but he also used unscrupulous method to secure over ninety-eight percent of the votes in South Vietnam. Unfortunately the new President of South Vietnam was not a benevolent ruler. “It was quickly becoming evident to me that Diem had an instinct for isolation and autocratic control and that he could only hope to make this approach to government work through brute force” (38-39). He arrested thousands of...
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