August Revolution 1945 (Vietnam against France)

Topics: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, Communism Pages: 10 (3650 words) Published: February 26, 2014
August Revolution
The August Revolution, also called the August General Uprising (and known in the West as the Vietnamese Revolution) by the Indochinese Communist Party, was a revolution in Vietnam. On August 19, 1945, the Việt Minh under Hồ Chí Minh began a revolution against French colonial rule in Vietnam. From August 19 onwards, demonstrations and uprisings against French rule broke out in cities and towns throughout Vietnam. Given Japan had surrendered to the Allies at the end of World War II, the Japanese forces in Indochina stepped aside and allowed nationalist groups to take over public buildings in most of the major cities. While the Japanese allowed the nationalist groups free run of the country, they kept former French officials imprisoned. At the time, the Vietminh were being provided with minor supplies by the United States to fight the Japanese. Main cause of the revolution and some first moves

Vietnam was a French colony from the mid 19th century, exploited for its raw materials and cheap labour by the French monopolies. Under French rule, illiteracy rose by 80 per cent. While 6000-7000 local landlords and colonialists owned vast holdings of the best land, half the peasant majority were landless, and the rest owned tiny plots. Industrial development was retarded by colonial rule. But a small working class developed in industry, the mines, and transport. Despite severe repression, workers and peasants began to engage in struggle against the harsh conditions forced upon them - and for national liberation. It was from within this movement that the Indochinese Communist Party was formed in 1930 under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh. Although this Party had strong local roots and considerable mass support, it was critically influenced by developments in the Soviet Union where many of its leaders had been trained, and to which it looked for guidance and support. The Communist International, to which the Vietnamese CP belonged, was born after the Russian revolution as an instrument to further the struggle of workers worldwide for democracy and socialism. Discriminatory restrictions imposed by the French administration had effectively debarred the Vietnamese from entering industry, finance and commerce. "National" capitalist development was restricted to money-lending and the landlord class. This class tended to take out French citizenship and send their children to French schools. They were loyal supporters of colonial rule. The policies of the Communist International received their first serious test in Vietnam with the coming to power of a "Popular Front" government in France in 1936. This was a government of class-compromise in which the Socialist and Communist Parties joined, or supported, a coalition with so-called "progressive bourgeois forces" against the menace of Fascism. The CP was following in fact foreign policy of Stalin (leader of the Soviet Union) which, from the mid-1930s, sought alliances with anti-German capitalist powers, in particular French imperialism. The accession in France of a government including the CP encouraged the masses in Vietnam. There was an upsurge in the struggle and organisation of the working class. But the class-collaborationist "Popular Front" had no intention of liberating the colonies, or indeed of major colonial reform. Trade unions continued to be banned, and workers' leaders jailed - including the Communist Nguyen Van Tao. The French Colonial minister, a member of the reformist Socialist Party, telegraphed to Vietnam that "French order must reign in Indo-china as elsewhere." What was the response of the Communist Party leadership in Vietnam? The slogans "Down with imperialism!" and "Confiscate the land of the big landowners!" were "temporarily withdrawn". The "two-stage" theory was based on the false idea that the "national" bourgeoisie would struggle for independence against imperialism. But policies of class compromise, once begun, know no stages. In...
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