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Condoleezza Rice 1954

1945 Seventy-fifth anniversary

Vietnamese independence

David McGill reflects on Ho Chi Minh’s declaration of Vietnamese independence in 1945

Source B A banknote from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (1987)

Vietnamese nationalists had first formed the ‘League for the independence of Vietnam’ (otherwise known as the Vietminh) in 1936. They revived it in 1941 with the aim of driving out both the Japanese and French colonial forces from Vietnam. The end of the Second World War ended the Japanese occupation and also promised a possible end to French colonial rule.

On 2 September 1945 the leader of the Vietminh, Ho Chi Minh, proclaimed the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh square. At this stage the republic existed only in theory and controlled no territory. The declaration was important, however, as it committed the Vietminh to fighting for a united Vietnam free of colonial oppression and to a long military struggle against the French (and eventually the USA and the South Vietnamese regime they supported).

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Condoleezza Rice 1954

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