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Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of VietNam

Ho Chi Minh, the revolutionary name of Nguyen That Thanh (1890-1969), was the leader of the Vietnamese independence movement against the French, and later the United States. He was educated in France, where he became a communist. He returned home to fight Japanese occupation during World War II and to lead resistance to the French afterward. He denounced western imperialism as contrary to democratic principles and explicitly allied himself with the promise of both the American and French Revolutions.

"All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

This immortal statement was made in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America in 1776. In a broader sense, this means: All the peoples on the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live, to be happy and free.

The Declaration of the French Revolution made in 1791 on the Rights of Man and the Citizen also states: "All men are born free and with equal rights, and must always remain free and have equal rights"....

Nevertheless, for more than eighty years, the French imperialists, abusing the standard of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, have violated our Fatherland and oppressed our fellow citizens. They have acted contrary to the ideals of humanity and justice.

In the field of politics, they have deprived our people of every democratic liberty.

They have enforced inhuman laws; they have set up three distinct political regimes in the North, the Center, and the South of Vietnam in order to wreck our national unity…

They have built more prisons than schools.…

In the field of economics, they have fleeced us to the backbone, impoverished our people, and devastated our land….

[During World War II] our people were subjected to the double yoke of the French and the Japanese. Their sufferings and miseries increased…more than two million of our fellow citizens died from starvation….

After the Japanese had surrendered to the Allies, our whole people rose to regain our national sovereignty and to found the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

The truth is that we have wrested our independence from the Japanese and not from the French….

For these reasons, we, members of the Provisional Government, representing the whole Vietnamese people, declare that from now on we break off all relations of a colonial character with France....

The whole Vietnamese people, animated by a common purpose, are determined to fight to the bitter end against any attempt by the French colonialists to reconquer their country.

We are convinced that the Allied nations… have acknowledged the principles of self-determination and equality of nations, will not refuse to acknowledge the independence of Vietnam.

A people who have courageously opposed French domination for more than eight years, a people who have fought side by side with the Allies against the Fascists during these last years, such a people must be free and independent….

The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their independence and liberty.

Source | Ho Chi Minh, On Revolution: Selected Writings, 1920-66, ed. Bernard B. Fall (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1967), 14345; from Center for History and New Media and ASHP, "Ho Chi Minh, Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of VietNam," Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution, http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/583/
Creator | Ho Chi Minh
Item Type | Pamphlet/Petition
Cite This document | Ho Chi Minh, “Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of VietNam,” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed August 21, 2019, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1124.

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