Viet Nam celebrates the August Revolution and the Declaration of Independence.
AUGUST REVOLUTION & WESTERN HISTORIANS
(From an article by Huu Ngoc, Vietnamese cultural writer,
Philippe Devillers is probably the first historian in the West to have analysed with impartiality Viet Nam’s 1945 August Revolution….
Deviller’s Histoire du Vietnam (de 1940-1952), published in 1952 at a crucial stage of the Franco-Vietnamese war, was an act of courage and lucidity. He appealed for an end to the senseless conflict:
“The French public has never been loyally and clearly informed of the nature and meaning of this struggle. One has gone from ambiguity to lies, lies that now threaten peace in Asia.”
In the author’s opinion, to understand the Vietnamese adversary, one had to understand the significance of the August Revolution, the outcome of a long liberation struggle laid out by the Viet Minh (the Viet Nam Independence League).
“The Revolution will not be an explosion, not even a rupture. It will be the final result of osmosis…the logical outcome of the Viet Minh’s infiltration into all sectors of national life….On August 6, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima sealed the fate of Japan. The decisive moment was coming. A national congress set up the Vietnamese People’s Liberation Committee. On August 19, Ho Chi Minh gave the order for the general uprising.”
For his part, Thomas Hodgkin studied the August Revolution as an “engaged” historian. “All historians must be somewhat engages,” he states in his book Vietnam – The Revolutionary Path. A Professor Emeritus and expert on African history, the British historian devoted his whole life to the fight against colonialism on a global scale.
In 1974, during his second visit to Viet Nam, Hodgkin began an in-depth study of the liberation of the Vietnamese people. For the first time, a national revolutionary movement was able to overthrow colonial power in a country, and set up and maintain its own political and social structure.
Hodgkin attributed this success to 8 factors – the creation of revolutionary forces, the founding of the Viet Minh, contributions from minority ethnic groups, the boycott of Japan and all other imperialist countries, the impact of a widespread famine, favourable historical conditions, and Ho Chi Minh’s leadership.
Hodgkin found the root cause of victory in Viet Nam’s 3000 years of history, through which a national conscience was forged that could resist all foreign invasions.
The most comprehensive and detailed book on the August Revolution, however, is Viet Nam 1945, published 50 years after the historic event. It is written by David G. Marr, a professor at the Australian National University, and author of two other books on Viet Nam, Vietnamese Anti-colonialism: 1885-1925, and Vietnamese Tradition on Trial.
Vietnamese speaking Marr spent thirteen years writing his third book. He tapped original sources and shuttled between Australia, Viet Nam, the United States and France in search of material. Archives in Aix-en-Provence, France, were a particular mine of information. “In this book,” writes William J. Duiker, “David Marr…has weaved a rich and complex tapestry of one of the key periods in the history of modern Vietnam.”
For further reading, see these fascinating articles:
As Viet Nam celebrates the 60th anniversary of the 1945 August Revolution, Nguyen My Ha looks back at the artists and intellectuals who helped inspire the movement.
Capital honours author of national anthem
On September 2, Viet Nam's National Day, Ha Noi will celebrate Nguyen Van Cao, the composer of the National Anthem, by naming one of the city's most beautiful streets after him. Thanh Tam reports.
Flag designer urban myths squelched
Through devoted and persistent research, writer Son Tung proved unequivocally who designed the National Flag, enabling the State to honour him 40 years after his death. It may surprise you to learn that Viet Nam's national flag flew for the first time in the 1940 Southern Uprising against the French.
The art of making money, literally
Of the four painters who designed Viet Nam's first bank notes when the country gained independence 60 years ago, only Mai Van Hien is still alive to tell the story of how they were created.
Leadership was force behind uprising
The success of the August 1945 Revolution of Viet Nam could be attributed to, as rightly commented by President Ho Chi Minh, the wise and determined leadership of the Communist Party of Viet Nam (CPV).
Famine fed farmers' fight for freedom
Devastated by the rule of the French and Japanese, Vietnamese peasants, under Communist leadership, found that the 1944-1945 famine was the last straw, fueling their ultimately successful push for freedom.
August Revolution symbol of VN: Party leader
The August Revolution of 1945 is an excellent symbol of Viet Nam's power, spirit, tenacity and intellectual strength, said Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh.
President reviews 60 years of building State governed by law
"The Vietnamese State attaches great importance to building the people's administration and strengthening socialist legislation," said President Tran Duc Luong.