Following World War I, Ho Chi Minh and other Vietnamese nationalists, among others, embraced communism. Certain elements influenced these nationalists. Such elements include the rise of communism as a global ideology, the colonial legacy, and the allure of communism’s aspirations of independence, equality in society, and economic justice. The historical context of Vietnamese nationalism is also among these elements. To understand the motives and choices made at that time by Vietnamese nationalists, one must understand these aspects.
To begin with, the historical context of the Vietnamese nationalists acted as a significant factor. History tells us how Vietnam have a lengthy background explaining the need to fend off foreign occupation (Quang). It also involved several decades of Chinese hegemony. It was followed by another colonial period under the French administration. These Vietnamese nationalists viewed communism as a means of re-establishing their independence. They considered Wilsonian principles of national self-determination and the post-World War I discussion on decolonization. Moreover, to them, communism was similar to releasing Vietnam from colonial domination.
Second, colonization had a significant impact that cannot be understated. Vietnam’s social disparities were firmly rooted in French colonialism. Vietnamese farmers were exploited and impoverished. In contrast, a small, powerful, wealthy circle of French and Vietnamese sympathizers and collaborators enjoyed benefits. Radical ideologies like communism taking root in the area flourished in Vietnam because of the enormous socioeconomic disparities that stoked hatred and grievances among the populace. People who wanted to overthrow the established order and destroy colonial systems were drawn to communism because it promised social equality and justice.
Third, the emergence of communism as a global ideology was also critical. The Bolshevik-led Russian Revolution of 1917 significantly altered the political climate worldwide. It served as an inspiration for campaigns against colonialism and nationalist fights all across the world, particularly in Vietnam. The possibility to confront and dethrone strong imperial powers was a fact. The Bolsheviks’ success in bringing down the Russian monarchy and transforming it into a communist state supported this idea. Ho Chi Minh was amongst the Vietnamese nationalists who viewed communism as a tool for emancipation (Neville). These Vietnamese nationalists also depended on the Russian Revolution, which acted as a tool for their resistance against colonialism.
Another important aspect was the allure of communism’s aspirations. Communist ideologies provided a broad spectrum that included independence in politics and economic and social change. It committed to addressing Vietnam’s entrenched socioeconomic disparities and establishing a just and equitable society (Sung et al.). Many Vietnamese who had witnessed firsthand the inequities that the system of colonization fostered were moved by its focus on community ownership, redistribution of wealth and income, and the general well-being of the working class.
Vietnamese nationalists’ acceptance of communism was also aided by the global sympathy and assistance offered by communist organizations and parties. Anti-colonial campaigns, especially those in Southeast Asia, were aggressively supported and promoted by the Comintern (Communist International). The Vietnamese nationalists were given support, instruction, and ideological direction by communist leaders and their organizations, which strengthened their dedication to using communism as a strategy to achieve their objectives.
In conclusion, a mix of economic, historical, and ideological circumstances contributed to the acceptance of communism by Vietnamese nationalists such as Ho Chi Minh after World War I. The past trajectory of Vietnamese nationalism influenced the choice of Vietnam to embrace communism, the effects of colonial rule, the growth of communism as a globally recognized viewpoint, and the allure of communist pledges of fighting for independence, economic justice and social equity.
Neville, Peter. Ho Chi Minh. Routledge, 2018.
Quang, Luong. JOURNAL of CRITICAL REVIEWS an ANALYSIS of the ROLE of the PRESIDENT of HO CHI MINH in VIETNAM’S REVOLUTIONARY HISTORY-an INSIGHT from the 1945 AUGUST REVOLUTION. p. 2020. Accessed 23 May 2023.
Sung, Mao, et al. Re-Examining the Cult of Personality: A Comparative Cross- Re-Examining the Cult of Personality: A Comparative Cross-National Case Study of Kim Il Recommended Citation “Re-Examining the Cult of Personality: A Comparative Cross-National Case Study Of. https://doi.org/10.57709/23031779. Accessed 30 Oct. 2022.