Vietnam History and Politics

By | June 25, 2021

1000 years of Chinese rule

As early as 207 BC, The Lac Viet tribe conquered what is now Vietnam. Nam Viet means something like “southern country of the Viet”. The Red River Delta became the center of this forerunner of today’s state.

The influence of the Chinese grew and about 100 years later, the Chinese conquered this region. The rule of the Chinese who shaped the country was to last 1000 years. The people spoke Chinese and Chinese became the official language. Chinese rule did not end until 938.

The Ly Dynasty

The first significant Vietnamese dynasty, which ruled from 1009 to 1225, was the Ly dynasty. During this time, Vietnam continued to expand, especially to the north. Then came the Mongols, who could be repulsed after fierce fighting. And again and again the residents had to defend themselves against the Chinese, who would have liked to join the country on their own national territory.

Vietnam develops its own culture

In 1428 the Chinese were finally expelled and by the end of the 18th century Vietnam’s own culture and tradition could develop. Different rulers took turns and were supported alternately by Europeans such as Portugal and France.

The Nguyen family was an important one. The center of their dominion was the city of HuĂȘ, which was also the capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945. In 1802 the rule of the Nguyen dynasty began. From 1804 the country officially had the name “Viet Nam”.

Vietnam becomes part of Indochina

The interest of the colonial power France in Vietnam was very great. At first only a few provinces came into the hands of the French, in 1884 France also took over the rest as a French protectorate. The country was divided into South Vietnam, Central Vietnam and North Vietnam.

In 1887 the French united these areas with Laos and Cambodia to form Indochina. When you hear the term “Indochina” today, these three countries are meant.

The French saw themselves as colonial rulers and exploited their protectorate. The peoples – including the Vietnamese – were exploited. But resistance slowly developed, which took a lead in 1930 with the formation of the Communist Party. The independence movement grew stronger.

Vietnam during World War II

But in 1940 the Japanese came first, who fought against France as allies of Hitler’s Germany. Since France was once the loser, the French had to allow the occupation. Ho Chi Minh founded a League for the Independence of Vietnam, also known as the “Viet Minh”.

Vietnam History 2

Ho Chi Minh proclaims Vietnam a state

According to anylistintheus, a Vietnamese state was founded under the occupation of Japan, although it was still led by an emperor. This was then deposed after the Second World War and the capitulation of the Japanese. Ho Chi Minh was able to proclaim its Democratic Republic of Vietnam. In this way he wanted to ensure that Vietnam could finally exist as a state in its own right and be ruled by its own people. After years of oppression, the Vietnamese people should be recognized as equal and independent.

Ho Chi Minh also referred to the US Declaration of Independence, which says: “All men are born equal: the Creator has given us inviolable rights, life, liberty, and happiness!” That means: “All people are born equal: the Creator has given us inviolable rights; life, freedom and happiness!”

But the French didn’t like that. Now they were among the winners of World War II, and they returned and fought this independent Vietnamese state.

The Indochina War

This marked the beginning of the Indochina War shortly after the end of World War II in 1946, a terrible war with many victims. This war would drag on for many years and cause great suffering, especially among the Vietnamese people.

In the end there was a battle that went down in history as the “Battle of Dien Bien Phu”. The French were defeated and Vietnam was divided in the end. The north became communist and the south non-communist.

The division of Vietnam

The president of the south was named Ngo Dinh Diem and that of the north was Ho Chi Minh. This headed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The communist north was supported by China and the Soviet Union, and the US supported the south to prevent communism from spreading. It was the Cold War era.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail

But the communists also wanted to expand further in the south. From the north they supported the communist insurgents in the south and brought weapons and fighters over the so-called Ho Chi Minh Trail. This path ran from north to south and also touched parts of the neighboring countries Laos and Cambodia. Incidentally, this name only existed in the west, the Vietnamese themselves referred to this path as Truong Son Street. It wasn’t just a single path, it consisted of many paths and roads. One speaks of a length between 16,000 and 20,000 kilometers.