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Vietnam National Independence Day: Declaration of Indepedence and Values

Jasmine Le Jasmine Le

August 31, 2020 | 08:30

Vietnam National Independence Day, the annual signigicant event dating back to September 2nd, 1945, holds a special place in the heart of every Vietnamese. The Declaration of Independence is an important symbol of the event.

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Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence at Ba Dinh Square, on 2 September 1945
Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence at Ba Dinh Square, on 2 September 1945 (Photo: VNE)

President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence

After 30 years of leaving Vietnam, looking for ways to save the country, in 1941, President Ho Chi Minh returned Vietnam, convening the 8th Conference of the Central Committee of the Indochina Communist Party, deciding the way for national salvation, establishing the Vietnamese Independent Alliance Association (Viet Minh), building armed forces and revolutionary bases, leading the people to launch the uprisings and prepare the general insurrection to seize power throughout the country, according to VGP.

After the August 1945 Revolution, on 2 September 1945, at Ba Dinh Square, Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence to establish the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the first worker-peasant state in Southeast Asia; organized the free nationwide general selection to elect the National Assembly and approved the first democratic Constitution of Vietnam. The First National Assembly appointed Ho Chi Minh as the President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam 91946).

Together with the Party Central Committee, President Ho Chi Minh appealed and lead the whole Party, the entire people and army to defeat all schemes of the imperialists, protecting and strengthening the revolutionary government.

After 7 decades, the Declaration of Independence, confirming the right to life and self-determination of the Vietnamese people, has maintained its values.

The Declaration of Independence showed the strategic views of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh. It announced to the world that Vietnam has the same right to independence and freedom as other countries and affirmed the staunch will of all Vietnamese people to be ready to sacrifice everything to defend national independence, according to VOV.

A legal document

The Declaration of Independence is an official legal document proclaiming Vietnam’s independence.

Associate Professor Doctor Nguyen Trong Phuc, former Director of the Institute of Party History of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration, says: “In the Declaration of Independence, President Ho Chi Minh affirmed the legality of Vietnam’s struggle for freedom and independence. He wrote that a nation that bravely fought against colonialism for 80 years and was in the Allied Forces against fascism from 1941 to 1942, must have freedom and independence. The Declaration stated an undeniable fact: that the Communist Party of Vietnam, President Ho Chi Minh, and the Vietnam Independence Alliance Association led the revolution to success.”

While affirming the legal status of Vietnam’s independence and sovereignty, the Declaration underscored the iron-willed determination of the Vietnamese nation to defend freedom and independence.

2810 declaration 3
(Photo: Speakola)

The continuation of universal values

In the Declaration of Independence, President HCM quoted the US Declaration of Independence of 1766 and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1791 to confirm the rights of Vietnamese people. President HCM intended the Vietnamese revolution to be a continuation of universal human evolution. Associate Professor Doctor Nguyen The Thang, Head of the Faculty of HCM Thoughts Stadies, of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration, said: “President HCM named the basic rights that Vietnamese people deserved to have which were violated by the imperialists and colonialists. The revolution wrested back the basic rights of Vietnamese people, including the rights to live in independence, freedom, and in pursuit of happiness.”

Turning human rights into national rights was President HCM’s strategic view, which was of great importance for Vietnam and other oppressed nations. Doctor Cao Duc Thai, former Director of the Research Institute on Human Rights of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration said: “A famous Japanese researcher said President HCM’s contribution to socio-politics was to elevate personal rights into national rights in the Declaration of Independence. Before President HCM, no leaders had ever mentioned the rights of colonial countries.”

Eternal values

The Declaration of Independence was a milestone in Vietnam’s history. The document has been a direction for Vietnam’s development. Associate Professor Doctor Nguyen Trong Phuc again: “We gained independence and national unification by the victory in 1975. Since then we have strived to protect independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity and improve our basic national rights. We have developed towards socialism and targets of independence, freedom, and happiness for its people. We have upheld the values of the Declaration of Independence in national construction and development.”

In the national renewal, “the rights to live in independence, equality, and humanity” stated in the Declaration of Independence 70 years ago continue to guide the Vietnamese nation in national development and defense.

Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence to establish the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the first worker-peasant state in Southeast Asia
Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence to establish the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the first worker-peasant state in Southeast Asia (Photo: VOV)

In September 2, 1945, at Ba Đình square, President Ho Chi Minh sonorously read the Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, as reported by VGP.

Declaration of Independence

My country men,

"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 nations on the earth are equal from birth, all the nations have the 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 having equal rights." Those are undeniable truths.

Nevertheless, for more than eighty years, the French colonialists misused the flag of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity to invade our Fatherland and oppressed our country men. Their action contradicted to the humanity and justice.

Politically, they absolutely have deprived our people of every democratic freedom.

They have enforced inhuman laws. They have set up three different regimes in the Central, the Southern and the Northern Part of Vietnam in order to prevent our nation from being unified and our people from being united.

They have built more prisons than schools. They have mercilessly slain our patriots. They drowned our resistances in rivers of blood. They have fettered public opinion and practiced obscurantism against our people.

They used opium and alcohol to weaken our race.

Economically, they have exploited our people to the bone, so that to impoverish our people and to devastate our country.

They have robbed us of our rice fields, our mines and our raw materials.

They have levied numerous unjustifiable taxes, which made our people, especially our peasantry and trademen to absolute poverty.

They have hampered the prosperity of our national bourgeoisie. They have mercilessly exploited our industrial workers.

In the autumn of 1940, when the Japanese Fascists arrived to occupy Indochina for expanding new military bases to fight against the Allies, the French colonialists bended their knees and opened our country to welcome Japanese. Thus, from that date, our people were suffered from the double yoke of the French and the Japanese. Thus from that on our people became more and more suffered and poorer. As a result, from the end of last year to the beginning of this year, from Quang Tri province to the North of Vietnam, more than two million of our fellow-citizens died from starvation.

On March 9, the Japanese disarmed the French Army. The French colonialists either fled or surrendered. As a matter of fact, they were not only incapable of "protecting" us, but in the contrary they had sold our country twice to the Japanese.

On several occasions before March 9, the Vietminh League (League of Vietnam Alliance for Independence) urged the French to ally themselves with Vietnam to fight against the Japanese. Instead of responding to this proposal, the French colonialists had intensified their terrorist activities against the Vietminh members that before fleeing they massacred a great number of our political prisoners detained at Yen Bai and Cao Bang.

Not withstanding all this, our fellow-citizens have always manifested toward the French a tolerant and humane attitude. Even after the Japanese putsch of March 1945, the Vietminh League helped many Frenchmen to cross the frontier, rescued some of them from Japanese jails, and protected French lives and property.

From the autumn of 1940, our country had in fact ceased to be a French colony and had become a Japanese possession.

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.

The French have fled, the Japanese have capitulated, Emperor Bao Dai has abdicated. Our people have broken the chains which for nearly a century have fettered them and have won independence for the Fatherland. Our people at the same time have overthrown the monarchic regime that has reigned supreme for dozens of centuries. In its place has been established the present Democratic Republic.

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; we repeal all the international obligation that France has so far subscribed to on behalf of Vietnam and we abolish all the special rights the French have unlawfully acquired in our Fatherland.

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 which at Tehran and San Francisco 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 eighty 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.

For these reasons, we, members of the Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, solemnly declare to the world that Vietnam has the right to be a free and independent country and in fact it is so already. 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.

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Jasmine Le