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Declaration of Independence and its immortal values

(LLCT) - On September 2, 1945, at Ba Dinh flower garden, Hanoi, in front of a great number of people, on behalf of the provisional Government, Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence, officially giving birth to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, a totally new regime in the thousands of years’ history of the Vietnamese people and also the first people's democratic state in Southeast Asia. The Declaration of Independence is a document with immortal value leading the way for Vietnam’s development.

Keywords: Declaration of Independence, Ho Chi Minh, Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

1. Declaration of Independence - Immortal content

The Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (hereinafter referred to as the Declaration) includes approximately 1000 words, containing important issues for national destiny.

First, the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam is completely legitimate. The regime of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam results from a just struggle of the Vietnamese people against the invasion of the French colonialists and Japanese fascists as well as the feudal lackeys’ oppression. Ho Chi Minh quoted both the 1776 Declaration of Independence of the United States of America and the 1791 Human rights and Civil Rights Declaration of the French Revolution to accuse the French colonialists of trampling on universal values of freedom and independence. The French imperialists “for more than eighty years, abusing the standard of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, have violated our Fatherland and oppressed our fellow-citizens. They have acted in contrary to the ideals of humanity and justice”(1). In Vietnam, the French colonialists went against the French Declaration itself. In the Declaration, Ho Chi Minh spared many sections denouncing the political, economic, cultural rule, oppression and exploitation of the French colonialists. Our people’s struggle for independence led by the Indochinese Communist Party, was generalized by Ho Chi Minh in nine Vietnamese words: “The French fled, the Japanese capitulated, Emperor Bao Dai abdicated”(2) and immediately followed by two extremely stringent sentences: “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”(3).

Second, it is in accordance with the common values of advance humankind in terms of human rights and national rights. Ho Chi Minh quoted the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America: “All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”(4). From the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America and the Human rights and Civil Rights Declaration of France, Ho Chi Minh affirmed the legitimate rights of the entire Vietnamese nation. From human rights: All people, everyone has the rights endowed by God (Creator), including the greatest right - the right to life, Ho Chi Minh“made it a broader sense”(5) that: “All the peoples on the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live, to be happy and free”(6). Thus, Ho Chi Minh placed human rights within national rights. This is a really appropriate logic. When a  nation, a country loses its independence and freedom, human rights are also deprived.

Third, on the international legal basis, to prevent the risk of French colonialism return, Ho Chi Minh affirmed that the objects to defeat werethe Japanese fascists and the feudal monarchy.The Vietnamese revolutionary forces maintain a “lenient and humane” attitude(7) towards the French: “After the March 9 change, 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 found the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.The truth is that we have wrested our independence from the Japanese and not from the French(8). The Declaration was just a document of a provisional Government, but it was a document of a Government that won the power in a legitimate way: taking power from the Japanese, siding with the Allies against fascism by ending the feudal monarchy for thousands of years. This value serves as the basis for taking steady steps to build a political regime with universal legal values: a political regime created by the people, with the Constitution directing the performace of the state powers and society. Ho Chi Minh proposed this task on the agenda right after the Independence Day and Vietnam organized a truly free and democratic General Election on January 6, 1946 to elect the National Assembly, therebydrafted and approved the Constitution, form the official State apparatus. The Declaration of Independence created the foundation for the fundamental national rights of the Vietnamese people: independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.

Ho Chi Minh’s above assertions aim at two points:

(1) Preventing the coming war because Ho Chi Minh knew that, although the French colonialists had no longer power in Vietnam, they were trying to recapture Vietnam. In early September 1945, according to international assignment, the Allies entered Vietnam to disarm the Japanese army. The Army of the People’s Republic of China (Chiang Kai-Shek) and the British troops entered North of the 16th parallel and South of the 16th parallel respectively. Notably, the British troops supported the French colonialism, acting as a cover for the French to enter the South to reocupy Vietnam. Therefore, on September 5, 1945, Ho Chi Minh issued a National Appeal: “The Vietnamese people welcome the Allied troops into Vietnam to disarm the Japanese, but firmly opposethe French to enterVietnam for theonly purpose to enslave the Vietnamese people again”(9). Forseeing that, in the Declaration, Ho Chi Minh stated, “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 obligations 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”(10).

(2) Asserting the Vietnamese people’s struggle for the independence and the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam is “bravely siding with the Allied against fascism for recent years”(11). Thus, the Vietnamese people’s struggle shows justice and progress, together with people all over the world to destroy fascism.

Fourth, resolutely defended the independence and freedom that had beenwon. From the above arguments, on behalf of the provisional Government, Ho Chi Minh declared, “Vietnam has the right to be a free and independent country - and in fact 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”(12). Notably, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was born, claiming independence before the Allied troops entered Vietnam according to international assignment to disarmthe Japanese army. However, the force assigned to Vietnam at that time was the National Chinese army with many dark conspiracies, including bringing the Vietnamese in exile in China back to the country to “destroy the communists and capture Ho Chi Minh”, that is, aiming at abolishing the revolutionary government established by the people. Meanwhile, in South of the 20th parallel, the British troops helped the French to reconquer the South to establish an autonomous Nam Ky, divide Vietnam and seek to reconquer the entire country. Therefore, right from September 23, 1945, just 3 weeks after Independence Day (September 2, 1945), the Southern people started the resistance war against the French, 15 months before the national resistance war. December 19, 1946). That is what Ho Chi Minh, on behalf of the provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam “solemnly declares to the world”(13). And, the Vietnamese people’s struggle had to go hand in hand with independence and freedom.

2. Declaration of Independence - Lighting the national path of development

The Declaration of Independence marks the end of a period of nearly 100 years when the Vietnamese people lived under the rule of imperialists and their lackeys. At the same time, the Declaration also opened a new era of the Vietnamese people - the era of independence, freedom and socialism. From an independent feudal country on the verge of crisis, Vietnam was invaded by the French colonialists and its name disappeared on the world political map. Vietnam became an overseas unit of the French Indochina Federation. The Declaration marks an extremely important milestone in taking back the name of Vietnam, bringing the Vietnamese people from slavery into a free, independent nation, and among the peoples that were the vanguard in decolonization in the twentieth century. Colonialism is the biggest stain in the history of human society. One of the vanguards of the nation pioneering in decolonization in the twentieth century is Ho Chi Minh. Should statues of great men are carved in the twentieth century - decolonization century, Ho Chi Minh would deserve the best place.

With the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, 1945, the Indochina Communist Party became a ruling political party. The Party’s rulling is completely legitimate, not as the unfounded and distorted allegations of hostile forces spread in the media. The Party’s birth in early 1930 was historically inevitable, putting an end to the crisis of leadership forces and the national salvation. Fifteen years (1930-1945) marked the process, during which the Party had to come through with extremely arduous activities to gain independence, freedom and happiness for the nation. The Party’s rule is not self-claimed, it is the result of the heroic sacrifice of Vietnamese communist soldiers, patriots, and of the great national unity, which were combined into one solid block. The Party was violently persecuted, the Party Central Committee and Party organizations at all levels dissolved by the enemy, but the communist vitality rose up. Party organizations were founded, then were destroyed, and re-founded. The Party’s key cadres, four General Secretaries (Tran Phu, Le Hong Phong, Ha Huy Tap, Nguyen Van Cu) were captured and killed by the enemy; leader Ho Chi Minh was sentenced to death in absentia at the Southern Court in Vinh, Nghe An at the end of 1929, and twice imprisoned (the first time, was arrested by British authorities in Hong Kong in 1932-1933, the second, was arrested by the Nationalist Party of Chiang Kai-shek in Guangxi province, China in the years 1942-1943). The Vietnamese people and nation confidently granted the Party the leadership to bring the Vietnamese nation to development on the path of national independence and socialism, ending 15 years of illegal operation. The Party’s rule originated from the Party’s merits and prestige, and the people’s trust.

The Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam not only marks the merits of President Ho Chi Minh and the Party but also affirms the strength of the entire Vietnamese nation, continuing the patriotic tradition of the Vietnamese people summed up from thousands of years. The birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the wake of the August Revolution vitory in 1945 and the September 2, 1945 event, rejected the distortions of hostile forces about the Revolution-related issues and the legitimacy of the political regime of the Democratic Repblic of Vietnam.

The Declaration of Independence is valuable for actively promoting the construction and defense of the Vietnamese Fatherland. The past 75 years under the political regime of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam are the length of time when the Vietnamese nation has overcome many severe challenges to develop. Independence - Freedom - Happiness, the values in the Declaration of Independence, always direct the entire Party, the entire army and the entire people in action.

Similar to the words contained in the Declaration, the Vietnamese people have been and will be determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength to safeguard their independence and liberty; maintain the goal of independence and socialism, building Vietnam into a prosperous people, astrong country, and a democratic, equitable, and civilized society.

The development of the Vietnamese nation has always been in the common line of human development. The 1945 Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam has immortal value because it is completely consistent with the common value of progress in human culture. With the Declaration of Independence on September 2, 1945, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is now a progressive entity in a multipolar, globalized and integrated world, positively contributing to human social progress.

The Declaration of Independence dated September 2, 1945, clearly reflects Ho Chi Minh Thought on the cause of liberation: national liberation; society and class liberation; and human emancipation.

__________________

Endnotes:

(1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10), (11), (12), (13) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.4, 1, 3, 3, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2-3, 10, 3, 3, 3 , 3.

Prof., Dr. Mach Quang Thang

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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