Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam

(1945)

Audience

The newly founded Democratic Republic of Vietnam needed full patriotic support from all Vietnamese—regardless of political inclination, ethnicity, or social station—in order to maintain independence. It also nonetheless required the recognition of the international society of states, most notably the United States and France.

Ho Chi Min's Vietnamese audience responded enthusiastically to the proclamation, as they wanted to be independent and in charge of their own national destiny. His inclusive message, which did not outline any Communist policies, appealed to all. In Hanoi and many other places, families welcomed Independence Day by lighting incense on the family altars and informing their ancestors of independence. Led by well-placed party members, the crowd of four hundred thousand, regardless of age, gender, class, ethnicity, or religion, cheered Ho and repeatedly chanted “Independence” as he waved to them, even though few really knew who he was. A few sentences...