Vietnam Celebrates 75th National Independence Day
by K Bhana
On 2 September 1945 a million Vietnamese gathered in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh Square as President Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam a free and independent nation. To this day, 75 years later, it is commemorated and celebrated as Vietnam’s National Day.
Under the decisive, skilled and wise leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the Japanese occupying forces were easily ousted. It was the bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic weapons that brought a close to Japan’s imperialism in the Far East and South Asia and to the Second World War.
Vietnam was a colony of France from 1887 as French Indochina together with the Kingdom of Cambodia and Laos. The French sought to impose their brand of civilization on the Vietnamese, choosing to dismiss and ignore the culture and traditions of an ancient civilization that existed thousands of years before. The French colonisers were removed by Japanese Imperial forces in a coup de tat on 9 March 1945 towards the end of the war.
After Nazi Germany and Japan surrendered in defeat to the allied force in 1945, France once again imposed its colonial authority over the country in 1946. The Vietnamese put up a resistance and continuously attacked and defeated the military strategies of the French colonialist forces. The people of Vietnam, under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, recorded several victories against the French with minimal and basic weaponry and a will, determination and fighting spirit that became the hallmark of Vietnam. Historical records indicate victorious campaigns like the Viet Bac Campaign in autumn-winter, 1947, Border (1950), Hoa Binh (1951), Northwest (1952) and the pinnacle was the strategic attack East - Spring 1953 - 1954, with the historic battle of Dien Bien Phu (May 1954), which completely defeated the French. The resilience of the Vietnamese 9 year-long resistance war campaign ended with the Geneva Agreement being signed.
Photo: Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chaired 36th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi in June. The event is held in the form of a video conference, the first official summit hosted by Vietnam as ASEAN Chair in 2020.
This agreement, however, left Vietnam divided at the 17th parallel. In the North was a completely liberated and independent Vietnam, while the South, the State of Vietnam under the emperor Bao Dai was subject to domination of American Imperialism who rejected the unification of the country. Once again Vietnam was challenged to unify as a country and nation.
President Ho Chi Minh’s leadership once again came to the fore, and was victorious in the “Unilateral War” (1954 - 1960), “Special War” (1961 - 1965), “Local War” (1965 - 1968), and “Vietnamization of War” (1969 - 1975) against American Imperialism. The victory of The General Offensive and Uprising of the Spring 1975 and the historic Ho Chi Minh Campaign (April 30, 1975), decisively defeated the American armed forces, liberating Vietnam South of the 17th Parallel and unifying the country.
This war of resistance by the Vietnamese against a formidable US army had ramifications for both countries. The conflict occurred at a time of the proliferation of media due to the advances in information communication technology. The plethora of audio visual material, photographs and other documentation led to the rise of anti-war movements, the ideology of love, freedom and peace was espoused in all manner of literature, music and film. The indelible images and sounds still linger today as a demonstration of the will and strength of the Vietnamese to preserve their identity and humbled a formidable US army and their aim to impose their ideology.
Left destitute, yet free and independent, the Vietnamese set about unifying and rebuilding their country. Today, Vietnam has developed from being one of the poorest countries in the world to one with the most dynamic emerging economies in the world.
The visionary Renovation Policy of the Communist Party of Vietnam implemented 35 years ago is showing success. The economy is achieving fair rate of consistent growth which has led to macroeconomic stability and has been of benefit to the region as well.
The economic structure has positively progressed in the direction of industrialisation and modernisation, combining production with the market. Macro economy is stable, maintaining a fair growth rate for many decades. In the period of 2010-2020, economic growth of Vietnam reached an average of 6.31%/year; of which in 2019, Vietnamese GDP growth reached 7.02%, among the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia and the world. In spite of being severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank (WB) estimated the Vietnamese economy to expand by 3-4%.
Vietnamese products have been present in markets in more than 200 countries and territories in almost every continent. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Vietnam is increasingly and more comprehensively integrated into the regional and global economy.
Vietnam has certainly a great deal to celebrate and to be grateful for as they mark 75 years of their hard fought independence this year.