Leadership under Hồ Chí Minh (1945–69)
Proclamation of the republic
The North Vietnamese government in 1945
After about 300 years of partition by feudal dynasties, Vietnam was again under one single authority in 1802 when Gia Long founded the Nguyễn dynasty, but the country became a French protectorate after 1883 and under Japanese occupation after 1940 during World War II. Soon after Japan surrendered on 2 September 1945, the Việt Minh in the August Revolution entered Hanoi, and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was proclaimed on 2 September 1945: a government for the entire country, replacing the Nguyễn dynasty. Hồ Chí Minh became leader of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt had spoken against French rule in Indochina, and the U.S. was supportive of the Viet Minh at this time.
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh claimed dominion over all of Vietnam, but during this time South Vietnam was in profound political disorder. The successive collapse of French, then Japanese power, followed by the dissension among the political factions in Saigon had been accompanied by widespread violence in the countryside. On 16 August 1945, Hồ Chí Minh organized the National Congress in Tân Trào. The Congress adopted 10 major policies of the Việt Minh, passed the General Uprising Order,decided the National Flag, in the middle with 5-pointed gold star, selected the national anthem and selected the National Committee for the Liberation of Vietnam, later becoming the Provisional Revolutionary Government, led by Hồ Chí Minh. On 12 September 1945, the first British troops arrived in Saigon. On 23 September 28 days after the people of Saigon seized political power, French troops occupied the police stations, the post office, and other public buildings. The salient political fact of life in Northern Vietnam was Chinese Nationalist army of occupation, and the Chinese presence had forced Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh to accommodate Chinese-backed Viet Nationalists. In June 1946, Chinese Nationalist troops evacuated Hanoi, and on the 15 June, the last detachments embarked at Haiphong. After the departure of the British in 1946, the French controlled a part of Cochinchina, South Central Coast, Central Highlands since the end Southern Resistance War. In January 1946, the Viet Minh held an election to establish a National Assembly. Public enthusiasm for this event suggests that the Viet Minh enjoyed a great deal of popularity at this time, although there were few competitive races and the party makeup of the Assembly was determined in advance of the vote.[a]
On 18 and 19 September 1945, the Việt Minh held secret meetings with Việt Cách (18 September 1945) and Việt Quốc (19 September 1945). In these two meetings, Nguyễn Hải Thần represented Việt Cách and Nguyễn Tường Tam represent Việt Quốc. Hồ Chí Minh agree to unite the Việt Minh with Việt Cách and Việt Quốc. Thus, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam led by the Việt Minh will receive the financial and political support of the Republic of China. For this proposal, within the Việt Minh there are many different opinions. Võ Nguyên Giáp disagrees with the suggestion that the proposals are not valid and not honest, as if replacing French colonialism with Chinese domination, but Hoàng Minh Giám thought that the unification of Vietnam With the Nationalist parties will reduce the opposition and strengthen the power of the Việt Minh, as the Chinese are relieved and the French have to worry. Eventually the Việt Minh under Hồ Chí Minh refused to merge with the Pro-Chinese Việt Cách and the Việt Quốc League.
On 6 January 1946, President Hồ Chí Minh held the nationwide General Election which voted for the first time and passed the Constitution. Many parties did not have the right to participate in General Elections seeking to undermine . These parties claimed to be the only Việt Minh communist, the government in the hands of the Việt Minh want anyone to win it. The two opposition parties in the government are the Vietnam’s Nationalist Party (Việt Quốc) and the Vietnam Cách mệnh Đồng minh (Việt Cách) did not participate in the election although Hồ Chí Minh previously sent a letter to Nguyễn Hải Thần leader of Việt Cách and Vũ Hồng Khanh leader of Việt Quốc. Hồ Chí Minh invites Việt Quốc and Việt Cách to attend the General Election and urges the two sides not to attack each other with words or actions until the Congress opens. Former Prime Minister Trần Trọng Kim said there were places where people were forced to vote for the Việt Minh. According to the Việt Minh, the election was fair. Despite being campaigned by many parties to campaign for the people to boycott the election and block the election in some places, where there are self-nominated candidates, publicly run, free elections are taking place everywhere. After the election results are announced, the truth is not the same as the propaganda parties. Many prestigious delegates of classes, classes, religions and ethnic groups were elected in the First National Assembly, most of them not party members.
The presence of Chiang Kai-shek's army up to that time ensured the survival of Vietnam’s Nationalist Party and Việt Cách. These two parties did not have a cohesive program to enlist the people like the Việt Minh The leaders of the Vietnam’s Nationalist Party and the Việt Cách Revolutionary Party are far from having comparable qualities with Hồ Chí Minh, Võ Nguyên Giáp, and other responsible Việt Minh members. When the Chinese nationalist army withdrawal from Vietnam on 15 June 1946, in one way or another, Võ Nguyễn Giáp, decided that the Việt Minh had to completely control the government. Võ Nguyễn Giáp is in immediate action with the goal of spreading Việt Minh leadership: the Allied Powers are supported by the Vietnam’s Nationalist Party (according to Cecil B. Currey, this organization borrows the revolutionary name of Vietnam’s Nationalist Party of 1930 was founded by Nguyễn Thái Học and, according to David G. Marr, the Vietnamese Communist Party under Hồ Chí Minh tried to banned the Pro-Chinese Nationalist Party in Vietnam betraying the revolutionary cause of Nguyễn Thái Học in 1930. By the end of 1945, many people still did not believe in it.) The pro-Japan nationalist group, the Trotskyists, the anti-French nationalists, the Catholic group called "Catholic soldiers." Võ Nguyễn Giáp has gradually sought to phase out these parties. On 19 June 1946, the Việt Minh Journal reportedly vehemently criticized "reactionaries sabotage the Franco-Vietnamese preliminary agreement on 6 March". Shortly thereafter, Võ Nguyễn Giáp began a campaign to pursue opposition parties by police and military forces controlled by the Việt Minh with the help of the French authorities. He also used soldiers, Japanese officers volunteered to stay in Vietnam and some of the supplies provided by France (in Hòn Gai French troops provided the Việt Minh with cannons to kill some of the positions commanded by the Great Occupation) in this campaign.
When France declared Cochinchina, the southern third of Vietnam, a separate state as the "Autonomous Republic of Cochinchina" in June 1946, Vietnamese nationalists reacted with fury. In November, the National Assembly adopted the first Constitution of the Republic.
During the First Indochina War
The French reoccupied Hanoi and the First Indochina War (1946–54) followed. Following the Chinese Communist Revolution (1946−50), Chinese communist forces arrived on the border in 1949. Chinese aid revived the fortunes of the Viet Minh and transformed it from a guerrilla militia into a standing army. The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 transformed what had been an anti-colonial struggle into a Cold War battleground, with the U.S. providing financial support to the French.
Provisional military demarcation of Vietnam
Following the partition of Vietnam in 1954 at the end of the First Indochina War, more than one million North Vietnamese migrated to South Vietnam, under the U.S.-led evacuation campaign named Operation Passage to Freedom, with an estimated 60% of the north's one million Catholics fleeing south. The Catholic migration is attributed to an expectation of persecution of Catholics by the North Vietnamese government, as well as publicity employed by the Saigon government of the President Ngo Dinh Diem. The CIA ran a propaganda campaign to get Catholics to come to the south. However Colonel Edward Lansdale, the man credited with the campaign, rejected the notion that his campaign had much effect on popular sentiment. The Viet Minh sought to detain or otherwise prevent would-be refugees from leaving, such as through intimidation through military presence, shutting down ferry services and water traffic, or prohibiting mass gatherings. Concurrently, between 14,000 and 45,000 civilians and approximately 100,000 Viet Minh fighters moved in the opposite direction.