How did Ho Chi Minh and Patrice Lumumba argue for Vietnamese and Congolese independence, respectively? What were their criticisms of imperial rule, and what were their hopes for the future?

Ho Chi Minh and Patrice Lumumba argued for Vietnamese and Congolese independence by highlighting the exploitation of imperialism. They both criticized imperial rule for the short- and long-term damage it inflicted to peoples native to their countries, and they hoped to create independent governments.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Ho Chi Minh served as the Prime Minister of Vietnam from 1945 to 1955. He was then elected as president of the country. Patrice Lumumba was elected as the prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1960. Both Ho Chi Minh and Patrice Lumumba fought against imperial rule.

Imperialism refers to the practice of one country exerting power over another. In addition to exerting power over other countries, European imperial forces established a presence in the countries over which they exerted power. The exertion of power often took the form of exploiting people, land, and resources. In the process, wars were waged, maps were redrawn, and national identities shifted. Indigenous people were forced into slavery, and many other human rights injustices took place, as discussed in the "further reading" links below this post.

Both Vietnam and Congo were colonized by European powers—namely, France and Belgium. Between 1500 and 1800, European nations exploited many other countries for their land and resources. In fact, European presence in these countries altered their national identities and trajectories for many years to come.

Ho Chi Minh spent his life arguing for the independence of Vietnam, his home country, from its imperial control under France. It is a key point to understand that he was willing to use military tactics and even a violent revolution to fight for Vietnamese independence. In 1941, he organized a group known as the Viet Minh that fought against French domination.

Patrice Lumumba also spent his life working for the independence of his home country. In the fight for Congolese independence from Belgium, he formed a group known as the "Mouvement National Congolais." Like Ho Chi Minh, he wanted his country to become independent.

Consider how Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of Congo were impacted by their imperialist rulers. Imperial rule impacted these countries and their respective development and future negatively, and while imperialists of the time might have argued that economic progress was made, few of the residents of these countries really benefitted from this so-called "progress."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team