Please explain how these four primary sources are related to decolonization and anti-imperialism. Provide quotes from each to support your answer. Vietnamese Declaration of Independence...
Please explain how these four primary sources are related to decolonization and anti-imperialism. Provide quotes from each to support your answer.
Vietnamese Declaration of Independence
The Imperialist Aggressors Can Never Enslave The Heroic Vietnamese People
Cuba: Historical Exception or Vanguard in the Anticolonial Struggle
Establishing Revolutionary Vigilance in Cuba
This response will deal with each of these documents in turn. The first, the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence, was delivered as a speech by Ho Chi Minh in 1945. Ho was a Vietnamese resistance leader during the Japanese occupation of his homeland during World War II. He hoped, as did many of his countrymen, that the end of the war would mean an end to French rule (the region, known as French Indochina, was part of the French Empire before the war). When France made it clear that they had no interest in granting independence, Ho Chi Minh declared it in 1945. In many ways, this speech marks an early example of decolonization, though decades of war remained before Vietnam became unified under a socialist government. A remarkable quote from this document is as follows:
For more than eighty years, the French imperialists, abusing the standard of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, have violated our Fatherland and oppressed our fellow-citizens. They have acted contrary to the ideals of humanity and justice. In the field of politics, they have deprived our people of every democratic liberty. They have enforced inhuman laws . . .
The Declaration paraphrases both the American Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, turning the egalitarian rhetoric of these documents against the French imperialists.
The second document was a report on the Vietnamese war for independence from France. Issued in 1952, it highlighted the victories of the fighters led by Ho. But most importantly, Ho emphasized the support that the United States gave to France, characterizing them both as "imperialist aggressors." In one passage, Ho describes the economic exploitation of Vietnam that he saw as inseparable from imperialism:
U.S. aid [to France] is paid for at a very high price. In the enemy held areas, French capitalism is swept aside by American capitalism. American concerns like the Petroleum Oil Corporation, the Caltex Oil Corporation, the Bethlem Steel Corporation, the Florid Phosphate Corporation and others, monopolise rubber, ores, and other natural resources of our country. U.S. goods swamp the market.
This document paints the decolonization and anti-imperialist struggle in Marxian terms, arguing that the American presence in the region would be as exploitative as the French presence. As the title suggests, Ho claims in the speech that neither the French nor their American backers will ever achieve victory over the Vietnamese people.
The next document, "Cuba: Historical Exception or vanguard in the anticolonial struggle," was written by revolutionary leader Ernesto "Che" Guevara in 1961. Guevara, having participated in the Cuban Revolution that overthrew the US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, is arguing that other states in Latin America should mount a socialist revolution as well. He claims that they face the same circumstances that Cuba did before the revolution, many of which stem from American domination. He warns that although revolutionary struggle will be difficult, because the United States will act to thwart leftist movements in Latin America, the conditions are still right for revolution:
New conditions will make the flow of these revolutionary movements easier as they give the masses consciousness of their destiny and the certainty that it is possible.
Finally, "Establishing Revolutionary Vigilance in Cuba" demonstrates the lengths that Fidel Castro, leader of the Cuban Revolution, was willing to go to in order to maintain and protect the revolution. It also highlights the constant threat that the United States posed to leftist regimes during the Cold War in Latin America. Castro emphasized the urgency of the revolutionary struggle, claiming that the Cubans were "on the frontline, a small country with few economic resources giving battle on the frontline for our sovereignty, destiny, and right." Unlike Ho Chi Minh, who lived in a French colony, Castro and Guevara argue that American influence is more insidious, as they propped up corrupt and exploitative regimes. This was the form of imperialism they sought to overthrow as they attempted to establish socialist revolutions in Cuba and Latin America.