What argument can be made for how these primary sources are connected? Please do not summarize each source. Explain in detail how they are related to the broader picture (i.e., anti-imperialism,...

What argument can be made for how these primary sources are connected? Please do not summarize each source. Explain in detail how they are related to the broader picture (i.e., anti-imperialism, the US involvement directly or indirectly, and so on). Provide quotes 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


Expert Answers
kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The end of the Second World War, as with the end of the First World War, resulted in a system of international relations vastly different than that which preceded it. The end of World War I marked the end of major empires (Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman) and the beginning of the end for others (Great Britain, France). It also witnessed the formation of a new empire, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which would largely mirror, in many respects, the czarist empires it replaced but which would be characterized by an overtly anti-imperialist ideological doctrine. This doctrine had its origins in the theories of utopian and socialist writers and derived its greatest inspiration from the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

With the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, the international structure was transformed into a bipolar system characterized by the rise of two new major powers, the United States and the Soviet Union. The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia had represented a landmark event in global affairs, as there now existed a large, if economically destitute, European power dedicated to undermining the imperial ambitions of the major powers like Great Britain and France. The end of World War II and the rise of the Soviet Union as a major power, then, provided anti-colonial parties and militants with an important ally, a development that the victory of the Chinese Communist Party in that country’s civil war in 1949 served to buttress. The fact that the Soviet Union in particular emerged as a major power provided anti-colonial forces across what was called “the Third World” the political, military, and economic support they needed to wage their protracted struggles for liberation from colonialism.

This brings us to the four documents provided in the student’s question, two by Vietnamese nationalist and Marxist-Leninist leader Ho Chi Minh, an essay by Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara, who fought alongside Cuban militants led by Fidel and Raul Castro, and a speech by Cuban Marxist revolutionary Fidel Castro. What these four documents have in common is their appeal to the nationalist aspirations of the Vietnamese and Cuban people. Before their respective revolutions, Vietnam was a southeast Asian nation occupied by France with US support, and Cuba was a Caribbean island-nation ruled by a dictator friendly to the United States and leading figures in American organized crime. The documents are linked by their anti-colonial and anti-imperialist language and by their post-World War II manifestations of anti-imperialism of a sort that owed a great deal to the political support of one of the world’s two new superpowers. The three figures all emphasize the economic nature of Great Power imperialism. While Ho, in his Declaration of Independence, emphasized the influences of American revolutionaries against the British and the principles of independence and liberty expressed in the American Declaration of Independence, he also, in his later essay following his acknowledgement that the United States would not be an ally in Vietnam’s quest for independence, turned his attention to the economic incentives driving American and French policies:

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 Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the Florid Phosphate Corporation and others, monopolies, rubber, ores, and other natural resources of our country. U.S. goods swamp the market. The French reactionary press, especially Le Monde is compelled to acknowledge sadly that French capitalism is now giving way to U.S. capitalism.

Compare this with Che’s attacks on US economic interests in “the Third World”:

The "wars" between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, the separation of Panama from Colombia, the infamy committed against Ecuador in its dispute with Peru, the fight between Paraguay and Bolivia, are nothing but expressions of this gigantic battle between the world's great monopolistic powers, a battle decided almost completely in favor of the U.S. monopolies following World War II. From that point on the empire dedicated itself to strengthening its grip on its colonial possessions and perfecting the whole structure to prevent the intrusion of old or new competitors from other imperialist countries.

The four documents are linked, as noted, by a fierce determination to wage what would almost certainly be a protracted struggle against a major imperial power, namely, the United States, while acknowledging as well that the United States was a newcomer to the game and somewhat lacking in experience. Note in the following passage from Castro’s speech to the Cuban people his description of the newest imperial power:

Of all the colonialist and imperialists countries, Yankee imperialism is the most powerful in diplomatic influence and military resources. It is also an imperialism that is not like the English, which is more mature, more experienced, it is proud imperialism, barbarous, and many of its leaders are barbarous men who have nothing to envy of the first cavemen. Many of their leaders are men with fangs. It is the most aggressive, most warlike, and most stupid imperialism.

Che, in his essay, wrote, "the condition we would describe as exceptional was the fact that U.S. imperialism was disoriented and was never able to accurately assess the true scope of the Cuban Revolution.”

Similarly, Ho, in his disenchantment with the United States following the latter’s decision to support French efforts at recolonizing what was called “French Indochina” (French colonization having been temporarily replaced by Japanese colonialism), stated that “U.S. interventionists have nurtured the French aggressors and the Vietnamese puppets, but the Vietnamese people do not let anybody delude and enslave them.” Castro, throughout his speech, exhorted his followers to continue the revolutionary struggle against imperialism: “The imperialists and their lackeys will not be able to make a move. They are dealing with the people, and they do not know yet the tremendous revolutionary power of the people.”

The four primary source documents cited in the student’s question are connected by the Marxist-Leninist orientation of the authors/speakers and by the authors'/speakers’ determination to oppose imperialism and build their respective countries according to Marxist doctrine. They are all connected in their temporal timeframe, reflecting the post-World War II drive to establish an international system vastly different than that which the war destroyed, and they are all connected in their emphases on priorities, in effect, their determination to build equitable political and economic systems to replace what they viewed as the exploitative nature of Western imperial systems.