Two Sides of the Coin Essay

Submitted By sissyrn1999
Words: 1120
Pages: 5

Two Sides of the Vietnamese Coin

1954 marked the end of the Indochina War, the creation of the Geneva Accords, and the beginning of the division of Vietnam. With the creation of the 17th Parallel dividing the two Vietnamese territories into a Communist North or Democratic Republic as Hanoi as its capital, and the anti-Communist South or Republic with Saigon as its capital, came two distinct leaderships. Ho Chi Minh reigning over the north and Ngo Dihn Diem reigning over the south. Nevertheless, both leaders differ in their ideologies about leadership, but with one common goal of bringing freedom to Vietnam. Ho Chi Ming was a charismatic leader with an immense level of power to impact his people. He inspired the Vietnamese with the use of his charisma. He utilized this charisma both domestically and internationally. He portrayed himself as a simple, humble, but passionate old man who put his people’s needs first. He shared the belief that the will of the people must always be served and allowed to flourish. To quote Ho: “if people in an independent country do not enjoy happiness and freedom, the independence has no meaning.” His father was a strong Vietnamese nationalist who passed on his belief that Vietnam belonged to the Vietnamese people. However, Ho Chi Minh had anticolonial views that led him to depart from Vietnam to explore other nations and their cultures. His journey took him to places such as the United States, Europe, and Asia. It was on this exploration that Ho Chi Minh began developing his philosophy for Vietnamese independence. He wanted to be a man of the people, sometimes viewed as a simple peasant man who required little and wanted only to see his country become independent. With his ideologies in mind to rid his country of French rule, Ho Chi Minh ordered the creation of a military division of the Vietminh, the Vietnamese Liberation Army. He used his alliance with China to strengthen the Vietminh by having the Chinese to send instructors and technicians to train the Vietnamese in the use of new US weapons and tactics. By 1950, all of his soldiers were well trained, disciplined, and armed will modern weapons. The Vietminh army had been transformed into a fighting machine that once had been dismissed by the French as the “barefoot army.” After two months of heavy fighting under the directions of General Giap, the Vietminh army defeated the French at Dian Bien Phu. Finally, Ho Chi Minh had accomplished is ideals of riding his country of the French, and giving back Vietnam to the people. The difference between Ho Chi Minh and Ngo Dinh Diem are as of night and day. Unlike Ho, Diem was a good student, graduating top of his class, and a skilled debater. But Diem’s rise to power took a different path than Ho Chi Minh’s. Immediately following graduation, Diem moved into government service, and within a few years became provincial chief with mandarin rank of 300 district villages. He didn’t hide his hatred of the French for their domination of his country. After being appointed minister of the interior by the emperor Bao Dai, Diem had many reforms in mind for the ministry that was not backed by Bao Dai. Therefore, an angry Diem resigned, ad retreated from public life until he became premier of the southern half of Vietnam in 1954. In the summer of 1954, when it seemed as though French would lose the Indochina War and the communists might take over Vietnam, Washington decided to try to save southern Vietnam from a communist reign. They chose Diem as the leader of southern Vietnam, an experiment of someone they could back because he was the only one who traveled to the US, and rallied for support of his nation. But the ground forces in Saigon had their doubts about Diem, because they knew he lacked popular support, the political experience, and odd personality traits. After arriving in Saigon, Diem discovered that he had no money, no…