North & South: Different Mindset, Same Aspiration

Communist North.  Democratic South.  What were they fighting for?  History often claims that each side wanted different things, the North wanted Communism while the South wanted freedom and democracy.  Simple enough, on the surface, anyway.  If you take a closer look at the motivation for each side to fight, you will be surprised that although the Communist North and Democratic South were bitter enemies, they both had Vietnam’s interest at heart.  It is important to note that in this case, when I say North Vietnam, I am actually referring to the citizens and soldiers of the North, not the Communist leaders such as Ho Chi Minh and Le Duan.  The soldiers in the North didn’t pick up their guns in the name of Communism, it was Vietnam that the Northern soldiers were fighting for.  Unlike the North, the South was not taken in by the lies of Communism, but like the North, the South truly loved the country.  Both sides wanted a free and independent Vietnam and both sides wanted Vietnam to be strong.  Unfortunately, ideology, external influences, and the malicious motives of power-hungry individuals (Ho Chi Minh) split the country into two, ultimately dragging the country into a costly and destructive civil war.

It wasn’t Communism that helped win the war for North Vietnam, but rather the patriotism of the Vietnamese people.  Ho Chi Minh deceived his supporters, accusing South Vietnam of being a puppet of the U.S and other foreign powers.  This allegation, however false it my be, struck the nerve of many Vietnamese people within his influence.  One of the strongest (if not the strongest) forces that motivated the North Vietnamese soldiers to keep fighting was their determination to defend Vietnam’s independence.  The Viet Minh (old Viet Cong) had just expelled the French imperialists from the Vietnamese nation and viewed the Americans as the new invaders to the sacred land.  It was this reason that the North fought so fiercely against the U.S. and it was for this reason that the Americans lost.  The North Vietnamese soldiers never fought with Communism on their minds, but instead fought with the freedom and well-being of Vietnam on their minds.  Ho Chi Minh only gained widespread support because he claimed to fight for these ideals.  Through propaganda, lies, and deceit, he successfully turned the North against the South, Vietnamese against Vietnamese, and patriots against patriots.

South Vietnam fought for the same ideals as the North: a free and independent Vietnam.  The only difference is that they saw the truth behind the lies, what Ho Chi Minh’s real intentions were, and that Communism was not good for the nation.  The Republic of Vietnam (aka South Vietnam) understood the detrimental consequences that Communism would bring to Vietnam, so therefore, they were willing to go to war with the North.  The outbreak of the war was triggered by Ho Chi Minh, the South under President Diem simply stood their ground, resisting the northern invaders.

By now it should be clear that both the people of North (except Ho Chi Minh, of course) and South wanted what was best for Vietnam.  The dictator Ho Chi Minh rallied the Northern troops with his false claims of freedom and peace while President Ngo Dinh Diem defended his own people, fighting for truth and democracy.  It is possible to argue that the South simply had a better understanding of what was best for Vietnam.  The North was blinded by false hope and blatant patriotism that later evolved into deep hatred and contempt for the South caused by the ingenious and wicked propaganda orchestrated by the cunning and deceitful Ho Chi Minh.  Communism didn’t win the war, the national loyalty and devoted love of one’s country helped the North defeat the Americans.  The subsequent American pull-out and abandonment of the South resulted in the Communist takeover of the entire country in 1975.

3 Responses to “North & South: Different Mindset, Same Aspiration”

  1. Most of the assesment you made about the aspiration of the Vietnamese people for a strong and independent Vietnam is correct. However, there was one lession that the we need to learn is that there are always elements who are ready to sell their pride and dignity for money, power, and false ego. And these had happened in both, in the north and south Vietnam. Such example in the north include HCM, Le duc tho, To huu, truong Chinh and now include Nguyen Tien Dung, Nong Duc Manh, Nguyen Phu Trong, Nguyen Chi vinh and other 13 guys in the polituro of the Vietnamse comunist party. In the south some generals who had carried out the assasination of President Diem. Such generlas include Cao Van vien, Tran Thien Khiem, Duong van Minh, Nguyen Van Toan, and Nguyen Di hinh These guys sold their pride and dignity to the French and American for their own power and security. Both President Diem and Thieu were not decisive enough to neutralize these guys when they had the opportunity. How to control and possibly eliminate that kind of people in our society. This is the question needs to answer for a future democratic and free Vietnam.

  2. I really like your post. But there’s one thing I would like to correct: You said that the Vietminh was the old Vietcong. Actually, in fact, the Vietminh forces consisted of many different parties following different political ideologies, not just the communists (Vietcong). After Vietnam won the war against the French, the communist leaders (Ho Chi Minh and Le Duan) killed the other political parties that opposed communism. (This isn’t new, since before that Ho Chi Minh was accused of betraying Phan Boi Chau by giving him to the French. He was also the one who agreed that the French could come back with their troops after 1945, so of course the French came back. HCM’s forces also took the government from Trần Trọng Kim because they accused TTK’s government of being the Japanese’s puppets. TTK was a government set up by the Japanese, true, but they were very democratic and genuinely did many good things for people. Too bad democracy such as allowing many political parties to form allowed the Communists to seize control of TTK’s government.)

  3. The South Vietnamese government was a U.S. puppet, President Diem and Thieu lied to this world for American support, the fall of Saigon in 1975 wasn’t because of communism, it was because of the failure of America’s backing and the failing integrity of the South Vietnamese government. Diem and Thieu did not take serious precautionary steps towards dealing with the communists but sat their and took whatever America gave them and put it into their mouths until their stomachs are full. The French lost to Ho Chi Minh and were humiliated as much as the Americans were, that is why they both installed the South Vietnamese government for their own manipulations, thanks to Geneva. At least Ho Chi Minh agreed to the divide, so that their can be “South Vietnam” but oh well they lost their country due to their corrupt and greedy government that didn’t care about the country, and that is their wrong doing for their country.

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