Ho Chi Minh was a Vietnamese leader who declared the independence of Vietnam from French colonial rule in 1945. His declaration drew upon the philosophical principles which were paramount during World War II and served as a moral justification for Vietnam’s assertion of self-determination. Specifically, Ho’s speech referenced three core principles articulated by the Allied nations: freedom, equality, and national sovereignty. These concepts became known as “The Four Freedoms”—freedom of speech and expression; freedom of worship; freedom from want; and freedom from fear (Giglio et al., 2018).
In his Declaration of Independence, Ho proclaimed that all people should be “entitled to enjoy political, economic, and social rights without distinction as to race or religion” (Ho Chi Minh 1946). This statement is consistent with the notion of equality before the law or equal protection under the law which was put forth by Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1941 State of Union address (Giglio et al., 2018). In this address he stated that “all individuals…should have an equal opportunity to make use [of] their own powers…to attain success” (Roosevelt 1941). In addition to these two principles – equality and liberty – Ho also invoked national sovereignty when he recognized Vietnam’s right “to determine its future destiny freely without any foreign interference whatsoever” (Ho Chi Minh 1946) . This idea had been expressed previously by Winston Churchill in 1944 when he stated that British security depended on creating “an association of free democratic countries strong enough to prevent aggression ever again threatening civilized life from any quarter whatever” (Churchill 1944).
What principles was Ho referring to, and does he make references to occasions where those principles were reasserted?
These core ideas–equality before the law, individual liberty and national sovereignty –were echoed throughout World War II by both U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as exemplars for post-war peace negotiations (Giglio et al., 2018). For instance, at Yalta Conference held just days prior to Ho’s Declaration of Independence in 1945 , Roosevelt suggested that it was necessary for post war justice system to be based on “the principle of punishment for those guilty offenses against international laws” while simultaneously respecting “the right if minorities…national minority rights” (Ushistory 2020 ). Furthermore , at Potsdam Conference later in 1945 , Churchill emphasized on collective responsibility among allies guaranteeing each other’s safety while yielding nothing which weakened their respective strengths or compromised their sovereign interests (Winston S Churchil 2020 ) .
To conclude , Ho Chi Minh provided a powerful call for independence rooted not only in Vietnamese nationalism but also drawing upon universal philosophical foundations asserting justice , equality before the law , individual liberty & national sovereignty . The echoes heard within his speech reflect long standing geopolitical dialogues between leaders around world engaging with same fundamental humanistic themes such us self determination & interdependence among nations .