Be the Historian!

In What Historical and Organizational Context was the Document Produced?

When historians examine an official document, they think about the events and issues of the time period in which it was written. They use this knowledge to analyze the document and understand the foreign policy issues surrounding its creation.


On September 2, 1945 , Vietnam declared its independence from French colonial rule. On this day, Ho Chi Minh, the founder and organizer of the Indochinese Communist Party, delivered a speech in Hanoi that came to serve as the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence.


Ho Chi Minh crafted this document at a very important historical moment, and its content was shaped by the social and political conditions in which he was writing. Coming at the close of World War II, Ho's speech took place at a time in which the world's leaders were working out the power dynamics that would govern international relations for decades.

In this period of transition, attention shifted from the contest between the Allied and Axis powers to the increasing tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. The United States represented the dominant democratic-capitalist power and the Soviet Union the dominant Communist power. Those tensions were only exacerbated by the Communist revolution in China in 1949.

When Ho Chi Minh wrote this declaration of independence, he knew that the world was watching, and that, to be successful, he needed U.S. support.


The Task:
In this exercise you will read the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence. Click on the highlighted portions of the text to access additional information. Consider the ways in which the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence reflects the events surrounding its creation, and how Ho Chi Minh strategically used those events to make an argument for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, free from French colonial rule. Then, you’ll be asked to determine how U.S. political officials responded to Ho's declaration of independence.


Complete the task