ZINN, HOWARD CHAPTER 18 Questions and Answers
1) The Vietnamese complaints against the French both in the letters to President Truman and the 1945 Declaration of Independence, were based on the levying of unjust taxes, increasing the poverty of the rural populace, exploitation of mineral and forest resources, massive starvation, and imprisonment of those who would rebel or question their colonial power. In the long list of grievances against the French stated in the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence, “They have invented numerous unjustifiable taxes and reduced our people, especially our peasantry, to a state of extreme poverty”. Ho Chi Minh stated in his letter to Truman, that it was strictly for humanitarian reasons he need to revolt, and that “two million Vietnamese died of starvation during winter of 1944 and spring 1945”, and that it was “because of starvation policy of French who seized and stored until it controlled all available rice”. These seem like these conditions were a common occurrence at the time in Southeast Asia, where native people under the domination of French colonialism were not treated with dignity and not even given sufficient bare human necessities to live their lives. (Zinn Ch. 18 Pg. XXX) 2) The Geneva Peace accord of 1954 mandated that the French withdraw to the southern part of the country, and that the Vietminh would stay in the north. This was because the French were losing the popular support of the Vietnamese people against Ho Chi Minh’s revolutionary movement and there was a power vacuum. The Peace accord also set up the process for Vietnamese elections within two years of the withdrawal to allow the Vietnamese to elect their own government and unify the country. a. The United States at first agreed to free elections for the Vietnamese people, when it participated in the multinational Geneva Peace accord. Due to the French withdrawal from the north and the powerful tide of nationalistic and communist ideologies...
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