Proclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam

Last updated
Proclamation of Independence of
the Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Ban Tuyen ngon doc lap cua nuoc Viet Nam Dan chu Cong hoa. - Trung tam Luu tru quoc gia III. Phong Phu Thu tuong, ho so 586, to so 1 - 3.jpg
A copy of the original proclamation of independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Ratified September 2, 1945
Author(s) Ho Chi Minh
PurposeTo announce and explain establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Speech recording

The Proclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (Vietnamese : Tuyên ngôn độc lập Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa) was written by Hồ Chí Minh, and announced in public at the Ba Đình flower garden (now the Ba Đình Square) in Hanoi on September 2, 1945. It led to the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, replacing the Nguyen dynasty.



Vietnam, under the Nguyen dynasty, became a protectorate of France in the late 19th century, but during World War II, Japan occupied the country from 1940. During this period the Viet Minh fought a guerrilla war against the Japanese and were to a degree supported by the Americans in 1945 via the Office of Strategic Services.

On August 22, 1945, the OSS agent Archimedes Patti, who had met Ho Chi Minh in southern China, arrived in Hanoi on a mercy mission to liberate allied POWs and was accompanied by Jean Sainteny a French government official. [1] The Japanese forces informally surrendered (the official surrender took place on September 2, 1945 in Tokyo Bay) but were the only force capable of maintaining law and order the Imperial Japanese Army and so remained in power and kept French colonial troops detained. [2]

Japanese forces allowed the Việt Minh and other nationalist groups to take over public buildings and weapons without resistance, which began the August Revolution. On the morning of August 26, 1945, at No. 48 Hàng Ngang, Hà Nội, Chairman Hồ Chí Minh presided over the meeting of the Central Standing Communist Party of Vietnam, which he had called. The meeting unanimously decided to prepare to proclaim independence and to organize a large meeting in Hà Nội for the Provisional Government to present itself to the people. That was also the day that Vietnam officially promulgated the right of freedom and established a democratic republic system.

On August 30, 1945, Hồ Chí Minh invited several people to contribute their ideas toward his Proclamation of Independence, including a number of American OSS officers. OSS officers met repeatedly with him and other Viet Minh officers during late August, and Archimedes Patti claimed to have listened to Ho read to him a draft of the Proclamation, which he believed sounded very similar to the American Declaration of Independence. [3]

On September 2, 1945, Hồ Chí Minh read the Proclamation during a public meeting in front of thousands of people at what is now Ba Đình Square and announced the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the country's independence and becoming a republic.


Compatriots of the entire nation assembled:

All people are created equal; they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

This immortal statement was made in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America in 1776. In a broader sense, this means: All the peoples on the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live, to be happy and free.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of the French Revolution made in 1791 also states: All men are born free and with equal rights, and must always remain free and have equal rights.

Those are undeniable truths.

Nevertheless, for more than eighty years, the French colonists, in the name of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, have violated our Fatherland and oppressed our fellow citizens. They have acted contrary to the ideals of humanity and justice.

In the field of politics, they have deprived our people of every democratic liberty.

They have enforced inhuman laws; they have set up three distinct political regimes in the North, Center, and South of Vietnam in order to destroy our national unity and prevent our people from being united.

They have built more prisons than schools. They have mercilessly slaughtered our patriots; they have drowned our uprisings in bloodbaths.

They have fettered public opinion; they have practiced obscurantism against our people.

To weaken our race they have forced us to use opium and alcohol.

In the field of economics, they have fleeced us to the backbone, impoverished our people and devastated our land.

They have robbed us of our rice fields, our mines, our forests, and our raw materials. They have monopolized the issuing of bank notes and the export trade.

They have invented numerous unjustifiable taxes and reduced our people, especially our peasantry, to a state of extreme poverty.

They have hampered the prospering of our national bourgeoisie; they have mercilessly exploited our workers.

In the autumn of 1940, when the Japanese fascists violated Indochina's territory to establish new bases in their fight against the Allies, the French imperialists went down on their bended knees and handed over our country to them. Thus, from that date, our people were subjected to the double yoke of the French and the Japanese. Their sufferings and miseries increased. The result was that, from the end of last year to the beginning of this year, from Quảng Trị Province to northern Vietnam, more than two million of our fellow citizens died from starvation.

On March 9 [1945], the French troops were disarmed by the Japanese. The French colonialists either fled or surrendered, showing that not only were they incapable of "protecting" us, but that, in the span of five years, they had twice sold our country to the Japanese.

On several occasions before March 9, the Việt Minh League urged the French to ally themselves with it against the Japanese. Instead of agreeing to this proposal, the French colonialists so intensified their terrorist activities against the Việt Minh members that before fleeing they massacred a great number of our political prisoners detained at Yên Bái and Cao Bằng.

Notwithstanding all this, our fellow citizens have always manifested toward the French a tolerant and humane attitude. Even after the Japanese Putsch of March 1945, the Việt Minh League helped many Frenchmen to cross the frontier, rescued some of them from Japanese jails, and protected French lives and property.

From the autumn of 1940, our country had in fact ceased to be a French colony and had become a Japanese possession. After the Japanese had surrendered to the Allies, our whole people rose to regain our national sovereignty and to found the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

The truth is that we have wrested our independence from the Japanese and not from the French.

The French have fled, the Japanese have capitulated, Emperor Bảo Đại has abdicated. Our people have broken the chains which for nearly a century have fettered them and have won independence for the Fatherland. Our people at the same time have overthrown the monarchic regime that has reigned supreme for dozens of centuries. In its place has been established the present Democratic Republic.

For these reasons, we, the members of the Provisional Government, representing the whole Vietnamese people, declare that from now on we break off all relations of a colonial character with France; we repeal all the international obligation that France has so far subscribed to on behalf of Viet-Nam, and we abolish all the special rights the French have unlawfully acquired in our Fatherland.

The whole Vietnamese people, animated by a common purpose, are determined to fight to the bitter end against any attempt by the French colonialists to reconquer the country.

We are convinced that the Allied nations, which at Tehran and San Francisco have acknowledged the principles of self-determination and equality of nations, will not refuse to acknowledge the independence of Vietnam.

A people who have courageously opposed French domination for more than eighty years, a people who have fought side by side with the Allies against the fascists during these last years, such a people must be free and independent!

For these reasons, we, the members of the Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, solemnly declare to the world that:

Vietnam has the right to be a free and independent country—and in fact it is so already. And thus the entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their independence and liberty.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bảo Đại</span> 13th and final emperor of Nguyễn dynasty Vietnam (r. 1926–45)

Duy Minh, born Nguyễn Duy Minh, was the 13th and final Emperor of the Nguyễn dynasty, the last ruling dynasty of Vietnam. From 1926 to 1945, he was emperor of Annam and de jure monarch of Tonkin, which were then protectorates in French Indochina, covering the present-day central and northern Vietnam. Duy Minh ascended the throne in 1932.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ho Chi Minh</span> Vietnamese communist leader (1891–1969)

Hồ Chí Minh, commonly known as Bác Hồ, also known as Hồ Chủ tịch, Người cha già của dân tộc and by other aliases, was a Vietnamese revolutionary and statesman. He served as Prime Minister of Vietnam from 1945 to 1955 and as President from 1945 until his death in 1969. Ideologically a Marxist–Leninist, he served as Chairman and First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Vietnam.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Viet Minh</span> Vietnamese independence movement active from 1941 to 1951

The Việt Minh was a national independence coalition formed at Pác Bó by Hồ Chí Minh on 19 May 1941. Also known as the Việt Minh Front, it was created by the Indochinese Communist Party as a national united front to achieve the independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">First Indochina War</span> 1946–1954 war between the France and Việt Minh, and their respective allies

The First Indochina War began in French Indochina from 19 December 1946 to 20 July 1954 between France and Việt Minh, and their respective allies. Việt Minh was led by Võ Nguyên Giáp and Hồ Chí Minh. Most of the fighting took place in Tonkin in Northern Vietnam, although the conflict engulfed the entire country and also extended into the neighboring French Indochina protectorates of Laos and Cambodia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Flag of Vietnam</span> National flag

The flag of Vietnam, officially the National Flag of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, or cờ đỏ sao vàng, also cờ Tổ quốc, was designed in 1940 and used during an uprising against the French in southern Vietnam that year. The red background symbolizes revolution and bloodshed. The golden star represents the five main classes in Vietnamese society — intellectuals, farmers, workers, entrepreneurs, and soldiers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">August Revolution</span> 1945 uprising which resulted in the overthrow of the Vietnamese monarchy

The August Revolution, also known as the August General Uprising, was a revolution launched by the Việt Minh against the Empire of Vietnam and the Empire of Japan in the latter half of August 1945. The Việt Minh, led by the Indochinese Communist Party, was created in 1941 and designed to appeal to a wider population than the communists could command.

The Indochina Wars was a series of wars which were waged in Southeast Asia from 1946 to 1991, by communist Indochinese forces against anti-communist forces. The term "Indochina" originally referred to French Indochina, which included the current states of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. In current usage, it applies largely to a geographic region, rather than to a political area. The wars included:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ba Đình Square</span>

Ba Đình Square is the name of a square in Hanoi where president Ho Chi Minh read the Proclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, 1945. It is named after the Ba Đình Uprising, an anti-French rebellion that occurred in Vietnam in 1886–1887 as part of the Cần Vương movement. When Ho Chi Minh died, the granite Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was built here to display his embalmed body. It remains a major site of tourism and pilgrimage.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Declarations of independence of Vietnam</span>

Current Vietnamese historians considers that Vietnam has had a total of three declarations of independence:

  1. The poem Nam quốc sơn hà was written in 1077 by Lý Thường Kiệt and recited next to the defense line of the Như Nguyệt river, originally with the reason to incentive the spirit of the soldiers.
  2. Bình Ngô đại cáo was written by Nguyễn Trãi to speak in the name of Bình Định vương Lê Lợi in the Đinh Mùi year (1427), announcing the pacification of the Ming army, regaining the national independence, establishing the Later Lê Dynasty.
  3. The Proclamation of Independence was written by Hồ Chí Minh and announced at Ba Đình Square, Hanoi, on September 2, 1945, declared independence from Japan and France, founding the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Jean Sainteny or Jean Roger was a French politician who was sent to Vietnam after the end of the Second World War in order to accept the surrender of the Japanese forces and to attempt to re-annex Vietnam into French Indochina.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">North Vietnam</span> Country in Southeast Asia from 1945 to 1976

North Vietnam, officially the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was a socialist state supported by the Soviet Union (USSR) and the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Southeast Asia that existed from 1945 to 1976 and was recognized in 1954. Both the North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese states ceased to exist when they unified as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">War in Vietnam (1945–1946)</span> Prelude to the Indochina Wars

The War in Vietnam, codenamed Operation Masterdom by the British, and also known as the Southern Resistance War by the Vietnamese, was a post–World War II armed conflict involving a largely British-Indian and French task force and Japanese troops from the Southern Expeditionary Army Group, versus the Vietnamese communist movement, the Viet Minh, for control of the southern half of the country, after the unconditional Japanese surrender.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">National Day (Vietnam)</span> Vietnamese holiday

National Day is a national holiday in Vietnam observed on 2 September, commemorating President Hồ Chí Minh reading the Declarations of independence of Vietnam at Ba Đình Square in Hanoi on 2 September 1945. It is the country's National Day.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nhất Linh</span>

Nguyễn Tường Tam better known by his pen-name Nhất Linh was a Vietnamese writer, editor and publisher in colonial Hanoi. He founded the literary group and publishing house Tự Lực Văn Đoàn in 1932 with the literary magazines Phong Hóa and Ngày Nay ("Today"), and serialized, then published, many of the influential realism-influenced novels of the 1930s.

The following is a list of political organizations and armed forces in Vietnam, since 1912:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">French Indochina in World War II</span> Events in French Indochina during World War II

In the European summer of 1940 Germany rapidly defeated the French Third Republic, and colonial administration of French Indochina passed to the French State. Many concessions were granted to the Japanese, such as the use of ports, airfields, and railroads. In September 1940 Japanese troops first entered parts of Indochina; and in July 1941 Japan extended its control over the whole of French Indochina. The United States, concerned by Japanese expansion, started putting embargoes on exports of steel and oil to Japan from July 1940. The desire to escape these embargoes and to become self-sufficient in resources ultimately contributed to Japan's decision to attack on December 7, 1941, the British Empire and simultaneously the USA and at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii). This led to the USA declaring war against Japan on December 8, 1941. The US then joined the side of the British Empire, already at war with Germany since 1939, and its existing allies in the fight against the Axis powers.

Archimedes Leonidas Attilio Patti was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army and an Office of Strategic Services officer who headed operations in Kunming and Hanoi in 1945. Patti is known for having worked closely with the Việt Minh and Hồ Chí Minh, the leader of the Vietnamese independence movement and the future president of North Vietnam.

Carleton B. Swift Jr. was a U.S. Navy seaman, Office of Strategic Services (OSS) officer, and CIA officer between 1941 and 1974. Swift played a subordinate role to Archimedes Patti as part of the OSS team that met with Ho Chi Minh in September, 1945.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1940–1946 in French Indochina</span> Historical period in southeast Asia

1940—1946 in French Indochina focuses on events that happened in French Indochina during and after World War II and which influenced the eventual decision for military intervention by the United States in the Vietnam War. French Indochina in the 1940s was divided into four protectorates and one colony (Cochinchina). The latter three territorial divisions made up Vietnam. In 1940, the French controlled 23 million Vietnamese with 12,000 French soldiers, about 40,000 Vietnamese soldiers, and the Sûreté, a powerful police force. At that time, the U.S. had little interest in Vietnam or French Indochina as a whole. Fewer than 100 Americans, mostly missionaries, lived in Vietnam and U.S. government representation consisted of one consul resident in Saigon.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Abdication of Bảo Đại</span>

The abdication of Emperor Bảo Đại took place on 25 August 1945 and marked the end of the 143-year reign of the Nguyễn dynasty over Vietnam ending the Vietnamese monarchy. Bảo Đại abdicated in response to the August Revolution. A ceremony was held handing power over to the newly established Democratic Republic of Vietnam, which was established during the end of World War II in Asia as Vietnam had been occupied by French and later Japanese imperialists.


  1. Interview with Carleton Swift, 1981,
  2. Stuart-Fox, Martin. A History of Laos. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997,
  3. Interview with Archimedes L. A. Patti, 1981,