Independence Movements in Vietnam and India

Subject: History
Pages: 4
Words: 1196
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: Bachelor

The middle of the twentieth century is characterized by the worldwide aggravation of national liberation movements. It resulted from the colonial policies of the Western powers, which had significantly weakened after World War II. Leaders of different countries chose different strategies to fight for their country’s independence. This essay will examine the strategies chosen by the leaders of India and Vietnam. While Gandhi in India preached the idea of nonviolent struggle, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam motivated the people to armed confrontation against the invaders and then the colonists. The Cold War that followed World War II also left a significant mark on the history of these countries, characterizing the second half of the twentieth century as a time of struggle for the spheres of influence of the two world powers. Therefore, for a more in-depth study of the history of the struggle of the two nations for independence, it is also necessary to consider the Cold War’s impact on the regions’ political processes.

The Factors That Influenced the Independence Movement in India

The Origins of the Indian Independence Movement

India was a British colony since the East India Company. The British actively used the territory’s resources, exporting tea, spices, textiles, and other goods valuable in Europe and taking advantage of India’s considerable market for British products. India’s long-standing colonial status was accompanied by economic and political discrimination against the local population (Azad, 2021). Local workers received low wages, were limited in their rights, and were constantly harassed by the authorities. It was the reason for the growth of anti-colonial sentiments in the region. At the same time, caste divisions still existed in Indian society. According to this division, there were inferior or untouchable castes of people in India who were most restricted in their rights and opportunities. A prominent political figure opposed it, Mahatma Gandhi, whose ideology helped India attain freedom with little or no recourse to arms.

The influence of Gandhism ideology on the Indian independence movement

It is difficult to determine to which ideology Gandhi’s teachings belong. Gandhism, as an ideology, is imbued with the ideas of humanism, pacifism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, which inspired the people of India to fight nonviolently against colonial oppression. Gandhi’s political activity, initially aimed at abolishing the existence of castes in India, changed the vector of its development toward the ideas of anti-colonialism. Gandhi, deeply respected by the people, was able to steer the population toward nonviolent ways of struggle, one prime example of which was the boycott of British goods (Guha, 2017). The British Empire could not forbid its subjects not to buy its goods, so formally, this political gesture did not violate the country’s laws or risk the liberty or lives of the people. The boycott played an essential role in Britain’s attitude toward India, for it inflicted significant economic losses and also showed the determination of the Indian people on the road to liberation. Gandhi’s subsequent actions were designed to prevent the shedding of blood in pursuing independence. Gandhi’s activities and ideology would later be recognized by the world community and Great Britain, which showed respect for this great man.

The effects of the Cold War on India

Gandhi was very concerned about the conflict between Hindus and Muslims, dividing the country into two parts. The country was home to many people of both religions, often leading to violent conflicts. The Cold War played an essential role in the development of this conflict. The rivalry between the U.S. and the Soviet Union over the zones of influence of their ideologies only fueled the conflict that already existed. The United States sided with Pakistan, and the Soviet Union sided with India.

The great powers constantly supported their allies during the wars between Pakistan and India. Also, this confrontation continued diplomatically, as both countries have VETO rights at the UN. The two mighty powers defended the interests of their wards by not passing various resolutions, which also hindered the reunification of the countries (Engerman, 2017). Despite this, the Soviet Union and the U.S. also served as mediators in resolving the conflict, making their influence on the situation more ambiguous.

The Factors that Influenced the Independence Movement in Vietnam

The Origins of the Vietnam Independence Movement

Vietnam has been a French colony since the mid-nineteenth century. During World War II, Japanese occupation forces seized power in the country, giving rise to a national liberation movement in the region. The Japanese occupation regime was characterized by aggression against the local population, degradation of human rights, looting, and robbery. All this increased the discontent of the country’s population, which had already been a colony of France before (Tran, 2020). Tired of constant oppression, the Vietnamese resisted the Japanese invaders’ forces, which f leading Ho Chi Minh to the August 1945 revolution that the freedom of the Japanese invaders.

The Influence of Ho Chi Minh’s Ideology on the Vietnam Independence Movement

Ho Chi Minh became one of the ideological inspirations of the national liberation movement in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh’s ideology is a Vietnamese adaptation of Marxist-Leninist ideology (Tram, 2021). Unlike Gandhi, Ho Chi Minh’s ideology advocated violent methods of struggle for independence. As an ardent communist, he enlisted the support of the Soviet Union and China in the armed struggle against France. France, weakened by World War II, could not resist the Vietnamese people’s intentions, leading to the signing of the Geneva Accords and the division of the country into North and South Vietnam. North Vietnam, led by Ho Chi Minh, was supported by the Socialist Bloc, while South Vietnam became increasingly close to the United States.

The Effects of the Cold War on Vietnam

The Cold War had a powerful impact on the history of the Vietnamese state. Supported by the Soviet Union and China, North Vietnam was at war with South Vietnam, supported by the United States and its allies. The North tried to support Communist forces in the South, leading to a civil war in South Vietnam and then a war with North Vietnam (Engerman, 2017). The war ended in 1975 with the victory of North Vietnam and the declaration of an independent state of Vietnam. Since then, and to this day, the country has been ruled by the Communist Party, inspired by the ideology of Ho Chi Minh.

Comparison of The Liberation Movements in India and Vietnam

The national liberation movement in India and Vietnam was very different. While Indians used the method of nonviolent struggle, the people of Vietnam fought vigorously against both the occupiers and the colonists. A similarity in the strategies chosen by the leaders of both states is the attempt to preserve state unity. Gandhi sought to prevent the secession of Pakistan and the escalation of inter-religious aggression, while Ho Chi Minh sought to unify the country under the umbrella of communist ideology. In both cases, this led to protracted wars, but the essence of their outbreak and continuation is different. Nevertheless, the course of both conflicts was influenced by the intervention of the United States and the Soviet Union, fighting for their spheres of influence. Although the two leaders have chosen different paths, Vietnam and India are now independent, sovereign states.


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