In 1945, during World War II, Japanese troops took control of Vietnam (under French rule at the time). At the end of the war, Ho Chi Minh — the Vietnamese Communist leader—seized an opportunity to escape decades of French rule. The day Japan surrendered to the Allies, Ho Chi Minh declared independence in front of a crowd of Vietnamese. In a deliberate appeal for American support, he opened his speech with the words: "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." Before he declared independence in front of thousands of cheering citizens in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh asked U.S. Office of Strategic Services Officer Archimedes Patti to check his wording of the first passage. He needed an American for the job because he had borrowed it from the Declaration of Independence. Patti recorded his impressions of the Viet Minh (a national independence coalition dominated by communists) in this report. He wrote: "From what I have seen these people mean business and I’m afraid that the French will have to deal with them. For that matter we will all have to deal with them."
- How did Patti describe Ho Chi Minh? How was this different from the viewpoint from the "Southeast Asia Treaty Organization" video?
- In the last two sentences of the document, how would geographic factors determine the proposed actions in Vietnam?
- How are ideological alliances between countries informing individual action? Use evidence from the document.
Patti, Archimedes, "Operational Priority Communication from Archimedes Patti," U.S. Office of Strategic Services, 2 September 1945. Courtesy of National Archives