Discuss The Impact Of Diem's And Ho Chi Minh's Policies On Vietnam From 1954 Until 1970?

1050 words - 4 pages

In the region collectively known as Vietnam, over 25 years of hostilities had been endured by the Vietnamese people, culminating in the midst of this conflict, the division of Vietnam into North and South as stated in the Geneva Accords. These now independent territories each had their own system of administration, vastly different in their beliefs, governing each of their 'nations' population. Between 1954 and 1970, the North's Ho Chi Minh, a communist, and the South's Ngo Dinh Diem, 'a pro-democratic nationalist', were both leaders of their respective nations for periods within this time, implementing many political, social and economic policies that would have a lasting impact on their nations.For a quarter of a century North Vietnam was a politically stable nation with the same leaders, headed by Ho Chi Minh, remaining in positions of power. These leaders shaped and changed the North Vietnamese ideals, making national independence and eventual reunification of Vietnam the common cause of both the state and the people. In 1960 a new constitution, derived by Ho and the remainder of the leadership, outlined the control of the state in which Marxism-Leninism would be followed. The following of this impacted on society, giving cohesion and stability to the state. All citizens regardless of age, sex or qualifications were incorporated into state run programs. The formation of the Lao Dong (Vietnamese Workers Party) established a 'peoples democracy', ensuring a large proportion of the population were involved in political activity. The people were the priority. This communist belief system would remain the foundation of North Vietnam throughout the Second Indochina War, allowing the nation to resist the onslaught of the Democratic South, while uniting the people for their own attacks, such as the Tet Offensive in 1968, turning the war in the North's favour.In stark contrast, South Vietnam's political administration was in tatters with heavy handed tactics against opposition and corruption rampant. Ngo Dinh Diem became President of South Vietnam in 1955, replacing Emperor Bao Dai. With the backing of the United States, Diem was the answer to the North; an anti-Communist, pro-democratic leader. In an effort to consolidate power, Diem appointed members of his family to permanent positions within the government. These nepotistic appointments resulted in a Catholic family, now government, controlling a population whose faith was a blend of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. Unlike the Communist North, the Diem government refused to take into account their peoples beliefs and ideals. This clash of cultures came to the fore in 1963 when the Diem regime incited a major crisis by trying to discipline and repress the South Vietnamese Buddhists in an effort to make Catholicism the dominant religion of the country. The Buddhists began to stage enormous antigovernment demonstrations and after Diem's brother Ngo Dinh Nhu launched a number of military actions...

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