• "Being Vietnamese": The Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the United States during the Early Cold War

      Immerman, Richard H.; Farber, David R.; Simon, Bryant; Quinn-Judge, Sophie; Buzzanco, Robert (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)
      This dissertation examines the early U.S.-D.R.V. relationship by analyzing related myths and exploring Viet Minh policies. I go beyond the previous literature to examine the Viet Minh government's modernization and anti-imperialist projects, both of which proved critical to D.R.V. policy evolution and the evolution of a new national identity. During the French era, as Vietnamese thinkers rethought the meaning of "being Vietnamese," groups like the Viet Minh determined that modernization was the essential to Vietnam's independence and that imperialist states like the U.S. posed a serious threat to their revolution and their independence. I argue that D.R.V. officials dismissed all possibility of a real alliance with the U.S. long before 1950. Soviet and Chinese mentors later provided development aid to Hanoi, while the D.R.V. maintained its autonomy and avoided becoming a client state by seeking alliances with other decolonizing countries. In doing so, Vietnamese leaders gained their own chances to mentor others and improve their status on the world stage. After Geneva, Hanoi continued to advance modernization in the North using a variety of methods, but its officials also heightened their complaints against the U.S. In particular, the D.R.V. denounced America's invasion of South Vietnam and its "puppet" government in Saigon as evidence of an imperialist plot. In advocating an anti-imperialist line and modernized future, D.R.V. leaders elaborated a new national identity, tying modernization and anti-imperialism inextricably to "being Vietnamese." Yet modernization presented serious challenges and Hanoi's faith in anti-imperialism had its drawbacks, limiting their ability to critique and evaluate the U.S. threat fully.