This is a question that is quite tricky enough.
Is the country divided? Yes, it is divided when it comes to geography. But is there another division?
History tells us there was a division. And it was not something that happened a hundred or so years ago. It was in the 1950s.
But let’s go back to the other division.
When it comes to matters of geography, Vietnam is divided into three. The Northern part of Vietnam, the Central part, and further down is the Southern part.
Now, when it comes to dialects, there are more than three. There are a lot of dialects all over Vietnam.
While these dialects are somehow connected, there are slight differences. But because the differences are slight, there is no issue when it comes to communications.
Aside from the dialects, there are also other differences. The northern part of the country is conservative. The central part is extra-conservative. The southern part of the country is quite liberal than the other two.
As of this time, in matters of politics, the country is not divided. The country has one representation in the United Nations. The ruling party, as well, is a single party. This, they refer to as the Vietnam Communist Party.
Decades ago, history would tell you that the country was divided into two. It was only in the year 1975 when Saigon fell that the unification happened.
During the fall of Saigon, the Americans had the sensible decision to retreat. It was when the country became unified.
Because of the unification, you can now travel from the North to the South. You can travel without encountering hurdles at all.
Since there is no longer any division, traveling the country gives you a certain feeling. One of these is that there is peace. Gone are the days when traveling from the North to the South gives one fear.
Vietnam is no longer divided. Vietnam is as open and as happy as a country as any can be.
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Why was Vietnam divided?
From 1954 to the year 1975, there were two Vietnams. One is North Vietnam, and it is popular as the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The other half is South Vietnam. This, they used to call The Republic of Vietnam.
When the French realized that there was an obvious defeat, there was a decision to sign an agreement. The agreement was in Geneva.
As per the agreement, there would be a demilitarized zone (DMZ). This would be between the northern and the southern part of Vietnam.
The French withdrew their forces from the North. At the same time, the Viet Minh also withdrew theirs from the South.
At the time, there was also a declaration that states that there would be an election. The election should happen after the withdrawal of the troops. The election would be for the reunification of the country.
This part of the agreement was something that the South did not agree upon. At the time, the southern part of Vietnam was under the backing of the United States.
As such, the reunification election did not happen.
The southern part of Vietnam has always been independent. This independence was from May of 1954.
In 1955, the South had a questionable election where Ngo Dinh Diem became the winner. As president, he was a key player in the South’s declaration as a republic.
Now, you may be wondering why the United States was backing up the southern part of Vietnam. This is because the US saw Southern Vietnam as the bulwark against the ideals of communism.
It was not long before the Diem regime encountered hurdles. Many questions arose during his time from the local communists.
These local communists were heavily-supported by the rulers of the North.
It was only in 1975, when Saigon’s fall in the South, Vietnam became one.
When Saigon fell, the two Vietnams reunited. It was the end of the many years of two Vietnams.
How did Vietnam end up being split into two?
After World War II, Vietnam saw a collapse of its long-standing monarchy. Since its destruction, there was an attempt from the French. The attempt was to establish their colonial rule again.
The attempt to reestablish was not successful. The French saw a defeat in the Indo-China War.
It was because of this defeat that the French chose to sign an agreement. The year was 1954. The agreement was in good faith.
In the agreement, the Country of Vietnam will have two divisions. One is the North, and the other is the South. The division will continue but with a promise of a democratic election in 1956.
Such an election had one goal, and that was to reunify the North and the South.
This part of the agreement, however, was not something the South favored. The South, at the time, was getting a lot of support from the United States. Both the South and the US were not in favor of such an election.
South Vietnam (and the US) insists on supervision coming from the UN in the election. The supervision would have been to prevent fraud from happening.
This suggestion did not play well with the North. At the time, the North was getting support from the Soviet Union.
Because of such disagreements, the division remained. There was no election. There was no reunification.
There were two Vietnams from 1954 until 1975. There was North Vietnam and South Vietnam. It was only during the fall of Saigon in 1975 when the Vietnam War ended. Upon its end, the country reunited.
After its unification in 1975, the country has undergone many hurdles. This includes reports of internal repressions. There were also reports of isolation from the international community.
The isolation is due to the Cold War. This is also because of the country’s invasion of its neighbor, Cambodia. Add to that the American economic embargo, which was a major player in the country’s isolation.
The year was 1986. Vietnam had the decision to change its economic policy. By this time, the country saw a series of reforms. The reform was to affect a large percentage of the private sectors.
The reform, which they call as Doi Moi, was a political movement. Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet led the movement.
During a meeting of the Communist Party of Vietnam, there was another decision. The decision was to abolish the planned economy system.
The abolishment made way for an economy that focuses more on being market-oriented.
After this abolishment, Vietnam’s economy was steady in its rise.
The country is now enjoying economic stability Because of the market-oriented economy.
What happened to Vietnam after the war?
It was only in 1973 when there was an agreement between the US and North Vietnam. The agreement was to stop the war between the two nations.
The war between North Vietnam and the US stopped. But there was still conflict between North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
It was only in April of 1975 when this stopped. It was after the fall of Saigon.
In 1976, Vietnam became one. Its name became the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
After the reunification, there was still a decade and a half of violence in the country. There were more Vietnamese lives lost and millions wounded. Millions more became refugees.
There was also a conflict between Vietnam and Cambodia. During this time, the country also had conflicts with its neighbor, China.
The result was an ailing economy.
It was only in 1986 when the country decided on a market-oriented economy. From this day onwards, the country saw a great improvement in its economic stability.
Add to that is the country’s revenues in its oil exports. In decades after that, the country improved in its many industries. Such improvements contributed to the healthy economy that the country enjoys today.
Vietnam saw a good start with its exports in the mid-1980s. It has never looked back since.
Who ruled Vietnam after the war?
When the two Vietnams unified, there was only one thing that came to mind.
Who will take charge of the country?
Both the North and the South became one. Its name was the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. At the time, there were objections from the South. But such objections never had a place in unified Vietnam.
The South was the US’s bastion before the unification. And because of that, there was a need to re-educate its people.
By re-educating, it was to instill the North’s beliefs to the South. The work was not smooth in general. The leaders were officials from the North.
Most of these that were in the position did not have any politician contributions in the past. But they were part of establishing Vietnam’s “retraining courses.”
For many officials of the South, the re-education process was longer. It was longer and more severe. The same is also true for anyone that the new Vietnam views with suspicion.
Some had to spend years in these camps. There was a lot of torture and brainwashing. The camp was never warm. It was never comfortable.
There were about a million from the South that went through the re-education process. Some were never seen again.
The country was under the leadership of Ton Duc Thang.
Born in 1888, he was the Communist leader of the reunited Vietnam. He was the successor of Ho Chi Minh as the president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. That was in 1969.
He became the leader when there were the North and the South of Vietnam’s reunification. He was president of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Is Vietnam a democratic country?
In general, the country is not a democratic country.
The government is not democratic at all. Most of the Parliament’s members are that of the Communist party. This will never be democratic in any sense.
In summary, the country only has one party. Because of this one-party system, the country is never democratic.
There was a constitution. This was something that the communists created. In such a constitution, it will only be the communist party that can lead Vietnam.
The people who hold power are from the Communist Political Bureau. They are the country’s top leaders. The top leaders are never elected into the positions that they now hold.
These leaders are in the position because of a designation. The appointment comes from their peers. These peers are members of the senior communist party as well.
As you already know by now, the country has Parliament members. The members, however, are still from the communist party. There are a few that are not. But these few are people that the communist parties sponsored for the election.
The people of Vietnam only elect those that sit in the Parliament. The election is compulsory. As a Vietnamese, you should take part in the election process. Refusal to do so would have its repercussions.
People get fined for not taking part in the process.
One thing to note is there is an election process, yes. But the people that run for election are all communists. And if they are not communists, they are people that the communist parties sponsor. The sponsorship was to run for such an election.
In such a system, democracy is dead.
There may be a process of electing people up to the Parliament positions. But there is a limitation when it comes to the people who can run. Not everyone can run for the elections.
The people who can run are communists.
And so while there is an election, there is a matter of who gets elected.
When all is over and done, only one thing’s for sure. The people who get into positions are, for sure, communists. Because nobody else, aside from them, can run.
Is it a democratic country? In theory, yes.
But in practice, the country has a lot of things to change for the system to be democratic.