The Role Of Vietnamese Women During The War Against The French And American Colonization

In current times, Vietnamese women more and more assert their important positions in workplace and society with many famous leaders such as Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Tong Thi Phong. Back to the timelines of Vietnam during the wars against to occupation of France and the United States, there are several well-known heroes like Vo Thi Sau, Nguyen Thi Dinh or others groups of female young volunteers. They were willing to sacrifice their youth, love, family and career in order to contribute to the country’s reunification. They took up the crucial roles of in not only fighting for the independence of the country in front lines but also supporting and serving as army ordnance duties behind enemy lines. Therefore, this essay focuses on painting portraits of Vietnamese women in the war and their important roles during the period of two protracted wars against colonialism.

Obviously, Vietnam, along with Laos and Cambodia, is a nation belongs to the Indochinese Peninsula which was devastated during the colonization of France and the United States. The was a separation of Vietnam into two parts during the war: the North was support by the communist countries: the Soviet Union, China while the South was supported by the United States and its allies. This division resulted in many difficulties in terms of economics, tactics or others services like supplies of foods, weapons, ammunition. Despite above troubles, our country put more effort in order to be reunified in the future.

According to the Appeal for national resistance of Ho Chi Minh President on December 19th, 1946 that “No! We are better off sacrificing everything than losing our country and becoming slaves. Those who have guns will use guns. Those who have swords will use swords. If (you) don’t have swords, then use hoes, spades, sticks and canes. Everyone must try to fight against the French colonialists to save our country”. The meaning of these sentences strengthens the importance of national solidarity in the war by appealing all classes, all generations to fight for our homeland. Male soldiers accounted for the major armed force in the combat. Besides, the statistics show that there were approximately 11,000 Vietnamese women participating in the Resistance wars in all classes from farmers, workers to college students or officials. Almost all of them are volunteers. A minority of them directly combated enemies in the battlefield during the conflicts. Not only did Vietnamese women take a significant role as soldiers in the front lines, they also mostly served as civilians duties such as military nurses, physicians, intelligence officers and other important positions. They are all national heroes recognized by our country due to their sacrifice.

Firstly, Vietnamese women served as brave soldiers in the front lines when they enlisted in both the North amred force and the Viet Cong guerrilla insurgent force in South Vietnam. In the 1945-1954 Vietnamese resistance to French colonization witnessed the development of the guerilla movements along with many outstanding heroes. In particular, a sixteen-year-old girl Vo Thi Sau, along with her friends and family worked for the League for the Independence of Vietnam or Viet Minh. She was in charged of reconnaissance and killing the enemies. After cruel tortures, she decided to keep all secret information about the national situation.

As a result, on March 13th, 1952, the French executed her for dealth penalty due to her assassination of the French Captain and wounding twelve soldiers. In the war against America during the period of 1954 to 1975, Vietnamese women successfully took a crucial role as brave commandos - Viet Cong, or in other words. In urban battlefields, female soldiers in military commando team conducted battles into the enemy's headquarters, for instance the attacks against the residence of the US officers and soldiers such as Hotel Brink, Caravelle. . . . In the Mau Than 1968 campaign, female activists entered many important military bases as Saigon General Staff, US Embassy. Le Thi Rieng battalion under the leadership of Le Thi Bach Cat directly attacked Quyet Tien camp and Tan Son Nhat airport (Chung mot bong co, 1993). Back to the timelines of the Hai ba Trung’s victory, it is understandable that Vietnamese women has a long tradition in fighting against enemies to gain independence.

Secondly, Vietnamese women held key positions in both front lines and behind enemy lines. They not only were recognized as the very brave soldiers or commandos but they also played important variety of roles such as truck drivers, medical supporters, intelligence officer, government clerks. . . One impressive example is a group of female young volunteers helping with logistics at Dong Loc T-Junction, Ha Tinh in the resistance war against the United sates. Actually, Dong Loc T-Junction was considered as core transport intersection so that ancestors delivered soldiers, food, munitions from the north to the south. It is the evidence that Dong Loc T-junction witnessed the locker bombing of America with the aim to breaking the transport route to the southern battlefield. Consequently, ten young girls at the age of 17 to 22 sacrified when they sheltered near the mouth of the tunnel (Hanh Nguyen, 2017). In rural areas, Vietnamese women accounted for a major force in agriculture when they were responsible for increase food productions. When the liberated area was expanded, a number of women participated in the protection of revolutionary authorities.

Other missions of Vietnamese women during the conflicts were nurses, clerks, or domestic duties. So impressive was this war, that thousands of female volunteers fulfilled their roles as medical assistant. Dang Thuy Tram, one of the most excellent doctors graduated from Hanoi Medical University who served as doctor in the B battlefield for the People's Army of Vietnam since 1966. In March, 1967, she was in charged of working in Duc Pho Hospital in Quang Ngai; after three years, she was killed on the trail in Ba To jungle. Besides, many Vietnamese Mother went down in history as heroes because they were willing to provide soldiers with food and shelter when they were in dangers. For example, Mother Nguyen Thi Nghi in Sai Gon or Mother Nguyen Thi Me in Quang Nam who digged thirteen defensive trenches for helping the soldiers during the period of 1958 to 1969. Even when Mother Me was arrested and severely tortured by the American administration, she firmly hidden secret information related to the military situation at that time.

Political role is regarded as an enormous contribution of many outstanding Vietnamese examples. Several representatives of the Provisional Revolution Government of Republic of South Vietnam as Nguyen Thi Binh, Nguyen Thi Chon when attending to the international convention, they put efforts to not only disclose the invaders' crimes of America but also attract supports from international community.

It is about time for government to acknowledge for the contribution and heroic sacrifice of Vietnamese women in the resistance war against French and American colonialism. Through the resolution of National Assembly, local administration have responsibilities to give allowance for soldiers fight for national independence, especially female war heroes, Vietnamese Heroic Mothers so as to support them in terms of finance, spiritual life in the peace. Additionally, government should create more opportunities for women to actively participate in the labor force in integration process.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that the Vietnamese women's roles in the Resistance against French and American colonization are remarkable and valuable. If in the past, Vietnamese women are considered as both brave soldiers, volunteers in the battlefield and good citizens behind the enemy lines, currently, they can work in variety of sectors. Only in the recent few years has the substantial changes in roles of Vietnamese women in modern society. There is a tendency for women to contribute to the sustainable development of the country, hence, they are encouraged to do business, start-up or work in government sectors. Due to the establishment of national and international organizations as the Vietnam Women's Union, the Women Venture, women's roles and rights become prominent in the future.

31 October 2020
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