Discussion:
ASBs make Woodrow Wilson talk to, sympathize with and support young Ho Chi Minh
(too old to reply)
Rob
2017-07-15 16:59:55 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
It's well known that young Ho Chi Minh (named either Nguyen Ai Quoc or Nguyen Sinh Cung at the time) wrote appeals for Vietnamese freedom to Woodrow Wilson and sought to meet him when he was in Paris in 1919.

What if ASB influence makes Woodrow Wilson decide to meet this young expat Vietnamese man, convinces him French rule of Vietnam should be ended and makes Wilson decide to openly call for Vietnamese independence, and offer the cause economic, political and moral support, either during or after the Versailles Conference.

What happens from there. What are the reverberations within Indochina, for Ho Chi Minh personally and for the demands and expectations of people throughout the colonial world in the 1920s. How does this affect the Franco-American relationship and reverberate into broader issues beyond the Indochina question. What are the knock-on effects to British, Belgian, Dutch, Italian, Weimar German, Japanese, Chinese and Boleshevik Russian foreign policy?

Do the French end up politically dispossessed of Indochina before OTL (1954)?

As usual, no other magic involved.

I figure France will fight tooth and nail against an independence movement.

I wonder what the attitude of Japan will be. On the one hand, U.S. is seeking freedom of Asian people from a white power, "yay!" USA is also a more important trade and financial power.

On the other hand, supporting Vietnamese aspirations could reinforce Korean aspirations to be free of Japan, "boo!"

----I feel like Britain would feel America is a loose cannon power, unsympathetic to, and subversive of British global interests. The Dutch, Belgians, Portuguese, Spanish and Italians will feel the same.

I think the Bolesheviks and the Weimar Germans and Turks and Iranians would enjoy the spectacle and verbally support Wilson's position
Don Phillipson
2017-07-15 18:10:38 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
What if ASB influence makes Woodrow Wilson decide . . .French rule
of Vietnam should be ended and makes Wilson decide to openly call
for Vietnamese independence . . .
. . .
I figure France will fight tooth and nail against an independence movement.
This is likely: France had no concept of colonial self-government
(like dominion status in the British Empire, vaguely promised to
India even before 1914.)

The victorious Great Powers (France, UK, USA) were prepared
to dispose of territories of the former Ottoman Empire, but the
Versailles Conference agenda did not include the fuure of
overseas colonies of European powers. In theory Wilson
promoted independence for Armenia and Kurdistan. Neither
happened.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
Rich Rostrom
2017-07-17 06:27:10 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Rob
It's well known that young Ho Chi Minh (named either
Nguyen Ai Quoc or Nguyen Sinh Cung at the time)
wrote appeals for Vietnamese freedom to Woodrow
Wilson and sought to meet him when he was in Paris
in 1919.
What if ASB influence makes Woodrow Wilson decide
to meet this young expat Vietnamese man, convinces
him French rule of Vietnam should be ended and
makes Wilson decide to openly call for Vietnamese
independence, and offer the cause economic,
political and moral support, either during or after
the Versailles Conference.
What happens from there.
It's a huge stinking mess. France is extremely offended.
Other colonial powers will be highly alarmed.

Also, a lot of other anti-colonialists will expect Wilson
to support them, and will be annoyed when he blows them off.

Philippine nationalists will denounce Wilson's hypocrisy.

Etc.
--
The real Velvet Revolution - and the would-be hijacker.

http://originalvelvetrevolution.com
Rob
2017-07-18 02:58:02 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Rob
It's well known that young Ho Chi Minh (named either
Nguyen Ai Quoc or Nguyen Sinh Cung at the time)
wrote appeals for Vietnamese freedom to Woodrow
Wilson and sought to meet him when he was in Paris
in 1919.
What if ASB influence makes Woodrow Wilson decide
to meet this young expat Vietnamese man, convinces
him French rule of Vietnam should be ended and
makes Wilson decide to openly call for Vietnamese
independence, and offer the cause economic,
political and moral support, either during or after
the Versailles Conference.
What happens from there.
It's a huge stinking mess. France is extremely offended.
Could be quite an interesting mess though
Post by Rich Rostrom
Other colonial powers will be highly alarmed.
yes- could it lead to more progress toward <gasp> European unity? At least of the colony-holding powers (so not Germany)
Post by Rich Rostrom
Also, a lot of other anti-colonialists will expect Wilson
to support them, and will be annoyed when he blows them off.
Well you are right it will raise expectations. Wilson may not blow them off completely though, at least the Asian or North African political movements.

The annoyance of people with disappointed expectations will probably not really be a direct problem for the USA though.

Restiveness in colonial areas will probably increase in general, but the bargaining power of collaborating elites and intermediaries will probably rise, as colonial powers try harder to make colonial links, "look good" and colonial metropoles think of professional, economic and political spheres where they could afford to make concessions to reduce pressures for outright independence.

For instance, the French in Indochina, provided they can still find collaborators, will probably have to give thought to allocating more jobs in the colonial administration to natives.

In OTL Indochina for example, the ratio of metropolitan colonial officials to natives was much higher than in India, to a fairly ridiculous degree.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Philippine nationalists will denounce Wilson's hypocrisy.
Yes, although he could end up proposing a date certain for Filipino independence, earlier than OTLs, and challenge other colonial powers to meet it.

---The most politically potent group in the U.S. that would demand "me too, now" treatment would be Irish-Americans, leading to escalated rhetoric about Irish independence and harder feelings in Britain.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Etc.
Also, U.S. patronage of the Vietnamese (and possibly others) will probably mean more U.S. training and education for colonial subjects, more activism among the small communities of expats, etc. That in turn could put pressure of colonial powers to compete with American efforts in higher education.

To the extent vocal anti-colonialism could make unapologetic exploitationism less viable, colonies may start to be seen as not such a paying proposition a decade or more earlier than OTL
Post by Rich Rostrom
So, on balance, for Wilson to have supported young Ho Chi Minh would be fairly consistent with much of U.S. policy towards Vietnam over the years, and might not have been a bad idea, at all. It might have tipped the balance towards active U.S. support of the Vietnamese government away from the French, and towards Ho Chi Minh following WWII. Which would have kept him out of the Soviet camp, quite probably.
Jerry- you do know that this idea is so far-fetched and beyond the thinking of any world leader at the time to meet with and then offer support to a random colonial expat of no authority over anyone and irritating a major power-------that is so far-fetched, anachronistic and only relevant with the benefit of hindsight, which is why I had to invoke ASBs!
Rob
2017-07-20 02:40:02 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Rob
It's well known that young Ho Chi Minh (named either
Nguyen Ai Quoc or Nguyen Sinh Cung at the time)
wrote appeals for Vietnamese freedom to Woodrow
Wilson and sought to meet him when he was in Paris
in 1919.
What if ASB influence makes Woodrow Wilson decide
to meet this young expat Vietnamese man, convinces
him French rule of Vietnam should be ended and
makes Wilson decide to openly call for Vietnamese
independence, and offer the cause economic,
political and moral support, either during or after
the Versailles Conference.
What happens from there.
It's a huge stinking mess. France is extremely offended.
Other colonial powers will be highly alarmed.
Also, a lot of other anti-colonialists will expect Wilson
to support them, and will be annoyed when he blows them off.
Philippine nationalists will denounce Wilson's hypocrisy.
Etc.
--
The real Velvet Revolution - and the would-be hijacker.
http://originalvelvetrevolution.com
You correctly point out all the downsides Rich, from a realpolitik point of view.

The other side of this is that there would be no visible upside to taking such a stand. Even from a idealistic point of view, there was nothing that he knew that would have demanded special intervention on behalf of these particular Vietnamese colonial subjects of France. The bloodletting in Europe was well known and Wilson's experience told him trying to "fix" that was his main priority.

The upside, as expressed by Jerry K was that President Wilson politically supporting this individual Vietnamese and his larger cause is that it reduces the prospect that 30 years later that Vietnamese man and the country he would lead are in a hostile relationship with the US and drastically reduces the odds of the US and Ho's country being at war 45 years later.

Jerry is echoing a pop history trope/cliche that wishes President Wilson could have prevented the Vietnam War, so too bad he didn't.

But such a view is hindsight-based, ahistoric, anachronistic suggestion that sees Wilson making an eccentric choice to head off a war no one saw coming in 1919. Hence, why this is fit for an ASB scenario rather than a plausible what-if.
jerry kraus
2017-07-17 13:19:25 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Rob
It's well known that young Ho Chi Minh (named either Nguyen Ai Quoc or Nguyen Sinh Cung at the time) wrote appeals for Vietnamese freedom to Woodrow Wilson and sought to meet him when he was in Paris in 1919.
What if ASB influence makes Woodrow Wilson decide to meet this young expat Vietnamese man, convinces him French rule of Vietnam should be ended and makes Wilson decide to openly call for Vietnamese independence, and offer the cause economic, political and moral support, either during or after the Versailles Conference.
What happens from there. What are the reverberations within Indochina, for Ho Chi Minh personally and for the demands and expectations of people throughout the colonial world in the 1920s. How does this affect the Franco-American relationship and reverberate into broader issues beyond the Indochina question. What are the knock-on effects to British, Belgian, Dutch, Italian, Weimar German, Japanese, Chinese and Boleshevik Russian foreign policy?
Do the French end up politically dispossessed of Indochina before OTL (1954)?
As usual, no other magic involved.
I figure France will fight tooth and nail against an independence movement.
I wonder what the attitude of Japan will be. On the one hand, U.S. is seeking freedom of Asian people from a white power, "yay!" USA is also a more important trade and financial power.
On the other hand, supporting Vietnamese aspirations could reinforce Korean aspirations to be free of Japan, "boo!"
----I feel like Britain would feel America is a loose cannon power, unsympathetic to, and subversive of British global interests. The Dutch, Belgians, Portuguese, Spanish and Italians will feel the same.
I think the Bolesheviks and the Weimar Germans and Turks and Iranians would enjoy the spectacle and verbally support Wilson's position
Ho Chi Minh was a very interesting chap, Rob. Certainly, one of the most practical and civilized of the communist leaders. Hence, Vietnam remains communist to this day. And, now, one of America's greatest allies!?!

Ho Chi Minh was, actually, actively supported by the U.S. government towards the end of the second world war, which helped form the basis of his subsequent conquest of Vietnam.

So, on balance, for Wilson to have supported young Ho Chi Minh would be fairly consistent with much of U.S. policy towards Vietnam over the years, and might not have been a bad idea, at all. It might have tipped the balance towards active U.S. support of the Vietnamese government away from the French, and towards Ho Chi Minh following WWII. Which would have kept him out of the Soviet camp, quite probably.
Don Phillipson
2017-07-18 12:02:37 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by jerry kraus
Ho Chi Minh was, actually, actively supported by the U.S. government
towards the end of the second world war . . .
True and irrelevant, cf. Churchill's remarks immediately after the German
invasion of the USSR (hitherto Nazi Germany's ally, supplier of the
Luftwaffe's fuel for the Battle of Britain . . .) Western commanders
also supported in wartime Communist-organized anti-Nazi forces
in France, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia etc.
Post by jerry kraus
for Wilson to have supported young Ho Chi Minh would be fairly
consistent
with much of U.S. policy towards Vietnam over the years
Not really. US policy in Wilson's day combined (1) general/theoretical
opposition to colonialism (rule of any race/culture by a different foreign
one) with (2) racism, viz. reluctance to allow nonwhite people political
equality with white people. Most notably, Japan sought in vain for an
early League of Nations resolution proclaiming racial equality.
Post by jerry kraus
. . . It might have tipped the balance towards active U.S. support of
the Vietnamese government away from the French, and towards
Ho Chi Minh following WWII. Which would have kept him out of the
Soviet camp, quite probably.
Not likely twice. (1) US policy towards France in 1917 was: "Lafayette,
we are here!" It would have been inconsistent simultaneously to act
against France's overseas empire. (2) Stalin made sure all Communists
world-wide were solidly within the "Soviet camp" until years after his
death.
The only alternatives were (a) Yugoslav independence, which won no
adherents, and (b) the Chinese model, not really available until approx.
1960 (after the Korean War proved Asian Communists could resist actual
combat with Western armies, and best demonstrated in Vietnam.) This
brings us back to racism (both Stalin's and Wilson's.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
Rich Rostrom
2017-07-20 02:16:03 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
(2) Stalin made sure all Communists world-wide were
solidly within the "Soviet camp" until years after
his death.
With a couple of caveats:

There were Communists who rejected the Moscow line
because they were Trotskyites or otherwise
deviationists. Not in any country under Soviet
control, of course, but there were lots of Communists
elsewhere.

Also, while the large Communist parties of Western
Europe (and I suspect India) adhered to the Comintern
and the Moscow line in most matters, they were large
enough, and had enough local support, that Moscow's
control was relatively loose. Many French and Italian
Reds rather disliked being ordered about by Russians,
and Stalin did not have physical power in those countries.

The CPUSA was completely dependent on Moscow, but
that was because it was so small.

As to Ho: he spent most of the 1930s working at
Comintern HQ in Moscow, with his nose pressed
firmly in Stalin's ass.
--
The real Velvet Revolution - and the would-be hijacker.

http://originalvelvetrevolution.com
Rob
2017-07-20 02:44:54 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Rich Rostrom
As to Ho: he spent most of the 1930s working at
Comintern HQ in Moscow, with his nose pressed
firmly in Stalin's ass.
Hey, to be realistic Stalin in the 1930s was a busy man, and probably met Ho seldom, if at all, and probably only as part of a cast of thousands. So in the 1930s USSR, Ho's nose was probably pressed firmly in the asses of lesser Comintern comrades :)
Loading...