This content was created by Michitake Aso. The last update was by Kate McDonald.
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Ho Chi Minh and Female Rice Growers
1media/HCM and Black Thai rice growers_thumb.png2020-08-07T21:46:30-04:00Michitake Asoc957806dd05559bbe07c540e9ab4cd46aae194d33510In this image from 1954, Ho Chi Minh speaks with female rice growers in the province of Thai Nguyen.plain2021-08-26T18:41:47-04:00Northern Vietnam, Đại Từ, Thái Nguyên1954Thông Tấn Xã Việt Nam/Vietnam News Agency, 1954, hosted on the website of the Institute of Social Sciences Information/Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences. https://cdm20065.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p20065coll1/id/18051/rec/4.1954Fair use.Michitake AsoMA-0033Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5f
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12019-11-18T15:48:28-05:00Food Security30Path C page 2plain2021-10-05T15:46:23-04:0021.589283, 105.82857321.17817, 106.0710221.00311, 105.82014Thai NguyenBac Ninh1944-1954Michitake AsoViệt MinhHo Chi Minh
One of the main concerns of the Việt Minh was the threat of hunger. In 1944-1945, a famine had resulted in the deaths of most likely over one million Vietnamese in the Red River Delta. The French and Japanese were blamed for this famine and the Việt Minh were able to harness popular discontent to gain valuable support in the countryside (Gunn 2014). Note in the following clip from the documentary From the Barrel of a Gun between 1:42 and 1:58, the propaganda film showing Việt Minh's role in liberating rice from Japanese near the end of World War II.
Consider this image of Ho Chi Minh taking part in corn production to encourage people to produce more food. Memories of the famine were still raw in the early 1950s, and the Việt Minh knew that they would lose valuable support and be held at least partially responsible if famines were to strike again (Lentz 2019). Thus they were very concerned when they learned about charges that the US military was releasing crop-destroying insects in North Korea and China as the French might similarly attack rice, corn, and other crops in areas under Việt Minh control. Such actions would weaken their partisans and might encourage them to move to French controlled territory. In this way ensuring adequate food supplies for Việt Minh supporters was seen as part of combating biological warfare and the French.
This image suggests that HCM tried to fashion himself as what type of leader?
Also consider this image of Ho Chi Minh talking with women in what is now Thái Nguyên province. It was taken in 1954 not long after the Việt Minh launched the Land Reform campaign. This image was meant to highlight the role of farmers in the Việt Minh struggles against the French. It emphasizes the importance of food production and highlights the fear of hunger.
Việt Minh reports note that farmers were initially quite concerned about biological weapons but that after initial exposures that did not result in crop damage or human illness, farmers grew less concerned about these weapons. Thus, Bắc Ninh only lists one reported incident. Other factors that seem to have played a role in number of reported incidents includes degree of French control of the region, with higher control resulting in fewer incidents, as well as strategic importance and accessibility, which resulted in more airplane flights.