ROOTS OF SOUTH VIETNAMESE NATIONALISM
NGHIA M. VO
         During the war, some people have raised questions about the South Vietnamese's nationalism, which was thought to be at best soft or non-existent based on the fact that they did not fight as hard as they should have. To link battle losses to a lack of mental vigor or nationalism is to make an erroneous assumption. To equate battle gains with a well-grounded nationalism is to make another false assumption. For battlefield victories and losses depend on many more factors than just plain nationalism. Likewise a protracted struggle does not always equate with victory-the South Vietnamese did that although they eventually lost the war. A persistent fighter especially under oppressive regimes was someone who was forced to fight with a gun pointed at his head. The Viet Cong were on occasion chained to their guns and forced to fight or die. Was this heroism, nationalism, or just plain murder?

         Although important, nationalism was just one of the many factors that could affect the outcome of the war. It is less important now than before, especially when cruelty, oppression, dictatorship were the motivating factors behind the nationalistic screen. One ponders if a regime could be called nationalistic if it killed all its critics in order to steal the power? Or if it sent one million out of its twenty million people to death to achieve hegemony? What is the difference between sacrificing one million people to win a war and the Khmer Rouge's outright killing of two million people for example? Are the Nazi or Lenin-Stalin regimes nationalistic or sadistically dangerous regimes?

         The purpose of this paper is to retrace and to define the roots of South Vietnamese nationalism. We will then discuss the ancient root, the southern root and the characteristics of southern nationalism.

        Please read the rest of the story in THE SORROWS OF WAR AND PEACE.
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