The Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang, also known as Viet Quoc or VNQDD to every adult Vietnamese, was secretly established on Christmas 1927 in Ha Noi, as a revolutionary party.
Although the party has the same title as that of the Chinese Kuomintang (Quoc Dan Dang is the Sino-Vietnamese for Kuomintang), there was no close relations then between the two before 1931.It should also be noted that the English translation "Nationalist" of "Quoc Dan" might cause misunderstanding. The word connotes that the party does not advocate internationalism. It should be in no way interpreted as extremist or ultranationalist.
Its primary objectives included armed uprising aimed at toppling the French colonialist regime all over Vietnam to gain independence for its Fatherland and democracy as well as happiness for its people. In a few years, its membership grew quickly into a large party that drew the French authorities' brutal suppression.
On February 10,1930, a general armed revolt exploded at several provincial towns around Ha Noi. The party members held their positions for a day or two before they were crushed by the French colonial forces. The attacks were the first bold actions against the French since Vietnam was colonialized by the French invaders in the later half 19th Century, and probably the first in all French colonies around the world.
After the failed attempt, several key leaders of the VNQDD were arrested and given death sentences. The largest group of those sentenced leaders consisted of 13 heroes, including the VNQDD Chairman Nguyen Thai Hoc, were guillotined in the early morning of June 17, 1930, in the small city of Yen Bai. The executions shocked the country.
The revolt failed, but its impacts were forceful. The colonialists were frightened, France herself was alerted. The oppressed Vietnamese were wakened to see that the French colonialists were not unvanquishable. The heroic revolt and barbaric executions have inspired many movements and groups for revolution against the French colonialists. Before his heroic death, Nguyen Thai Hoc left his famous saying, "If we do not succeed, we still make a good cause."
The Nghe An Soviet Protest, occurred later in 1930 and highly praised by the Vietnamese Communists, was in much smaller scale and gained much less effect.
The VNQDD restored its strength after many years. As most of the other revolutionary parties including the communist's, the VNQDD's leadership stationed in southern China and received some limited supports from the Chinese Kuomintang government. All of those parties united in the Vietnamese Revolutionary Allied League (Viet Nam Cach Menh Dong Minh Hoi, abbr. VNCMDMH) - of which the Vietnamese Communist Party was a member.
On August 19, 1945, Ho Chi Minh and his men took advantage of the spontaneous large protest of some ten thousand people in Ha Noi, claimed its leadership and seized power. Their stealthy actions were against the previous agreement between members of the League that such an uprising should be launched and a revolutionary government should be established only by decision and full participation of the League. The communist began a campaign to execute many members of the non-communist parties who returned to Vietnam from China, crossing the common borders. Those non-communist parties had to move their main forces back to Vietnam and establish their fighters into units that stationed in Hanoi and many provincial cities. The armed confict between the two blocs really began since.
Under pressure of all sides, Ho Chi Minh reluctantly formed a government and a national congress, the first coalition government of Vietnam. Meanwhile, sporadic fightings between the communist and non-communist militants occurred daily. It was the communists who initiated the bloody terrorism that plagued the country with kidnapping, torture, assassination, incarceration without trial while Ho Chi Minh was calling for the "Great Solidarity."
After Ho Chi Minh signed the Primary Agreement with France in Spring 1946, his subordinates carried out the Great Purge to eliminate every one that they thought dangerous to their party. Ten of thousands VNQDD and other non-communist parties members, including the followers of Hoa Hao, Cao Dai, and Catholic churches were massacred in the blood bath that lasted into 1948.
But already in late 1946, the communists' surprise attacks dealt fatal blows to the non-communist parties. Some of their members fled to China, but most stayed in communist government control areas or in French occupied territory.
Since 1954 after Vietnam was divided, most VNQDD members gathered in South Vietnam to continue struggling for true democracy and freedom and against any dictatorship in Vietnam. Most of the time, the VNQDD sided with the opposition. The elite VNQDD fighters in many provincial Popular Forces in South Vietnam during the war (1955-1975) especially in Central Vietnam, were fighting the anti-Communist war bravely and caused heavy losses to the enemy.
Today, VNQDD is still the most distinctive symbol of the nationalists as opposed to the communists in Vietnam, and always wins the loftiest place in the heart of the Vietnamese. Although the VNQDD has never been in full power as of a government, the Viet Quoc Spirit, also known as the Yen Bai Spirit, has contributed much to the goals of the Republic of (South) Vietnam in fighting the war and in building a prosperous and democratic South Vietnam from 1954 to 1975. This contribution was made by devoted soldiers and civil servants who were VNQDD members or children of the older members.
After 1975, VNQDD members outside Vietnam are still among the most enthusiastic activists who struggle for democracy and human rights in Vietnam and the liberation of Vietnam by the most peaceful means.