Why didn't North Vietnam move its capital to Saigon after it conquered South Vietnam?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,590
SoCal
#1
Why didn't North Vietnam move its capital to Saigon (renamed Ho Chi Minh City) after it conquered South Vietnam in 1975?

North Korea planned to move its capital to Seoul in the event that it would have ever conquered South Korea. (As Maki said in another post, North Korea's legal capital was actually Seoul until 1972--in spite of it being under "enemy occupation"!) Thus, why didn't North Vietnam do something similar once it actually managed to reunify Vietnam? After all, one would think that Hanoi would be relatively vulnerable to a Chinese invasion in the event of a future war between Vietnam and China whereas Saigon would not be due to its much more southern location.
 

Edratman

Ad Honorem
Feb 2009
6,282
Eastern PA
#3
Before the arrival of French colonial forces in 1858, the capital of the Vietnamese kingdom was Hue. About a century before that, the Mekong delta region was a province of the Cambodian kingdom and was conquered by the Vietnamese around 1800 (?). Saigon is located a little bit north of the Mekong delta region.

The French established the Vietnamese union in 1887 and Saigon was named the capital. !5 years later the French relocated the capital to Hanoi, probably because Saigon was too hot. When the Japanese surrendered in 1945 Ho Chi Minh gave a speech in Hanoi proclaiming Vietnamese independence, pretty much an acknowledgment that Hanoi was the recognized Vietnamese capital. This proclamation by Ho was ignored by the world and the French soon returned to their colonial empire and Hanoi was the capital of French Indochina. After the French were ousted in 1954 , Hanoi continued to be the capital of N. Vietnam for the victorious Viet Minh. Hanoi was the capital during the Second Indochina war.

So both Hanoi and Hue actually have a much greater historical claim to be the capital of Vietnam than Saigon. To relocate the capital from Hanoi would require a compelling justification and nothing along those lines exist.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,590
SoCal
#8
Here's a question for you--do you think that, in the absence of both World Wars, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia would have still become three independent countries after decolonization would have occurred? I'm assuming that decolonization would have eventually occurred even without the World Wars--though there would probably not be a Communist flavor to this decolonization in this scenario.
 

Edratman

Ad Honorem
Feb 2009
6,282
Eastern PA
#9
The end of colonization was sure to happen, but I would extend the "when" 3 to 5 decades later without world wars. The world's colonial native populations gained significant empowerment by the manpower requirement to arm way many more natives than usual during the wars.

Cambodia and Vietnam would definitely would be independent nations. There is little love lost between the two peoples.

I know next to nothing about Laos, but they seem to have successfully managed to stay independent until the French arrived, so their independence appears probable.
 
Likes: Futurist
Sep 2016
500
倩下
#10
Thanks for the detailed explanation, @Edratman! :)

P.S.: The Mekong Delta was actually conquered by the Vietnamese in the 1600s, if I recall correctly.
It was actually much later in 18th century, but Vietnamese were allowed to migrate into Cambodian lands and create their own settlements. It's actually a common thing through Vietnamese history, as the same occured in Champa. First the population moved in, then the administration expanded (most often thanks to a military action) to include Cham lands inhabited by Vietnamese.
 
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