to Time magazine, “Communist propaganda elevates Ho to the status of sage,
national hero, saint. He has become the Strategist, the Theoretician, the
Thinker, the Statesman, the Man of Culture, the Diplomat, the Poet, and
the Philosopher. All these names are accompanied with adjectives like "legendary"
and "unparalleled." He has become Ho the Luminary, Ho the Visionary. Peasants
in the South build shrines to him. In the North old women bow before his
altar, asking miracles for their suffering children.”
Nguyen Tat Thanh better known
as Ho Chi Minh, was born on May 19, 1880, the youngest of three. Born in
the village of Kimlien, Annam (central Vietnam), he the son of an official
who had resigned in protest against French domination of his country which
was indirectly ruled by the French through the puppet emperor, Emperor
Bao Dai. “In 1911 he was employed as a cook on a French steamship
liner and thereafter worked in London and Paris. After World War
I using the pseudonym Nguyen Ai Quoc (Nguyen the patriot), Ho engaged in
radical activities and was in the founding group of the French Communist
The communist party in the Soviet Union summoned him to Moscow for training and, soon Ho was a covert agent for Moscow. He was often disguised as a Chinese journalist or a Buddhist monk. He surfaced in Canton, Rangoon, and even Calcutta, where he organized a revolutionary movement among Vietnamese exiles. Often he would disappear to take care of his tuberculosis and other chronic diseases. As befit a professional conspirator, he employed a baffling assortment of aliases. Many times he was reported dead, but e would only relocate to a new location. In 1929 he assembled a few militants in Hong Kong and formed the Indochinese Communist Party. Local authorities cracked down on Communist activities, forcing him to leave, but he “returned in 1930 to found the Indochinese Communist party (ICP).” On February 18, 1930, he drafted the following program for a conference of Vietnamese Communists who met in the British colony of Hong Kong:
“Workers peasants, soldiers, youth, pupils! Oppressed and exploited compatriots! The Communist Party of Indochina is founded. It is the party of the working class. It will help the proletarian class lead the revolution in order to struggle for all the oppressed and exploited people. From now on we must pin the Party, help it and follow it in order to implement the following slogans:
1. To overthrow French imperialism,
feudalism, and the reactionary Vietnamese capitalist class.
2.. To make Indochina completely independent.
3. To establish a workerpeasant and soldier government.
4. To confiscate the banks and other enterprises belonging to the imperialists and put them under the control of the workerpeasant and soldier government.
5. To confiscate all of the plantations and property belonging to the imperialists and the Vietnamese reactionary capitalist class and distribute them to poor peasants.
6. To implement the eighthour working day.
7. To abolish public loans and poll tax. To waive unjust taxes hitting the poor people.
8. To bring back all freedom to the masses.
9. To carry out universal education.
10. To implement equality between man and woman.
He stayed in Hong Kong as
representative of the Communist International. In June of 1931 Ho was arrested
by British police. He remained in there until he was released
in 1933. He returned to the Soviet Union, where he spent several years
recovering from tuberculosis. In 1938 he returned to China and served as
an advisor with Chinese Communist armed forces. In 1940, Japan's legions
swept into Indochina and French officials in Vietnam, loyal to the pro-German
Vichy administration in France, collaborated with them. Nationalists in
the region greeted the Japanese as liberators, but to Ho they were no better
than the French. Slipping across the Chinese frontier into Vietnam--his
first return home in three decades--he urged his disciples to fight both
the Japanese and the French. There, in a remote camp, he founded the Viet
Minh, an acronym for the Vietnam Independence League, from which he derived
his nom de guerre, Ho Chi Minh--roughly "Bringer of Light."
In August 1945, when Japan surrendered, the Vietminh seized power and proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi. Ho Chi Minh, now known by his final and best known pseudonym (which means the 'Enlightener'), became president.
On December 19, 1946, the War of Resistance against the French forces began. The French responded by seizing control of several cities. Ho Chi Minh and his men had to withdraw from those cities and started to fight using guerrilla warfare tactics against the French Expeditionary Army. Thus, the start of the Vietnam War. On September 3, 1969, he died in Hanoi of heart failure. In his honor, after the Communist conquest of the South in 1975, Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho was the leader of North
Vietnam and guiding light in Vietnam's struggle for independence from France
and unification. He was more of a nationalist than a communist and
successful expelled 3 Japan, France, and the United States from occupying
his country. He felt so strong about the struggle that he stated
that the Vietnamese would lose many more men in the struggle, but that
in the end it would make no difference: Vietnam would be free. He died
a hero before the war ended.
Duiker, William J, Ho Chi Minh, New York: Hyperion, 2000.
Karnow, Stanley, Vietnam: A History, New York: Penguin Books, 1991.
O'Nan, Stewart, Editor, The Vietnam Reader, New York: Anchor Books, 1998.
Farish, Terry, If The Tiger: A Novel, South Royalton, VT: Steerforth Press, 1995.
Sainteny, Jean, Ho Chi Minh and his Vietnam; a personal memoir.
Translated from the French by Herma Briffault, Chicago: Cowles, 1972.
On this page I found useful information about the beginning of the Vietnam Conflict.
On this page I found information on Ho Chi Minh's involvement in battling the Frech Regime that once ruled Vietnam.
On this page I found information about the death of Ho.
On this page I found great facts about the early life of Ho Chi Minh
ON this page I found information about the life of Ho Chi Minh
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