The Vietnam War: Ho Chi Minh

In the Vietnam War, one of the chief enemies of America was Ho Chi Minh, the leader of Viet Minh. However he was a figure one would find difficult to hate. He was the Democratic Republic of Vietnam leader and can be remembered as a benign and frail looking old man in a pleasant Mao jacket or garb. Uncle Ho is the perfect name he has been described as both by enemies and friends. More than substance he appeared more as a symbol, a communist enemy’s mythical personification, a foe, who was a highly intangible one who could not be reached by warfare’s modern means. He also seemed as a face on the poster merely. It is difficult to get his life’s details since no importance was ever given by him to this.

The Driving Force In Vietnam Ho Chi Minh

The Vietnamese State was unified with the driving force of Ho Chi Minh. A major part of his life of around fifty years was spent away from South East Asia. His main aim was to work towards realizing the end of colonialism of the French people, and that too, single mindedly. His single minded efforts helped in the Vietnamese national state erection. As a leader, his hallmark has been the determination for creating the national state. A military leader, Vo Nguyen Giap was the main genius in the Vietnamese revolution.

He was a leader to stand out in almost any army. While Ho Chi Minh was the main man having the determination and drive to focus on efforts put in by others. The people of Vietman, supported and admired him for his leadership. He was a prominent leader of Vietnam but his life details are quite vague. The reason behind this is the distance he kept maintaining, from his own origins and past. He felt it ideal to identify with the revolution instead of the mandarin traditions of the old times.

Schooling And Life Till 1912

The break he took from tradition and family helped in creating a new nation which had been encumbered by the weight of heritage of accepting foreign rule. Ho Chi Minh was born on May 19, 1890, in Kim Lien Village of Nghe a Central Vietnam Province. His father was Nguyen Tat Sac and out of the three siblings, he was the youngest son, born as Nguyen Van Thanh probably. Between the years 1895 to 1905 he attended school in Vinh in French Lycee. However he was dismissed due to the poor grades and being into politics.

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He was also a student of the well known Lycee Quoc Hoc in Hue between the years 1906 and 1910. This was a well known school most distinguished for its sentiments of the nationalist type. In the history of modern Vietnam some of the prominent figures the school produced were Pham Van Dong, Ngo Dinh Diem and Vo Nguyen Giap. Without obtaining a degree he left schooling in 1910 and began teaching at a small town, Phan – Thiet. Till twenty years further on, he lived as administrator of the province. In Saigon he completed a bakers’ course in 1911. He took up a messboy job in 1912 on a French Liner by taking on the name Ba.

Ho Chi Minh turned to the West and selected at a course in sovereignty, republicanism and democracy instead of the conservative and traditional Vietnamese nationalist course. At Paris he met other nationalists of Vietnam. The peaceful cooperation course with the French did not appeal him and hence he looked for another solution. He lived in France for a while, then moved to London, then United States at Harlem, where he got material for the 1924, La Race Noire Pamphlet, critical for treatment of black people and capitalism in America. In the period 1917 to 1918 he returned to France and started retouching photos to earn a living at Paris.

His Entry Into Politics

He entered into politics formally in 1919 at Versailles at a great Peace Conference. It was here he drafted Vietnam’s eight point program related to self determination of the people. He sought audience of great power leaders as well. The proposals he made called for basic freedom, equity and representation of colonial government in Vietnam.

In the French Socialist Party he pursued the colonial government question. He became an expert on matters related to colonialism and became the party’s founding member. He travelled all through France in 1920 and 1921 and spoke to Annamese workers and soldiers who waited to return to Vietnam. In the process for his nationalist cause he earned some early converts. He got himself acquainted with well known figures of the Russian Communist Party at the Comintern conferences. In 1922 he met Lenin. At Eastern Worker’ University in Moscow he was a student, next went to China in 1925 along with Michael Borodin to get organized a training school for the Indo Chinese students, the Vietnam Revolutionary Youth League.

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His Life From 1925 To 1838

From the year 1925 to 1927 with his ruthlessness, he formed trained cadres or more than 200 of expatriate Vietnamese and sent them to Indo China. Cadres who defected were arrested by the French when Ho leaked their information to Indo China’s French officials and got rewarded which helped him fund his movement in return. At the same time he got rid of nationalists he could not depend upon.

In 1929 Ho lived in Thailand to work with the Vietnamese émigrés. By 1930 he traveled to Hongkong and made one party by pulling together different Indo Chinese Communist movements and was arrested for some time. In the Lenin school in Moscow he surfaced as a student in 1934 also worked as a radio operator in 1938 with the Chinese Communist Eighth Route Army. In the Province of Kwag Si he became a political commissar of a mission in guerrilla training.

His Return To Vietnam

After spending 30 years out of Vietnam, he returned back to Vietnam to Pac-Bo town in May 1941. He held the 8th meeting of the Indo Chinese Communist Party to create a front organization, Viet Minh. The main aim of the organization was to draw support of Vietnamese people who were not communists but opposed the French.

In early 1942 he returned to China, got imprisoned and released in 1943 for gathering Japanese unit information in Indo China. It was during this time that he took up the name ‘He Who Enlightens’ – Ho Chi Minh. He returned to the northern region jungles of Vietnam to operate and devote time to Viet Minh.

United States and China provided aid and he fought the Japanese to build a firm infrastructure for Viet Minh. He was the undisputed leader of Vietnam by 1954. For South Vietnam he created the National Liberation Front and to unify the country he initiated the war’s second phase. In North Vietnam also he consolidated his power. In a campaign for land reform in Soviet style he got thousands of countrymen massacred and thus proved to be worthy contemporary of Mao Tse-Tsung, Lenin and Stalin. Ho Chi Minh died on 3rd September 1969 as a national leader and dedicated mature Communist.