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Ho Chi Minh (HCM) 1890-1965

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 886
  • Category: Vietnam

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Born in Nguyen Sinh Cung in Kimlien in Annam province His father>teacher employed by the French, resigned in protest of French dominance over Vietnam>Ho learnt to resist French & fight for independence from his father Run msg’s for the anti French underground when he was a child Brought up n strong Confucian teachings and went to French school, where he learnt to speak French 1911 left Vietnam on a steamship >worked as kitchen hand Western influences and travels; France and USSR

By 1914 well travelled>India, US, England (worked as a pastry cook) 1917 arrived in Paris and was known as Nguyen Ai Qouc (Nguyen the Patriot)>Paris read Karl Marx, heard of Bolshevik rev. similarities b/t Russia and Vietnam> communism 1919 went to Woodrow Wilson to petition for Vietnam independence 1920 founder of the French Communist Party

1924 Ho visited Moscow>Communist capital
Then went to China and worked with the Comintern (communist international) Ho moved to the China/Vietnam border and formed the Vietnam Revolutionary Youth League with communist exiles. Rise to prominence

Formation of the Indochinese communist party (ICP)
1930 formed ICP
Promised land reform, worker, soldier, peasant govt & banks >great peasant support ICP remained ineffective before WW2. Comintern support for Popular Front govt in France- ICP/French cooperation but then USSR signed non aggression pact with Nazi Germany, ICP forced underground Experiences in China

1930-1 communist HCM arrested in Hong Kong remained there til 1933 1930s travelled throughout Sth East Asia spreading msg of communism and ICP 1938 went to china worked with Mao as advisor>China strong ally for Vietnam Development of the Viet Minh & propaganda units

1941, HCM returned to Japanese occupied Vietnam & formed nationalist independence movement- Viet Minh>replacement govt when Japanese left Changed name to HCM ‘the enlightened one’

During yrs of resistance taught peasants of his msg>used propaganda units to teach of nationalism, communism & land reforms>result of HCM’s observance of Mao in China Resistance to Japanese Occupation

Thru military leader of General Giap Vietminh started Guerrilla warfare campaign against Japanese>these tactics later used against French and US Tactics incl.- small group ambushes, avoidance of major battles, harassing a retreating or resting army, taking advantage of jungle and mountainous terrain, gaining confidence of pop. Defeat of Japan>Vietminh started rev.> gained control of Hanoi 22 August by late august captured Saigon

Significance and evaluation
Declaration of independence
2 Sept HCM announced independence of Vietnam>hoped to gain support from western nations incl. US, during war US had aided HCM and Vietminh rescued downed US pilots Vietnam declaration of independence incl. part of the US and France declaration HCM failed to gain US support

The leading 3 wartime allies-US, UK & USSR-decided at the Potsdam conference, to return French control to Indochina. HCM continuously negotiated with French throughout 1946>France had no intention of granting independence The 1st Indochina war begin with France attacking Haiphong harbour killing 6000 The French War (1st Indochina War)

Lasted from 1946-54. the Vietminh retreated to the jungle, conventional attacks to be avoided Guerrilla attacks and propaganda continued
1950 Chinese aid
French morale declining due to unorg. Of army
Peasants suffering in French controlled areas compared to Vietminh controlled areas Battle of Dien Bien Phu

Geneva Conference
Held to discuss problems arising in Indochina and Korea Vietminh victory at Dien Bien Phu strengthened negotiating position of HCM Main decisions of the conference- Vietnam divided at 17th parallel, elections to be held in 1956 to reunify Vietnam HCM not happy with results of conference but pressured into accepting terms by China and USSR 2nd Indochina War

After 1954 HCM focused on the development and reconstruction of Nth Vietnam. Late 50s opposition to Diem Sth regime was growing and HCM and the Vietminh attacked ‘soft targets’ such as govt officials in the Sth. 1959 HCM advised to take up arms against Diem. HCM backed the National Liberation Front (NLF) or Vietcong NLF contained many anti Diem groups, dominated by the communists Vietcong used guerrilla warfare techniques

NLF forced US involvement from 1965 in order to prop up the southern regime HCM throughout this period had continuing bad health 3 Sept 1969 HCM died of heart failure, aged 79. became known as ‘Uncle Ho’ Role and impact as a revolutionary war time leader

HCM crucial in developing Vietminh/Vietcong
Realised success of Guerrilla warfare>needed both effective military and political strategies Believed in the strategy of attrition and patience when it came to Vietnam winning the war of impendence>described conflict b/t French and Vietnamese like fight b/t tiger and elephant. Insisted on respect for peasants e.g. respect peasant women, help peasants with work, not steal>such rules part of HCM’s ’12 Recommendations’ Guerrillas taught to spread nationalist ideals amongst the peasantry HCM: A Communist or nationalist?

Combination of both but nationalist first
Nationalist e.g. appeals to pres Woodrow Wilson 1919 and 1960 pres Johnson for Vietnamese independence Held with the ideals of communism throughout life but nationalism always predominated. Communism was one of HCM faults. This ideal had negative stigma attached to it. Communism may have taunted his reputation especially in the western world where communism was feared and hated by many. Refused to bow to French, Japanese or Americans

Would not allow communist nations e.g. China or USSR to control Vietnam, even thou he would accept their aid.

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