Ho Chi Minh Identity summary

Ho Chi Minh – Profile
Characteristics of Ho Chi Minh that made him a
distinctive personality:
1. Fierce commitment to Vietnamese Nationalism and
the willingness to use force to achieve national
2. Believed that Vietnam should be communist
3. Initially believed that the United States would
support Vietnam’s independence.
What led to these characteristics developing:
1. Childhood experiences in Vietnam.
2. Experiences while travelling and in Paris.
3. His time spent as a Comintern agent.
4. His experiences as the founder and leader of the Viet
5. His experiences as the founder and leader of the
Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Early Life in Vietnam – Birth of a Nationalist
• Born in Central Vietnam in 1890
• The French had divided Vietnam into three provinces
in 1887.
• The French exploited the Vietnamese economically
• Malaria, malnutrition and dysentry killed
thousands of workers in mines and on rubber
• 90% of Vietnamese were peasants.
• Peasants had to cope with tax increases and high What Ho did….
• Became a message
runner for the
• Ho Chi Minh’s father was a Mandarin (village official).
• He lost his job after criticising French rule.
• Ho’s family suffered financially because of this and his
father had to become a travelling labourer.
• Translated peasant
• In spite of this Ho managed to receive a basic
complaints about
education and demonstrated a gift for languages
land to present to
(including French)
French officials.
Ho on the go – International Travels and his time in France.
• Ho left Vietnam at the age of 21 to travel.
• He worked on an Ocean Liner and visited Africa,
England and the Americas before settling in Paris.
• In countries like Algeria (another French colony) he saw
the indigenous people being exploited.
• He became a convert to Lenin’s theory that capitalism
leads to the exploitation of colonial people.
• Ho Chi Minh converted to Communism and became a
member of the French Communist Party.
• He also founded a newspaper “Le Paria” which called
for an end to French colonialism.
• In 1919 he attempted to present his case for
Vietnamese independence to President Wilson at
Versailles. He was inspired by Wilson’s argument that
“Self-determination” should be a principle of the Treaty
of Versailles.
• Although Wilson refused to meet with him the Soviet
Union had noticed his activities.
• In 1923 he was summoned to the Comintern by
“Capitalism needs
cheap labour. The
reason why colonised
people are exploited is
because this keeps the
cost of production low!
By exploiting foreign
workers the capitalist
can avoid revolution at
home (he can afford to
pay his own workers
more)! Capitalism is the
enemy of all colonised
Ho: Founder of the ICP and the Viet Minh
Ho spent several years founding and leading organisations
dedicated to achieving his communist and nationalist goals:
• He united the various Communist groups in Indochina to
form the IndoChina Communist Party (ICP) in 1930.
• Returned to the Soviet Union to train Comintern agents
before returning to China in 1938.
• In China he issued a statement that called for
Vietnamese independence and freedom of assembly,
speech and the press.
• In 1940 he returned to Vietnam for the first time in
nearly 30 years.
• The Japanese had seized Indochina and Ho felt that this
presented an opportunity to take control of Vietnam.
• In 1941 Ho Chi Minh formed the Viet Minh. The Viet
Minh pledged to use force to end the Japanese and
French rule of Vietnam.
• The leadership of Ho and Giap saw this movement grow
to a 10,000 guerilla army north of Hanoi.
What I did…
Formed the ICP to
spread communism!
Trained Comintern
agents in the Soviet
Founded the VietMinh
to achieved
independence for
Ho the Founder of a Nation
• Under Japanese rule Vietnamese villagers were
exploited and any opposition was dealt with brutally
(public beheadings).
• During the last months of Japanese rule famine spread
as the Japanese hoarded rice.
• Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh recruited large numbers of
villagers by promising to “Break Open the Rice Stores to
Avert Famine”.
• When the United States bombed Nagasaki the Japanese
• Ho called for a general uprising on August 10 and within
10 days the Viet Minh controlled the country.
• On September 2nd 1945 Ho Chi Minh was able to declare
the independence of the ‘Democratic Republic of
Vietnam”. He quoted from the American Declaration of
During this period the
Viet Minh cooperated
with the United States
in its war with Japan.
The USA provided the
Viet Minh with radios
for communication and
the Viet Minh returned
American pilots to their
bases in China.
The return of the French and descent into war
Ho Chi Minh’s plans to secure Vietnamese independence failed
to be realised.
The Allies (USA and Britain) had already agreed that France
would return to rule Indochina.
The USA needed a united Western Europe to stand against the
Soviet Union.
Britain did not want the power of European empires to be
diminished (it had its own colony in India to think about!).
The British sent General Gracey to destroy the Viet Minh in the
Chinese nationalist troops had occupied the north of Vietnam
after the Japanese surrendered. They were convinced by the
Allies to recognise French rule of Indochina.
Ho Chi Minh negotiated for the future of his beloved Vietnam.
After the final round of negotiations in Fontainebleu (Paris) Ho
had to accept the existence of 25,000 French troops in Vietnam
for five years. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam would be
recognised as a Free State but Cochinchina (South Vietnam)
would be a separate state in French Indochina.
The division of Vietnam left the French and Ho Chi Minh
dissatisfied. Ho ordered Giap to build up the Viet Minh forces to
100,000 and be ready for war.
This period of my life
was particularly
frustrating! I had
declared an
independent Vietnam
only to see the Great
Powers allow France to
return and divide my
beloved nation! Despite
my determined
negotiations I was
forced to prepare an
army to defend the
Democratic Republic
and ultimately unite
Indochina War and the defeat of the French
Ho Chi Minh’s determination to achieve his nationalist goals led
to the Indochina War (1946-1954).
The war started with a French assault on Haiphong (November
A series of battles over Hanoi resulted in the Viet Minh
retreating into the mountains of North Vietnam to wage a
classic guerrilla warfare campaign.
The Viet Minh used this period to build up their support among
In 1948 the French signed the ELYSEE AGREEMENT which gave
the former Emperor Bao Dai control of an ‘independent’
Cochinchina based in Saigon. The French kept control of

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