In the history of the nations, there are
always great men whose lives and works are closely bound to glorious stages in
the history of their respective countries. Such men often symbolize the noblest
virtues of their people, and all through their lives, they struggle for freedom
and happiness of their people whose dearest aspirations and firmest will, their
words and deeds bespeak. The President, Ho Chi Minh is such a man.
Ho Chi Minh was one of the prominent
Vietnamese communist revolutionary leaders, who fought the colonial forces for
the liberation of the Vietnamese people. His contribution to the common
struggle for peace, national independence, democracy and social progress, have
been immense. Raised in Confucian tradition, Ho Chi Minh travelled across the
world, visiting a lot of cities and places. It transformed him as a person and
shaped his political career. He later became the Prime Minister from 1945
to1955, and he also became President from 1945 to 1969 of the Democratic
Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam). He played an important role in founding
the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945, People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and
the Viet Cong (NLF or VC) during the Vietnam War. With his revolutionary ideas
and proposition of liberation, Ho Chi Minh led the Viet Minh independence
movement from 1941, eventually forming the communist-ruled Democratic Republic
of Vietnam in 1945. Even after leaving the position of power, Ho Chi Minh
continued to remain one of the key people of Vietnam, a highly venerated leader
who fought for a united and communist Vietnam.
I decided to choose Ho Chi Minh for my assignment for some
reasons. First, I want to know him. Many people said he was the strongest
leader of Vietnam. Also, I heard that Khmer lost some parts of the land to
Vietnam. I want to know how strong he was, so I decided to choose him. Second,
I want to know how he got independence from France. Many countries in the world
were under French colony. Before those countries got full independence for
their countries, they always struggled hard. Likewise, Cambodia used to be
under France’s colony. Our king, Norodom Sihaknouk, and people worked hard for
independence by creating some movement against France, so I want know the
movements that Ho Chi Minh created to fight for liberalization. Next, I want to
know why he became prominent leader of Vietnam and why many people strongly
respect him until now. Ho Chi Minh was regarded as one of the most prominent
leader of Vietnam, compared to other leaders of Vietnam, and as I heard Vietnamese
people almost regard him their god. It sounds people keep him in their brain
all the time. That’s why I want study about him. Moreover, I really want to
know about his ideology used to persuade his people to work hard and to unify
all Vietnamese to live with each other peacefully. As I know, before Vietnam
was divided into parts, South Vietnam and North Vietnam. It was heard that both
Vietnam fought against each other. Furthermore, I want to know the relationship
between Cambodia and Vietnam during that time. I hard Khmer king, Norodom
Sihaknouk had strong relationship with Ho Chi Minh. When South Vietnam and
North Vietnam fought against each other, Khmer King was requested by Ho Chi
Minh, the leader of North Vietnam, to fight against South Vietnam. Finally, I
really want to know how Vietnamese people defeated the U.S. As we can see, U.S
is the powerful country in the world. It is ridiculous that U.S surrendered
Vietnam. I hope that through this assignment, it will
reveal wonder in my mind. Even though I cannot understand detail about Ho Chi
Minh because of the time constrain, I will get more understanding about him and
the relationship between Cambodia and Vietnam. I would like elaborate the major
events from his early life, and his ideology on Vietnamese people, and also his
Ho Chi Minh was born in 1890 into a poor peasant scholar’s family
of Kimlien hamlet, Namlien village, Namdan district, Nghean province, a place
with long- standing revolutionary traditions. His father was a Pho Bang1,
who out of patriotism had refused to collaborate with the French colonialists
and Nguyen feudalists and lived in poverty. As a young man, Ho Chi Minh was
deeply influenced by his social surroundings an family education. For
successive had waged a hard struggle against harsh natural conditions and the
heavy yoke of colonialism an feudalism to win the right to live, but they had
never been able to escape misery and hunger. The peasants’ spontaneous
struggles against dispossession of land. Heavy taxation, forced labour etc.
kindled in Ho Chi Minh’s heart deep anger against the aggressors and traitors.
As a child, he had been told stories about such heroes born in Nghetinh as Mai
Hac De, Nguyen Quang Trung and others, which had inspired him with patriotism,
the will for independence and the spirit of self-reliance. Many anti-French
movements led by his famous leaders, but they did not get success. Those
stories were told him, and those movements left deep impressions in his mind.
He had three siblings, a sister and two brothers out of which one died of
infancy. Initially, he was taught by his father, and Nguyen’s first formal
teacher was Vuong Thuc Do. Soon, Nguyen mastered the art of Chinese writing
along with Vietnamese writing. According to the Confucian tradition2,
his father gave a new name, Nguyen Tat Thanh when he was ten years old. During
his early years, Nguyen enrolled himself at the lycee in Hue to attain French
education. While he studied there he supported anti-tax demonstration of the
poor peasants which threatened his studies.
In 1905, Ho Chi Minh went to Hue and enrolled in Quoc Hoc school.
But seeing that the only aim of the ” Franco –Vietnamese” schools was to turn
out obedient agents and faithful lackeys of the colonialists and feudalists, he
left for Phan thiet where he taught in a private school.
In 1907, after he received a
primary education at a local school, Ho Chi Minh and his brother traveled to
the city of Hué to attend a prestigious Franco-Vietnamese academy. Three years
later, he left the academy before graduating and worked briefly as a
schoolteacher in the town of Phan Thiet.
In 1911, Ho Chi Minh traveled to
Saigon and obtained a job as a cook aboard a French steam ship bound for the
French city of Marseille. Although the details of his journey are not well
documented, Ho spent the next two years traveling around the world, visiting
cities in Europe, Asia, North America, and, according to some accounts, Africa
and South America as well. Ho eventually settled in London.
In 1914, the First World War
broke out. Vietnamese youth were pressganged and died in great numbers for the
sake of French imperialism. In that time he was in English. He left immediately
for France and go in touch with Vietnamese patriots living there, such as Phan
Chu Trinh and Phan Van Truong. The anti- French movement of King Duy Tan and
the insurrection of soldiers and political prisoners in Thainguyen had strong
repercussions which reached, making him all the more impatient to work for the
liberation of his people.
In 1917, the Great October
Socialist Revolution broke out in Russia. He moved to Paris during the height
of World War I. got in touch with Marxists and joined the French Socialist
Party. He adopted the name Nguyen Ai Quoc and become involved in leftist and
anti-colonial activism. He organized the Group of Vietnamese Patriots Living in
In 1919, he worked to found the
Association for Annamite Patriots, an organization composed of Vietnamese
nationals living in France who opposed the French colonial occupation of
Vietnam. He authored a petition demanding the end of the French colonial
exploitation of Vietnam, which he attempted to present to the world powers at
the Versailles Peace Conference held in the aftermath of World War I. His
petition was never officially recognized, but his effort was well known in
Vietnam. With the help of the French Communist Party, he founded the League of
Colonial Peoples with the aim of fighting against colonialism. He wrote the
famous Pamphlet and published the journal in which he exposed the heinous
crimes of the French colonialists and put forth the legitimate aspirations of
the people of Vietnam and other colonial countries.
In 1922, he wrote a play, the ”
Bamboo dragon” in which that puppet king was flayed. That time Khai Dinh came
to France to attend a colonial exhibition.
In 1923, Ho Chi Minh travelled to
Russia for the first time. After subsequent visits, he became acquainted with
the most influential Soviet leaders including Nikolai Bukharin, Leon Trotsky,
and Joseph Stalin. When he was in Russia, he was trained as an agent
organizational and revolutionary techniques.
In 1924, he went to the Soviet
Union to attend the Fifth Congress of the Communist International held in
Moscow from June 17 to July 8, 1924. Before leaving France for Moscow, he wrote
a letter to his friends from African colonies, then engaged in political
activities in France, in which he showed the necessary for them to go back to
their countries, penetrate into the masses to awaken, organize, unite and train
them and lead them to fight for freedom and independence.
In 1925, Ho traveled to China
where he worked closely with Mikhail Borodin, a fellow Comintern agent, to
foment socialist revolution in China. While in China, Ho formed the
Revolutionary Youth League, later known simply as Thanh Nien (“Youth”), an
organization composed of Vietnamese exiles living in China and dedicated to
revolution in Vietnam. As the Than Nien steadily grew in size, the organization
began to establish connections with other Vietnamese nationalist and
revolutionary groups residing in Vietnam. Thanh Nien also published the
revolutionary journal Than Nien, which was secretly distributed
throughout Southeast Asia.
From 1927, he was forced to leave
China after Chiang Kai-Shek, the leader of the Nationalist Party instituted a
vicious crackdown on left-wing radicals, imprisoning and executing hundreds of
communists and labor activists. He fled to the Soviet Union. He spent the next
few years based in Russia, but he made frequent trips to China to recruit
members of Thanh Nien. Later on in 1930 he founded the Vietnamese Communist
Party, later changed to the Indochinese Communist Party. In Hong Kong, he
arrested by British authorities for his involvement in revolutionary activities
and was imprisoned for two years. After he was released, Ho Chi Minh returned
to Moscow, and he live there until 1938. That time traveled to China to serve
as a military advisor for the Chinese Communist Party after the Japanese
invasion of China. The Chinese Communist Party and the Guomindang previously
entangled in civil war, had agreed to an armistice until the Japanese were
In 1941, Ho returned to Vietnam
for the first time since he left the country in 1911. There, he founded the
Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh, League for the Independence of Vietnam, later known
as simply the Viet Minh, an organization composed of Vietnamese nationalist and
communist groups committed to Vietnamese independence. Throughout the Japanese
occupation of Vietnam, the Viet Minh fought against both French colonial
authorities and the Japanese forces occupying Vietnam.
In August 1942, he went to China
to try and win support from the Chiang Kai-shek government but he was arrested
by Chiang’s troops and imprisoned for over one year. Upon he was released from
prison, he got in touch with the Vietnam Revolutionary League, an
anti-Japanese, anti-French organization of Vietnamese residents in Liuchow,
re-established contact with the Party, then returned Caobang where he resumed
his activities. In 1944, he went to Yunnan. At the end of the same year, he
returned to Caobang. In December, he gave instructions for the founding of the
Armed Propaganda Brigade for the Liberation of Vietnam in Caobang, Baccan and
In 1945, at the close of World War II, Ho Chi Minh organized the
Viet Minh to foment a large-scale uprising in Vietnam. The Viet Minh captured
major cities across Vietnam and declared Vietnam an independent state. Vietnam
became known as the Democratic vc Republic of Vietnam, and Ho Chi Minh became
its first president. In July and August, the Allied Powers
met in Berlin for the Potsdam Conference and agreed to partition Vietnam into a
Northern and a Southern region. In the aftermath of the war, the administration
of Northern Vietnam was temporarily given to Nationalist China while the
administration of Southern Vietnam was temporarily given to the British. The
British allowed French troops to reenter South Vietnam in the belief that
retention of the profitable colony was essential to the recovery of the postwar
On January 6, 1946, general elections were successfully held all
over the country from which the National Assembly was elected. President Ho Chi
Minh and many members of the Provisional Government and the Vietminh Front were
elected, by an overwhelming numbers of voters. In that year, Ho Chi Minh signed
an agreement with the French that Vietnam be recognized as an Independent
state, under the condition that it become of a member the French Union and
permit a small French military presence. This agreement proved tenuous as
tensions rose between French colonists and Vietnamese nationalists, eventually
leading to full-scale war between the French and Vietnamese.
In 1951, The Vietnamese Workers Party, the successor to the
Indochinese Communist Party (ICP), was founded. Afterwards, Vietnamese forces
defeated the French at Dien Bien Phu, marking the collapse of French power in
Vietnam. At the Geneva Conference, a meeting of the major powers involved in
the region, it was decided that Vietnam remain divided into a Northern region,
now under Viet Minh control, and the Southern region, under French control
until a new South Vietnamese government could be established. With U.S.
support, NGO Dinh Diem was appointed Prime Minister of the fledgling government
of South Vietnam.
In 1955, The U.S. began giving military aid to the Diem regime.
Driven into hiding by Diem’s repressive policies, communists living in South
Vietnam organized into underground groups and began to wage guerrilla war
against the Diem regime. These insurgents came to be known as the Viet Nam Cong
San, simply the Viet Cong.
In 1960, Communist insurgents in South Vietnam formed the National
Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam, also known as the National
Liberation Front (NLF). North Vietnam agreed to supply the NLF with military
aid and support. While Ho Chi Minh remained president of North Vietnam, he
withdrew from active decision-making due to failing health. In 1961, The United
States increased military aid to Diem. Diem began to institute brutally
repressive measures against political dissenters, but remained unable to stamp
out the Viet Cong insurgency, and 1963, Diem was killed in a coup staged by
military commanders who had lost faith in his ability to lead. In 1964,
American ships patrolling the Tonkin Gulf were allegedly attacked by North
Vietnamese vessels. While this attack, known as the Tonkin Gulf Incident, was
never reliably confirmed, the U.S. committed to full war against the communist
forces in Vietnam. The U.S. began a full
military campaign against the Viet Cong in South Vietnam in 1965.
In 1968, In a large military strike known as the Tet Offensive,
the Viet Cong retook many of the cities that had been under U.S. occupation,
even pushing so far as to get troops inside the grounds of the American embassy
in Saigon. While the Viet Cong sustained heavy losses, the offensive exposed
the weakness of the U.S. and South Vietnamese forces, shifting U.S. public
opinion and precipitating the U.S. seriously to consider withdrawing their
forces from Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh died On September 2, 1969, at the age of
Even Ho Chi Minh died, the war between U.S and Vietnam was not
finished yet. The war still continued few years more. Due to domestic and
international protests against U.S. military in Vietnam and outside, the U.S.
slowly began to pull its forces out of Vietnam, completely withdrawing military
support in 1973. Despite the massive U.S. bombing raids that had crippled the
infrastructure of North Vietnam, the Viet Cong, now entirely under the
direction of North Vietnam, continued to combat South Vietnamese forces. In
1975, North Vietnam launched a full-scale invasion of South Vietnam, routing
its armies and toppling the South Vietnamese government. In 1976, the country
was officially united under a communist government. After its reunification,
Vietnam began to expand its influence in Southeast Asia, invading Cambodia,
then moving into Laos. These aggressive actions strained Vietnam’s relations
with China, which entirely deteriorated after subsequent border disputes. In
the postwar years, Vietnam forged an alliance with the Soviet Union, securing
substantial Soviet aid to help rebuild its war-ravaged country and modernize
its economy. Despite Soviet aid, the Vietnamese economy remained relatively
stagnant. Today, while still controlled by a communist government, Vietnam has
undertaken a number of economic reforms to promote international trade and
stimulate its economy.
Ho Chi Minh’s
ideology on social leadership has a very diverse content, which is reflected
basically in the contents of the target, the subject, the object, the content,
the method and the style of social leadership. In the process of social
leadership, in order to ensure proper and effective leadership, Ho Chi Minh has
applied a variety of measures and methods to promote the role of the social
leader as well as the revolutionary enthusiasm, the creativity of the working-class
people. He summarized that in order to lead rightly, the prerequisite was to
decide rightly every issue, to organize the right implementation, to organize
control and have a standard leadership style.
Moreover, it was
especially important for revolutionary cadres to keep in mind, “Leadership in every practical work of
the Party must come from the masses, back to the masses.”
The content of
social leadership that Ho Chi Minh discusses was very rich, from the target,
the subject, the object to the main aspects of social life: politics, economics,
culture, society. Through his rational thinking and practical activities, Ho
Chi Minh has made important directives on social leadership, from the
revolution of national liberation to the socialist revolution, contributing to
great achievements in our Party through the ages, becoming a useful guide for
the Communist Party of Vietnam in the cause of social leadership, especially in
the period of innovation, promoting industrialization and modernization of the
Brocheux, Ho Chi Minh: A Biography. Translated by Claire Duiker (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2007) 1, 2.
B Fall, “Ho Chi Minh: A Profile,” introduction to On Revolution: Selected Writings,
1920-1966 ed.Bernard B. Fall (Great Britain: The Pall
Mall Press, 1967) ix.
Chi Minh, “Ho Calls for Revolution” in Major
Problems in the History 12 of the Vietnam War ed.
Robert J. McMahon (Belmont, California:
Wadsworth, 2008) 21-22.
Alexander. “History, Structure, and Revolution in Vietnam.” International PoliticalScience Review 10:2 (1989): 143-157
George C. America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950 – 1975.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002.
Commons, Vietnamese Public Domain,
Source: Ho Chi Minh, “Declaration of Independence
of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam,” Selected Writings (Hanoi:
Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1977), pp. 5356.
Dinh Ngoc Quy (2016), “Ho Chi Minh’s viewpoint on social
of Political Science, (9), pp. 8-12.
Doctor of Classical Humanities
Brocheux, Ho Chi Minh: A Biography. Translated by Claire Duiker (Cambridge: Cambridge
2007) 1, 2.
part of Vietnam