Ho Chi Minh

(Nguyen Tat Thanh And Nguyen Ai Quoc)
(1890–1969)
   Ho Chi Minh was founder and leader of Vietnamese communism and first president of North Vietnam. Born at Kim-Lien in central Vietnam, Ho developed his politics when he lived in Europe. In 1919 he sent a petition asking for Vietnamese independence to the Versailles Peace Conference and in 1920 he joined the French Communist Party. From 1922 to 1924 Ho worked in Moscow with the Comintern, where he pressed for acknowledgement and support of anti-colonial revolutionary movements. In 1925 he returned to Vietnam and in 1930 established the Indochinese Communist Party. He represented the Comintern in Hong Kong until he was arrested by British police in 1931 and imprisoned until 1933. After several years back in the Soviet Union, Ho returned to China as an adviser with the Chinese Communist military, before helping to create the Vietnamese independence movement that fought the Japanese occupying troops.
   In 1945 he led the communists in the August revolution that allowed the communists to seize power and to create the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) with Ho as president. Fighting continued against the French (the colonial power in Vietnam before the Japanese invaded) until 1954 when the French were decisively beaten in the battle of Dien Bien Phu. An armistice was signed dividing the country into a communist north and non-communist south. After several years of peace, war resumed, this time against the south, which was supported by the United States. The conflict was a protracted one with the United States pouring in more and more resources but unable to defeat the DRV forces (the Vietminh). Eventually the United States’ commitment weakened followed by the withdrawal of support from the south and subsequent victory for North Vietnam and the reunification of the country in 1975.
   Ho was in many respects pragmatic rather than ideological, and sought to combine nationalism and internationalism in his patriotic communism. He favored strong links with the Comintern and other anti-colonial movements, and at the same time endeavored to adapt communism to Vietnamese conditions.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

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