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Ho Chi Minh and the OSS

By Claude G. Berube 
Originally published on HistoryNet.com. Published Online: October 06, 2009 
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OSS Deer Team members pose with Viet Minh leaders Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap during training at Tan Trao in August 1945. Deer Team members standing, l to r, are Rene Defourneaux, (Ho), Allison Thomas, (Giap), Henry Prunier and Paul Hoagland, far right. Kneeling, left, are Lawrence Vogt and Aaron Squires. (Rene Defourneaux)
OSS Deer Team members pose with Viet Minh leaders Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap during training at Tan Trao in August 1945. Deer Team members standing, l to r, are Rene Defourneaux, (Ho), Allison Thomas, (Giap), Henry Prunier and Paul Hoagland, far right. Kneeling, left, are Lawrence Vogt and Aaron Squires. (Rene Defourneaux)

In the mid-1940s, the Viet Minh, under Ho Chi Minh, looked to the West for help in its independence movement and got it.

As U.S. Army Major Allison Thomas sat down to dinner with Ho Chi Minh and General Vo Nguyen Giap on September 15, 1945, he had one vexing question on his mind. Ho had secured power a few weeks earlier, and Thomas was preparing to leave Hanoi the next day and return stateside, his mission complete. He and a small team of Americans had been in French Indochina with Ho and Giap for two months, as part of an Office of Strategic Services (OSS) mission to train Viet Minh guerrillas and gather intelligence to use against the Japanese in the waning days of World War II. But now, after Ho's declaration of independence and Japan's surrender the previous month, the war in the Pacific was over. So was the OSS mission in Indochina. At this last dinner with his gracious hosts, Thomas decided to get right to the heart of it. So many of the reports he had filed with the OSS touched on Ho's ambiguous allegiances and intents, and Thomas had had enough. He asked Ho point-blank: Was he a Communist? Ho replied: "Yes. But we can still be friends, can't we?"

It was a startling admission. In the mid-1940s, the Viet Minh leadership, under Ho Chi Minh, looked to the West for help in its independence movement and got it. As World War II ended, the United States and its allies, most of them former colonial powers, now confronted a new problem. Independence movements were emerging all over the East. But former colonial powers had lost their military muscle, and the Americans simply wanted to "bring the boys home." During the war, the United States had sought any and all allies to combat the fascist powers, only to find, years later, it may have inadvertently given birth to new world leaders either through misconceptions or missed opportunities. Vietnam's independence leader, Ho Chi Minh, had been only a relatively minor figure just a few years earlier. In 1945, Ho became the leader of a movement that would result in revolutionary tumult for decades to come.

Deer Team Meets a "Mr. Hoo"

Two months before Thomas' farewell dinner with Ho and Giap, he and six others from Special Operations Team Number 13, code-named "Deer," had parachuted into a jungle camp called Tan Trao, near Hanoi, with directions to proceed to the headquarters of Ho Chi Minh, whom they naively knew only as a "Mr. Hoo." Their mission, as they understood it, was to set up a guerrilla team of 50 to 100 men to attack and interdict the railroad from Hanoi to Lang Son to prevent the Japanese from going into China. They were also to find Japanese targets such as military bases and depots, and send back to OSS agents in China whatever intelligence they could. And they were to provide weather reports for air drops and U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) operations on an as-needed basis.

Thomas had parachuted in on July 16, 1945, part of a three-man advance team that also included radio operator 1st Sgt. William Zielski and Pfc Henry Prunier, their interpreter. Not knowing who or what to expect when they reached the drop zone, Thomas and his team soon found themselves surrounded by 200 guerrilla fighters who greeted them warmly and showed them to their huts. They then met with Ho Chi Minh, who called himself "C.M. Hoo," at his headquarters to coordinate operations with him. Thomas had no idea that Ho was a Communist, spoke Russian or had visited the Soviet Union. Nonetheless, Ho openly discussed politics with Thomas, stressing not only the abuses by the French, but also his desire to work with the French toward a solution.

In his first official report to OSS Director Archimedes L.A. Patti in Kunming, China, the following day, Thomas noted, referring to Ho: "He personally likes many French but most of his soldiers don't." This may have been one of Ho's ongoing ruses to ingratiate himself with potential but temporary allies. In his mid-50s, Ho apparently thoroughly convinced the Deer Team commander of his sincerity. In an effort to further dispel OSS or U.S. government concerns about Ho, Thomas emphatically wrote in the report: "Forget the Communist Bogy. VML [Viet Minh League] is not Communist. Stands for freedom and reforms from French harshness."

On July 30, the remainder of the Deer Team parachuted in, consisting of the assistant team leader, Lieutenant René Defourneaux, Staff Sgt. Lawrence R. Vogt, a weapons instructor, photographer Sergeant Aaron Squires and a medic, Pfc Paul Hoagland. Defourneaux, a French expatriate who had become a U.S. citizen, had parachuted into France earlier in the war to help the Resistance before joining the OSS.

The first person that Defourneaux met when he reached the drop zone was a "Mr. Van," General Giap, who seemed to be in charge. Ho was not around much, but when Defourneaux saw him, his first impression was of a sick old man clearly suffering from some disease. In one of the ironies of history, the Vietnam War, at least with the Communists under Ho Chi Minh, might never have happened if the Americans hadn't arrived when they did.

"Ho was so ill he could not move from the corner of a smoky hut," Defourneaux said. Ho didn't seem to have much time to live; Defourneaux heard it would not be weeks but days. "Our medic thought it might have been dysentery, dengue fever, hepatitis," he recalled. "While being treated by Pfc Hoagland, Ho directed his people into the jungle to search for herbs. Ho shortly recovered, attributing it to his knowledge of the jungle."

In other reports to the OSS, Thomas had raised a number of political concerns, from Ho's allegiances, to Indochina's struggle with the French, Vichy, Japanese, Chinese and the British. In a July 27 report, Thomas had stated that Ho's league was an amalgamation of all political parties that stood for liberty with "no political ideas beyond that." Thomas added, "Ho definitely tabooed the idea that the party was communistic" since "the peasants didn't know what the word communism or socialism meant—but they did understand liberty and independence." He noted that it was impossible for the French to stay, nor were they welcome since the Vietnamese "hated them worse than the Japs….Ho said he would welcome a million American soldiers to come in but not any French."

Control of French Indochina During WWII

French Indochina during World War II was a simmering cauldron of colonial powers on the decline, of colonial powers divided and other powers on the rise. Comprised largely of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, French Indochina had become in the late 19th century the "jewel in France's crown" in Southeast Asia.

Among the several competing global, regional and internal interests in French Indochina during World War II were: Vichy France, which controlled its colony only with permission of its Japanese ally and German dominator; followed then by the French Republic, which sought to reclaim its colonial territories; the United States, which was fighting against Japan; and Japan, which sought to maintain its regional hegemony. Also involved were the warring Communists and Nationalists in China, which sought to influence the region to their south; and a variety of independence-seeking indigenous factions that all wanted to remove the yoke of any colonial or imperial power.

Vietnam itself was divided into three main regions with their own factions fighting for control: the northern Tonkin, central Annam and southern Cochinchina. French control over Indochina was challenged only when France fell to the Germans in 1940 and was divided into two governments—occupied France, and to the south the nominally neutral, German-dominated Vichy government under World War I hero Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain. Vichy retained control of most of the French overseas territories during the war, including Indochina. However, the French remaining in Indochina were less loyal to the German puppet Vichy government than they were to Pétain.

As Japan expanded into the Pacific and Asia early in World War II, it ironically found itself hamstrung by its own alliance with Nazi Germany. For, so long as both the Vichy government and Imperial Japan were tied to Germany, the French retained de facto control of Indochina, although Japan was permitted to establish military bases. As the war in the Pacific wound down, however, the Allied invasion of Normandy and liberation of Paris resulted in the fall of Vichy France in August 1944 and, with it, any claims on colonial territories.

Throughout most of World War II, the United States was finding and supporting allies in China and other Southeast Asian regions, including French Indochina, to pose a threat to the Japanese military wherever possible. With the liberation of France in 1944, the U.S. government turned to its primary coordinator of intelligence during the war: the OSS, created in 1942 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

OSS to Ho: Work With Us Against the Japanese

At the time, the OSS was operating a base in China's wartime capital, Chungking. With the growing military complications in Indochina, Brig. Gen. William Donovan, the director of the OSS, instructed his staff to use "anyone who will work with us against the Japanese, but do not become involved in French-Indochinese politics." The Viet Minh, a liberation movement that had emerged under Ho Chi Minh in the early 1940s, was seeking not only Vietnam's independence from France, but also freedom from the Japanese occupation. In mid-1944 the OSS approached Ho to help organize an intelligence network in Indochina to help fight the Japanese and to help rescue downed American pilots. By then, "Ho had been cooperating with the Americans in propaganda activities," wrote Captain Archimedes Patti, head of the OSS base in Kunming, China, and later Hanoi.

The American association with Ho had actually begun in December 1942 when representatives of the Viet Minh approached the U.S. Embassy in China for help in securing the release of "an Annamite named Ho Chih-chi (?) [sic]" from a Nationalist Chinese prison, where he was being held for having invalid documents. In September 1943, when Ho was finally released, he returned to Vietnam to organize Vietnamese seeking independence. An October 1943 OSS memo proposed that the United States "use the Annamites…to immobilize large numbers of Japanese troops by conducting systematic guerrilla warfare in the difficult jungle country." The missive went on to suggest the OSS's most effective propaganda line was to "convince the Annamites that this war, if won by the Allies, will gain their independence."

As the Axis retreated in Europe, and what remained of the Vichy French government fell, Japan was no longer restrained in Indochina by its ties to Germany. The Japanese quickly made inroads into Vietnam, staging a coup d'état in March 1945 that dissolved the French government and established a puppet government. On March 11, Emperor Bao Dai proclaimed Vietnam's independence and his intent to cooperate with the Japanese. Ho Chi Minh was surprised by this development, and regarded another independence movement as a threat to the Viet Minh's. At the same time, with the Japanese coup against the French, the OSS realized it was cut off from the flow of intelligence from French Indochina to its base in Kunming, and it urged Ho to work with the United States.

"The coup has produced many new and perhaps delicate problems which will demand considerable attention," the OSS officers in China reported to headquarters. "The French are no longer in power. There are 24 million [Vietnamese] in Indochina [offering] support for the new nationalistic regime. Militarily, it calls for an alteration of military plans; we can't count on French and native troops." The Japanese did not have the military strength to defend all of Vietnam, however, and the Viet Minh began to organize themselves as the provisional government in all but the largest towns, where the Japanese had strongholds.

Also in March 1945, Viet Minh guerrillas rescued a U.S. pilot who had been shot down in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh himself escorted the pilot back to the American forces in Kunming, where the Fourteenth Air Force was based. Rejecting an offer of a monetary reward, Ho asked only for the honor of meeting Maj. Gen. Claire Chennault, founder of China's legendary American Volunteer Group, the "Flying Tigers," and now commander of the Fourteenth Air Force. During the meeting on March 29, Chennault thanked Ho, who, after promising to help any other downed American pilots, requested only an autographed photo of the general. Ho would later cannily show the picture to other nationalist Vietnamese factions as proof of his warm relations with—and implied support from—the Americans. At this time, few knew that Ho (whose real name was Nguyen Ai Quoc) was a long-time Communist who had been trained in the Soviet Union. Even the Office of War Information reportedly was impressed by Ho and his "English, intelligence and obvious interest in the Allied war effort."

On April 27, Captain Patti met with Ho Chi Minh to ask him for permission to send an OSS team to work with him and the Annamites to gather intelligence on the Japanese. "Welcome, my good friend," said Ho in greeting Patti. He agreed to work with an OSS team and asked Patti for modern weapons. Ho then set up a training camp in the jungle, at place he called Tan Trao—the former hamlet of Kimlung and the new location of Viet Minh headquarters—about 200 kilometers from Hanoi. There he prepared for the Americans' arrival.

Deer Team Begins Training the Viet Minh

Captain Patti's OSS group, the Deer Team, was established on May 16 and made its way from the United States to the OSS station in Kunming, where it waited two months for permission to enter French Indochina. Finally the decision was made for Major Thomas and the team's six other members to parachute to the Tan Trao training camp in July.

Captain Patti had served with Thomas in North Africa and thought he "was a fine young officer but understandably unsophisticated in the way of international power struggles." Thomas became quick friends with Ho and Giap at Tan Trao, often ignoring the rest of the team. Part of the team's mission was to indicate targets for the USAAF, but Thomas spent most of his time with Ho and Giap, and even redirected USAAF targets against the Japanese based on Ho's recommendations, in direct conflict with orders he had received from the OSS.

Defourneaux, who had assumed the alias of Raymond Douglas, the son of a Franco-American mother, to protect him from the locals, had a different experience with Ho. The leader continually probed Defourneaux and challenged his cover story, wary of him. Ho told Defourneaux he hoped the United States would handle Vietnam the way it had the Philippines. "We deserved the same treatment," said Ho. "You should help us reach the point of independence. We are self-sufficient." Defourneaux did not believe that Giap and Ho were "on the same wavelength," and that Giap was doing things independently. At the time, he did not know that Giap, or "Mr. Van," another of the OSS's "friends of the forest," was running an indoctrination school on communism.

As Thomas' friendship with Giap and Ho grew, his relationship with his own men deteriorated, and Defourneaux became wary of them. Ho, and especially Giap, had "full control over our leader," said Defourneaux. In his diary, Defourneaux wrote of Thomas: "I stay with the boys and cannot help hear their conversations. They hate him, personally I hate him more and more every day." He said that Thomas thought Ho and Giap were simply agrarian reformers, "but Ho didn't know how to use a shovel and Giap didn't know how to milk a cow."

Deer Team members supervise small-arms training at Ho's Tan Trao jungle camp in August 1945. (National Archives)
Deer Team members supervise small-arms training at Ho's Tan Trao jungle camp in August 1945. (National Archives)
The members of the Deer Team had to wait a couple of weeks for supply drops in early August before they could start small-arms and weapons training for the guerrilla forces. Once the arms arrived, the Americans showed the Viet Minh (most were recently civilians) how to fire the American M-1 rifle and M-1 carbine, and how to use mortars, grenades, bazookas and machine guns. For training, they used U.S. Army field manuals, and focused on guerrilla warfare.

Japan Surrenders and Ho Declares Vietnamese Independence

Shortly after training began the second week in August, Sergeant Zielski, the team's radio operator, picked up a broadcast on August 15 announcing the Japanese surrender, following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, and Nagasaki on the 9th.

Realizing its training mission was over, the Deer Team issued arms to the soldiers and prepared to leave the following day. Under the terms of Japan's surrender, the British would occupy the south of Vietnam, and the Chinese would move to the north to disarm Japanese soldiers and return them to their homeland.

The Americans left camp on August 16 and traveled on foot with Giap and his troops to Thai Nguyen, the French provincial capital. There, the guerrillas fought the French and the Japanese until the French governor capitulated, on August 25, and the Japanese, finally realizing their homeland had surrendered, accepted a truce the next day. During this fighting, Giap had arranged for the Deer Team to stay hidden away in a safe house on the outskirts of town.

Meanwhile, the Viet Minh had planned to hold a conference in Tan Trao on August 16, the National People's Congress. About 30 delegates from Vietnam, Thailand and Laos had assembled in the village to discuss their concerns. Over the next several days, amid political uncertainty, several of the delegates had attempted to seize control. Ultimately Ho Chi Minh claimed leadership and was elected president of the provisional government on August 27. They proposed and voted on a new national anthem, and a new national flag with a gold star on a red background, which would become intimately familiar to most U.S. ground troops two decades later.

A week later, on September 2, the same day General Douglas MacArthur received the formal Japanese surrender aboard the battleship Missouri, Ho Chi Minh was in Hanoi and declared Vietnamese independence from all colonial powers, using the American Declaration of Independence as his template. Banners of "Welcome to the Allies" (specifically, the United States) flew in the city's Ba Dihn Square, the OSS contingent in Hanoi photographed the occasion and Minister of the Interior Giap recognized U.S. support in a speech.

Coincidentally, the same day of Ho's declaration of independence, Lt. Col. Peter Dewey, the nephew of two-time presidential candidate Thomas Dewey, arrived in Saigon. The colonel was commander of another OSS team in Indochina, code-named "Embankment," which was overseeing intelligence in the Saigon area. As the month wore on in Saigon, the British, free from hostilities with the Japanese, became politically involved, chaos ensued and civil war raged. Dewey was ordered out of Vietnam by the British, who suspected him of working with the Viet Minh. Before leaving, Dewey wrote in a report to the OSS: "Cochinchina is burning, the French and British are finished here, and we ought to clear out of Southeast Asia."

On September 26, two days after the Viet Minh led a national strike in response to British-imposed martial law, Dewey was ready to depart Saigon. Leaving in an unmarked jeep for the airport, he was ambushed and killed a few yards from an OSS house, thus becoming the first American casualty in Vietnam, nearly two decades before full U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Although there was wide speculation on the shooters, ranging from conspiracies involving allies to cases of mistaken identities, an investigation failed to produce an answer. Captain Patti informed Ho Chi Minh of Dewey's death, and Ho expressed his regrets to U.S. headquarters in Saigon.

OSS Ends Its Mission in Indochina

With the war in the Pacific over, the OSS ended its mission in Indochina. The Deer Team had stayed in Thai Nguyen for a few days following the Viet Minh victory there, "getting fat, getting a sun-tan, visiting the city and waiting for permission [from Patti] to go to Hanoi," said Defourneaux. "The Viet Minh did everything to make our stay as pleasant as possible for us." Once they arrived in Hanoi, the Americans prepared to return to the United States. The night before leaving, Major Thomas had his private dinner with Ho and Giap.

In the years that followed, Ho Chi Minh continued to write letters of a diplomatic nature to President Harry Truman, asking for U.S. aid, but the letters were never answered. Ho didn't break with the United States until the Americans gradually became involved with the French in working against the Vietnamese in the 1950s.

Although OSS agents clearly played a role in Indochina during the World War II, clear causes and effects with regard to the future U.S.-Vietnamese conflict are far more cloudy.

First, working with individuals or organizations that did not share American values or interests was not uncommon, particularly during World War II. Perhaps the best example was the U.S. alliance with the Soviet Union, specifically with Josef Stalin.

Second, the United States needed to reach out to an established and recognized organization within Indochina. There was no natural indigenous U.S. ally in that region, nor was there an embedded colonial interest because France itself was divided.

Third, through its in situ OSS team, the United States had little immediate effective tactical, operational or strategic impact on Ho Chi Minh, the future General Giap or the Viet Minh.

Was America, through the OSS, responsible for the rise of Ho Chi Minh and his subsequent war against the United States? No, but neither was it completely free of such responsibility. Ho manipulated the inexperienced leader of the Deer Team as well as U.S. diplomatic officials in Kunming to serve his unstated needs. Having a personal photo of Chennault or having OSS agents stand by his side demonstrated his international standing among the Vietnamese. Also, the failure to identify Ho Chi Minh as Soviet-trained and a Communist ideologue was a major American intelligence shortcoming that smoothed the way for Ho's emergence as a national leader and in the end, an enemy of the United States.

In later years when asked by journalists or historians about his relationship with Ho, Thomas was defensive: "I was friendly with him and why shouldn't I be? After all, we were both there for the same purpose, fighting the Japanese…it wasn't my job to find out whether he was a Communist or not."

Ultimately, out of the chaotic and momentous conclusion of World War II—almost imperceptibly—the die was cast for the coming storm that over the next three decades would pit the world's greatest superpower against an indigenous movement led by men who, at its birth, sought the friendship and support of the United States.

Claude G. Berube teaches at the United States Naval Academy and is the co-author with John Rodgaard of A Call to the Sea: Captain Charles Stewart of the USS Constitution.


40 Responses to “Ho Chi Minh and the OSS”


  1. 1
    Jason says:

    Interesting. I knew that there were many such operations around the globe in Axis occupied areas by the OSS but you rarely hear about them.

  2. 2
    Daniel says:

    Wow! I don't know how else to say it. The most interesting thing about history is the chain reaction of events.

  3. 3

    [...] worked closely with Ho Chi Minh (born Nguyen Sinh Cung) during World War II, with the Viet Minh helping rescue downed US pilots and provided information to the Americans on Japanese troop movements.  The American OSS [...]

  4. 4
    Pat says:

    When I was in college in about 1964-65 we had a speaker show claimed he had worked in Indo-China during the war. He had flown Ho and others in a Piper Cub aircraft. He claimed he knew the Ho was a communist and had ask for permission to "get rid" of him as he will be trouble for us i the future. That was the story he claimed to have told to his superiors in Washington.
    I always wondered if it were true or if he made it all up.

  5. 5
    Hans von Saxe says:

    Ho was only "trouble for the U.S." because it was of the U.sS's choosing.
    Truman ignored Ho's overtures, while the French reoccupied Indochina.
    Gen. Vo N. Giap was the architect of the humiliating French defeat at Dienbienphu in 1953.
    The i954 Geneva Accord ending the French-Indochina war resulted in the provisional division of Vietnam into communist North , under Ho, and U.s. -backed South Vietnam, under Emperor Bao Dai. In 1955, Bao Dai was overthrown by his Prime Minister, Ngo Dinh Diem, who refused to abide by the provision of the Geneva Accord that elections to unify the country would be held in both North and South Vietnam in 1956.
    In 1959, the communist Viet Cong began their struggle to overthrow Diem. The U.S. intervention to save the south Vietnamese regime began in 1961, and the official U.S. Intervention began in 1964.

  6. 6
    shtarka says:

    I recently visited Saigon / Ho Chi Minh City…seems that Ho was correct after all and the U.S. was wrong. Communism/ socialism works in Vietnam, and "we can still be friends", as Ho said to Thomas after Thomas asked Ho if he were a communist…today the biggest concern for Vietnam is Communist China, not the U.S. In fact, the U.S, is Vietnam's largest export destination. We made big. big mistakes in Vietnam. The world is not black and white.

    • 6.1
      csycboetrt says:

      Socialism works? There is no socialism here. It's unbridled capitalism in it's most unregulated form. There is no social safety net, no redistribution of wealth. How could you possibly come to your conclusion?

      • 6.1.1
        The Forester says:

        What you're describing is neither communism nor capitalism – it's fascism.

  7. 7
    Afshin says:

    The article highlights failure of U.S. foreign policy. U.S. always failed to understand Asia, Asians and their aspirations.

  8. 8
    Christine says:

    yo dawg tht was pretty good ;)

  9. 9
    Claude Berube says:

    Afshin,
    I disagree. The failure was more of an individual assessment and understanding of Ho. The U.S. would have worked with anyone willing to help against the Japanese, just as the U.S. allied with the Soviet Union against Germany. I confirmed this through a post-production interview with Major Defourneaux.
    - Claude

  10. 10
    J. Alejandro says:

    The real story is how Ho used the OSS. Although this history is pretty much historically accurate it nevertheless ends in a wrong conclusion because it begins with a wrong premise. This thinking belongs to the anti-war movement and PBS Vietnam: A Television History school of thought. It is the kind of thinking that seeks to blame the U.S. for the turn of nationalists into Communists simply because the U.S. didn't help them when they came for help. Ho Chi Min was a committed Komintern type communist through and through who used nationalism and whatever means necessary to incorporate Vietnam into the international struggle for Communism. Even if the US had helped Ho obtain independence he would just have used the US and in the end establish a Communist regime just like Fidel Castro did. The naiveté of the OSS officers in taking Ho at his words as if he were some kind of George Washington is more than obvious. Later as the CIA they also believed the Castro brothers.

  11. 11
    le van hong phuoc says:

    For whom it may concern:You do not know a liitle bit about HOCHIMINH.He's a communist who worked for Commintern a long time ago before working with the OSS.He used Americans as weapons on his propaganda only.You must read more about him.
    Ho chi Minh could do tricks on people around the world,but not on Vietnamese,because they know him too much!
    Please do not listen what communists say or write,watch closely what they do!

  12. 12
    Randy Mello says:

    Article reserved by Randy Mello for Intro to Military History assignment

  13. 13
    Roberto Sani says:

    I befriended an Austrailian vet of the vietnam war. Although he had a superficial hatred for his former enemy, he couldn't help but to admire the dedication and simplicity of his enemy. His greatest fear was the Lee Enfield rifle in the capable hands of a well motivated and trained enemy. His second greatest fear was that the true story would never be told. Thanks to informed sites like this, let the truth be told. It did not have to happen immediately after the war, but it did come to pass. Thank you on the behalf of my deceased drumming instructor, Rodger Strange. I will let his son know of his "terror and demon trip" in the sixties.

  14. 14
  15. 15
    Joe Nawrozki says:

    One name missing from all of these "historical" accounts of OSS and Uncle HO — U. S. Army Capt. Ramon Grelecki.

  16. 16

    [...] Originally Posted by TedShackley Dr. Michel Chossudovsky teaches at McGill I think. He runs it and has done extensive scholarly work on how Al Qaeda is still very much a tool of NATO, which created it to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. Dr. Michel Chossudovsky teaches at UofO, but as an economist. Doesn't mean he isn't a kook. He is correct that the CIA supported the Mujahideen against the Soviets, but the US (through the pre-CIA OSS) also supported Ho Chi Minh against the Japanese. Ho Chi Minh and the OSS [...]

  17. 17
    AJ Padgett says:

    I have read that Colonel Dewey was actually shot as he drove around a Viet Minh roadblock. The colonel was apparently angry and shouted in French at the soldiers manning the roadblock. They in turn mistook him for a Frenchman and opened fire. It is ironic that Dewey sympathized with the Viet Minh and the Vietnamese in general, yet ended up being killed by them.
    AJ Padgett
    Author of Mission over Indochine

  18. 18
    nvtncs says:

    The Vietnam war was lost due to the arrogance of the US in believing that it can win on the military front alone.
    It lost the propaganda war to the communists who fooled the whole world, especially the left-leaning French and American intellectuals that the war was a war of national liberation.
    Body count! What a joke! As if human life was worth much in a communist society.
    You guys were fooled like babes in the woods.
    What a superficial understanding of the deviousness of the Asian mind!

  19. 19
    Trang says:

    What is not mention is the fact that during WW2, Roosevelt promised Ho that the US would support Vietnams independence because Roosevelt was strictly anti-colonialism/imperialism. Roosevelt himself stated, "France has milked it for one hundred years. The people of Indochina are entitled to something better than that." However, before WW2 ended Roosevelt died and the his promise to the Vietnamese people was forgotten.
    However, as the article mention Ho continued to write letters to Truman for aid but was ignored. When ignored by the US after multiple times , Ho looked to the next foreign power for aid, the Soviet Union.

  20. 20

    [...] Americans might betray you, would you still refuse their gifts of arms and the military training OSS officers were willing to provide for you? OSS members pose with Viet Minh leaders Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen [...]

  21. 21

    [...] Americans might betray you, would you still refuse their gifts of arms and the military training OSS officers were willing to provide for you?OSS members pose with Viet Minh leaders Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen [...]

  22. 22
  23. 23

    [...] Ho replied: "Yes. But we can still be friends, can't we? You can read the rest here: Ho Chi Minh and the OSS No promise as you claim was ever made. And please note comment 10, which is entirely spot on: The [...]

  24. 24
  25. 25
    Falcon McTran says:

    I'm bothered by the comment at the end "it wasn't my job to find out whether he was a Communist or not."

    Remember, that the main difference between capitalism and communism is private equity. Enterprises in a communist system can still operate as a 501C3. The economy at the time was mostly agrarian, thanks to the French building plantations and fiefdoms and the overwhelming majority of people in Vietnam didn't own businesses, probably didn't hold stock as limited partners. They probably didn't even know what private equity was.

    Score another win for organized crime, heroine trade and government corruption.

  26. 26
    Think Twice says:

    Vietnam like Cuba needs more political understanding. Like other asian countries who aspired to have their own independence which "Colonialism have long overdue in the rest of the world like Asia." If only the United States had carefully chose the right thing on how to deal with Vietnam, then it was unnecessary to let more than fifty eight thousand American soldiers died in the field, or B52 bombers that caused millions of casualties like the operation Orange. I do believed of what the OSS observed and experienced with Ho and others. If only we knew that at the end of such struggle particularly "struggle for independence", then victory will always be on the side of the Vietnamese people. The conflict in Indochina was one of the same old stories that goes back in the war for Independence by the American people, the French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Boxer Rebellion, the Philippine Revolution, and the Malayan Emergency. Indeed I heard many times that it is innate and inviolable for a certain nation to have their own government as long as it peaceful and cooperative not only for their own people but for the rest of the international community. Let each country have their own best leader chosen by their own will so that freedom will thrive.

  27. 27
  28. 28

    [...] Chí Minh in a very bad way. He was very ill. Claude G. Berube quotes the OSS team leader in his H? Chí Minh and the OSS: "H? was so ill he could not move from the corner of a smoky hut," Defourneaux [...]

  29. 29
    sulliva426 says:

    … You are correct!! I visited VN in 20010. They are 100% capitalist. Socialism could not support their new growth, same w China. Obama just mouths the talking points of the white,college students' anti-draft movement. The anti-draft movement evaporated after they got their wish to eliminate the draft; they did nothing for Peace. They just forgot about the war. The entire movement was not anti war, but anti draft. It was a war fought by the children of the poor; those that could not afford college, and were never eligible for the coveted student deferment that protected the privileged white males.

  30. 30

    [...] ta vâ?n co? thê? la? ba?n ch???", ông ho?i la?i sy? quan My?, theo s?? gia Bâ?m Claude Berube trong mô?t ba?i viê?t ?a? ????c công [...]

  31. 31
    Kevin Tran says:

    Nice post

  32. 32
    Freeman says:

    Communist is parasite of capitalism. Bin Laden is disciple of Ho. US helping those guys and they stabbed uncle Sam right in the back !!!

  33. 33
  34. 34
    Kent Harper says:

    I enlisted into the Army Security Agency in August 1963. As part of our security training, we were given briefs on the OSS involvement. We also were told that Ho lived in New York for a year before WWI and learned nationalism from free Koreans who lived there. He moved to London and when the League of Nations was being formed crossed the channel and lived there where he became more radicalized. We were taught, but I haven't been able to verify it, that he met with Wilson and asked US support in keeping the French from returning to Indochina. Wilson rejected his plea. That was when he traveled to Moscow. If he couldn't find support for Vietnamese nationalism, he would accept a philosophy rejecting all nations in lieu of the brotherhood of man. Our briefing took the OSS recommendation farther than stated here, claiming reports called for US support for Ho to form a buffer against the Chinese communists .

  35. 35
    joe nawrozki says:

    Mr. Harper, thanks for pointing to Ho's even earlier movements…he had so many heads spinning. The remarkable omission throughout this entire discussion — the lucrative opium trade. Chiang Kai-Shek's soldiers in a ridiculous belief they'd take back the Chinese mainland were funded by the CIA…fake businesses, airlines (one operated by Flying Tiger ace Claire Chennault) that transported mind-boggling amounts of opium…through various points, including Saigon where Diem and others skimmed some nice pocket change…the Golden Triangle became the Mafia's source of heroin – transported by CIA aircraft in the name of supporting anti-Communist indigenous armies – that supplied the world's shooting dope..including the U.S….the most grotesque: smuggling heroin into the U.S. in metal caskets carrying Vietnam war dead on their final journey home. It's a long trail and Uncle Ho did not pass up an opportunity to shake down the war lords toting the makings for the much sought-after \China White\…oh, the good times keep on rollin'.

  36. 36

    [...] OSS mission was no longer voluntary. In July 1945, Prunier and six other American members of “Deer Team” parachuted into northwest Vietnam, charged with training the Viet Minh to help fight the [...]

  37. 37
    Tran Van Minh says:

    Dear Freeman, so what did the French do in Vietnam ?? Sweet kind capitalism?? …. read your history books. It is easy to mouth platitudes. US stabbed Uncle Ho in the back – he wanted to work with them, helped US with intelligence against the Japanese in WW2. All he and his people wanted, and they got it, was freedom from French oppression, Japanese oppression, Korean commandos killing Vietnamese women and children, and the many many My Lai massacres of the US. My Vietnamese neighbour here in Thai Nguyen lost a 6 year old daughter. One day they were planting rice in the field outside my house here. A helicopter cam down. Out jumped some young US soldiers (probably from poor farmer families in the US). They started shooting into the bamboo huts. Her daughter was hiding inside from the terrifying noise. US soldiers killed her (unknowingly). US should avoid war at all costs, as it cannot control its killing machines. The reason Ho chose communism is because the communists help him (for over 40 years) to get rid of the French and other foreign oppressors. He would have chosen capitalism if the capitalists had helped him. Now they are quickly becoming capitalist and integrating into the international arena. Don't be so silly and short-sighted. History always proves – kindness and care are the eternal solutions for friendship. Evil is always defeated in the end.

  38. 38
    nvtncs says:

    you're correct.
    The Vietnam war was so half-baked by one side and so ruthlessly, dishonestly fought by the other side, that the outcome was never in doubt.



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