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Ho Chi Minh: North Vietnam Leader

7/25/2006 • Vietnam

Although the most visible symbol of America’s chief enemy in the Vietnam War, Ho Chi Minh was still a difficult figure to hate. A frail and benign-looking old man in peasant garb or Mao jacket, the leader of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam seemed perfectly described as ‘Uncle Ho,’ an epithet bestowed upon him by friend and enemy alike. Indeed, he often seemed more symbol than substance–a mere face on a poster, an intangible foe unreachable by modern means of warfare, an almost mythical personification of the Communist enemy.

But Ho Chi Minh was the very real driving force without which the unified Vietnamese state would never have been achieved. For more than 50 years, most of which he spent away from Southeast Asia, Ho worked single-mindedly to realize the end of French colonialism and the erection of a Vietnamese national state. That determination, rather than genius, was his hallmark as a leader. If the Vietnamese revolution produced a real genius, then it was certainly Vo Nguyen Giap, a military leader who would have stood out in any army. Ho Chi Minh, however, was the essential man whose drive and determination focused the efforts of others and whose leadership excited the admiration and support of Vietnamese on both sides of the 17th parallel.

Details of Ho Chi Minh’s life are vague, curiously so for such a prominent national leader. Every biography differs in some fundamental detail, offering the reader no certainty about the man. Ho Chi Minh himself is responsible for much of this, for he consciously distanced himself from his own past and his own origins, choosing to identify with the revolutionary ideal rather than the old mandarin traditions. In his personal break with family and tradition, Ho set the example for the new nation he wished to create, a Vietnamese state unencumbered by the weight of a heritage that accepted foreign rule. Because he gave no particular importance to details of his life, Ho Chi Minh’s date of birth and true name are in question. Most of what we know about the man can only be considered informed supposition.

He was probably born Nguyen Van Thanh, the youngest son of three children of Nguyen Tat Sac, in Kim Lien Village of Nghe An Province in Central Vietnam, on May 19, 1890. He attended the French lycée in Vinh between 1895 and 1905 when (depending upon the source) he was dismissed either for reasons of politics or poor grades. Between 1906 and 1910, he was a student in the noted Lycée Quoc Hoc in Hue, a school distinguished for its nationalist sentiments and one that produced other prominent figures in modern Vietnamese history — among them Ngo Dinh Diem, Vo Nguyen Giap and Pham Van Dong. In 1910, again for reasons uncertain, he left the school without a degree and briefly taught in Phan-Thiet, a little town where, coincidentally, Ngo Dinh Diem also lived as provincial administrator some 20 years later.

In 1911, Ho completed courses in a school for bakers in Saigon, and in 1912 took the name of Ba and accepted a job as a messboy on a French liner on the Saigon-Marseilles run. Bernard Fall, one of the earliest and most acute students of the Vietnamese revolution, regards this as the single critical decision of his life. When he turned to the West, Ho Chi Minh rejected the traditional conservative Vietnamese nationalist course of militarism and a mandarin society, and instead chose the course of republicanism, democracy and popular sovereignty. Meeting other Vietnamese nationalists in Paris, Ho found he could not accept their course of peaceful cooperation with the French, and sought another solution.

After living in France for a time, Ho is said to have moved to London, where he was a cook’s helper under Escoffier at the Carlton Hotel. During World War I, some sources insist, he moved to the United States, where he lived in Harlem. If true, this experience gave him background material for his Pamphlet La Race Noire (1924), a tract bitterly critical of American capitalism and treatment of blacks. Sometime in 1917 or 1918, living now under the name of Nguyen Ai-Quoc (Nguyen the Patriot), he returned to France and earned his living retouching photographs in the XVIIth District of Paris.

The great Peace Conference at Versailles in 1919 was the occasion for Ho’s formal entry into politics. Excited by the prospect of a peace based on President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points — especially the point concerning national self-determination of peoples — Ho drafted a modest eight-point program for Vietnam and, renting a formal suit, sought an audience with leaders of the great powers. His proposals would not have meant independence for Vietnam, but instead called for greater equity, more basic freedoms, and Vietnamese representation in the colonial government.

Unable to gain a hearing at Versailles, Ho then pursued the colonial question in the French Socialist Party, of which he was a member. At the Party Congress at Tours on Christmas Day, 1920, Ho Chi Minh sided with the Communist wing of the party since the Communists advocated immediate independence for all colonial areas. He thus was a founding member of the French Communist Party and became the party’s leading expert on colonial matters. In 1920 and ’21 he traveled throughout France, speaking to groups of Annamese soldiers and workers who were awaiting their return to Vietnam, doubtless earning some early converts to the nationalist cause, if not to the Communist one.

The next half-dozen years were spent as the true Communist internationalist. Ho attended all of the early Comintern conferences, and became acquainted with the great figures of the Russian Communist Party, meeting Lenin probably in 1922. He lived in Moscow for several years; in 1924 as a student at the Eastern Workers’ University. In 1925, Ho went to China with Michael Borodin and helped organize the Vietnam Revolutionary Youth League, a training school for Indochinese students in Canton. That year saw the publication of his most important work, Le Proces de la Colonisation Francaise, a naïve pamphlet that indicted the French colonial system. Despite its limitations, the tract became the handbook for Vietnamese nationalists and was widely distributed in Indochina. From 1925 to 1927, when Chiang Kai-shek broke with the Communists and Borodin’s group fled to Russia, Ho formed more than 200 carefully trained cadres of expatriate Vietnamese, whom he sent back to Indochina.

Ho’s ruthlessness showed up in the formation of those cadres. If, at the completion of training, any of the men had second thoughts or displayed an unwillingness to obey Communist instructions, Ho simply leaked their names to the French officials in Indochina. The French promptly arrested the defecting cadres and probably paid their informant a reward. Ho was then killing two birds with one stone; he rid himself of undependable nationalists and gained funds for his movement.

Over the next few years, his wanderings are not well-documented. It is likely he returned to Europe as an agent of the Third International, some sources claiming that he lived in Berlin for a time. By 1929, he was living in Thailand, working within a large community of Vietnamese emigres. He traveled to Hong Kong in 1930, where he pulled the various Indochinese Communist movements together into one party. Briefly under arrest in Hong Kong, he surfaced in Moscow in 1934 as a student in the Lenin School. By 1938, he had returned to China and was serving as a radio operator with the Chinese Communist Eighth Route Army, eventually becoming political commissar of a guerrilla training mission in Kwang-Si Province.

In May of 1941, after 30 years abroad, Ho finally returned to Vietnam. He went to the town of Pac-Bo on the northern border, where the Central Committee of the Indochinese Communist Party was to hold its eighth meeting. At this meeting, the party created the Viet Minh, a front organization intended to draw the support of Vietnamese who opposed the French, but were not yet Communists. Upon his return to China in early 1942, he was imprisoned by a Chinese warlord, but released in 1943 to gather information about the Japanese units in Indochina.

It was then that he took the name Ho Chi Minh (He Who Enlightens), returned to the northern part of Vietnam, and devoted himself to running the Viet Minh. Operating from the jungles of North Vietnam, Ho received aid from China and from the United States, fought the Japanese, and extended his influence throughout the area, building a firm infrastructure to support the Viet Minh. By May 1945, he had managed to liberate six provinces from the Japanese and moved to assume control of the government.

The puppet emperor Bao Dai abdicated on August 19 and, with both the Japanese occupation government and the French colonial government in complete disarray, Ho’s National Liberation Committee proclaimed a provisional government with Ho Chi Minh as president. On September 2, Ho declared that the Vietnam Democratic Republic was an independent state and sought recognition from the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and China. The French, however, were determined to reestablish their colonial hegemony in Indochina. Talks with the French failed to produce a negotiated settlement, and French armed forces seized Haiphong and Langson in November 1946, initiating a war.

Ho moved his government into the mountains of North Vietnam and began almost nine years of warfare, culminating in the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The state of war actually simplified Ho’s political problems. Vietnamese did not have to be Communist to join the fight against the French, and the ranks of the Viet Minh swelled with patriotic volunteers. Also, the real political opposition was easily squelched by declaring them to be traitors to Vietnam. By 1954, Ho was the undisputed leader of the country. The Geneva Accords of 1954 provided for a national election in 1956 to determine the fate of Vietnam, an election Ho confidently expected to win, especially since the bulk of Vietnam’s population was in the North under his control. When the government of South Vietnam, which was not party to that portion of the agreement, refused to play into his hands, Ho created the National Liberation Front for South Vietnam and began the second phase of his war for a unified Vietnam.

First, however, Ho ruthlessly consolidated his power in the North. Evidencing the fact that behind his carefully constructed façade of the kindly and gentle ‘Uncle Ho’ he was in reality (in Susan Sontag’s particularly descriptive words) a ‘fascist with a human face,’ Ho massacred his countrymen by the thousands in a Soviet-style ‘land reform’ campaign. In November 1956, when peasants in his home province protested, some 6,000 were murdered in cold blood. With such actions, Ho proved he was a worthy contemporary of Lenin, Stalin and Mao Tse-tung, who had also built their empires with the blood of their countrymen.

By the time of his death on September 3, 1969, Ho Chi Minh was generally spoken of in the same breath as Lenin and Mao Tse-tung. He had certainly led his native Communist Party through almost 40 years of success, creating a state where none had existed before and devising a Communist government to run it. He was a national leader with strong internationalist credentials, having served the Communist Party throughout Europe and Asia for more than 20 years before his return to Vietnam. He led a Communist Party unique in that it had never had a major purge or a major theoretical dispute. As a young Communist functionary, he avoided Stalin’s great purges of the 1920s and 30s. As a mature Communist leader, he steered a middle course between the Russians and Chinese in their great schism, offending neither and retaining the support of both.

In sum, Ho Chi Minh was that great contradiction: a dedicated Communist who was also a fervent nationalist. Throughout his life he never lost sight of his goal of an independent Vietnamese state, and even as a Communist leader he pursued an essentially Vietnamese course, even when pure Communist theory might have dictated other choices. Yet there is no doubt that he was fully committed to the Communist ideal, that he accepted it completely in 1920, and that he never had second thoughts. Ho Chi Minh’s Communist ideology was flexible enough to serve his purposes. In any case, he was never the doctrinaire, and always much more a political activist whose strong will was directed at the goal of the independence and unification of Vietnam.

This article was written by Charles E. Kirkpatrick and originally published in the February 1990 issue of Vietnam Magazine. For more great articles be sure to subscribe to Vietnam Magazine today!

46 Responses to Ho Chi Minh: North Vietnam Leader

  1. zulfiqar ali says:

    i want to slute to commrade ho chi minh and his struggle,he was great vietnami and communist leader

    • Jacob says:

      Yeah, and he lead to the massacre of many civilians and his party today still suppresses it’s citizens. Good job, tool.

      • Arsenalian says:

        Uncle H? gave the Vietnamese courage to liberate their country. Nevertheless, he also taught them how to be better citizens (by commencing self-criticize in real life)

  2. Mai says:

    I am a Vietnamese. I am afraid that this paper has unsuitable information. Ho Chi Minh is a great leader. He always cares his population with all of his heart.

  3. Nhung says:

    No massacre by Ho Chi Minh ever recorded. He gained people’s respect and support by his profound influence, in personality, composure, ability and power.

    Biased source.

    • Mikey says:

      Well, SOMEONE was responsibe for all those deaths in the north in the mid 50s, and it WASN’T the French OR the US, so that only leaves uncle Ho and his minions. I’m getting a little more respect for ho over the years, but he definitely had a bad side to him.

      • matt says:

        Actually, the US was somewhat responsible for all of those deaths since they were the ones that went on a search and destroy mission the whole war, when the soldiers didnt even know who they were searching for.

    • Jason Pham says:

      Maybe, you can read more about massacre “land reform” in 50’s


  4. Kenny Truong says:

    I am a Vietnamese. Though I left my country long time ago, the love for Vietnam still flames in my heart. I I love Ho Chi Minh, even though my parents don’t. I think he was a great leader, no matter what how many wives he had or how many mistakes he made. That’s war. People who never experience war will never know how terrible it is. You must make a decision: kill or be killed? Right?
    Ho Chi Minh must have been in the same situation. He did love his people, his nation. But he knew that Vietnam would have never gain independence and people would suffer a lot if he hadn’t obeyed So-viet or China to get support from them?
    “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked in his boots”. If you don’t believe me, you can find a solution in this question. A general long time ago knew without knowing for certain that there were a few people among 100 people had tuberculosis . He had to decide whether to kill these people, or it would spread rapidly. What would you do if you were him?

    • Tai Nguyen says:

      I am a pro Ho Chi Minh person. Uncle Ho is my idle since i came to the United States. Even though i don’t know much about him, i am trying to do as much research as i can so i can know the Uncle of my country. I want to be like Ho Chi Minh- study abroad then come back home and serve the red and yellow star flag of my people.

      • Jason Pham says:

        Before you admire your dictate uncle Ho has killed millions of his own people . You need to spell IDOL correctly.

  5. Jorein Versteege says:

    Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist and a Stalinist. He was never a genuine communist, since he murdered all genuine communists ( See; International Communist League (Vietnam) on wikipedia ) long before the foundation of North Vietnam.

    When North Vietnam was founded in 1954, it became a Stalinist state. There were never democratic elected workers councils, the North Vietnamese state was build on the bourgeoisie western model, with a president, ministers and local parliaments. It was baded on the Marxist ideal of a workers democracy.

    The Stalinist regime of ”Uncle Ho” was not socialist or communist. Many western people were led to believe it was, however it was nationalism not communism that guided Ho Chi Minh. He saw in Stalin’s ”socialism in one nation” the perfect theory for his own nationalist agenda. Marxist internationalism and workers democracy were alien to nationalist leaders like Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, Mao Zedong and the soviet bureaucracy.

    After Ho’s death and the fall of capitalist; South Vietnam, the ”Socialist” Republic of Vietnam remained Stalinist until 1986. In that year the bureaucrats started to reintroduce capitalism. Today Vietnam is capitalist again, the final result of Ho Chi Minh’s bureaucratic betrayal of Marxist Leninist principals.

  6. black reader says:

    I am a black man in America, lived and was a serviceman during the vietnam war. The ideas of Ho Chi Minh was of indepence of his people from a foreign power. Just as the great African leader “Shaka Zulu, he had to take control of his campaign to eliminate foreign powers out of his land he killed people who oppose his ideas. America invaded Vietnam in 1964-65. Now the Vietnanese people has invaded America as a get back. Mihn wrote a published article called La Race Noire (1924) about the treatment of black people in America, like Muhadmed Ali said in 1967 ” I have no fight with those yellow people my fight is right here in America”.(He refuse to go to Vietnam War). His words were noted thourgh out the black youth of America. I must admit the Vietnam War changed America. For the first time in history America was defeated in war. For a black man, Jim Crow ended in the South and the prospect of black people improve a little.



  7. Theresa Nguyen says:

    I’ve also been trying to see if Ho Chi Minh was a good or bad guy. I mean like was he like robin hood? Many sites have been telling some false information but if you really wanna know the truth. Just ask your grandparents or actually read a book full primary sources in the library. No one should be posting things that are negative.

  8. Tam Le says:

    All of communist leaders in the world are dictators. And Ho Chi minh is one of those dictators. Ho Chi Minh did many different vile tricks to deceive Vietnamese People and the world community. Ho Chi Minh murdered many different Vietnamese patriots that are Non-communist Parties like Dai Viet Party, Vietnamese National Party, etc. One of the bad job Ho Chi Minh did was that he used nick name as “Ly’ Thu.y” to show French Colonialist enemies the secret place in HongKong that Patriot Phan Boi Chau taking refuge from French Colonialist enemies. After that, French Colonialist enemies rewarded Ho Chi Minh $10,000 Indo-China(French Currency) in France’s Colonies as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. So, dictator Ho Chi minh used French Colonialist enemies to kill Vietnamese patriot as Uncle Phan Boi Chau. Uncle Phan Boi Chau is really honest Vietnamese patriot. The reason why dictator Ho Chi Minh used French colonialist enemies to kill Uncle Phan Boi Chau is because Uncle Phan Boi Chau fought against French colonialist enemies to liberate Vietnamese people from French colonialist enemies. And because Uncle Phan Boi Chau’s ideal and philosophy are freedom, democracy, human rights, equality, justice, and noble-cause that all of democratic countries in the world have been pursuing until today. So, dictator Ho Chi Minh worried that if French colonialist enemies did not arrest Uncle Phan Boi Chau in HongKong at that time, Uncle Phan Boi Chau will be safe. Moreover, Uncle Phan Boi Chau has moral, conscience, and talent. Then, Uncle Phan Boi Chau will become great leader of the Democratic Vietnam with multiparty-democratic regime like all of other democratic countries in the world. Therefore, dictator communist Ho Chi Minh really did very vile, malicious, rude, and inhumane trick to Uncle Phan Boi Chau. Moreover, dictator Ho Chi Minh’s spies assassinated other Vietnamese people such as: Vietnamese patriot Ly Do^ng A, Uncle Huy`nh Thu’c Kha’ng, Mr. Du*o*ng Ba.ch Mai, Mrs. Nguye^~n Thi. Xua^n(Ho Chi Minh’s illegal wife), etc.
    How are you today? Today, I would like to tell you something that you need to know:
    “There are two different kinds of regimes in the world from the past thru today. Those are democratic regime and dictatorial regime (Also known as Dictatorship or Totalitarianism.)

    1) The Democratic regime is the right regime, right side, right doctrine, right way, right choice, and the road of life for human beings. That is why gradually, time by time, day by day, year by year, more and more countries in the world go toward Democratic regime and become Democratic regimes. That is why the majority of countries in the world become Democratic countries-Democratic regime.

    2) As for dictatorial regime (Also known as Dictatorship or Totalitarianism.), It is the wrong regime, wrong side, wrong doctrine, wrong way, wrong choice, and the road of death for human beings. That is why the minority of countries in the world become Dictatorial countries-Dictatorial regime.

    Democratic regime respects freedom, democracy, and human rights. It respects freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom of requesting a change of government, and many more, etc. We are human beings. So, we must support, protect, and stand for democratic regimes in the world. Because, democratic regime respects our freedoms, democracy, and human rights. Therefore, we can earn for living more easily in democratic countries- democratic regime. So, without freedom, democracy, and human rights, human beings cannot live happily and naturally. And people can only find and have freedom, democracy, and human rights in democratic regimes-democratic countries.

    But in Dictatorial countries-Dictatorial regime, we cannot earn for living easily. Because dictatorial governments always try to limit freedoms of people and oppress, trample on freedom, democracy, and human rights of people. That is why many million people in dictatorial countries-dictatorial regimes are very miserable and unhappy.
    ***Questions for people:
    How many different kinds of dictatorial regime are there in the world from the past thru today?
    ***Answer for this question:
    There are several kinds of dictatorial regime as follows:

    1) The first one is Fascist dictatorial regime(It includes Germany, Italy, and Japan during the Second World War time from 1939 thru 1945)
    2) The second one is Communist dictatorial regime( It includes different countries in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Far East Asia, and some countries in Africa)
    3) The third one is Theocratic dictatorial regime(It includes some countries in Middle East)
    4) The fourth one is Militarist dictatorial regime(It includes Burma also known as Myanmar locates next to Thailand in SouthEast Asia)
    5) The fifth one is Right Wing dictatorial regime(It includes some countries in Latin America continent)
    6) The sixth one is Tribal dictatorial regime(It includes some countries in Africa)

    Capital city of South Vietnam before April 30th, 1975. The Vietnam War happened from 1955 thru 1975 between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam is North Vietnam Communist dictatorial regime-dictatorial country. South Vietnam also known as The Republic of Vietnam is Democratic regime-Democratic country.

    North Vietnam is North Vietnam Communist dictatorial regime-dictatorial country. So many other Communist dictatorial regimes-dictatorial countries helped, supported, supplied, and spread untrue political propagandas for it. They are Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Cuba, Eastern European countries, etc. Because those Communist dictatorial regimes-dictatorial countries are allies of North Vietnam Communist dictatorial regime-dictatorial country.

    As for South Vietnam is Democratic regime-Democratic country, so other democratic countries helped, supported, supplied and protected South Vietnam. They are the U.S.A, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, South Korea, Philippines, etc. Because they are Democratic countries that are Allies of South Vietnam.
    In April 30th, 1975, North Vietnamese communist dictatorial government defeated
    South Vietnam Democratic government. From that date (April 30th, 1975 is miserable and unforgettable day of South Vietnamese) thru today there are more than 3 million Vietnamese civilians tried to escape from Communist Vietnam (Vietnamese Communist dictatorial country). Because Vietnamese people desire freedom, democracy, and human rights that are good values never existed inside Communist Vietnam and all of other communist countries in the world. And people in the world call more than 3 million of those Vietnamese civilians “Vietnamese political Refugees” or “Vietnamese expatriates” or “Vietnamese exiles” or “Vietnamese political asylums”

    Vietnamese Communist dictatorial government has been oppressing all of Religious groups(including rob properties of religious groups, and persecute, imprison, detain, scare, terrorize spiritual leaders and their believers of all religious groups in Vietnam from Vietnam War time thru today)
    Moreover, Vietnamese Communist dictatorial government tried to do many different things to rob properties of Vietnamese civilians like:

    1) Changing new currency of Vietnamese communist dictatorial government.
    2) Controlling properties of Vietnamese people
    3) Right now Vietnamese communist dictatorial government shows itself as traitor to Vietnamese people and Vietnamese ancestors. Because it becomes puppet of Communist China(Chinese Communist dictatorial government). So, It gave sovereignty of Vietnamese People to Chinese Communist dictatorial government. Therefore, from June of 2011, Vietnamese people demonstrated to protest Chinese Communist dictatorial government for that issue. But Vietnamese communist dictatorial government did not permit Vietnamese people demonstrate against Communist China. Furthermore, Vietnamese communist dictatorial government oppressed Vietnamese demonstrators brutally and savagely.
    Vietnamese communist party was built in 1930. From that year thru this year(2011), It caused many crimes to Vietnamese people.
    Population of Vietnam now is 90 million people. But Vietnamese communist officials, cadres, polices, security men, and soldiers are around 4 million people. So, 86 million Vietnamese people are civilians that are victims, slaves, and hostages of Vietnamese communist dictatorial government. Because, Vietnamese communist dictatorial government is continuing to oppress, exploit, terrorize, scare, deceive Vietnamese civilians, and trample on freedom, democracy, human rights, and justice of Vietnamese civilians thru today(Sunday, October 23rd, 2011).

    Therefore, I request the world community one thing that please help, support, protect struggles of Vietnamese People for democratic non-communist Vietnam like Eastern European countries and fifteen states of Former Soviet Union at the time after collapsion of Communism in 1989. That means Vietnamese people will rise up and overthrow Vietnamese communist dictatorial government in future. Then, Vietnamese people will rebuild values, lives, society, foundation, and homeland that Vietnamese ancestors built and defended throughout four thousand years ago. That will be a Democratic Vietnam that is powerful, wealthy, and civilized.

    • Jason Pham says:

      You got my vote!

      • Tam Le says:

        Good, Jason Pham! Don’t forget to struggle for a democratic Vietnam with multi-party democratic regime and freedom, democracy, and human rights for Vietnamese people!

    • XP says:

      Then why do most people supported the North Vietnam during North Vietnam and South Vietnam war?

      And why Ho Chi Minh is well-respected?

      I don’t understand, the stories seem to be conflicting each other.

  9. Le Tri says:

    How Charles can write about a person who he did not know well about his name?

  10. Conor Deegan says:

    Im sorry this is a completely inaccurate source. Right-wing crap

  11. […] freedom.  Upwards of three million made desperate attempts to escape to South Vietnam, but were murdered by Ho Chi Minh’s forces.  The freedom Fonda enjoyed, as a Hollywood starlet and a useful puppet of the North […]

  12. […] freedom.  Upwards of three million made desperate attempts to escape to South Vietnam, but were murdered by Ho Chi Minh’s forces.  The freedom Fonda enjoyed, as a Hollywood starlet and a useful puppet of the North Vietnamese […]

    • ajnayak says:

      Mikey do you know about the My Lai Massacre, it was US troops the murdered people because they were mad at the war

  13. jasmine says:

    why is history improtant

    • Rhiannon says:

      Hi Jasmine.
      History is important for several reasons… History forms a huge component of human knowledge in general alongside cultural and scientific knowledge. This allows us to understand ourselves as a people and a culture.

      Additionally, the past predicts the future by enabling us to learn from past mistakes. You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. For example: If Hitler took into account the history of Napoleon Boneparte and learnt from it, he may not have rushed into Russia and made the same mistakes.

      History is vital to our understanding as it connects to everything, it is interesting and diverse. This enables us as humans to view our actions over time and try to explain why we acted like this. In fact, this is what enables history to teach us on the human condition, and ultimately understand who we are and where we come from, explaining our natural feelings and desires along the way.

      History is connected to “identifying oneself” based on the way we view history. This enables us to assess ourselves, in order to understand the connection history has with ourselves. For example: Some people may not be currently living in the US, had it not been for their ancestors decision to move/stay there. There might be a lot of Irish in the US today, had it not been for the potato famine, or maybe not a lot of Polish immigrants had there been no World War 2 or no communism.

      Furthermore, history is subjective and open to interpretation. This means history is not only written, but re-written. The perspective and interpretation of an individual helps us to better understand values of identity and opinions. The way we look at history helps us to understand ourselves. The history and opinions of historians themselves show up in primary and secondary sources. For this reason I do not like to use the word biased, as most sources have some level of bias in the view they choose to use when writing history.

  14. Nguyen Le says:

    Ho Chi Minh was responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of North Vietnamese when he took over there – just as Mao slaughtered his enemies in China. It was the communist strategy of the hour – slaugher, destroy your enemies, suppress those who oppose you, and
    eeducate the rest so they would not rebel and support the new
    regime. He got away with it in the north, but in the south he couldn’t massacre his enemies as the world was watching… being consumed with the VN -US war. He was a Lenin-Marxist-Maoist; his hands were bloody. This article is misleading and ridiculous. It’s ridiculous to skip over the massacre of his enemies in VN.
    Whoever wrote this is a communist Maoist sympathizer. The communist documents have been declassified. Now the truth about Mao and the communist Chinese Revolution has been horribly revealed.

  15. Senri says:

    Though he inflicted harm to his fellow Vietnamese and to his enemies, the Americans, he still did good things for his fellow men and to his country.

  16. Justice says:

    I respect uncle Ho, in that, he fought for his belief of a united Vietnam, but allowing his troops and officers to torture captives to death (sometimes for no strategic reason) might’ve been pushing the whole “great leader” thing. He was a “strong leader” and because of him, Vietnam is now prospering, but he was cruel

  17. Dat Minh says:

    Although VN has freedom now, but I do not respect what he did for his country. He was a dictator desire to gain his power than as a patriot. Without him, I believe Phan Boi Chau would make VN better. At least, PBC didn’t betray his fellows or patriots.

  18. Cu teo says:


    The Đắk Sơn Massacre was a massacre committed by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War, in the village of Đắk Sơn, Đắk Lắk Province, South Vietnam.

    On December 5, 1967, two battalions of Viet Cong systematically killed 252 civilians in a \vengeance\ attack on the hamlet of Đắk Sơn, home to over 2,000 Montagnards, known for their fierce opposition to the Viet Cong. The Vietcong believed that the hamlet had at one point given aid to refugees fleeing Viet Cong forces.

    Over 600 troops marched into the village, using flamethrowers to destroy the shelters and kill the men, women, and children who lived there. As the Viet Cong fired their weapons, people were incinerated inside their own homes, and some who had managed to escape into foxholes in their homes died of smoke inhalation. The homes that were not destroyed by flamethrowers were destroyed with grenades, and on the way out patches of the main town were set afire. Just before they left the village, the Viet Cong shot 60 of the 160 survivors. Most of the remaining villagers were taken hostage.

    • Ken Joyce says:

      Good point ! And the left wing Western Media ( which may as well be communist themselves ) only talk about Mi Lai. Even to this day idiots like CNN only talk about Mi Lai. Yet the communists committed thousands of Đắk Sơn

  19. Ken Joyce says:

    Please remember that HCM did not do any of this for his country OR the Vietnamese people. That is a lie. He was a communist and learned the tricks of communist deception directly from the SOVIETS. So he was no better than the French or anyone else. After he murdered his way to power, he followed THEIR doctrine, NOT his. He followed the Bolshevik handbook. That goes for every communist nation in the world. He was simply the vehicle that communism used to travel to Vietnam. Like the rest of communist Asia, most of the people in those countries who enforced communism were of Chinese descent. Most indigenous peoples of SE Asia wanted nothing to do with communism. The same goes for the indigenous people of Vietnam. Communism is simply another form of fascism, of totalitarian control and achieved through murder and fear. HCM should be reviled, just like Stalin, Moa and the joker in N Korea – They are no different than the National SOCIALIST Hitler. The Vietnam war was a just war and without left wing intervention within the US and a clear cut mandate to actually prosecute the war, the US and its Allies would have won. Like today too much dithering and indecision at the cost of peoples lives and not enough REAL leadership.

  20. […] months later the United States of America went to war against North Vietnam on August 2nd 1964. From this point onward North Vietnam existed according to […]

  21. […] months later the United States of America went to war against North Vietnam on August 2nd 1964. From this point onward North Vietnam existed according to […]

  22. […] months later the United States of America went to war against North Vietnam on August 2nd1964. From this point onward North Vietnam existed according to […]

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