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Ho Chi Minh, Vietnamese Independence Leader

Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 9 months ago


Ho Chi Minh circa 1946

CROSS-LINKS: Nationalist Movements and Leaders



Biography from Marxists Internet Archive


Obituary from The New York Times


Printed version of Ho Chi Minh's Obituary from the New York Times






Ho Chi Minh (born Nguyen That Thanh) fought for Vietnamese Independence for much of the 20th century.


  • Born in 1890, Ho Chi Minh saw first-hand the abuses committed by French Colonial rulers. His father, a diplomat for the French Empire, resigned his position in disgust. Ho Chi Minh traveled to France in 1911 and became obsessed with the French idea of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" and sovereignty.


  • By 1919, Ho Chi Minh was also a voracious reader of American President Woodrow Wilson's ideas on self-determination. In a chance meeting with Wilson, Ho Chi Minh attempted to outline French atrocities in Vietnam. Wilson largely ignored Ho Chi Minh, however, and he soon turned to the French Communist Party.


    • In the 1920s and 1930s, Ho Chi Minh traveled throughout Asia as a member of Comintern, an organization created by Lenin to spread Communism and promote revolution. In 1930 he founded the Indo-Chinese Communist Party. With the invasion of the Japanese in 1941, Ho Chi Minh returned to Vietnam and founded the Viet Minh, an independence organization. He also changed his name to Ho Chi Minh, the "Bringer of Light."


  • The Viet Minh achieved independence from Japan in September 1945. Ho Chi Minh read the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence aloud in Hanoi. The Vietnamese Declaration of Independence was heavily influenced by the American Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen from France.
    • Independence would be short lived as France would attempt to recolonize Indochina. France was unsuccessful at recolonizing, however, in large part due to Ho's message of Nationalism. The Viet Minh forces would defeat French troops at Dien Bien Phu in 1954.


  • However, independence would not yet be granted to Vietnam. At the Geneva Conference it was decided that Vietnam would be split for two years; there would be a democratic South and a communist North. After two years, there would be a reunifying election. However, the United States cancelled the 1956 election because the US and the South knew that Ho Chi Minh would win the election.


  • During the Vietnam War with the United States, Ho Chi Minh famously said to his generals: "If we have the people, we have the weapons."
      • Ho believed that winning the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people was just as important as winning battles. Ho's message of Vietnam for the Vietnamese propelled the North to victory.


  • Ho died in 1969 still fighting for Vietnamese independence. It was achieved in 1975, six years after his death.





 Primary Sources


Vietnamese Declaration of Independence


Fully translated interview with Ho Chi Minh in 1964


Messages to America:  The Letters of Ho Chi Minh


An Account of a Nurse for the Vietcong



 Multimedia Sources


              Click here to watch a 3:50 video on the biography of Ho Chi Minh. 


              Click here to watch a 2:30 video depicting the response of a Northern Vietnamese village to meeting Ho Chi Minh.


Image result for ear cartoonClick here for a five-minute listen on Ho Chi Minh's hometown.



Click here for an article on the American War in Vietnam, which offers the perspectives of previously-Northern Vietnamese citizens (some of which fought with Ho Chi Minh).





The Ho Chi Minh Trail



Click here for a TED-Ed video on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. 

Week of September 27 | Vietnam War Commemoration


Ho Chi Minh Trail Before and Now Photos



    • Women guarded 2500 key points on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.



The Infamous and Ingenious Ho Chi Minh Trail, TED-Ed




















Transporting goods on the Ho Chi Minh Trail            

from North Vietnam to South Vietnam               






Ho Chi Minh, circa 1957


Ho Chi MInh, 1957


Image result for apple teacher cartoon Learning Activities


Click here for a lesson plan on the political philosophy oh Ho Chi Minh and US Foreign Policy.


Click here for a New York Times lesson plan on teaching the Vietnam War with primary sources.


Click here for a lesson plan from the University of Wisconsin on the American War in Vietnam and its surrounding controversies.


- By 1965 most former European colonies had become newly created independent nation states; examples include India, Indonesia, and Ghana.


     Click here for a crash course video on nonviolence and peace movements.



The Little-Known Story of Vietnamese Communist Leader Ho Chi Minh's Admiration for the US


 Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnam War


  • Is It More Accurate to Describe Ho Chi Minh as a Nationalist or a Communist?


Which aspect of Ho Chi Minh’s ideologies is NOT true?

A: Minh encouraged political organization in Southern Vietnam, as well as Northern Vietnam

B: Minh used the ideologies of the American Revolution to attempt to gain support from the U.S. in ending French colonial control

C: Minh included the lines “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness in his declaration of independence.

D: Minh allowed for public dissent and varying public criticisms of the Communist party


Answer: D



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