Born in 1890 in a poor family in the center Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh grew up with traditional studying of Chinese character and Confucian philosophies. He started to have French education since 1905 when he follow his father to Hue, from which he got to know about French great ideas for Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.


In 1908, Ho joined a famer’s demonstration against the French and helped them translate their demands into French. Because of that, Ho was expelled from his school the next day, when he was 17.


He then traveled down to Saigon to seek for the chance to travel to France to find a way to defeat the French. In Saigon; he entered a merchant marine school, where he learned how to become a kitchen helper. This new skill enabled him to get hired by a French ship to leave Vietnam and go abroad in 1911 at the age of 21.


Ho arrived in Marseille, France and wondered around for a about year, he supported himself with some hard jobs like gardening and dish washing.


He then went back out to the sea between 1912 and 1914, traveling to Africa, South America and the United Stated of America. In the US, he’s been to Boston and worked in New York China Town.


At the end of 1914, Ho left US and sailed to England, where he found a job in the kitchen of the famous Carton Hotel, and worked under a legendary French Chef Escoffier. Then he decided to forego his promising career as a baker and moved to Paris to learn how to become a revolutionary.


Ho Chi Minh arrived in Paris to the beginning of 1919, where he was determining to help change French policy toward his country.


One day in the early 1920, a socialist showed him a paper that had been written by Vladimir Lenin, in it, the Soviet leader wrote that one of the key to express communism was the liberation of all colony. From that point, he decided to become a follower of Lenin, as he loves the strategy that Lenin set forward as a mean of liberating the colonial people.


Ho then quickly became one of the founding members of the French Communist party then end of that year, when he was 30 years old.


In 1923, Ho received an invitation to join the 3rd Communist International; an organization set up by the Soviet to export Leninism around the world, so he jumped into the opportunity and disappeared from Paris.



What drew Ho to Moscow first and foremost was nationalism, the desire to find help to liberate his country. From Moscow, he was sent to Guangzhou in the south of China to help organize communist country. He went underground, wondering around under a wide verity of aliases, Ho finally got 197 names.


He made his way to Thailand in 1928, where he learned some Thai, shaved his head, got a saffron robe to travel as a Buddhist monk.


In 1931 Ho was arrested in Hong Kong by British police during a crackdown on political revolutionaries. He then got released in 1933 and made his way back to Moscow, where he spent the next 5 years to study and teach at the Lenin Institute.



1938 Ho returns to China and serves as an adviser to the Red Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War.


When French fell under the German in the early months of World War II, and the Japanese took over the colonial rule of Vietnam. Ho believed that the moment to liberate his nation has arrived, so he planned to come back.


In early days 1941, Ho Chi Minh walked across the China border to enter North Vietnam, it marked the first time he set foot in his country since 1911.


Hiding in the mountains, He formed Viet Minh movement to be the core of Vietnam’s revolution, and he took for the first time his name Ho Chi Minh which means: Bringer of light. From that time, wherever he goes, he introduced himself as an Uncle, a member of the family, and people call him Uncle Ho since then.


Ho Chi Minh traveled to South China in 1941 in the hope of getting some military aids from the nationalist of Chinese. But he got arrested by Chiang Kai-shek for being a communist. Ho was thrown into prison for 14 months, he then walked back to Vietnam when he was released in 1943.


After the US enters the war against Japan, Ho believed that getting American help is important to Vietnam future independence. When an American pilot was shot down to North Vietnam by Japanese, Ho Chi Minh brought him back to the US’s base in China, where the CIA believed that Ho could help rescue down pilots from within Vietnam. Ho was then accompanied back to his base by a CIA, following with radio, weapons and training, this gave credence to his claim that US was his ally.


When Japan surrendered in 1945, there was no one controlling North Vietnam. Ho moved quickly into the gap, and took control over the North.


On Sep 2nd, 1945, he declared Vietnam’s independence from the Japanese and called the French to leave. But a year later, the French returned to fight against him. He was then back onto the jungle fighting a guerilla war against the French; it was known as the First French Indochina War.


By 1954, the French was defeated at Dien Bien Phu. Despite the victory over the French, Vietnam’s independence still depends on the peace conference in Geneva, which temporally divided the country in half at the 17 parallel.



After 1954, Ho concentrated on building a socialist state in the North. In the South of Vietnam, right after the French’s withdraw, the US immediately started an enormous project of nation building. The result was a new nation: Republic of South Vietnam, and Ngo Dinh Diem was chosen to be the president.


In the Geneva conference, Ho was promised to have an end to foreign intervention and nationwide election. But Diem and the US backer did not allow the election to take place in 1956.


Diem resistance turned into a guerilla war all over South Vietnam, they formed a front named National Liberation Front of South Vietnam or NLF in 1960, receiving leadership and supports from the North through the Ho Chi Minh Trails. Diem and the US called them Vietcong or VC and considered them the enemy.


The more the North supported the Vietcong, the more the US intervenes to conquer the spread of communism.


Ho Chi Minh died on Sep 2 1969, at the age of 79, which was almost 6 more years to the final Vietnamese victory. Most Vietnamese countrymen believe that he was the one most responsible for liberation and unification of Vietnam.



Buffalo Joe