James Fortune ~Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh 1946Ho Chi Minh was the leader of North Vietnam when America went to war in the early 1960s. He was born in 1890 to a prosperous family. Ho Chi Minh's father Nguyen Sinh Huy was a teacher. Nguyen would not learn French so he was not allowed to teach in French run Vietnam. Nguyen traveled though out Vietnam and write letters for the poor and offer basic medical care. Despite his education Nguyen didn't make much money and was around the very poor in Vietnam.

"Ho Chi Minh 1946" by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ho_Chi_Minh_1946.jpg#/media/File:Ho_Chi_Minh_1946.jpg

Nguyen became a nationalist when he felt the French elite had no right to govern the Vietnamese. He would bring up his children including Ho Chi Minh to share his views. Ho Chi Minh attended a French school so he learned to speak it too. Ho became a teacher and then a sailor and traveled around the Far East. He began to see that other areas were under French colonial rule. There also was much poverty in the French ruled countries.

Ho lived in Paris in 1918. At the Treaty of Versailles he tried to convince Americans that the Indo-Chinese people were repressed, but without success. Ho converted to communism after reading Karl Marx and he soon decided that as a communist he needed to return and it was his duty to return to Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh stayed along the border of Vietnam in China. The French were ousted from Vietnam by the Japanese in World War II. Ho Chi Minh took the opportunity during the struggles of war to gain control of Vietnam from the French. Ho became part of a group that created Vietminh. The Vietminh used guerrilla warfare against the Japanese and during WWII the Vietminh learned a great deal about guerrilla warfare.

WWII over, Ho Chi Minh formed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. France fought the Vietminh and with the help of China's Mao Zedong's Communist Party Ho would finally convince France that it was no longer welcome in Vietnam. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu (1954) was the cause of France pulling out of Vietnam.

In Geneva the decision was made to divide Vietnam at the 17th Parallel, with North Vietnam governed by Ho Chi Minh and South Vietnam by Ngo Dinh Diem. It was believed by even Eisenhower that 80% of the Vietnamese population sided with Ho Chi Minh. It was to be that Vietnam should be united and two separate nations was only temporary.

In1963 Ho ordered the Vietminh be supplied with arms in the north and shipped to South Vietnam via the 'Ho Chi Minh trail. In 1965 Ho sent in North Vietnamese troops to help the Vietminh when the United States started sending in American troops. Hence 1965 could be considered a starting date for War with Vietnam, in a preclude that had just had a small number of advisors before that time. (NOTE: Advisors were actually foot soldiers too, so one could consider a start earlier than 1965.)

Ho Chi Minh died in 1969. Saigon would fall in a devastating blow to the United Staes in 1975. Saigon would from that day on be called Ho Chi Minh City.

Ho Chi Minh Trail

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