|Name:||Ho Chi Minh|
|Birth Day:||May 19, 1890|
|Death Date:||Sep 2, 1969 (age 79)|
|Birth Place:||Kim Lien, Vietnam|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Ho Chi Minh died on Sep 2, 1969 (age 79).
He worked as a cook's helper on a ship before sailing to the United States in 1912.
Hồ Chí Minh was born as Nguyễn Sinh Cung in 1890 in the village of Hoàng Trù (the name of the local temple near Làng Sen), his mother's village. Although 1890 is generally accepted as his birth year, at various times he used four other birth years: 1891, 1892, 1894 and 1895. From 1895, he grew up in his father Nguyễn Sinh Sắc (Nguyễn Sinh Huy)'s village of Làng Sen, Kim Liên, Nam Đàn, and Nghệ An Province. He had three siblings: his sister Bạch Liên (Nguyễn Thị Thanh), a clerk in the French Army; his brother Nguyễn Sinh Khiêm (Nguyễn Tất Đạt), a geomancer and traditional herbalist; and another brother (Nguyễn Sinh Nhuận), who died in infancy. As a young child, Cung (Ho) studied with his father before more formal classes with a scholar named Vuong Thuc Do. He quickly mastered Chinese writing, a prerequisite for any serious study of Confucianism, while honing his colloquial Vietnamese writing. In addition to his studies, he was fond of adventure and loved to fly kites and go fishing. Following Confucian tradition, his father gave him a new name at the age of 10: Nguyễn Tất Thành ("Nguyễn the Accomplished").
Previously, it was believed that Thành (Ho) was involved in an anti-slavery (anti-corvée) demonstration of poor peasants in Huế in May 1908, which endangered his student status at Collège Quốc học. However, a document from the Centre des archives d'Outre-mer in France shows that he was admitted to Collège Quốc học on 8 August 1908, which was several months after the anti-corvée demonstration (9–13 April 1908). The exaggeration of revolutionary credentials was common among Vietnamese Communist leaders, as shown in North Vietnamese President Tôn Đức Thắng's falsified participation in the 1919 Black Sea revolt.
Later in life, he claimed the 1908 revolt had been the moment when his revolutionary outlook emerged, but his application to the French Colonial Administrative School in 1911 undermines this version of events, in which he stated that he left school to go abroad. Because his father had been dismissed, he no longer had any hope for a governmental scholarship and went southward, taking a position at Dục Thanh school in Phan Thiết for about six months, then traveled to Saigon.
He worked as a kitchen helper on a French steamer, the Amiral de Latouche-Tréville, using the alias Văn Ba. The steamer departed on 5 June 1911 and arrived in Marseille, France on 5 July 1911. The ship then left for Le Havre and Dunkirk, returning to Marseille in mid-September. There, he applied for the French Colonial Administrative School, but his application was rejected. He instead decided to begin traveling the world by working on ships and visited many countries from 1911 to 1917.
While working as the cook's helper on a ship in 1912, Thành (Ho) traveled to the United States. From 1912 to 1913, he may have lived in New York City (Harlem) and Boston, where he claimed to have worked as a baker at the Parker House Hotel. The only evidence that he was in the United States is a letter to French colonial administrators dated 15 December 1912 and postmarked New York City (he gave as his address Poste Restante in Le Havre and his occupation as a sailor) and a postcard to Phan Chu Trinh in Paris where he mentioned working at the Parker House Hotel. Inquiries to the Parker House management revealed no records of his ever having worked there. Among a series of menial jobs, he claimed to have worked for a wealthy family in Brooklyn between 1917 and 1918 and for General Motors as a line manager. It is believed that while in the United States he made contact with Korean nationalists, an experience that developed his political outlook. Sophie Quinn-Judge states that this is "in the realm of conjecture". He was also influenced by Pan-Africanist and Black nationalist Marcus Garvey during his stay and said he attended meetings of the Universal Negro Improvement Association.
From 1919 to 1923, Thành (Ho) began to show an interest in politics while living in France, being influenced by his friend and Socialist Party of France comrade Marcel Cachin. Thành claimed to have arrived in Paris from London in 1917, but the French police only had documents recording his arrival in June 1919. In Paris he joined the Groupe des Patriotes Annamites (The Group of Vietnamese Patriots) that included Phan Chu Trinh, Phan Văn Trường, Nguyễn Thế Truyền and Nguyễn An Ninh. They had been publishing newspaper articles advocating for Vietnamese independence under the pseudonym Nguyễn Ái Quốc ("Nguyễn the Patriot") prior to Thành's arrival in Paris. The group petitioned for recognition of the civil rights of the Vietnamese people in French Indochina to the Western powers at the Versailles peace talks, but they were ignored. Citing the principle of self-determination outlined prior to the peace accords, they requested the allied powers to end French colonial rule of Vietnam and ensure the formation of an independent government.
In December 1920, Quốc (Ho) became a representative to the Congress of Tours of the Socialist Party of France, voted for the Third International and was a founding member of the French Communist Party. Taking a position in the Colonial Committee of the party, he tried to draw his comrades' attention towards people in French colonies including Indochina, but his efforts were often unsuccessful. While living in Paris, he reportedly had a relationship with a dressmaker named Marie Brière. As discovered in 2018, Quốc also had relations with the members of Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea like Kim Kyu-sik while in Paris.
During this period, he began to write journal articles and short stories as well as running his Vietnamese nationalist group. In May 1922, he wrote an article for a French magazine criticizing the use of English words by French sportswriters. The article implored Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré to outlaw such Franglais as le manager, le round and le knock-out. His articles and speeches caught the attention of Dmitry Manuilsky, who would soon sponsor his trip to the Soviet Union and under whose tutelage he would become a high-ranking member of the Soviet Comintern.
Because he was in exile for nearly 30 years, Hồ could speak fluently as well as read and write professionally in French, English, Russian, Cantonese and Mandarin as well as his mother tongue Vietnamese. In addition, he was reported to speak conversational Esperanto. In the 1920s, he was bureau chief/editor of many newspapers which he established to criticize French Colonial Government of Indochina and serving communism propaganda purposes. Examples are Le Paria (The Pariah) first published in Paris 1922 or Thanh Nien (Youth) first published on 21 June 1925 (21 June was named by The Socialist Republic of Vietnam Government as Vietnam Revolutionary Journalism Day). In many state official visits to Soviet Union and China, he often talked directly to their communist leaders without interpreters especially about top secret information. While being interviewed by Western journalists, he used French. His Vietnamese had a strong accent from his birthplace in the central province of Nghệ An, but could be widely understood throughout the country.
In 1923, Quốc (Ho) left Paris for Moscow carrying a passport with the name Chen Vang, a Chinese merchant, where he was employed by the Comintern, studied at the Communist University of the Toilers of the East and participated in the Fifth Comintern Congress in June 1924 before arriving in Canton (present-day Guangzhou), China in November 1924 using the name Ly Thuy.
Hoàng Văn Chí argued that in June 1925 he betrayed Phan Bội Châu, the famous leader of a rival revolutionary faction and his father's old friend, to French Secret Service agents in Shanghai for 100,000 piastres. A source states that he later claimed he did it because he expected Châu's trial to stir up anti-French sentiment and because he needed the money to establish a communist organization. In Ho Chi Minh: A Life, William Duiker considered this hypothesis, but ultimately rejected it. Other sources claim that Nguyễn Thượng Huyện was responsible for Chau's capture. Chau, sentenced to lifetime house arrest, never denounced Quốc.
In 1925–1926, he organized "Youth Education Classes" and occasionally gave socialist lectures to Vietnamese revolutionary young people living in Canton at the Whampoa Military Academy. These young people would become the seeds of a new revolutionary, pro-communist movement in Vietnam several years later. According to William Duiker, he lived with a Chinese woman, Zeng Xueming (Tăng Tuyết Minh), whom he married on 18 October 1926. When his comrades objected to the match, he told them: "I will get married despite your disapproval because I need a woman to teach me the language and keep house". She was 21 and he was 36. They married in the same place where Zhou Enlai had married earlier and then lived in the residence of a Comintern agent, Mikhail Borodin.
After Chiang Kai-shek's 1927 anti-Communist coup, Quốc (Ho) left Canton again in April 1927 and returned to Moscow, spending part of the summer of 1927 recuperating from tuberculosis in Crimea before returning to Paris once more in November. He then returned to Asia by way of Brussels, Berlin, Switzerland and Italy, where he sailed to Bangkok, Thailand, arriving in July 1928. "Although we have been separated for almost a year, our feelings for each other do not have to be said to be felt", he reassured Minh in an intercepted letter. In this period, he served as a senior agent undertaking Comintern activities in Southeast Asia.
Quốc (Ho) remained in Thailand, staying in the Thai village of Nachok until late 1929, when he moved on to India and then Shanghai. In Hong Kong in early 1930, he chaired a meeting with representatives from two Vietnamese Communist parties to merge them into a unified organization, the Communist Party of Vietnam. In June 1931, he was arrested by British Colonial Authorities in Hong Kong, with a likelihood of being deported back to Vietnam and sentenced to death. However, he was approached by left-wing British solicitor Frank Loseby who defended his case. Eventually, after appeals to the Privy Council in London, Quốc (Ho) was reported as dead in 1932 and it was ruled that, though he would be deported as an undesirable, it would not be to a French destination port. Quốc (Ho) was eventually released and, disguised as a Chinese scholar, boards a ship to Shanghai. He subsequently returned to the Soviet Union and in Moscow studied and taught at the Lenin Institute. In this period he reportedly lost his positions in the Comintern because of a concern that he had betrayed the organization. However, according to Ton That Thien's research, he was a member of the inner circle of the Comintern, a protégé of Dmitry Manuilsky and a member in good standing of the Comintern throughout the Great Purge.
In 1938, Quốc (Ho) returned to China and served as an advisor to the Chinese Communist armed forces. He was also the senior Comintern agent in charge of Asian affairs. He worked extensively in Chungking and traveled to Guiyang, Kunming and Guilin. He was using the name Hồ Quang during this period.
In 1941, Hồ Chí Minh returned to Vietnam to lead the Việt Minh independence movement. The Japanese occupation of Indochina that year, the first step toward invasion of the rest of Southeast Asia, created an opportunity for patriotic Vietnamese. The so-called "men in black" were a 10,000 member guerrilla force that operated with the Việt Minh. He oversaw many successful military actions against the Vichy France and Japanese occupation of Vietnam during World War II, supported closely yet clandestinely by the United States Office of Strategic Services and later against the French bid to reoccupy the country (1946–1954). He was jailed in China by Chiang Kai-shek's local authorities before being rescued by Chinese Communists. Following his release in 1943, he returned to Vietnam. It was during this time that he began regularly using the name Hồ Chí Minh, a Vietnamese name combining a common Vietnamese surname (Hồ, 胡) with a given name meaning "Bright spirit" or "Clear will" (from Sino-Vietnamese 志 明: Chí meaning "will" or "spirit" and Minh meaning "bright"). His new name is a tribute to General Hou Zhiming (侯志明), Chief Commissar of the 4th Military Region of the National Revolutionary Army, who helped releasing him from KMT prison in 1943.
In April 1945, he met with the OSS agent Archimedes Patti and offered to provide intelligence to the allies provided that he could have "a line of communication" with the Allies. The OSS agreed to this and later sent a military team of OSS members to train his men and Hồ Chí Minh himself was treated for malaria and dysentery by an OSS doctor.
Following Emperor Bảo Đại's abdication on 2 September 1945, Hồ Chí Minh read the Declaration of Independence of Vietnam under the name of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. In Saigon, with violence between rival Vietnamese factions and French forces increasing, the British commander, General Sir Douglas Gracey, declared martial law. On 24 September, the Việt Minh leaders responded with a call for a general strike.
In September 1945, a force of 200,000 Republic of China Army troops arrived in Hanoi to accept the surrender of the Japanese occupiers in northern Indochina. Hồ Chí Minh made a compromise with their general, Lu Han, to dissolve the Communist Party and to hold an election which would yield a coalition government. When Chiang forced the French to give the French concessions in Shanghai back to China in exchange for withdrawing from northern Indochina, he had no choice but to sign an agreement with France on 6 March 1946 in which Vietnam would be recognized as an autonomous state in the Indochinese Federation and the French Union. The agreement soon broke down. The purpose of the agreement, for both the French and Vietminh, was for Chiang's army to leave North Vietnam. Fighting broke out in the North soon after the Chinese left.
In 1946, future Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Hồ Chí Minh became acquainted when they stayed at the same hotel in Paris. He offered Ben-Gurion a Jewish home-in-exile in Vietnam. Ben-Gurion declined, telling him: "I am certain we shall be able to establish a Jewish Government in Palestine".
In 1946, when he traveled outside of the country, his subordinates imprisoned 2,500 non-Communist nationalists and forced 6,000 others to flee. Hundreds of political opponents were jailed or exiled in July 1946, notably members of the Nationalist Party of Vietnam and the Dai Viet National Party after a failed attempt to raise a coup against the Viet Minh government. All rival political parties were hereafter banned and local governments were purged to minimize opposition later on. However, it was noted that the Democratic Republic of Vietnam's first Congress had over two-thirds of its members come from non-Việt Minh political factions, some without an election. Nationalist Party of Vietnam leader Nguyễn Hải Thần was named vice president. They also held four out of ten ministerial positions.
The Việt Minh then collaborated with French colonial forces to massacre supporters of the Vietnamese nationalist movements in 1945–1946, and of the Trotskyists. Trotskyism in Vietnam did not rival the Party outside of the major cities, but particularly in the South, in Saigon-Cochinchina, they had been a challenge. From the outset, they had called for armed resistance to a French restoration and for an immediate transfer of industry to workers and land to peasants. The French Socialist leader Daniel Guerin recalls that when in Paris in 1946 he asked Hồ Chí Minh about the fate of the Trotskyist leader Tạ Thu Thâu, Hồ Chí Minh had replied, "with unfeigned emotion," that "Thâu was a great patriot and we mourn him, but then a moment later added in a steady voice ‘All those who do not follow the line which I have laid down will be broken.’"
The Communists eventually suppressed all non-Communist parties, but they failed to secure a peace deal with France. In the final days of 1946, after a year of diplomatic failure and many concessions in agreements, such as the Dalat and Fontainebleau conferences, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam government found that war was inevitable. The bombardment of Haiphong by French forces at Hanoi only strengthened the belief that France had no intention of allowing an autonomous, independent state in Vietnam. The bombardment of Haiphong reportedly killed more than 6000 Vietnamese civilians. French forces marched into Hanoi, now the capital city of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. On 19 December 1946, after the Haiphong incident, Ho Chi Minh declared war against the French Union, marking the beginning of the Indochina War. The Vietnam National Army, mostly armed with machetes and muskets immediately attacked. They assaulted the French positions, smoking them out with straw bundled with chili pepper, destroying armored vehicles with "lunge mines" (a hollow-charge warhead on the end of a pole, detonated by thrusting the charge against the side of a tank; typically a suicide weapon) and Molotov cocktails, holding off attackers by using roadblocks, landmines and gravel. After two months of fighting, the exhausted Việt Minh forces withdrew after systematically destroying any valuable infrastructure. Ho was reported to be captured by a group of French soldiers led by Jean-Étienne Valluy at Việt Bắc in Operation Lea. The person in question turned out to be a Việt Minh advisor who was killed trying to escape.
In February 1950, after the successful removal of the French border blockade, he met with Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong in Moscow after the Soviet Union recognized his government. They all agreed that China would be responsible for backing the Việt Minh. Mao Zedong's emissary to Moscow stated in August that China planned to train 60,000–70,000 Viet Minh in the near future. The road to the outside world was open for Việt Minh forces to receive additional supplies which would allow them to escalate the fight against the French regime throughout Indochina. At the outset of the conflict, Ho reportedly told a French visitor: "You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and I will win". In 1954, the First Indochina War came to an end after the decisive Battle of Dien Bien Phu, where more than 10,000 French soldiers surrendered to the Viet Minh. The subsequent Geneva Accords peace process partitioned North Vietnam at the 17th parallel.
Between 1953 and 1956, the North Vietnamese government instituted various agrarian reforms, including "rent reduction" and "land reform", which were accompanied by significant political repression. During the land reform, testimonies by North Vietnamese witnesses suggested a ratio of one execution for every 160 village residents, which if extrapolated would indicate a nationwide total of nearly 100,000 executions. Because the campaign was mainly concentrated in the Red River Delta area, a lower estimate of 50,000 executions was widely accepted by scholars at the time. However, declassified documents from the Vietnamese and Hungarian archives indicate that the number of executions was much lower than reported at the time, although it was likely greater than 13,500.
The 1954 Geneva Accords concluded between France and the Việt Minh, allowing the latter's forces to regroup in the North whilst anti-Communist groups settled in the South. His Democratic Republic of Vietnam relocated to Hanoi and became the government of North Vietnam, a Communist-led one-party state. Following the Geneva Accords, there was to be a 300-day period in which people could freely move between the two regions of Vietnam, later known as South Vietnam and North Vietnam. During the 300 days, Diệm and CIA adviser Colonel Edward Lansdale staged a campaign to convince people to move to South Vietnam. The campaign was particularly focused on Vietnam's Catholics, who were to provide Diệm's power base in his later years, with the use of the slogan "God has gone south". Between 800,000 and 1,000,000 people migrated to the South, mostly Catholics. At the start of 1955, French Indochina was dissolved, leaving Diệm in temporary control of the South.
All the parties at Geneva called for reunification elections, but they could not agree on the details. Recently appointed Việt Minh acting foreign minister Pham Van Dong proposed elections under the supervision of "local commissions". The United States, with the support of Britain and the Associated States of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, suggested United Nations supervision. This plan was rejected by Soviet representative Vyacheslav Molotov, who argued for a commission composed of an equal number of communist and non-communist members, which could determine "important" issues only by unanimous agreement. The negotiators were unable to agree on a date for the elections for reunification. North Vietnam argued that the elections should be held within six months of the ceasefire while the Western allies sought to have no deadline. Molotov proposed June 1955, then later softened this to any time in 1955 and finally July 1956. The Diem government supported reunification elections, but only with effective international supervision, arguing that genuinely free elections were otherwise impossible in the totalitarian North. By the afternoon of 20 July, the remaining outstanding issues were resolved as the parties agreed that the partition line should be at the 17th parallel and the elections for a reunified government should be held in July 1956, two years after the ceasefire. The Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in Vietnam was only signed by the French and Việt Minh military commands, with no participation or consultation of the State of Vietnam. Based on a proposal by Chinese delegation head Zhou Enlai, an International Control Commission (ICC) chaired by India, with Canada and Poland as members, was placed in charge of supervising the ceasefire. Because issues were to be decided unanimously, Poland's presence in the ICC provided the Communists with effective veto power over supervision of the treaty. The unsigned Final Declaration of the Geneva Conference called for reunification elections, which the majority of delegates expected to be supervised by the ICC. The Việt Minh never accepted ICC authority over such elections, insisting that the ICC's "competence was to be limited to the supervision and control of the implementation of the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities by both parties". Of the nine nations represented, only the United States and the State of Vietnam refused to accept the declaration. Undersecretary of state Walter Bedell Smith delivered a "unilateral declaration" of the United States position, reiterating: "We shall seek to achieve unity through free elections supervised by the United Nations to ensure that they are conducted fairly".
As early as June 1956 the idea of overthrowing the South Vietnamese government was presented at a politburo meeting. In 1959, Hồ Chí Minh began urging the Politburo to send aid to the Việt Cộng in South Vietnam and a "people's war" on the South was approved at a session in January 1959 and this decision was confirmed by the Politburo in March. North Vietnam invaded Laos in July 1959 aided by the Pathet Lao and used 30,000 men to build a network of supply and reinforcement routes running through Laos and Cambodia that became known as the Hồ Chí Minh trail. It allowed the North to send manpower and material to the Việt Cộng with much less exposure to South Vietnamese forces, achieving a considerable advantage. To counter the accusation that North Vietnam was violating the Geneva Accord, the independence of the Việt Cộng was stressed in Communist propaganda. North Vietnam created the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam in December 1960 as a "united front", or political branch of the Viet Cong intended to encourage the participation of non-Communists.
At the end of 1959, conscious that the national election would never be held and that Diem intended to purge opposing forces (mostly ex Việt Minh) from the South Vietnamese society, Hồ Chí Minh informally chose Lê Duẩn to become the next party leader. This was interpreted by Western analysts as a loss of influence for Hồ, who was said to actually have preferred the more moderate Võ Nguyên Giáp for the position. From 1959 onward, the elderly Ho became increasingly worried about the prospect of his death, and that year he wrote down his will. Lê Duẩn was officially named party leader in 1960, leaving Hồ to function in a secondary role as head of state and member of the Politburo. He nevertheless maintained considerable influence in the government. Lê Duẩn, Tố Hữu, Trường Chinh and Phạm Văn Đồng often shared dinner with Hồ, and all of them remained key figures throughout and after the war. In the early 1960s, the North Vietnamese Politburo was divided the "North first" faction who favored focusing on the economic development of North Vietnam, and the "South first" faction, who favored a guerrilla war in South Vietnam to reunite Vietnam in the near future.
Between 1961 and 1963, 40,000 Communist soldiers infiltrated into South Vietnam from the North. In 1963, Hồ purportedly corresponded with South Vietnamese President Diem in hopes of achieving a negotiated peace. During the so-called "Maneli Affair" of 1963, a French diplomatic initiative was launched with the aim of achieving a federation of the two Vietnams, which would be neutral in the Cold War. The four principle diplomats involved in the "Maneli affair" were Ramchundur Goburdhun, the Indian Chief Commissioner of the ICC; Mieczysław Maneli, the Polish Commissioner to the ICC; Roger Lalouette, the French ambassador to South Vietnam; and Giovanni d'Orlandi, the Italian ambassador to South Vietnam. Maneli reported that Ho was very interested in the signs of a split between President Diem and President Kennedy and that his attitude was: "Our real enemies are the Americans. Get rid them, and we can cope with Diem and Nhu afterward".
At a meeting in Hanoi held in French, Ho told Goburdhun that Diem was "in his own way a patriot", noting that Diem had opposed French rule over Vietnam, and ended the meeting saying that the next time Goburdhun met Diem "shake hands with him for me". The North Vietnamese Premier Phạm Văn Đồng, speaking on behalf of Ho, told Maneli he was interested in the peace plan, saying that just as long as the American advisers left South Vietnam "we can come to an agreement with any Vietnamese". On 2 September 1963, Maneli met with Ngô Đình Nhu, the younger brother and right-hand man to Diem to discuss the French peace plan. It remains unclear if the Ngo brothers were serious about the French peace plan or were merely using the possibility of accepting it to blackmail the United States into supporting them at a time when the Buddhist crisis had seriously strained relations between Saigon and Washington. Supporting the latter theory is the fact that Nhu promptly leaked his meeting with Maneli to the American columnist Joseph Alsop, who publicized it in a column entitled "Very Ugly Stuff". The mere possibility that the Ngo brothers might accept the peace plan helped persuade the Kennedy administration to support the coup against them. On 1 November 1963, a coup overthrow Diem, who was killed the next day together with his brother.
Diem had followed a policy of "deconstructing the state" by creating a number of overlapping agencies and departments who were encouraged to feud with one another in order to disorganize the South Vietnamese state to such an extent that he hoped that it would make a coup against him impossible. When Diem was overthrown and killed, without any kind of arbiter between the rival arms of the South Vietnamese state, South Vietnam promptly disintegrated. The American Defense Secretary Robert McNamara reported after visiting South Vietnam in December 1963 that "there is no organized government worthy of the name" in Saigon. At a meeting of the plenum of the Politburo in December 1963, Lê' Duẩn's "South first" faction triumphed with the Politburo passing a resolution calling for North Vietnam to complete the overthrow of the regime in Saigon as soon as possible while the members of the "North first" faction were dismissed. As South Vietnam descended into chaos, whatever interest Ho might had in the French peace plan ended as it become clear it was possible for the Viet Cong to overthrow the government in Saigon. A CIA report from 1964 stated the factionalism in South Vietnam had reached "almost the point of anarchy" as various South Vietnamese leaders fought one another, making any sort of effort against the Viet Cong impossible, which was rapidly taking over much of the South Vietnamese countryside.
As South Vietnam collapsed into factionalism and in-fighting while the Viet Cong continued to win the war, it became increasingly apparent to President Lyndon Johnson that only American military intervention could save South Vietnam. Though Johnson did not wish to commit American forces until he had won the 1964 election, he decided to make his intentions clear to Hanoi. In June 1964, the "Seaborn Mission" began as J. Blair Seaborn, the Canadian commissioner to the ICC, arrived in Hanoi with a message from Johnson offering billions of American economic aid and diplomatic recognition in exchange for which North Vietnam would cease trying to overthrow the government of South Vietnam. Seaborn also warned that North Vietnam would suffer the "greatest devastation" from American bombing, saying that Johnson was seriously considering a strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam. Little came of the back channel of the "Seaborn Mission" as the North Vietnamese distrusted Seaborn, who pointedly was never allowed to meet Ho.
In late 1964, People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) combat troops were sent southwest into officially neutral Laos and Cambodia. By March 1965, American combat troops began arriving in South Vietnam, first to protect the airbases around Chu Lai and Da Nang, later to take on most of the fight as "[m]ore and more American troops were put in to replace Saigon troops who could not, or would not, get involved in the fighting". As fighting escalated, widespread aerial and artillery bombardment all over North Vietnam by the United States Air Force and Navy began with Operation Rolling Thunder. On 8-9 April 1965, Ho made a secret visit to Beijing to meet Mao Zedong. It was agreed that no Chinese combat troops would enter North Vietnam unless the United States invaded North Vietnam, but that China would send support troops to North Vietnam to help maintain the infrastructure damaged by American bombing. There was a deep distrust and fear of China within the North Vietnamese Politburo, and the suggestion that Chinese troops, even support troops, be allowed into North Vietnam, caused outrage in the Politburo. Ho had to use all his moral authority to obtain the Politburo's approval.
In March 1966, a Canadian diplomat, Chester Ronning, arrived in Hanoi with an offer to use his "good offices" to begin peace talks. However, the Ronning mission foundered upon the bombing issue, as the North Vietnamese demanded an unconditional halt to the bombing, an undertaking that Johnson refused to give. In June 1966, Janusz Lewandowski, the Polish Commissioner to the ICC, was able via d'Orlandi to see Henry Cabot Lodge Jr, the American ambassador to South Vietnam, with an offer from Ho. Ho's offer for a "political compromise" as transmitted by Lewandowski included allowing South Vietnam to maintain its alliance with the U.S, instead of becoming neutral; having the Viet Cong "take part" in negotiations for a coalition government, instead being allowed to automatically enter a coalition government; and allowing a "reasonable calendar" for the withdrawal of American troops instead of an immediate withdrawal. Operation Marigold as the Lewandowski channel came to be code-named almost led to American-North Vietnamese talks in Warsaw in December 1966, but collapsed over the bombing issue.
In January 1967, General Nguyễn Chí Thanh, the commander of the forces in South Vietnam, returned to Hanoi, to present a plan that became the genesis of the Tet Offensive a year later. Thanh expressed much concern about the Americans invading Laos to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and to preempt this possibility, urged an all-out offensive to win the war with a sudden blow. Lê' Duẩn supported Thanh's plans, which were stoutly opposed by the Defense Minister, General Võ Nguyên Giáp, who preferred to continue with a guerrilla war, arguing that the superior American firepower would ensure the failure of Thanh's proposed offensive. With the Politburo divided, it was agreed to study and debate the issue more.
In July 1967, Hồ Chí Minh and most of the Politburo of the Communist Party met in a high-profile conference where they concluded the war had fallen into a stalemate. The American military presence forced the PAVN to expend the majority of their resources on maintaining the Hồ Chí Minh trail rather than reinforcing their comrade's ranks in the South. Ho seems to have agreed to Thanh's offensive because he wanted to see Vietnam reunified within his lifetime, and the increasingly ailing Ho was painfully aware that he did not have much time left. With Ho's permission, the Việt Cộng planned a massive Tet Offensive that would commence on 31 January 1968, with the aim of taking much of the South by force and dealing a heavy blow to the American military. The offensive was executed at great cost and with heavy casualties on Việt Cộng's political branches and armed forces. The scope of the action shocked the world, which until then had been assured that the Communists were "on the ropes". The optimistic spin that the American military command had sustained for years was no longer credible. The bombing of North Vietnam and the Hồ Chí Minh trail was halted, and American and Vietnamese negotiators held discussions on how the war might be ended. From then on, Hồ Chí Minh and his government's strategy, based on the idea of avoiding conventional warfare and facing the might of the United States Army, which would wear them down eventually while merely prolonging the conflict, would lead to eventual acceptance of Hanoi's terms materialized.
In early 1969, Ho suffered a heart attack and was in increasingly bad health for the rest of the year. In July 1969, Jean Sainteny, a former French official in Vietnam who knew Ho secretly transmitted a letter to him from President Richard Nixon. Nixon's letter proposed working together to end this "tragic war", but also warned that if North Vietnam made no concessions at the peace talks in Paris by 1 November, Nixon would resort to "measures of great consequence and force". Ho's reply, which Nixon received on 30 August 1969 made no concessions, as Nixon's threats apparently made no impression on him.
During the Fall of Saigon in April 1975, several PAVN tanks displayed a poster with those same words on it. The day after the battle ended, on 1 May, veteran Australian journalist Denis Warner reported that "When the North Vietnamese marched into Saigon yesterday, they were led by a man who wasn't there".
Historian Professor Liam Kelley of the University of Hawaii at Manoa on his Le Minh Khai's SEAsian History Blog challenged the authenticity of the alleged quote where Hồ Chí Minh said he "would rather smell French shit for five years than eat Chinese shit for a thousand," noting that Stanley Karnow provided no source for the extended quote attributed to him in his 1983 Vietnam: A History and that the original quote was most likely forged by the Frenchman Paul Mus in his 1952 book Vietnam: Sociologie d'une Guerre. Mus was a supporter of French colonialism in Vietnam and Hồ Chí Minh believed there was no danger of Chinese troops staying in Vietnam (although this was the time when China invaded Tibet). The Vietnamese at the time were busy spreading anti-French propaganda as evidence of French atrocities in Vietnam emerged while Hồ Chí Minh showed no qualms about accepting Chinese aid after 1949.
In 1987, UNESCO officially recommended that its member states "join in the commemoration of the centenary of the birth of President Hồ Chí Minh by organizing various events as a tribute to his memory", considering "the important and many-sided contributions of President Hồ Chí Minh to the fields of culture, education and the arts" who "devoted his whole life to the national liberation of the Vietnamese people, contributing to the common struggle of peoples for peace, national independence, democracy and social progress".
Hồ Chí Minh is considered one of the most influential leaders in the world. Time magazine listed him in the list of 100 Most Important People of the Twentieth Century (Time 100) in 1998. His thought and revolution inspired many leaders and people on a global scale in Asia, Africa and Latin America during the decolonization movement which occurred after World War II. As a communist, he was one of the international figures who were highly praised in the Communist world.
A completely different form of the cult of Hồ Chí Minh (and one tolerated by the government with some uneasiness) is his identification in Vietnamese folk religion with the Jade Emperor, who supposedly incarnated again on earth as Hồ Chí Minh. Today Hồ Chí Minh as the Jade Emperor is supposed to speak from the spirit world through Spiritualist mediums. The first such medium was one Madam Lang in the 1990s, but the cult acquired a significant number of followers through another medium, Madam Xoan. She established on 1 January 2001 Đạo Ngọc Phật Hồ Chí Minh (the Way of Hồ Chí Minh as the Jade Buddha) also known as Đạo Bác Hồ (the Way of Uncle Hồ) at đền Hòa Bình (the Peace Temple) in Chí Linh-Sao Đỏ district of Hải Dương province. She then founded the Peace Society of Heavenly Mediums (Đoàn đồng thiên Hòa Bình). Reportedly, by 2014 the movement had around 24,000 followers.
Ho Chi Minh was married to Zeng Xueming from 1926 until 1969. Ho Chi Minh's father was an official at the imperial court and inspired his revolutionary involvement.
Currently, Ho Chi Minh is 132 years, 10 months and 5 days old. Ho Chi Minh will celebrate 133rd birthday on a Friday 19th of May 2023. Below we countdown to Ho Chi Minh upcoming birthday.
President Ho Chi Minh’s 129th birthday celebrated nationwide
(VOVWORLD) -The Sen village festival 2019 closed in Kim Lien commune, Nam Dan district, in the central province of Nghe An on Sunday night as part of a range of activities to mark the 129th birthday of President Ho Chi Minh.