Our Vietnamese people, after so many years of spoliation and devastation, is just beginning its building-up work. It needs security and freedom, first to achieve internal prosperity and welfare, and later to bring its small contribution to world-reconstruction.
These security and freedom can only be guaranteed by our independence from any colonial power, and our free cooperation with all other powers. It is with this firm conviction that we request of the United Sates as guardians and champions of World Justice to take a decisive step in support of our independence.
Every Vietnamese schoolchild is still taught about the man they call Uncle Ho - the driving force behind Vietnam's struggle against French colonial rule.
His image - ever serene and benevolent - is ubiquitous, even in the south where bitterness festers among those who lost the Vietnam war.
Ho Chi Minh had few doubts that the people of Vietnam wanted a communist government – even the American President at the time, Eisenhower, believed that 80% of the Vietnamese population were behind Ho Chi Minh. Ho did declare, however, that he had authority over the whole state
In the early 1960s, a new war broke out in the South, where communist-led guerrillas mounted an insurgency against the U.S.-supported regime in Saigon. When the United States intervened militarily, Ho directed his forces in a protracted war against the Americans.
In February 1950, Ho Chi Minh met Stalin and Mao in Moscow and concluded that Viet Minh would be supported by Soviet and China. Although support from China enabled Ho Chi Minh to escalate the fight against France, Ho decided to negotiate a truce.
In late 1946, war broke out between the Viet Minh and the French. It lasted for eight bloody years, ending finally with the Viet Minh defeating the French at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954.
But in 1946, as war with the French loomed, he cautioned them, "You can kill 10 of my men for every one I kill of yours, yet even at those odds, you will lose and I will win." The French, convinced of their superiority, ignored his warning and suffered grievously as a result.
In September 1945, Ho Chi Minh announced the creation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. However, France wanted to re-establish control over Vietnam. France refused to recognise Ho’s republic and both sides quickly engaged in fighting in 1946.
After a lifetime successfully spent evading the French security services he was thrown into prison in China when he made a visit there in 1942 with the aim of establishing a working relationship with Chiang Kai-shek. He was to remain in prison for about eighteen months, a period whenhe wrote poetry that many judge to be his finest literary achievement. His release was followed by the temporary triumph of the August 1945 Revolution
Ho, supposing that the President's doctrine of self-determination applied to Asia, donned a cutaway coat and tried to present Wilson with a lengthy list of French abuses in Vietnam. Rebuffed, Ho joined the newly created French Communist Party.
In 1941, Ho returned to Vietnam to lead the Viet Minh (League for the Independence of Vietnam). Within months, Ho recruited radical Vietnamese patriots living in exile in South China into a new revolutionary organization.
Ho adopted the name Nguyen Ai Quoc (Nguyen the Patriot) and attracted attention when he presented a written request to the Versailles Peace Conference demanding independence for Vietnam. Ho became a founding member of the French Communist Party in 1920. From 1920 to 1923, he was an outspoken leader of the Vietnamese community in Paris
Take a moment to study the statue of Ho Chi Minh, the revolutionary leader after whom the city was named in 1975 when the North finally captured the South after decades of fighting.
Ho's actions projected him onto the world scene as the leading Vietnamese nationalist and as an ally of the United States against the Japanese. "I was a Communist," he said then, "but I am no longer one. I am a member of the Vietnamese family, nothing else."
Dismissed from the academy after taking part in protests against the French in 1908, he traveled to southern Vietnam in 1909 and worked briefly as a schoolteacher. Ho signed on as a cook with a French steamship company in 1911. At sea for two years, he visited ports in Europe, Africa, and the United States and began to develop his language skills, eventually learning Chinese, French, Russian, English, and Thai in addition to his native Vietnamese.