Adia Hong

Intro

"It was patriotism...that inspired me." Ho Chi Minh will always be remembered as a man who was dedicated to the freedom of his country. He was very honorable and patriotic and went to great lengths to accomplish his goal. His many accomplishments include the formation of the Vietnam Revolutionary League, and the Viet Minh (Democratic Republic of Vietnam). Although he never lived long enough to see his country attain freedom, he was deemed the savior of his country.

Personal Background

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Ho Chi Minh, born on May 19, 1890 in Kim Lien Village in the Nghe-An Province in Central Vietnam, was the second youngest of four children. Family members consisted
of his brother, Nguyen Sinh Kiem, sister, Nguyen Thi Thanh, mother, Hoang Thi Loan, and father, Nguyen Sinh Sac, and his youngest brother whose name is unknown (Whitman). His father passed the Confucian civil service exam and held a position as a local government official and his mother was most likely a housewife (Szczepanski). His sister, Thi Thanh, worked in France as a clerk in the French army (Simkin). His brother was a geomancer and traditional herbalist (Whitman). His birth name was not Ho Chi Minh, but Nguyen Sinh Cung . He went by many other names such as Nguyen Ai Quoc and Nguyễn Sinh Côn (Szczepanski). Nguyen Ai Quoc was a common Vietnamese name meaning “Nguyen who loves his country” (Whitman). At the age of 10, after his mother had died after childbirth of his younger brother in 1901, Ho's father officially renamed him Nguyen Tat Thanh bearing the essence of accomplishment. His younger brother sadly died a year later due to constantly being sick (Szczepanski). The name Ho Chi Minh was created in 1945 and it stands for “bringer of the light”. Ho Chi Minh led an extremely taciturn and inscrutable lifestyle. Historical references have suspected that he had at least two wives, one of whom was known as Nguyen Thi Xuan (Karnow and Nguyen).
Adia2Throughout his life his lifestyle was very simple. Ho, as a teen studied at Quoc Hoc School in Hue, Vietnam. He soon after went to Lenin School in Moscow to continue his studies (Whitman). He had a bumpy start in his life after attending school. For quite some time he worked as a chief (Szczepanski). He and his family often traveled and due to that he learned how to speak many languages fluently, including: Vietnamese, French, German, and Chinese. In the year of 1956 Thi Xuan gave birth to their child Nguyen Tat Trung (Nguyen). Ho's wife was assassinated in February 11, 1957 and was found dead with a cracked skull (Nguyen). Ho suffered from diabetes and unfortunately, died twelve years later on September 2, 1969 at the age of 79 in Hanoi due to heart failure. Sadly, he was unable to see the fruits of his hard work and his country rein in freedom. In his will he stated that he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes spread through the hills of Vietnam (Karnow). Unfortunately his will was not followed and the first president of Vietnam’s body was embalmed and put into a tomb. This tomb was placed in a mausoleum where people can come and worship him (Karnow).



Personality Traits

Ho Chi Minh was very patriotic and self determined (Szczepanski). He bravely fought long and hard for his country's freedom. The love for his own country seemed to be the most prominent characteristic that many people associated the nationalist with. His ideal goals for Vietnam were influenced by Karl Marx and Vladimir Ilich Lenin while he himself admired Gandhi (Steele). Although he was well known for being the savior of Vietnam, his true character was hardly known. He was a mysterious man that always kept to himself (Johnson). Those who knew him often stated that he was "intransigent, and incorruptible revolutionary, a la saint just" (Szczepanski). The people who got a glimpse of him would describe him as an amiable man; they respected his value for independence (Whitman and Johnson). He had no personal vanity and dedicated his whole self to his country (Whitman). Though he was a mysterious man, the impression he left on others was unforgettable making him a man worth the tile of "the first president of Vietnam".


Obstacles


Although Ho Chi Minh succeeded in bringing his country towards freedom, he had many obstacles throughout his life. These obstacles include imprisonment, exile, and diseases (Whitman and Karnow and Szczepanski). In 1927 he was exiled from Vietnam (Szczepanski). Possibly due to that, he had difficulties traveling the world and often had to take on different identities (Karnow). His first imprisonment to a british jail was in June 6, 1931 in Hong Kong; he was imprisoned under suspicion of subversive activities (Johnson and Whitman). Later in 1942 he was once again imprisoned, this time he was sent to Kunming by the American aids until September 1943 (Whitman).

Towards the end of his life, he accumulated quite a lot of diseases, these include: tuberculosis, chronic diseases, and diabetes (Karnow). Signs of tuberculosis was first prominent when he went to moscow at a Black Sea Resort Town. These diseases often restricted him from performing his best physically. He struggled to overcome his struggles while still striving towards his goal.


Adia4Historical Significance

When “Uncle Ho” died in 1969, he left behind a struggling country and a legacy embedded deep into the hearts of the Vietnamese people (Karnow). Although he did not leave his country with tranquility, he planted the seeds of his goals, nationalistic ideas, and plans into their heads and enlightened them with ideas of a brighter future. As a result, people continued fighting after his death. They desired to pursue his dreams of establishing a country free from the influence of imperialism (Becker).

As the founding member of the French Revolutionary League, he harbored people who were exiled from Vietnam in the 1920’s (Simkin). His kindness towards the rejected was often remembered while the Vietnamese reminance. Later in the year 1945, he formed the Viet Minh which led him towards his goal of gaining independence and unifying the country. In this party he ensured the defeat of American and French imperialism (Becker). He, “for nearly 40 years had to defeat not one, but two, of the world’s major imperialist powers—France and the United States—and withstand five years of Japanese occupation” (Becker). Through many long and hard battles he taught future generations that freedom is something is fight long and hard for and not just handed over.

On September 2 of 1945 Ho declared independence of Vietnam from France. This lifted the spirit of the Vietnamese who have been greatly affected by the French government (Szczepanski). Soon after Saigon was officially renamed to ho chi minh city in remembrance and honor of this man who unified their previously divided country. Without “Uncle Ho”, Vietnam’s situation would have been similar to that of Korea, separated. As said by Kirkpatrick “Ho Chi Minh was the very real driving force [of Vietnam].” Without him the unified state of vietnam would never have been achieved (Kirkpatrick). Because of Minh’s dedication and motivation, he created a unified country free from imperialistic influence.

Today he is still remembered as the man who stirred a country towards independence. Also, as the man who showed Vietnam the path towards freedom when they were in their darkest days. Ultimately, Ho Chi Minh was extraordinary in his pursuit for Enlightenment ideals.

References

Becker, Richard. “Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnamese Revolution.” pslweb. 1 May 2007. Web. 18 March 2015.
Johnson, Kristen F. Ho Chi Minh: North Vietnamese President. Edina: ABDO, 2012.
Karnow, Stanley. “Ho Chi Minh.” TIME. 13 April 1998. Web. 1 October 2014.
Kirkpatrick, Charles E. "Ho Chi Minh: North Vietnam Leader." historynet. February 1990. Web. 16 March 2015.
Marsh, Viv. "Uncle Ho's Legacy Lies on in Vietnam" BBC. 6 June 2012. Web. 15 March 2015.
Nguyen, Minh Can. "Ho Chi Minh's True Colors." Vietquoc. April 1997. Web. 19 February 2015.
Rogers, Greg. "Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon?" goasia.about. Web. 15 March 2015.
Simkin, John. “Ho Chi Minh.” Spartacus-education. September 1997. Web. 7 December 2014.
Steele, Philip. Ho Chi Minh. Chicago: Heinemann Library, 2003.
Szczepanski, Kallie. “Ho Chi Minh.” asianhostory.about. Web. 2014 September 15.
Whitman, Alden. “Ho Chi Minh was Noted for Success in Blending Nationalism and Communism.” New York Times. 4 September 1969. Web. 12 October 2014.