Ho Chi Minh during and after WWII

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Ho Chi Minh during and after WWII

Hồ Chí Minh
Photograph of Võ Nguyên Giáp
Born Nguyễn Sinh Cung
9 May 1890
Kim Liên, Nghệ An Province, French Indochina
Died 2 September 1969 (aged 79)
Hanoi, North Vietnam
Nationality Vietnamese
Known for Communist takeover of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

There is no indication that the Viet Minh were a significant force in opposition to the Japanese or in assistance to the Allies, except in their own propaganda. They were, however, very good at using anything at hand to ingratiate themselves with anyone who could be useful to them.

The OSS and Ho

The OSS Deer team began arriving in Vietnam on July 31st, 1945.[1] The Second A-bomb at Nagsaki was exploded on August 8th. That didn't leave much time for the Deer team to train, arm and deploy the Viet Minh Forces. When they arrived, "Mr. Ho was too sick to see us just yet. He was in a village nearby." On the third of August, the team went to the village uninvited and brought their medic, Paul Hoagland, along to "see if he could help." The medic diagnosed Ho as having a multitude of problems, leaving him with "some medicine and from that time on looked after him periodically." The team was entertained with singing and plays including one depicting the rescue of downed American pilots. Some days later Ho appeared in their camp "shaky and weak, but alive. He assured us that he was OK and that from now on he would handle his own medication. He sent his boys after a certain jungle deer which was known to have very potent antlers."

There is a story of Ho Chi Minh's network rescuing an American pilot in February, 1945. Ho answered Gen Claire L. Chennault of the Flying Tigers, when he asked what the general could do for Ho, that he only wanted an autographed picture. The picture was delivered together with a set of pistols and Ho Chi Minh used that picture to indicate to his rivals that he alone had American support.

When the Japanese finally overthrew the Vichy French Government of Indochina in March, 1945, they installed Bao Dai as hereditary emperor, who appointed Tran Trong Kim as Prime Minister, setting up a new government on April 16, 1945. Kim had very little power, but he changed the National name to Viet-Nam implying territorial unification whch had last been applied under Emeror Gi Long in 1801. "Vietnamien" replaced the french term "Annamite." [2]. The Kim government also took steps to alieviate the famine which had killed over a million Tonkinese. He organized relief associations, negotiated with the Japanese to permit the trans-shipment of Rice from the Mekong Delta to Tonkin (since wartime shipping limitations would not allow the Japanese to send the rice to their homeland, These efforts produced results, despite Viet Minh obstructionism, With a good harvest in May and June 1945 and the population lowered by famine deaths, the crisis was nearly over by June 1945.[3]

Ho's attempts to ingratiate himself

Ho Chi Minh asked many Americans to provide copies of the American Declaration of Independence, including Archimedes Patti and Aaron Bank and Phelan from the Deer Team, which Defourneaux observed being translated from English to French to Vietnamese. Ho Chi Minh had a closet full of copies of the American Declaration of Independence, which he cited when he announced his Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

In a letter from the Assistant Chief of the Division of Southeast Asian Affairs Landon to the Secretary of State, received February 27, 1946,[4] Landon states that he received two letters addressed from Ho Chi Min to the President of the US, China, Russia and Britain, which would be transmitted to the Department of State soonest. The Secretary of State made reference to this letter is a Circular telegram dated April 18, 1946[5]

Communist assassinations of Vietnamese nationalists

From the early '30's, when Ho first formed the Indochina Communist Party, the communists methodically eliminated their nationalist rivals. In fact, the pogroms were so vicious that Ho earned a rebuke from his masters, the Soviet Comintern.[6] Some nationalists, like Phan Boi Chau, were too prominent to kill, so they were betrayed to the French.[7][8] The assassinations continued through the decades of the '30's and '40's and well into the early years of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV). Vietnamese Troyskyites, fellow communists, were eliminated, for not being "pure" enough.[9]

Even his best friends did not escape the purges. Ta Thu Thau, a personal friend of Ho, was eliminated.[10] When a reporter asked him about it, he responded, "Anyone who does not follow the line determined by me will be smashed."[11]

This is a "stump" essay which will be revisited when time permits.


  1. Rene J Defourneaux, The Winking Fox, Indiana Creative Arts, 1998, p. 163
  2. Vu Ngu Chieu, The Other Side of the 1945 Vietnamese Revolution, Van Hoa, Houston, 1996,p.35
  3. Ibid, p. 45
  4. Landon. "The Assistant Chief of the Division of Southeast Asian Affairs (Landon) to the Secretary of State". Foreign Relations of the United States. Office of the Historian. Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  5. Byrnes, James. "The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic and Consular Officers". Foreign Relations of the United States. Office of the Historian. Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  6. Duncanson, Dennis J. "Ho Chi Minh in Hong Kong". The China Quarterly. 57 (Jan-Mar 1974): 87. 
  7. TAN, NGUYEN PHUT (1964). A Modern History of Vietnam (1st edition ed.). Saigon: KHAI TRI -- SAIGON. pp. 322–325. Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  8. Halberstam, David (2007). Ho. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 58. ISBN 9780742559929. Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  9. Van, Ngo (2010). In the Crossfire: Adventures of a Vietnamese Revolutionary (First ed.). Oakland, CA: AK Press. ISBN 9781849350136. Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  10. The Human Cost of Communism in Vietnam: A Compendium Prepared for the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 17 February 1972, Folder 10, Box 07, Douglas Pike Collection: Unit 11 – Monographs, The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University. Accessed 6 Apr. 2014. <http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/virtualarchive/items.php?item=2390710003>
  11. Van, Ngo (2010). In the Crossfire: Adventures of a Vietnamese Revolutionary (First ed.). Oakland, CA: AK Press. p. 163. ISBN 9781849350136. Retrieved 26 October 2017. 

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