What is Vietnam famous for

Ho Chi Minh

The wandering and apprenticeship years

Born in 1890, the birth name Nguyen Sinh Cung changes countless times. It was not until he was 51 that he called himself Ho Chi Minh, which means "He who brings enlightenment". After years of wandering as a sailor that took him to America, the son of a minor civil servant ended up in Paris in 1917, where he got by with various jobs and in 1920 became a founding member of the French Communist Party. In 1923 he went to Moscow as an envoy for the Communist International (Comintern).

He studied Marxist theory in depth and traveled through China, Western Europe, Thailand and Hong Kong in the following years. In 1930 he founded the "Communist Party of Indochina" in the British Crown Colony, later renamed the "Communist Party of Vietnam (KPV)". In 1930 he was arrested by the French for incitement to riot and sentenced to death in absentia.

A year later, he was arrested by British police in Hong Kong and served a one-year prison term. He then spent four years in exile in Moscow and another three years in China, where he made contact with Mao Zedong, among others.

The return to Vietnam

After 30 years abroad, Ho Chi Minh did not return to Vietnamese soil until 1941. In the north of his homeland he builds the union of various anti-colonialist groups (Vietminh) under the leadership of the Communist Party of Indochina in order to direct the independence struggle against the Japanese and French.

When he was arrested again in China in 1942 on charges of being a Japanese-French spy, he wrote his prison diary, which later became famous, while he was in prison for one year. Then he returns to Vietnam and organizes a guerrilla war. First against the Japanese armed forces, later against the French colonial power, which tried again from 1946 to occupy the country.

The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV)

With the reading of the declaration of independence on September 2, 1945 in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh proclaims the "Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV)". He becomes the first president of the young state himself. But neither the French colonial power nor its large neighbor China recognize the republic.

Ho Chi Minh calls on its people to armed resistance, the Indochina War begins. Only eight years later, after the victorious capture of the French jungle fortress Dien Bien Phu, the war ended.

In the same year, the Geneva Agreement divides Vietnam into two military zones. While the regime of the US-sponsored Ngo Dinh Diem takes power in the south without elections, the gifted diplomat Ho Chi Minh successfully negotiates between the competing great and protective powers China and the Soviet Union in the difficult construction of the DRV. From 1960 the north supported the communist guerrilla organization "Viet Cong" in the south. The goal is the reunification of the country.

The Vietnam War

Fearing a communist "snowball effect", the USA started the Vietnam War in 1964. Ho Chi Minh fights tirelessly against the American military and supports the South Vietnamese underground movement with weapons and supplies. In 1969 he died of heart failure at the age of 79. He no longer experiences the withdrawal of the Americans and the reunification of his homeland.

In the course of the international protest movement against the Vietnam War of the Americans, he almost became a mythical symbol of the resistance. In Germany, too, posters with his likeness are carried in protest marches and the name "Ho Chi Minh" is loudly chanted.

The personality cult

In Vietnam the ascetic patriot has meanwhile become the national hero "Uncle Ho", who is honored everywhere and at every opportunity. On the other hand, he himself was known for his humble lifestyle and integrity throughout his long life. After his death, a mausoleum was built for his body in Hanoi, which is built in the style of the Lenin mausoleum in Moscow. However, this happened against his last will. He would rather be cremated, his ashes should be scattered over North and South Vietnam.

To this day, all Vietnamese banknotes adorn the portrait of Ho Chi Minh. Despite all the personality cult that continues to be made around him, it should not be forgotten that it is estimated that he was responsible for the murder of around one million people.