Ho Chi Minh Essay

1415 words - 6 pages

Ho Chi Minh once said:"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." as Ho's brilliant commander, General Vo Nguyen Giap, stated in Hanoi in 1990, his principal concern had been victory. When I asked him how long he would have resisted the U.S. onslaught, he thundered, "Twenty years, maybe 100 years -- as long as it took to win, regardless of cost." The human toll was horrendous. An estimated 3 million North and South Vietnamese soldiers and civilians died.During Ho's childhood he was greatly influenced by his surroundings. This would greatly influence the person that he was to become.The area was indirectly ruled by the French through a puppet emperor. Its impoverished peasants, traditional dissidents, opposed France's presence; and Ho's father, a functionary at the imperial court, manifested his sympathy for them by quitting his position and becoming an itinerant teacher. Inheriting his father's rebellious bent, Ho participated in a series of tax revolts, acquiring a reputation as a troublemaker. But he was familiar with the lofty French principles of liberté, égalité, fraternité and yearned to see them in practice in France. In 1911 he sailed for Marseilles as a galley boy aboard a passenger liner.In 1919, Woodrow Wilson arrived in France to sign the treaty ending World War I, and 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. "It was patriotism, not communism, that inspired me," he later explained. What he brought was a spirit of rebellion -- against first the French and later the Americans. As Ho's war escalated in the mid-1960s, it became clear to Lyndon Johnson that Vietnam would imperil his presidency. In 1965, Johnson tried a diplomatic approach. Accustomed to dispensing patronage to recalcitrant Congressmen, he was confident that the tactic would work. "Old Ho can't turn me down," L.B.J. said. But Ho did. Any settlement, he realized, would mean accepting a permanent partition and forfeiting his dream to unify Vietnam under his flag.There was no flexibility in Ho's beliefs, no bending of his will. Even as the war increasingly destroyed the country, he remained committed to Vietnam's independence. And millions of Vietnamese fought and died to attain the same goal. (This became the cornerstone fo Ho's philosophical and political development)For years he dressed as a peasant, wearing a Canadian windcheater and a pair of sandals made from a discarded tire (and you all laughed when I wanted to buy these sandals). His whole appearance was an assurance that he had devoted his life to the service of the people. Throughout his life Ho remained a Vietnamese, a peasant, a "man like one's ancestors," pure, uncorrupted in a corrupting world, a man of the...

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