Rise to Prominence

1. Formation of the Indochinese Communist Party
Indochina -> Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos
Ho Chi Minh believed in two stages of true revolution.
  • 1. Nationalists from all social classes rise up to throw off Imperialist/colonial oppressors and form bourgeois-democratic regime.
  • 2. Socialist revolution under guidance of Communist party that deftly positioned itself at the vanguard of the nationalist struggle.

Industrial unrest in Vietnam in the 1920s convinced many V Commies that the first stage could be effectively leapfrogged àdisagreements, three rival communist factions in Vietnam.

In June, 1928, he travelled to NE Siam and made contact with 20 000 Vietnamese exiles.

In 1929, Ho was sent by Comintern to Hong Kong to unite the three rival factions of the Communist Party. He did.
  • The Vietnamese Communist Party was so formed.
  • Later in October 1930, he renamed it the ‘Indochinese Communist Party’ to better reflect the ideal of international revolution.

In October 1929, Ho was sentenced to death in absentia in a Vinh court for “inciting rebellion.”

In June 1931, Ho was arrested and imprisoned by the British in Hong Kong. Leading communists in Europe and Asia persuaded Left-wing British Govt not to hand him over to the French Secret Police (the Surete).
  • Suffered tuberculosis
  • Many had believed his death in prison.
  • Returned to USSR disguised as a Chinese Merchant.

In 1930, the Nationalist Party planned a general revolt of Vietnamese soldiers in the colonial army.
  • Poorly organised and carried out àonly one section rebelled.
  • French suppressed bloodily and brutally. International attention, esp people in France first becoming aware of anti-colonial struggle in Vietnam.
Results:
  • Natoinalist Party’s importance waned, leaving Communists to become the leading party for national revolution.
  • Ho realised full-scale revolution was a long way off.

2. Experiences in China

In 1924, Ho was posted to Southern China to take advantage of Asian Nationalist sentiments amongst the rebel Vietnamese exiles in Canton.
  • Formed an Indochinese Nationalist Party in February 1925.
  • Under heavy French Surveillance by March.
  • Helped establish the “Association of Revolutionary Youth.” in June 1925.
  • Founded Society of Oppressed Peoples of Asia in July.

In Comintern’s Canton Institute, Ho taught public speaking, morals and communism.
  • Members of Revolutionary Youth: 300 in 1927 à1700 in 1928.
  • Produced and distributed a weekly journal and Ho’s text on Marxism/Leninism. Distributed by sea to Vietnam.

In 1938, Ho returned to China as an advisor to Mao and Chinse communist forces during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Travelled to China in 1942 to unite Viet Minh and China in struggle against Japan.*
Arrested in 1942 by nationalist govt. and jailed for a year before returning to Vietnam with a force of 18 guerillas.
  • Wrote his Prison Diaires – a collection of hundreds of poems reflecting his philosophy and condition .
  • Body not mind that is imprisoned.
  • At one stage - chained to a dead man.
  • Wrote on depression.

3. Development of Viet Minh and propaganda units

  • Viet Minh was a communist national independence coalition formed at Pac Bo on May 19, 1941. The Viet Minh initially formed to seek independence for VietnaM from the French Empire. When the Japanese occupation began, the Viet Minh opposed Japan with support from the United States and the Republic of China.

Adopted the name Ho Chi Minh in 1940.


In 1941, Ho returned to Vietnam for the first time in 30 years.
  • 8th Plenum of the ICP held in caves in the far North of the country.
  • Wanted to achieve his first stage – revolution through the formation of a broad-based nationalist movement.
  • In May, he formed a new organisation – the “Revolutionary League for the Independence of Vietnam” àbecame known as the Vietminh.
§In his speech in June 1941, he called for “Rich people, soldiers, workers, peasants, intellectuals, employees, traders, youth and women who warmly love your country!” to “Unite together!” àBroad Spectrum target.

Set about building and army.
oTask given to Vo Nguyen Giap, a former history teacher.
oSoldiers trained with two specific missions in mind:
§Close with the enemy when the opportunity arose
§Gather intelligence and convert the people of Vietnam to the nationalist cause.
Thus, political and military function.
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4. Resistance to Japanese Occupation

The Vichy Government in France had been overthrown by the Normandy Invasion of June 1944. Japanese in North and South garner support from local Vietnamese. On 9th March, 1945, Japan staged a coup d’etate.

oGiap formed the first brigade in December 1944 and won victory and weapons in a raid against the French two days later.
oIn November 1944, the Vietminh pick up a pilot whom Ho escorts to China.

Ho makes contact with OSS officials in China, particularly Charles Fenn. Establishes:
  • Pilot rescue scheme.
  • Intelligence network.
  • Medical supplies
  • 25 boxes of ammunition, arms and radio equipment.

An Vietnamese Liberation Army of 5000 soldiers was formed.

Vietminh organised strikes, demonstrations and sabotage against Bao Dai’s puppet government after the collapse of French Rule in March 1945.