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Ho Chi Minh’s Influence in the Vietnam War Essay

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Updated: Dec 8th, 2021

Ho Chi Minh (named Nguyễn Tất Thành) was born in 1890 and he served as a prime minister and president of Vietnam. He was the leader of the Vietnam independence movement and established the Democratic Republic of Vietnam which was governed by the communists. To achieve that Chi Minh had to defeat the French Union in 1954. He was the driving force of the Viet Minh independence movement that started in 1941 and he successfully directed the revolution to victory in 1954 but he is most remembered for the Vietnam War.

The war started as in 1957, the Soviet Union proposed a permanent division of Vietnam. It was proposed that the two nations be separately admitted to the United Nations. Unwilling to recognize Communist North Vietnam, the United States did not accept the proposal. President Diem of South Vietnam, visiting the United States, was labeled as the ‘Miracle man’ by then US President Dwight Eisenhower. As a result, due to this confidence, there was tacit approval of the issue and it was backed up by US commitment to render economic and military support to South Vietnam. To counter these moves Ho Chi Minh recruited a considerable number of them in his People’s Liberation Armed Forces.

However, President Diem’s rule was largely opportunistic, concentrating mainly on security. What happened consequently was that badly needed services like health care, schools, and other social benefits were bypassed. Communist guerillas took advantage of this void to woo villages in the countryside. They promised better living standards and land reforms in exchange for peasant support. With gained confidence, Viet Minh soldiers launched operations of alarm in South Vietnam, by a string of shootings and intimidation. By the end of 1957, it is reported that over four hundred South Vietnamese officials were killed in the offensives.

Sworn in as the 35th U.S President in 1961, John F. Kennedy declared America would fully oppose the communist government. Outgoing President, Eisenhower, advised John F. Kennedy to send armed troops into South East Asia in 1961. As a result, a strategy for Vietnam was planned involving civilian planners. Ho Chi Minh meanwhile declared full opposition to the enemy in South Vietnam and swore continuing battle until Vietnam was unified.

Later, they were sent back into South Vietnam. Labeled Vietcong by Diem, these cadres blended into the South Vietnamese population. It was difficult to distinguish genuine villagers from infiltrators. They began a subtle, almost invisible campaign to punch holes in the Diem government. In December 1960, the National Liberation Front was established by Hanoi. This was to be the counterpart of the Communist organization led by Vietcong guerillas in North Vietnam. In 1961, Russia pledged support to national liberation movements throughout the world. This boosted confidence greatly among Communists in North Vietnam and as a result, armed struggles were stepped up by Ho Chi Minh who claimed this would continue until Vietnam was united as one.

Ho Chi Minh remains the most respected figure of the communist world to this day and not without reason. He was the leader who unified and constructed a war machine composed of farmers fighting effectively for independence. He may be portrayed as an opportunistic individual by some historians but it is undeniable that he fought a war with the success that that was unprecedented in human history.

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