Quiet American, The - HO CHI MINH

Ho Chi Minh—who once lived in the United States—worked with American representatives before he led his armed forces against the US military. In this 1945 Army photo, we see Minh (standing third-from-left) and his future general Vo Nguyen Giap (standing fifth-from-left, wearing a white suit) with OSS agents. OSS (America's "Office of Strategic Services") was the forerunner of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). The U.S. Army Center of Military History tells us that this photo was taken "at a farewell party for the OSS in 1945."


While French soldiers were mostly out of Vietnam during WWII, a Vietnamese communist leader named Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969) became very popular in his country.

While in Paris during the early 1920s, Ho became a founding member of the French Communist Party. He was greatly influenced by the writings of Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Soon the Vietnamese independence movement was infused with Ho's communist theory.

Since few French soldiers were around to interfere between 1940-1945, Ho built an army of supporters referred to as "Viet Minh." By the time the world war was over, the Viet Minh controlled most of Vietnam. On 2 September 1945, the communists declared that a new state had been formed: The Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

That development did not sit well with the French government. Returning soldiers to its "colony," by November of 1945, French officials were surprised to realize the Viet Minh were fighting back. Even though the United States was supplying France with tanks and other war materials, the guerillas were gaining ground.

But it wasn't just Ho Chi Minh's ability to rally the Vietnamese people that worked against France after World War II. By 1949, China's civil war was over, and Mao, the communist, had defeated Chiang Kai-Shek. China was now in a position to help its neighbor to the south.

And help it did. By 1950, when Chinese aid was making a huge difference for the Vietnamese, France had effectively lost the war.

It took four more years, however, for that reality to sink in.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5156stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 01, 2003

Updated Last Revision: Mar 16, 2018

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"HO CHI MINH" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 01, 2003. Mar 20, 2018.
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