Few figures in history are as controversial as Ho Chi Minh. This communist leader of Vietnam was a key player in the country’s struggle for independence from France. He also played a major role in the Vietnam War.
Born in 1890, Ho Chi Minh was raised in a small village in what was then French Indochina. He was a gifted student and received a scholarship to study in Paris, where he became interested in socialism. After returning to Indochina, he joined the Communist Party and began working to overthrow the French colonial government.
In 1941, Ho Chi Minh founded the Viet Minh, a guerrilla army that fought against the Japanese during World War II. After the war, the Viet Minh continued to fight the French, eventually driving them out of the country in 1954.
The following year, North and South Vietnam were divided at the Geneva Conference. Ho Chi Minh became the leader of communist North Vietnam, while South Vietnam was led by the U.S.-backed Ngo Dinh Diem.
The Vietnam War began in 1964, when the United States began sending military advisers to South Vietnam. The U.S. involvement in the war increased over the next few years, and by 1968, more than 500,000 American troops were in Vietnam. The war ended in 1975, when North Vietnamese troops captured the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon.
Ho Chi Minh died in 1969, but his legacy continues to be debated. Was he a national hero who fought for his country’s independence, or a ruthless dictator who was responsible for the deaths of millions?
The best books about Ho Chi Minh are:
1. “Ho Chi Minh: A Portrait” by Pierre Brocheux
2. “Ho Chi Minh: The Missing Years” by Sophie Quinn-Judge
3. “Ho Chi Minh: The Rebel Within” by Lulu Wang
4. “Ho Chi Minh: A Life” by William J. Duiker
5. “Vietnam: Rising Dragon” by Bill Hayton