AMERICAN HISTORY - Ho Chi Minh, a life


Nguyen Ai Quac conceded that victory would not be easily achieved, because it would be difficult to change a thousand year old society into a new one. The most important thing was to have a revolutionary party that could mobilize and organize the oppressed masses within the country and maintain contact with its counterparts all over the world. As a boat cannot advance without a good oarsman, he wrote, the revolution could not succeed without a solid party. A handful of rebels, he continued, can achieve little simply by assassinating a few government officials. Such actions lead only to more repression, not liberation. The key to a solid party lay in its doctrine. A party should have an ideology that can be understood and followed by all party members. A party without an ideology is like a man without intelligence, worried vote without a compass.


Clearly, in Ho Chi Minh’s mind, the United States could play a key role in fending off the challenges from other world powers, and he had sought to exact every advantage from the tenuous relationship he had established with the OSS in the spring of 1945.

President Roosevelt endorsed the idea of moving COI to the Joint Chiefs. The President, however, wanted to keep COI’s Foreign Information Service (which conducted radio broadcasting) out of military hands. Thus he split the “black” and “white” propaganda missions, giving FIS the officially attributable side of the business—and half of COI’s permanent staff—and sent it to the new Office of War Information. The remainder of COI then became the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) on 13 June 1942. The change of name to OSS marked the loss of the “white” propaganda mission, but it also fulfilled Donovan’s wish for a title that reflected his sense of the “strategic” importance of intelligence and clandestine operations in modern war.
But Ho must have already sensed that his efforts had borne little fruit. Sometime in mid August, he had written one final letter to Charles van, his friend and associate with AGAS who is now preparing to return to the United States.

The Air Ground Aid Service (AGAS) coordinated a number of different efforts to recover Allied fliers, primarily American, supporting various guerrilla groups who did so on the Allies behalf.
It was good for everyone, he remarked, that the war was finished, but he felt badly that his American friends would be leaving him soon. “And their leaving,” he said, “means that relations between you and us will be more difficult. All

Although in retrospect, his remarks appear prophetic, they were fully in character with his understanding of that nature of the world in the future policies of the United States. As the Pacific war came to an end, he viewed the United States as a crucial but enigmatic factor in his country’s struggle for national independence. As a capitalist country, it represented a potential opponent of the future world revolution. On the other hand, President Roosevelt had emerged during the Pacific war as one of the most powerful and vocals folks man for the liberation of the old west peoples of Asia and Africa from colonial rule, and Ho apparently held out the possibility that Roosevelt’s policies would continue to shape the U.S. attitudes after the close of the war.

Ho’s dual vision of the United States as a beacon for human freedom and a bastion of global capitalism was graphically demonstrated in the resolution issued by party’s central committee at Tan Trao in mid August. On the one hand, hold felt that U.S. dislike of might prove useful to the parties struggle to prevent the return of the French to power in Indochina. On the other hand, it changes rose between the capitalist powers in the USSR, Washington might decide to make concessions to Paris in order to enlist the French and an effort to prevent the spread of communism.




  • AMERICAN HISTORY - Ho Chi Minh, a life

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