Ho Chi Minh:
Puppet or Leader?
United States presidents from Harry Truman to Richard Nixon were wrong to think that Ho Chi Minh and his followers were "puppets" to the Soviet Union or Chinese Communist. Many policies the Presidents made throughout the war proved that they never tried to see Ho Chi Minh as anything else but communist and were convinced that they had to do everything and anything to stop him from gaining any control over the country of Vietnam. The Vietnam War, specifically the United States aid to France, agreements at the Geneva Conference, and the election of 1956, are prime examples of how far American Presidential Administrations went to exclude themselves from their own Constitution to give themselves a blank check and continuous, unnecessary escalation for war. When I look at Communism I view it as a dictatorship, someone more or less trying to control the people of the country they have control over by putting fear in the eyes of the citizens and not allowing them to live a peaceful, independent life. With that said, yes, Ho claimed to be a Communist but I truly feel that his sole goal was to conquer the independence of the country of Vietnam from forces trying to control it and give it back to his people, basically saying that Ho was a nationalist and communism was simply the most effective way to carry out his tasks. He followed the way of what the Trung Sisters wanted Vietnam to be and did everything in his power to give the “What it is to be Vietnamese” outlook to his people. The United States would view his ideology as only communism, arguing that nationalism was just a maneuver. United States involvement in Vietnam occurred within and because of the larger context of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Immediately after World War II, tensions between the United States and USSR escalated. Ho needed the help from the Soviet Union to follow out his goals for Vietnam. He obviously was not their puppet; the Soviet Union helped fund the war for the Vietminh with supplies and ammunition but half the time they made empty promises of what they would do to help. Truman feared that if Ho were to win the war, with his ties to the Soviet Union, he would establish a “puppet” state and the Soviets would ultimately control Vietnamese affairs. (New World Encyclopedia) The Vietminh were not very militarily effective in the beginning of the war and only really harassed the French troops. China gained control over the northern borders which allowed unlimited support in terms of weapons and supplies to the Vietminh which transformed itself into a conventional army between two armies equipped with modern weapons supplied by the United States and the Soviet Union. (29) The idea of communist domination in Southeast Asia was all the United States needed to support France in containing communism. Gaining help from USSR and China was all Ho could do to regain Vietnamese independence. He was looking for the bigger picture and if letters from him would have been answered then the thought process of him and a communist puppet would have never existed, nor would the assumption of the domino theory. It was completely and utterly wrong, immature, foolish, and rude for President Truman to ignore the many letters Ho Chi Minh sent to him in 1945. How as the president of the most powerful country in the world just get handed letters over and over and continuously set them aside and allowed them to go unnoticed. Ho Chi Minh wrote eight letters to President Truman reminding him of the self-determination promises of the Atlantic Charter. He even sent one to the United Nations. (Zinn) Within one of the letters that Ho Chi Minh sent he offered a deep-water port in Cam Ranh Bay to be used as a military port, but still the letters were ignored. For years, Ho had tried to court the United States to support him against the French, including supplying the U.S. with military intelligence about...
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