David Lan Pham

Two directions: Three revolutionary paths

Phan Boi Chau (1867- 1940) and Phan Chau Trinh (1872- 1926) were two Vietnamese revolutionaries in the early 20th Century. Phan Boi Chau received cu nhan (BA) in 1900. Phan Chau Trinh received pho bang (MA) like Nguyen Sinh Sac, father of Nguyen Tat Thanh (future Ho Chi Minh), in the 1901’s hoi thi (doctoral contest). Phan Boi Chau was the soul of the Movement to the East (1905). Phan Chau Trinh was the soul of the Modernization Movement. He was the Vietnamese pioneer struggling for democracy and human rights. Both revolutionaries went abroad in the hope of obtaining foreign aid and support for their struggle for Vietnam’s independence. Phan Boi Chau chose the East (Japan). Phan Chu Trinh traveled to the West (France).

In the 1920’s appeared a Nghe An- born young man like Phan Boi Chau. His name was Nguyen Tat Thanh. He adhered to the French Communist Party on the day of its founding in Tours (December 1920) under the pseudonym Nguyen Ai Quac. Nguyen Ai Quac was the collective pen name of the Five Dragon Group (Phan Chau Trinh, Phan Van Truong, Nguyen The Truyens, Nguyen An Ninh, Nguyen Tat Thanh <Ho Chi Minh>) in Paris. It was translated from the French pen name Nguyen Le Patriote. It’s Nguyen Ai Quac, who introduced Marxism- Leninism into Vietnam after the founding of the Viet Nam Thanh Nien Cach Mang Dong Chi Hoi, precursor of the Vietnamese Communist Party.

Phan Boi Chau and Nguyen Ai Quac were from Nghe An. Phan Chau Trinh was a Quang Nam native.

Phan Boi Chau traveled to the East (Japan) in 1905.

Phan Chau Trinh traveled the the West (France) in 1911.

Nguyen Tat Thanh went to France in 1911 a few months after Phan Chau Trinh. He underwent politico- revolutionary trainings in Moscow in 1924 then in 1934. Russia is a Eurasian country. In other words, it’s semi- European and semi- Asian.

Phan Boi Chau and Phan Chau Trinh had their revolutionary activities in Vietnam before going abroad. In 1904 Phan Boi Chau and some Confucian revolutionary scholars in Annam founded Viet Nam Duy Tan Hoi. In 1905 he left Vietnam secretly for Japan. His purpose was to help the Vietnamese youths study in Japan and to get Japanese aid and support. His simple thought was that Japan was a military power in Asia after it defeated the Russian fleet at Tsushima Strait (1905).

Phan Chau Trinh exhorted modernization. He had hair cut, Napoleon III’s mustache, put on leather shoes. He paid interest in Contrat Social by Jean Jacques Rousseau and Esprit de Lois by Montesquieu. These books were translated into Chinese characters by Chinese scholars. Influenced by Phan Chau Trinh’s modernization, residents of Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Thua Thien had their hair cut before involving in the anti- tax demonstrations in 1908. Phan Chau Trinh was sentenced to death on account of these demonstrations. Thanks to the intervention of the League for Human Rights the death penalty was commuted to the banishment to the Poulo Condore Islands. In 1911 Phan Chu Trinh left the Poulo Condore prison for My Tho where he was under house surveillance. He wished to go to France. The French colonial authority allowed him to carry out his dream so that his supporters lost their revolutionary leader.

Nguyen Tat Thanh was son of pho bang Nguyen Sinh Sac, who was Phan Chau Trinh colleague at the Ministry of Rites. Like Phan Boi Chau, Nguyen Sinh Sac was a Nghe An native. Nguyen Sinh Sac thought of officialdom through the triennial contests. Phan Boi Chau renounced such a thought to embark on revolutionary activities to liberate the country from French rule. There was no sign of Sac’ s co-operation with Phan Boi Chau. He neither betrayed Viet Nam nor sold it out to the French. During his service at the Ministry of Rites he respected and admired Phan Chau Trinh. The latter resigned to struggle against colonialism, feudalism and obsolete ideology. Due to poverty that cost his wife’s life, Nguyen Sinh Sac didn’t dare to think of revolutionary path. He thought of officialdom, the only way to save his family. Nguyen Sinh Sac continued his job in Hue after Phan Chau Trinh’s resignation. He was appointed tri huyen of Binh Khe (district chief), Binh Dinh. In 1909 he was removed from his administrative position in Binh Khe district. The reason of the dismissal was unknown. He left Annam for Cochinchina where he spent a wandering life before being saved by a rich landlord and philanthropist named Le (last name), who turned his life stable in Cao Lanh where he died in 1929. The cause of Nguyen Sinh Sac’s dismissal didn’t relate either to the Movement to the East headed by Phan Boi Chau or to the anti- tax demonstration in Quang Nam, Quang Ngai…If he was involved in these historic events he couldn’t travel to Saigon easily.

Nguyen Tat Thanh quit his study at Quoc Hoc, Hue, to go to Phan Thiet then to Saigon in 1910 i.e right after his father was no longer tri huyen of Binh Khe. In Saigon Nguyen Tat Thanh got a job working as a handy man on a French merchant ship, Latouche Treville. He had the opportunity to go to France by sea (1911). Nguyen Tat Thanh as known as Nguyen Van Ba worked on the merchant ship and traveled to France for the socio- economic reason. It isn’t right to say he looked for the path of national liberation. From 1911 to 1917 Nguyen Tat Thanh didn’t know Paris. Nothing was important for him except for the struggle for his daily life. World War I broke out in 1914. In order to avoid his military service under the French flag he lived in London. He was a pastry cook in a restaurant inside a big hotel. In 1917 he received a letter from Phan Chau Trinh, who was just released after spending 02 years in La Sante Prison with Dr. Phan Van Truong. They both were suspected of having contact with Germany. Nguyen Tat Thanh knew Paris and got in touch with some French- educated intellectuals in the Five- Dragon Group for the first time. From then on he paid interest in politics. He had two jobs in Paris: a. He earned his living by doing photographic work. b. He brought political articles signed by Nguyen le Patriote to the Socialist Newspaper. The French Socialists liked them and their solid arguments as well.

Nguyen Tat Thanh was believed to be Nguyen le Patriote (Nguyen Ai Quoc). There was a book by Nguyen Ai Quoc: Le Dragon de Bambou. The French Secret Police thought Phan Chau Trinh was Nguyen Le Patriote. Nguyen Tat Thanh told them that he was Nguyen Le Patriote. Nguyen Tat Thanh became member of the French Communist Party under the pseudonym NGUYEN Ai QUAC. It is certain that Nguyen Ai Quac (future Ho Chi Minh) couldn’t write either books or political articles with his poor knowledge and low level of education. He didn’t know anything about the Russian proletarian revolution led by Lenin in 1917. In the Congress of Tours he didn’t understand why the Socialist delegates discussed stormily on the Second International and the Third International. He asked one delegate: “Which International helps the colonial peoples?” - The Third International. The delegate replied.


Phan Boi Chau, Phan Chau Trinh and Nguyen Tat Thanh (Nguyen Ai Quac- Ho Chi Minh) traveled to the East and the West but three of them showed us three revolutionary paths.

  1. asking for Japanese and Chinese aid (Phan Boi Chau). Failing to get aid and support from Japan Phan Boi Chau left Japan for China. Sun Yatsen founded the Republic of China after the Revolution of the Year of the Pig (1911). His power was unstable due to the intermittent threat from Yuan Shikai. Sun Yatsen couldn’t help Phan Boi Chau, who was continually unsuccessful until his death in 1940 although his capacity, enthusiasm and patriotism was undeniable. He founded Viet Nam Duy Tan Hoi (1904), Viet Nam Quang Phuc Hoi (1912) and Provisional Government in exile (1912). He relied on Japan and China because of their yellow skin and their Asian origin. A monarchist he honored prince Cuong De in the hope of getting support from Japan for the Japanese venerate their mikado. At this point there was a clear difference between Phan Boi Chau and Phan Chau Trinh, who disliked the monarchy. Phan Chau Trinh criticized Cuong De’s kingly behavior in Japan in 1906. In 1922 he criticized king Khai Dinh and prince Vinh Thuy (future king Bao Dai) visiting the International Exposition in Marseille. Phan Boi Chau exhorted violence in the struggle for Vietnam’s independence. Phan Chau Trinh loved non- violence. Violence wasn’t useful while the anti- colonial force was infantile and militarily weak. Phan Chau Trinh disagreed with Phan Boi Chau on foreign aid. Phan Boi Chau changed his political view points many times. In 1904- 1905 he supported the constitutional monarchy of which Cuong De would be king. In 1912, influenced by the Revolution of the Year of the Pig (1911) he kept his eyes on the Republic when founding Viet Nam Quang Phuc Hoi. Young members of Viet Nam Quang Phuc Hoi founded Tam Tam Xa. In 1925, 80% of Tam Tam Xa members adhered to Viet Nam Thanh Nien Cach Mang Dong Chi Hoi founded by Ly Thuy, pseudonym of Nguyen Ai Quac, who was a Comintern agent sent by Moscow to Guangzhou to serve Borodin, Soviet advisor to Sun Yatsen. A few days after the founding of Viet Nam Thanh Nien Cach Mang Dong Chi Hoi, Phan Boi Chau was arrested by the French Secret Police in Shanghai. In Hanoi he was sentenced to death. He wasn’t executed but under surveillance in Hue where he died in 1940. Phan Boi Chau’s revolutionary life ended right after the birth of the precursor of the Vietnam Communist Party. The Vietnamese revolutionaries on Chinese soil assumed Lam Duc Thu (Nguyen Cong Vien) and Ly Thuy (Ho Chi Minh) sold Phan Boi Chau to the French Secret Police to receive $100,000. With this big amount of piasters Lam Duc Thu and Ly Thuy enjoyed their cozy life. Lam Duc Thu was a princely revolutionary. He had a rich wife in Guangzhou. He smoked opium. As for Ly Thuy, he consolidated Viet Nam Thanh Nien Cach Mang Dong Chi Hoi, eliminated Phan Boi Chau from the political stage, turned all the members of Viet Nam Quang Phuc Hoi and TamTam Xa into members of Viet Nam Thanh Nien Cach Mang Dong Chi Hoi then members of the Viet Nam Communist Party. Lam Duc Thu was an agent of the French Secret Police. Ly Thuy was an agent of the Comintern. Arriving in Guangzhou Ly Thuy lived in Lam Duc Thu’s villa. Lam Duc Thu was a member of Viet Nam Quang Phuc Hoi, Tam Tam Xa. He helped Phan Boi Chau, who, of course, trusted him. With Ly Thuy, Le Hong Phong, Le Hong Son, Ho Tung Mau, Lam Duc Thu was co- founder of Viet Nam Thanh Nien Cach Mang Dong Chi Hoi in 1925.
  2. Phan Chau Trinh showed us the 2nd revolutionary path. It consisted of: democracy, educational development, industrial development, economic development, construction of schools, hospitals, roads, bridges etc. When the people’s level of education is high and the national economy is stable the country’s independence gets closer. No real and stable independence without prosperous and stable economy. Asking for aid from Japan or China to expel the French out of Vietnam is compared to the scene in which the tiger is out while the leopard and the lion come into the house! Phan Chau Trinh never thought of violence. He praised Hoang Hoa Tham’s heroism without believing Vietnam will be independent thanks to Hum Thieng Yen The’s military victory (Hum Thieng Yen The: The Yen The Sacred Tiger). Phan Chau Trinh wrote a letter to call Nguyen Tat Thanh to come back to Paris. He taught him to do photographic work to earn his living. Phan Chau Trinh was a Confucian scholar but he had no expectation from China. Seemingly he wasn't fond of Confucianism that tied the loyalty to the king to patriotism. The Nguyen dynasty laws required much blood from the anti- tax protesters in Annam in 1908. Phan Chau Trinh was sentenced to death. He was considered the leader of the anti- tax demonstrations. Dr. Tran Qui Cap had his back cut off with a sword although he didn’t participate in the demonstration. A letter he sent from Nha Trang to his friend in Quang Nam to express his joys when learning of the eruption of anti- tax demonstration in his native province was found. That was the cause of his death. Phan Chau Trinh’s non- violence separated him from Nguyen Tat Thanh (Ho Chi Minh) after the adhesion of the latter to the French Communist Party. Living in Paris, the Light City and French political center, where the revolution of 1789, the revolution of 1848 and the Commune of Paris (1871) broke out, Phan Chau Trinh didn’t pay attention to either the Commune of Paris or the Russian proletarian revolution, knowing that Karl Marx and Lenin had lived in exile in Paris. He had his deaf ears to the Comintern (Third International) founded by Lenin in 1919 but he was interested in the people’s self- determination exhorted by American president Woodrow Wilson and in the International Conference in Versailles (1919). Phan Chau Trinh was always loyal to the Republic, modernization, self- sufficiency, self- survival without dreaming of foreign aid from the third country. Doing so we take off the old yoke to bear the new one. In 1925 Phan Chau Trinh returned to Sai Gon from Paris. He lived in Gia Dinh province instead of returning to Quang Nam, his native province. In 1926 he died. Residents of Sai Gon, Gia Dinh, Thu Dau Mot, Bien Hoa, Tan An…honored him and turned his funeral into the most solemn one in history in spite of the French Secret Police’s watch.
  3. Nguyen Ai Quac (Ho Chi Minh) represented the third revolutionary path consisting of liberating the country to establish the dictatorial proletarian regime a la Sovietique.The newly Communist country should be in the orbit of the Soviet Union. Phan Boi Chau and Phan Chau Trinh were two well known revolutionaries in the early 20th Century. Nguyen Ai Quac (Ho Chi Minh) was an opportunistic revolutionary working for the Comintern i.e for the Soviet Union but not for Vietnam, his native country. He didn’t have any patriotic concept before leaving Sai Gon for France except for some bad memories, some nightmares he underwent in Nghe An and Hue. His family lived in poverty Nghe An. His mother died for lack of food, medicine, and even of clothes. So did his younger brother. For that reason his father, Nguyen Sinh Huy, decided to change his name and those of his sons in the hope of having good luck in the hoi thi (doctoral contest) in 1901 in Hue.
Old Names New Names
Nguyen Sinh Huy (father) Nguyen Sinh Sac
Nguyen Sinh Khiem (Ho’s brother) Nguyen Tat Dat
Nguyen Sinh Cung (Ho Chi Minh) Nguyen Tat Thanh

Nguyen Tat Thanh had his inferiority complex facing members of the royal family, of the courtiers, and of the pro- French mandarins speaking French, knowing quoc ngu, and converting to Catholicism. His political concepts came from Phan Chau Trinh and the Five Dragon Group. Nguyen Ai Quoc became well known thanks to political articles and the Eight- Point Demand brought by Nguyen Tat Thanh to Versailles in 1919. Nguyen Tat Thanh separated himself from Phan Chau Trinh and the Five- Dragon Group to become a Communist in 1920. He had no choice. His life and honor improved visibly. A member of the French Communist Party he was sent to Moscow to attend the Congress of the Peasant International (Krestintern) in 1923. He received political training in the Soviet Union twice (1924 and 1934) to become a Cominternchik having Russian name, denying Family, Homeland, Religion to pay respect to Lenin and to serve Russia loyally. Violating these norms the Comintern agents should be expelled from the party. Usually they should face corporal suppression. In order to consolidate his power Stalin didn’t hesitate to banish Trotsky, to execute Lenin’s comrades, and many foreign Comintern agents from Hungary, Germany, Turkestan, China, Korea. In 1933 Lin, Nguyen Ai Quac’ s pseudonym, was about being executed on account of his Trotskyite tendency according to the accusation of Maurice Thorez, leader of the French Communist Party. Lin (Ho Chi Minh) avoided the death penalty thanks to the protection of Dimitrov, advisor to Stalin and general secretary of the Comintern. From then on Lin (Ho Chi Minh) was very scared of Stalin. He followed the Comintern line rigidly to serve the Soviet Union effectively.

Lenin was extremely smart when founding the Comintern in 1919. Great Britain, France, the United States, the Netherlands, Germany were soon industrialized. They became empires in the world while Russia was plunged into feudal and backward regime headed by the Romanov. Russia was defeated by Japan (1904, 1905) and by Germany in 1915. Apparently Germany danced on the Russian political stage. With the Comintern (Third International) Lenin succeeded in Leninizing or Russifying Marxism. He turned Russia into the center of the International Movement of Workers and Farmers and the Anti- Imperialist Movement. Moscow used a small budget to pay and to train the foreign agents. Returning to their countries those Comintern agents led the anti- colonialist movements, using the slogan of socio- national liberation to attract the masses. Those Comintern agents were taught politics, technique of propaganda, technique of rallying the masses, terrorist technique, intelligence technique, assassination technique, technique of organizing the masses, technique of grabbing power etc. Lenin designed the new technique of conquering colonies not by military strength but by the colonial people’s blood and bones under the leadership of a local Cominterchik trained and paid by Moscow. Lenin’s policy was to steal colonies from Western empires and to turn them into Soviet vassal countries without using weapons. Moscow just trained some Comintern agents and directed them after they grabbed power. The Western empires exploited their colonial resources. They had to build roads, bridges, railroads, harbors, schools, hospitals, and to ensure the colonial peoples’ livelihood. The Soviet empire a la Leniniste exploited its vassal countries only but the latter must show themselves thankful to Marx, Lenin, Stalin.

All of Ho Chi Minh’s activities aimed at serving the Soviet Union but not Viet Nam and its people’s happiness. It is obvious that the Soviet Union couldn’t spend money to hire and to train Ho Chi Minh so that he served Vietnam Lenin and Stalin knew vaguely. The Soviet Union didn’t have enough money and compassion for such vague and useless political acts.

  1.  In 1924 Nguyen Ai Quac came to Moscow from Paris to get training to become a Cominterchik. He melted into tears when learning of Lenin’s death. What a surprise! Nguyen Ai Quac (Ho Chi Minh) didn’t see Lenin once but he sobbed too much. He didn’t hesitate to call Lenin father, teacher, great advisor. He didn’t have a drop of tear when learning of his father and bother’s death! He was indifferent when learning of Phan Boi Chau’s death in 1940. That means he didn’t have any repentance when selling this respectable revolutionary to the French Secret Police.
  2. After the training Nguyen Ai Quac (Ho Chi Minh) went to Guangzhou on the orders of the Comintern in Moscow to serve Borodin. In 1927 the Nationalist- Communist Alliance collapsed in China. The Chinese Communists were fatally repressed by Chiang Kaishek's soldiers. Borodin left Guangzhou by himself. Nguyen Ai Quac (Ly Thuy- Ho Chi Minh) tried to seek for the way to return to Moscow to avoid the Guomindang repression.
  3. In 1931 Nguyen Ai Quac (Ho Chi Minh) was jailed in Hong Kong by the British under the pseudonym Tong Van So. In Vietnam he was sentenced to death in absentia on account of the Soviet Nghe Tinh Movement right after the birth of the Indochinese Communist Party in 1930. The French government in Vietnam asked the British Authority in Hong Kong to extradite Tong Van So (Nguyen Ai Quac- Ho Chi Minh) to Vietnam. In order to avoid Franco- British diplomatic friction, the British Authority in Hong Kong spread the news that Tong Van So (Ho Chi Minh) died of tuberculosis in the Hong Kong prison. In reality Tong Van So (Ho Chi Minh) was released and went to Vladivostok by boat from Shanghai. Ho Chi Minh returned to the Soviet Union for the second time.
  4. In 1938, on Stalin’s orders, Ho Chi Minh (this pseudonym appeared in 1942) disguised himself as a blind beggar to cross the Soviet- Chinese border on the way to the Yenan War Zone. The Chinese Communists help Ho move to the South to attract the Japanese to move to the South instead of attacking Northwestern China and Sino- Soviet border. Stalin prevented Japan from attacking the Soviet Union.

All of the above details show that Ho Chi Minh served the Soviet Union. Before 1941 he worked for the Comintern and the Soviet Union on Chinese soil (1927, 1929, 1938). He didn’t spend a day in the colonial prisons in Viet Nam. But he was prisoned twice in China (Hong Kong in 1931-1933; Liaozhou in 1942-43). Facing danger he returned to Russia but not to his native country in which there were many Communist Party members especially in Tonkin and Annam. Receiving orders from Moscow Ho must return there to report the result of his mission.

Stalin’s treatment to Ho Chi Minh was bitter. In 1933 Ho Chi Minh (pseudonym appearing in 1942) was at risk of purging due to his Trotskyite tendency according to Maurice Thorez’ accusation. As for Stalin, he suspected Ho of working for the British as a spy in exchange for his deportation to the Soviet Union. More bitter Stalin didn’t recognize Ho Chi Minh’s government in 1945. He didn’t support Ho’s anti- French resistance at least from 1946 to 1950. He didn’t help Viet Nam Dan Chu Cong Hoa (Democratic Republic of Vietnam) adhere to the UN in 1948. In Stalin’s eyes, France was a Western capitalist country that had close diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union (Franco- Soviet treaties in 1935, 1944. France supported the adhesion of the Soviet Union to the League of Nations in 1934). However, Ho Chi Minh was always loyal to Stalin and the Soviet Union. The pictures of Lenin and Stalin were seen in his office in the war zone during the anti- French resistance.


Three historic persons traveled to two directions (East and West) and represented three revolutionary paths.

The Movement to the East headed by Phan Boi Chau failed. Neither Japan nor China helped Phan. Japan was in fatigue after defeating Russia. It needed French loan in exchange for the expel of Phan Boi Chau, Cuong De and Vietnamese students from Japan. In China Sun Yatsen’s power wasn’t stable facing general Yuan Shikai’s threat. It was impossible for Sun Yatsen to assist Phan Boi Chau. What would happen if one of these two countries helped Phan expel the French from Vietnam?

Phan Chau Trinh’ s modernization and non- violence wasn't spectacular but it was pragmatic. Frankly speaking it isn’t realistic to ask the pirate to fight another one in our house in search for security and independence. Phan Chau Trinh failed but he showed the path of national liberation that saved the people’s blood and bones and marked something useful to the national development. Realizing the importance of the Modernization Movement the French colonial authority in Vietnam closed Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc School after 09 months of activity and repressed the anti- tax protesters in Annam mercilessly in 1908. Phan Chau Trinh was sentenced to death. He wasn’t executed but Dr. Tran Qui Cap was. Some prestigious Confucian scholars such as Tieu La Nguyen Thanh, Dr. Huynh Thuc Khang were banished to Poulo Condore Islands.

In 1945 the United Nations Organization was born.

The US granted independence to the Philippines.

Great Britain granted independence to India in 1947 then to Burma in 1948.

In 1949 due to the interference of the UN the Netherlands granted independence to Indonesia.

Aung Sang of Burma, and Sukarno of Indonesia were pro- Japanese in WWII.

How about Vietnam?

Viet Minh grabbed power on August 19, 1945. Ho Chi Minh’s government wasn’t recognized by either the UN or any country in the world including the Soviet Union. Because of Ho’s Communist background? of the decision of the Potsdam Conference in which Vietnam was likely divided with the 16th parallel as the partition line? The Chinese troops disarmed the Japanese in the northern half, and British troops accepted the Japanese surrender in the southern half. The Americans kept distance from Ho Chi Minh, who was considered a dogmatic Cominterchik. The Soviet Union gave its cold shoulders to Ho because it didn’t want to displease France, a Western capitalist country that had good diplomatic relations with Moscow (treaties Franco- Soviet in 1935 and 1944. France supported the Soviet Union to become permanent member of the League of Nations). We used this historical period to brighten Phan Chau Trinh’s political perspective. Could Vietnam be independent without the nine- year war led by Ho Chi Minh?- Maybe. American president Franklin Delano Roosevelt was unfavorable to imperialism which was obsolete after WWII. Great Britain granted independence to Malaysia after defeating the Communist guerrillas, who were mostly Chinese Malaysians. Until the early 1960 many Afro- Asian colonies became independent without resorting to armed struggle.

Ho Chi Minh succeeded in grabbing power in 1945, leading the anti- French resistance, defeating the French in 1954, initiating and winning the Vietnam War II in 1975. Compared to Phan Boi Chau and Phan Chau Trinh , Ho Chi Minh was more successful. The ironical thing was that Ho Chi Minh’s success and victory brought immeasurably worse consequences to Vietnam and its people. Why so?

  1.  Ho Chi Minh was corporally Vietnamese but spiritually Russian. Every thing he did aimed at serving Russia which recruited, trained and paid him. The French troops were defeated but Vietnam was divided. It was a monstrous political phenomenon in the world. The Vietnamese suffered grave disadvantages for sacrificing their blood and bones to have their country in partition. The Soviet Union had the northern half in its orbit. The true winner in the anti- French war was the People’s Republic of China. China re-established its political influence in the northern half of Vietnam. It lost it to the French in 70 years (1884- 1954). Truong Chinh, general secretary of Dang Lao Dong Viet Nam, was a fanatic Maoist. His pseudonym was inspired by the Long March (Van Ly Truong Chinh) under Mao’s leadership in 1934. All the members of the Indochinese Communist Party in Tonkin including Communist members from the minority peoples such as Hoang Van Thu, Chu Van Tan were Maoists.
  2. In 1954 the French troops left the territory in the north of the 17th parallel. In this northern half appeared two new bosses, who are 60 times bigger than the French one. Sometimes Ho Chi Minh leaned toward the Soviet Union. Sometimes he showed himself pro- Chinese. The Soviet Union turned him into a Comintern agent. He received orders from Moscow. The People’s Republic of China recognized Ho’s government of resistance before the Soviet Union. In the Franco- Vietnamese war the People’s Republic of China actively helped the Viet Minh with weapons, food, medicine, politico- military advisors. Wounded Viet Minh were hospitalized in Southern China. Beijing brought active aid to the Viet Minh while Stalin abandoned Ho Chi Minh from 1946 to 1950. Ho was very thankful to Mao Zedong. The latter smiled silently. His afterthought was to put Vietnam in the Chinese orbit like what happened in feudal time. Beijing didn’t have abundant money to help Vietnam in its struggle for independence but it used the Vietnamese people’s blood and bones to expel the French empire from Vietnam to facilitate Chinese re-establishment of its political influence China lost to France there in 1884.
  3. Ho Chi Minh, Tran Phu, Truong Chinh, Le Duan and their successors mercilessly killed the intellectuals, rich landlords, local notables in the Soviet Nghe Tinh Movement in 1930, the Autumn Revolution in 1945, land reform a la Maoiste in North Vietnam (1953- 1956) and the Nhan Van Giai Pham Movement (Nhan Van & Giai Pham Mua Xuan . Nhan Van: Humanities; Giai Pham: Beautiful Literary Works of the Spting) (1956- 1958). In 1945 the recipients of the CEPCI (6th grade certificate) were considered intellectuals! Ho Chi Minh and his successors followed instructions from Moscow and Beijing to exterminate valuable human resources necessary to national construction and development. The Soviet Union and China are big and populous countries. They incited Ho Chi Minh, Tran Phu, Truong Chinh…to kill the intellectuals, who, according to Mao Zedong, were less useful than the manure. The consequence of this stupid policy was visible. After seizing power in more than 60 years no Vietnamese Communist engineer couldn't build a safe bridge crossing a spring much less a bridge crossing the Red River or the Mekong River while the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China had brilliant success in the field of sciences and technology to become industrial and military powers! Was listening to Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong to massacre the intellectuals mercilessly lucidity and smartness of Ho Chi Minh and his successors? Was it their smallness and jealousy? Fear of power competition? Was it right they did so to weaken and to impoverish their country and its people to perpetuate their power, and to accomplish their international obligation to be praised by Moscow and Beijing?
  4. The country’s name of North Vietnam was Viet Nam Dan Chu Cong Hoa (Democratic Republic of Vietnam). How was democracy in North Vietnam? How was the slogan stolen from San Min Chu I: Independence, Freedom, Happiness implemented? The country couldn’t be independent with the presence of two bosses: the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. The pictures of Malenkov and Mao Zedong beside that of Ho Chi Minh were seen everywhere. The State of Vietnam wasn’t perfectly independent. Its leaders needed support from France and the United States but there were no pictures of French president Vincent Auriol or of American president Harry Truman seen in Saigon and in other cities of Vietnam under chief of State Bao Dai and president Ngo Dinh Diem. True independence wouldn’t exist with the backward national economy. Citizens were underfed. North Vietnam must import rice from Burma. What kind of freedom did the North Vietnamese enjoy? religious freedom? ideological freedom? political freedom? freedom of moving from one place to another? Happiness? The Communist cadres had right to 14 kilograms of rice, 01 kilogram of meat per month, and to some meters of fabric per year at the especially low price. Farmers growing rice in the kolkhoz ate bad rice mixed with cassava or corn. They cooked soup without either bones or meat but with sodium glutamate C5 H8 NO4 Na. Tonkinese dwellers’ life under French rule was much better than that of the North Vietnamese under the Communist regime. In general the Vietnamese enjoyed relative freedom in the colonial regime. Their material and moral life was much better than that of the North Vietnamese in the Communist regime. Under French rule many Tonkinese and Annamese went down South by train in the hope of having freedom and better life. Nguyen Sinh Sac, Nguyen Tat Thanh were among them. Trinh Dinh Thao, Nguyen Phan Long, Phan Van Truong, Tran Quoc Buu, Truong Dinh Dzu…were from Tonkin or Annam. They moved to Saigon to practice law, and had journalistic, and syndicalistic activities.
  5. Initiating the Vietnam War II Ho Chi Minh, Truong Chinh, Le Duan destroyed human resources, material force, financial capacity of a poor country which underwent 30 years of carnage (1945- 1975). Ho Chi Minh always admired Stalin although he was horrified by this Georgian dictator. He disliked Khrushchev’s revisionism and peaceful co- existence with the West. Khrushchev was Ukrainian. He disliked Stalin, who was responsible for the Holodomor (man- made famine) in Ukraine killing 07 to 10 million Ukrainians in 1932 and 1933). Personally Khrushchev was scolded and threatened by Stalin during the bloody battle of Stalingrad. At that time Khrushchev was general and political commissar. As general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party Khrushchev returned Crimea to the Soviet Republic of Ukraine and began his de- Stalinization. The Sino- Soviet diplomatic relations got sour as Khrushchev was Head of the Kremlin. Ho Chi Minh and Le Duan wished to use the people’s war to unify the country under the Communist regime by liberating South Vietnam. Khrushchev was very cautious for fear of big war when facing the United States. Mao Zedong was proud of his people’s war. He supported the Vietnamese Communists to start the liberation war in South Vietnam. Mao’s ideology took deep root in the Viet Nam Communist Part through two Vietnam Wars. The Vietnamese Communists killed their compatriots with ardor in confronting with the world most powerful war potential both the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China were scared of. Le Duan, general secretary of Dang Lao Dong Viet Nam (Workers’ Party), was proud of fighting the Americans for the Soviet- Chinese benefit with Vietnamese blood and bones, national resources and debts. In 1970 Le Duan went to Moscow to ask the Soviet Union to supply Ha Noi with missiles and modern weapons to shoot down American aircraft in North Vietnamese sky and tanks in the South Vietnamese battlefields. After the fall of South Vietnam Le Duan leaned toward the Soviet Union. He opposed Deng Xiaoping with his new theory regarding ‘the white and black cat’. No matter the cat is black or white unless it can catch the mice. The Khmer- Vietnamese war broke out by the end of 1978. It was the war between two Communist countries. Khmer Rouge were Maoist while Vietnamese Communists were Leninist. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 the Vietnamese Communists had their cold feet. They were submissive to Beijing again. They had to accept many severe conditions imposed by Beijing in order to maintain their power. Apparently Vietnam looks like a rotten house with the big sign Vietnam. Its interior is totally Chinese. The Chinese move to Vietnam more easier than they move inside their own country. Vietnam lost their territory along the Sino- Vietnamese border. They lost their marine and mineral resources, sea and islands. Gradually they will lose their culture and their Vietnamese origin. At this point everyone seems to startle for praising Ho Chi Minh’s clairvoyance and the light of leadership of the Vietnam Communist Party.
  6. After any success and victory of Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnam Communist Party the Vietnamese tried their best to leave the country by sea or by land. In 1954 one million Northerners left their birthplaces to move to the South in search for freedom and raison de vivre. After 1975 03 million Vietnamese from North and South Vietnam became boat people or walking people. Over 500,000 people were buried in the sea bed because of typhoons, Thai pirates. Some died for lake of food and water. Some were arrested and tortured to death by the Vietnamese Communist police. Others found their death in the Cambodian jungles. They died of malaria, hunger and thirst, of brutality from Khmer Rouge, the other Khmer warring factions and the Vietnamese Communist troops on Khmer soil. If true independence, freedom, happiness was implemented in Vietnam, only the mentally ill people risked their life to leave their country by sea or by land. Nowadays even members of the Communist leaders tried to have American green cards or foreign citizenship (France, Australia, Canada etc.). Accumulating dollars, gold, diamonds they can do whatsoever they like. They buy land, castles outside Vietnam. Their children study abroad. They are ready to leave the country to enjoy their cozy life in the foreign countries before something bad happens to them. What was the pre-eminence Uncle Ho brought to Vietnam? Marxism- Leninism? Intermittent wars? extermination of intellectuals, landlords, notables, rich men? Wasting national resources and human resources through bloody carnage? undermining national union? bringing the whole country and its people to the brink of decadence? adoring Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong?

Bao Dai wasn’t a good and devoted king. Nobody praised him while Ho Chi Minh received plenty of praises. Let’s compare Ho Chi Minh to Bao Dai.

  1.  National union surrounded Bao Dai. Ho Chi Minh, Truong Chinh, Le Duan damaged national union: division between the inhabitants in thee regions (Tonkin, Annam, Cochinchina), erasing the names of Sai Gon and Gia Dinh on the map, changing the names of many provinces in Nam Bo; conflict between the Trotskyites and Stalinists, between pro- Chinese Communists and pro- Soviet in the Lao Dong; distinction between the Communist cadres and the masses; distinction between the rich and the needy; distinction between lettres and illiterates etc. No way to have national union in Communist society in which there are 13 categories of citizens.
  2. Bao Dai returned to power thanks to the support from France, Great Britain and the United States. He didn’t call the French president, the British king, and the American president ‘father’, ‘teacher’, or ‘great advisor’ like Ho in 1924 when learning of Lenin’s death. The pictures of Lenin, Stalin, Malenkov, Mao Zedong were seen everywhere in North Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh’s successors erected statues of Lenin and Felix Edmundovich Dzerdovich, director of Cheka (Secret Police), in Ha Noi.
  3. Bao Dai never considered Vietnam a small thing in his pocket like Ho Chi Minh in 1946. Ho signed the modus vivendi with Marius Moutet on the bed of the latter in a hotel on September 13, 1946 night. Bao Dai couldn’t do something informal and undiplomatic like that.
  4. Ho Chi Minh and Bao Dai. Who is more patriotic?- Bao Dai. It’s understood that Bao Dai’s ancestors build 60% of the shape of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh’s patriotism was doubtful. He was trained and paid by Moscow. Internationalism and Nationalism are incompatible. A patriotic leader couldn’t accept the country’s partition easily while winning the war in 1954? It’s absurd that a patriotic leader didn’t dare to name a national hero of his while respecting and adoring Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong. It’s inconceivable for a true patriot to listen to the Stalin and Mao Zedong to sharpen knives to kill the intellectuals and the non- Communist patriots. Didn’t he (Ho) realize they were a precious treasure for the country’s future?- Of course, no.

Under Ho Chi Minh and his successors’ leadership and under the light of the Vietnam Communist Party, Vietnam can’t be compared to any country in the word materially and morally. Besides Vietnam would be at risk of disappearance; its people would be at risk of Chinese assimilation. This tragic historic picture we see today is the disastrous consequence Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnam Communist Party brought to Vietnam.

Chancellor Bismarck (1815- 1898) defeated the Austrian empire, unified Germany (1870), and defeated France to occupy Alsace and Lorraine (1871). He unified 39 incoherent states under Austrian rule to unify Germany under the leadership of the Prussian king. Bismarck turned agricultural Germany into one of three big industrial countries in Europe in less than 20 years.

Garibaldi (1807- 1882) defeated the Austrian empire and unified Italy (1866).

Prime Minister Churchill (1874- 1965) led Great Britain to victory in WWII. Yet, his Party (Tory) was defeated in 1945’s election a few months before German capitulation. Attlee, leader of the Labor Party, headed the government. This historic event didn’t mean the British were unthankful to Winston Church. They never forgot his great contributions to Great Britain but they realized that Churchill served the country in war time. It’s time for another person to serve the country in post bellum time. Each statesman excels in certain politico- historic problems in a certain period of time.

Ben Gurion (1886- 1973) was one of the most active founders of the State of Israel in 1948. After leaving the public services he returned to a kibbutz in the desert to grow vegetables, fruit trees and to raise sheep with the farmers. He died and was buried in this remote area.

Lee Kuan Yew (1923- 2015) turned Singapore Island into a state in 1965. Singapore is 650 km2 (0.2% of Vietnam’s area) but the annual income per capita of this small country is the highest in Asia.

All of the above great persons were modest during their lifetime and after their death as well. None of them considered himself the Country’s Father. Couldn’t the contributions of those important persons to their countries compare to those of Ho Chi Minh? After their death none of them turned his capital into a huge mausoleum like Uncle Ho’s. It’s what our Vietnamese people think about and to brood over to find a way to save ourselves and to save our country. Uncle Ho didn’t see Lenin once but he called him Father, Teacher, Great Advisor while he composed a poem in which he called Hung Dao Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan, the national hero defeating the Mongolian invaders twice by the end of the XIII Century, ‘bac’ (uncle or brother). Uncle Ho didn’t hide his admiration and respect for Lenin while he considered himself almost equal to our national hero, Tran Quoc Tuan.

It’s time to interrogate the past, to clean up all present dirtiness, and to put an end to seeing the huge mausoleum in the center of the capital as a wonder, and people on earth listening to the dead man in the bottom of the mausoleum in the purpose of saving the country’s future and that of the Vietnamese people for the path Uncle Ho walked on has been the tragic one.

David Lan Pham, F.A.B.I.

Cái Đình - 2017