Ho Chi Minh
Ho proclaimed the republic of Vietnam in Sept., 1945, and later agreed that it would remain an autonomous state within the French Union. Differences with the French, however, soon led (1946) to an open break. Warfare lasted until 1954, culminating in the French defeat at Dienbienphu. After the Geneva Conference (1954), which divided Vietnam at the 17th parallel, Ho became the first president of the independent republic of North Vietnam. The accord also provided for elections to be held in 1956, aimed at reuniting North and South Vietnam; however, South Vietnam, backed by the United States, refused to hold the elections. The reason was generally held to be that Ho's popularity would have led to reunification under Communist rule. In succeeding years, Ho consolidated his government in the North. He organized a guerrilla movement in the South, the National Liberation Front, or Viet Cong, which was technically independent of North Vietnam, to win South Vietnam from the successive U.S.-supported governments there (see Vietnam War).
See biographies by J. Lacouture (1968), D. Halberstam (1971), J. Sainteny (1972), C. Fenn (1974), D. O. Lloyd (1986), and W. J. Duiker (2000).
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