Ho Chí Minh

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Ho-Chi-Minh in 1921
Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty.
Remember that the storm is a good opportunity for the pine and the cypress to show their strength and their stability.
The capitalists often boast that their constitutions guarantee the rights of the individual, democratic liberties and the interests of all citizens. But in reality, only the bourgeoisie enjoy the rights recorded in these constitutions. The working people do not really enjoy democratic freedoms; they are exploited all their life and have to bear heavy burdens in the service of the exploiting class.

Hồ Chí Minh (May 19, 1890September 2, 1969) was a Vietnamese revolutionary and politician who served as Prime Minister of North Vietnam from 1945 to 1955 and President from 1945 until his death in 1969. Ideologically a Marxist–Leninist, he served as Chairman and First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Vietnam.



  • The hour has struck! Raise aloft the banner of insurrection and lead the people throughout the country to overthrow the Japanese and the French! The sacred call of the fatherland is resounding in our ears; the ardent blood of our heroic predecessors is seething in our hearts! The fighting spirit of the people is mounting before our eyes! Let us unite and unify our action to overthrow the Japanese and the French.
    • "Letter from Abroad" (June 6, 1941)
  • A people who have courageously opposed French domination for more than eighty years, a people who have fought side by side with the Allies against the Fascists during these last years, such a people must be free and independent.
    For these reasons, we, members of the Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, solemnly declare to the world that Vietnam has the right to be a free and independent country and in fact it already has been so. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their independence and liberty.
    • Vietnamese Proclamation of Independence (2 September 1945)


  • In practice, the enemy has been making much more propaganda for us than we have ourselves.
    • Instructions Given at the Conference (Fall 1950)
  • In a war, to win a victory or suffer a defeat are common things. The essential is that we must win final victory. We must help all officers and men and the people to bear that firmly in mind so that they will not be self-complacent when winning and disappointed when losing, but instead will always make utmost efforts to overcome difficulties and hardships and advance towards final victory.
    • Instructions Given at the Conference (Fall 1950)
  • To have a good crop we must weed the field, otherwise the rice will grow badly in spite of careful ploughing and abundant manuring. To be successful in increasing production and practicing thrift, we must also weed the field, that is root out embezzlement, waste and bureaucracy. Otherwise they will harm our work.
    • "To Practice Thrift and Oppose Embezzlement (1952)
  • We want to build a new society, a free society where all men are equal, a society where industry, thrift, integrity and uprightness prevail hence we must wipe out all bad habits of the old society.
    • "To Practice Thrift and Oppose Embezzlement (1952)
  • The duty of the cadres is to love and take care of every fighter and to value and save every cent, every bowl of rice, every work hour of their compatriots. Our fighters and compatriots have the right to demand that the cadres fulfill this task, and to criticize those who do not.
    • "To Practice Thrift and Oppose Embezzlement (1952)
  • Democracy means to rely on the masses, correctly follow the mass line. Hence to be successful, the movement against embezzlement, waste and bureaucracy must rely on the masses.
    • "To Practice Thrift and Oppose Embezzlement (1952)
  • Obviously, Lenin meant that the stage of fierce civil war and the restriction of democracy imposed on the Soviet people were only provisional and had to be abolished as soon as the new regime was consolidated.
    • "Development of Ideological Unity Among Marxist Leninist Parties" (August 3, 1956)
  • The CPSU again demonstrates that the most important aspect of self-criticism is to practically and effectively correct one's errors.
    • "Development of Ideological Unity Among Marxist Leninist Parties" (August 3, 1956)
  • Only in a socialist system are the interests of the individual, the state and the collective at one. That is why only a socialist constitution can encourage the citizens to fulfill enthusiastically their duties to the society and the fatherland.
    • "Report on the Draft Amended Constitution", (December 18, 1959)
  • The capitalists often boast that their constitutions guarantee the rights of the individual, democratic liberties and the interests of all citizens. But in reality, only the bourgeoisie enjoy the rights recorded in these constitutions. The working people do not really enjoy democratic freedoms; they are exploited all their life and have to bear heavy burdens in the service of the exploiting class.
    • "Report on the Draft Amended Constitution", (December 18, 1959)
  • To wear away the time, we learn to play chess,
    In thousands, horses and infantry chase each other.
    Move quickly into action, in attack or in retreat.
    Talent and swift feet give us the upper hand.
    • "Learning to Play Chess"
  • People who come out of prison can build up the country.
    Misfortune is a test of people's fidelity.
    Those who protest at injustice are people of true merit.
    When the prison doors are opened, the real dragon will fly out.
    • "Word Play"
  • I am a straightforward man, with no crime on my conscience,
    But I was accused of being a spy for China
    So life, you see, is never a very smooth business
    And now the present bristles with difficulties.
    • "Hard is the Road of Life"
  • My people hunger for independence and will have it. [...] And are you forgetting some recent examples of what ragged bands can do against modern troops? Have you already forgotten the heroism of the Yugoslav partisans against the Germans? The spirit of man is more powerful than his own machines.
    • David Schoenbrun, As France Goes (page 234), Harper, 1957.
  • My people hunger for independence and will have it. And are you forgetting some recent examples of what ragged bands can do against modern troops? Have you already forgotten the heroism of the Yugoslav partisans against the Germans? The spirit of man is more powerful than his own machines.
    • David Schoenbrun, As France Goes (page 234), Harper, 1957.

On Revolutionary Morality (1958)[edit]

  • Our era being a civilized, revolutionary era, one must rely all the more on the force of the collective, of society, in all undertakings. More than ever the individual cannot stand apart but must join the collective, join society.
  • To make the revolution to transform the old society into a new one is a very glorious, but also extremely heavy task, a complex, protracted and hard struggle. Only a strong man can travel a long distance with a heavy load on his back. A revolutionary must have solid foundation of revolutionary morality in order to fulfill his glorious revolutionary task.
  • To study Marxism-Leninism is to learn the spirit in which one should deal with things, with other people and with oneself. It means to study the universal Marxist-Leninist truths in order to apply them creatively to the practical conditions of our country. We must study with a view to action . Theory must go hand in hand with practice.
  • Revolutionary morality consists, in whatever circumstances, in resolutely struggling against all enemies, maintaining one's vigilance, standing ready to fight, and refusing to submit, to bow one's head. Only by so doing can we defeat the enemy, and fulfill our revolutionary tasks.
  • Revolutionary morality consists in absolute loyalty to the Party and the people.
  • Revolutionary morality does not fall from the sky. It is developed and consolidated through persevering daily struggle and effort. Like jade, the more it is polished the more it shines. Like gold, it grows ever purer as it foes into the melting pot.
  • Our party has a mass character, and hundreds of thousands of member. Owing to the situation in our country the bulk of Party members spring from the petty bourgeoisie. There is nothing surprising in it. IN the beginning under the influence of bourgeois ideology the stand of some Party members may lack firmness, their outlook may be confused and their thinking not quite correct, but owing to the fact that they have been tempered in the revolution and the war of resistance, our Party members are by and large good militants, faithful to the Party and the revolution. Those Comrades know that those Party members who commit errors will lead the masses into error; therefore, they stand ready to correct any mistake they may make, and this in a timely way, and do not allow small errors accumulate into big ones. They sincerely practice criticism and self-criticism, which makes it possible for them to progress together.
  • Revolutionary morality consists in uniting with the masses in one body, trusting them and paying attention to their opinion. By their words and deeds. Party and Working Youth Union members and cadres win the people's confidence, respect and love, closely unite them around the Party, organize, educate and mobilize them so that they will enthusiastically implement the Party's policies and resolutions.


  • Under the banner of Marxism-Leninism, let our party, with the seething spirit of an invincible army, unite even more closely, and lead our working people boldly forward to new victories in the struggle for socialist construction in the North and for the reunification of the country.
    • "Thirty Years of Activity in the Party" (1960)
  • Though frontiers and mountains stand between us, Proletarians of the whole world come together as one family.
    • Third National Congress of the Vietnam Workers' Party (Sept. 9, 1960)
    • Ho Chi Minh on Revolution, Selected Writings, 1920-66
  • Our cause is just our people are united from North to South; we have a tradition of undaunted struggle and the great sympathy and support of the fraternal socialist countries and progressive people all over the world. We shall win!
    • "Appeal to Compatriots" (1966)
  • All my life, I have served the fatherland, the revolution and the people with all my heart and strength. If I should now depart from this world, I would have nothing to regret, except not being able to serve longer and more.
    • Testament (1969)
  • Remember that the storm is a good opportunity for the pine and the cypress to show their strength and their stability.
    • As quoted in From Colonialism to Communism : A Case History of North Vietnam (1964) by Văn Chí Hoàng, p. 37
  • Nothing is more precious than Independence and Liberty.
    • Political slogan, quoted in Ho Chi Minh and His Vietnam : A Personal Memoir (1972) by Jean Sainteny, p. 172
    • Variant translation: Nothing is more valuable than freedom and independence.
      • World Marxist Review: Problems of Peace and Socialism (1979), p. 91
  • Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom... Independence without freedom is worse than no independence.


  • You fools! Don't you realize what it means if the Chinese remain? Don't you remember your history? The last time the Chinese came, they stayed a thousand years. The French are foreigners. They are weak. Colonialism is dying. The white man is finished in Asia. But if the Chinese stay now, they will never go. As for me, I prefer to sniff French shit for five years than to eat Chinese shit for the rest of my life.
    • As quoted in Vietnam : A History (1983) by Stanley Karnow, p. 153; also in A Phoenix Reborn: Travels in New Vietnam (2008) by Andrew Forbes
    • The historian Professor Liam Kelley of the University of Hawaii at Manoa on his Le Minh Khai's SEAsian History Blog challenged the authenticity of the alleged quote where Ho Chi Minh said he would rather sniff French shit than eat Chinese shit, noting that Stanley Karnow provided no source for the extended quote attributed to Ho in his 1983 Vietnam: A History, and that the original quote was most likely forged by the Frenchman Paul Mus in his 1952 book Viêt-Nam: Sociologie d’une Guerre, Mus was a supporter of French colonialism in Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh knew that there was no danger of Chinese troops staying in Vietnam, and in fact the Vietnamese at the time were busy spreading anti-French propaganda as evidence of French atrocities in Vietnam emerged, while Ho Chi Minh showed no qualms about accepting Chinese aid after 1949. https://leminhkhai.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/ho-chi-minh-said-what/ (proof that he runs the blog)

Quotes about Ho Chi Minh[edit]

  • The students caught between the two superpowers and equally disillusioned by East and West, "inevitably pursue some third ideology, from Mao's China or Castro's Cuba." (Spender, op. cit., p. 92.) Their calls for Mao, Castro, Che Guevara, and Ho Chi Minh are like pseudo-religious incantations for saviors from another world; they would also call for Tito if only Yugoslavia were farther away and less approachable.
  • Comrade Ho Chi Minh, in a genius way, combined the struggle for national independence with the struggle for the rights of the masses oppressed by the exploiters and the feudals. He saw that the path was to combine the patriotic feelings of peoples with the need of freedom from social exploitation. National liberation and social liberation were the two pillars on which his doctrine was based. Furthermore, he saw that underdeveloped countries, in those conditions because of capitalism, could make a leap in history, building their economy along the path of socialism, saving themselves from the sacrifices and the horrors of capitalism.
  • President Ho Chi Minh, understanding the extraordinary historical importance and the consequences of the glorious October Revolution, and assimilating Lenin's luminous thought, saw clearly that in Marxism-Leninism we could find the teaching and the path that had to be followed to find a solution to the problem of the peoples oppressed by colonialism.
  • The third elite element to develop in Vietnam during the 1920s was composed of Marxist-oriented, largely middle-class, educated individuals who came together as the Indochinese Communist Party in 1930. Ho Chi Minh did more than anyone else to organize the ICP and develop its revolutionary program. The ICP fused traditionally fierce and resilient Vietnamese nationalism with Marxist-Leninist concepts. The result was an ideology that called for both the defeat of imperialism (attainment of true independence) and the defeat of feudalism (social revolution involving redistribution of resources). The party’s program won broad support. Eventually the ICP, accepting Ho Chi Minh’s view, put primary emphasis on achieving independence from foreign domination.
    • James DeFronzo, Revolutions and Revolutionary Movements (2018), p. 161
  • I have met many people in the course of my political career, but none has made such a particular impression on me. Believers often talk of the Apostles. Well, through his way of living and his influence of his peers, Ho Chi Minh was exactly comparable to these 'holy apostles'.
  • One thing is clear, the president of North Vietnam is not a fanatic. He is a very strong and determined man, but capable of listening, something that is very rare in a person of his position.
    • Martin Niemöller, as quoted in Martin Niemöller, 1892-1984 (1984) by James Bentley, p. 225
  • It was generally conceded that had an election been held, Ho Chi Minh would have been elected Premier.
    • Dwight D. Eisenhower, in The White House Years: Mandate for Change: 1953–1956: A Personal Account (1963), pp. 337-38
  • Charismatic leadership is a determinant in most revolutionary struggles –consider India’s Gandhi and Nehru, Kenya’s Kenyatta, Cuba’s Castro. Ho Chi Minh established a legitimacy that proved impregnable even when the shortcomings and indeed barbarities of his regime became apparent, because in 1945 he seized sole ownership of Vietnam’s independence movement. Sixteen-year-old Nguyen Cao Ky wrote later that in those days in Hanoi ‘the one name on my lips, as well as those of nearly everyone of my generation, was Ho Chi Minh’. Many households began to display his portrait: in the words of another young Vietnamese, ‘We were hungry for a hero to worship.’ The French had made no attempt to foster an indigenous political class with any sympathy for the aspirations of its own people: rich and educated Vietnamese existed in a world entirely alien from that of the peasantry. While Ho and his intimates knew that few would endorse an avowed communist prospectus, he was able to unite a great swathe of his people behind expulsion of the French. In the years that followed, he achieved a mystic stature unrivalled by any fellow-countryman.
    • Max Hastings, Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975 (2018), p. 44
  • During the early years of the independence struggle, in ‘liberated zones’ land was compulsorily transferred from landlord to peasant ownership. Ho and his associates did not reveal that they viewed redistribution as a mere transit stop, pending collectivisation. Political cadres painted a glowing picture of Russia as an earthly paradise, which Vietnam should aspire to emulate. Ho himself exuded an aura of dignity and wisdom that impressed all those who met him, and proved a brilliant political manipulator. Beneath a veneer of benignity, he possessed the quality indispensable to all revolutionaries: absolute ruthlessness about the human cost of the courses he deemed appropriate for his people.
    • Max Hastings, Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975 (2018), p. 44
  • It seems a fair test of any political movement to enquire not whether it is capitalist, communist or fascist, but whether it is fundamentally humane. A remark attributed to Giap answered this question for the Vietminh: ‘Every minute, hundreds of thousands of people die upon this earth. The life or death of a hundred, a thousand, tens of thousands of human beings, even our compatriots, means little.’ Ho Chi Minh’s conduct reflected the same conviction, though he was too astute a politician ever to be recorded by Westerners as expressing it. There has been much debate about whether he was a ‘real’ communist, or instead merely a nationalist driven by political necessity to embrace Lenin’s creed. Evidence seems overwhelming in favour of the former view. He was never the Titoist some of his Western apologists suggested: he repeatedly condemned Yugoslavia’s 1948 severance from the Soviet bloc. He avowed an unflagging admiration for Stalin, though the Russian leader never reciprocated either by trusting the Vietminh leader or by providing substantial aid to him.
    • Max Hastings, Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975 (2018), p. 44
  • "How has Gandhi's movement affected you in Indochina? Have you experienced any vibrations, any echoes?" I asked Nguyen Ai Quoc." "No," answered my companion. "The Annamese people, the peasants, live buried in the profoundest night. They have no newspapers, no idea of what's going on in the outside world. It is night, truly night."
    • Osip Mandelstam NGUYÊN AI QUỐC (HỌ CHI MINH): A VISIT WITH A COMINTERN MEMBER translated into English in The complete critical prose (1997)
  • Although Ho was prominent in founding the French Communist Party and the Indochinese Communist Party, he was above all else a nationalist who sought a unified, independent Vietnam. Only after democratic nations such as France and the U.S. refused to support the DRV's bid for independence did Ho turn to China and the Soviet Union for support; both extended diplomatic recognition in January 1950.
    • Allan R. Millett, Peter Maslowski, and William B. Feis, For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States From 1607 to 2012 (2012), p. 511
  • In the late 1960s, if a popularity poll had been taken among the protesters, Lev Trotski, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara would probably have headed the list. They were disgusted with Soviet leaders from Stalin to Brezhnev and agreed that American Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon, who had reinforced the USA’s military intervention in the conflict in Vietnam, were war criminals. The esteem for Che Guevara was enhanced by his good looks. The fact that Guevara died on campaign in Bolivia even though he could have had a comfortable career in Cuba was also counted unto him for righteousness. A similar reaction was evoked by Ho Chi Minh. Like Guevara, he was taking on the might of ‘American imperialism’. Data on Ho’s repressive regime in Hanoi were limited and would anyway have been disbelieved by his admirers if they had learned about them. The chant went up outside American embassies and on peace marches: ‘Ho! Ho! Ho Chi Minh!’
    • Robert Service, Comrades: A History of World Communism (2009)
  • Ho left no significant theoretical innovations, much less an integrated body of theory. This has, of course, no prevented some in the Vietnamese Communist Party from claiming that Ho left behind 'Ho Chi Minh Thought', which was described as a new development in Marxist Leninist theory.
    • Walden Bello, Down with Colonialism

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