HIST415 Vietnamese History
Summer Session A 2013
May 19, 2013
“Ho Chi Minh's Communist ideology was flexible enough to serve his purposes. In any case, he was never the doctrinaire, and always much more a political activist whose strong will was directed at the goal of the independence and unification of Vietnam.” (Kirkpatrick, 2006) Lecture and readings have taught us that Ho Chi Minh was charismatic and hard to hate, even though he was responsible for the death of thousands of his own men. He portrayed himself as simple and passionate. He wanted independence but sold out Vietnam when he didn’t get his way. He then became known as the “fascist with the human face”. He wanted to have a unified state, and whether it was communist or not, wanted economic self-sufficiency. “His determination, rather than genius, was his hallmark as a leader.” (Kirkpatrick, 2006)
“Ngo Dinh Diem was also a patriotic figure but without the deep background of Ho Chi Minh.” (DeVry, 2013) He was of strong Christian faith, practiced Catholicism. He was a nationalist and was anti-communism. He tried to please the people and preach what he believed in (Catholicism versus Buddhism) and this is what ultimately caused his assassination. Something significant about Diem was that he did not strive for economic self-sufficiency, which did not go over well with the Vietnamese. The majority of his country was against him and because he was so ineffective as a leader, the US broke ties with him. They too realized that he didn’t even know his people, let alone care to support them.
Comparing the two leadership styles, they are in stark contrast to one another. Ho Chi Minh was focused and had vision for what he wanted for North Korea, while Ngo Dinh Diem lacked focus and vision for South Korea. Minh wanted a united nation, while Diem only divided the people more and more by supporting only those who...
References: DeVry (2013) “Suppressed Nationalism Driving Nation Building”, in Week 2 Lecture, HIST415 (Vietnamese History), Summer A session 2013. Naperville, IL: DeVry University Online
Kirkpatrick, C. (2006, July 25). Ho chi minh: North vietnam leader. Vietnam Magazine, Retrieved from http://www.historynet.com/ho-chi-minh-north-vietnam-leader.htm
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