The Vietnamese communist has always claimed that Ho Chi Minh was the hero who gained independence for Vietnam from France. Nevertheless, this claim is questionable.
In order to search for the truth, it could be necessary to consider these three important facts:
ONE: World War II had led to the collapse of colonialism.
In Europe, the Nazis invaded most Western European colonial countries - The Netherlands, Belgium, France - and threatened the Great Britain shore.
In Asia, Japanese quickly conquered the Indochinese Peninsula (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos), invaded Malaysia, Burma, The Philippines, Indonesia, and crushed the Western colonial forces as well.
At the end of World War II, The United States of America defeated Japan and liberated Korea.
TWO: People from these colonies stood up for their independence.
The British had foreseen this movement and restored independence to its colonies. One of them was India even though India had no resistance by force but non-violent struggle.
In Vietnam, the glorious though unsuccessful 1930 Yen-Bai uprising led by the VNQDD and later the execution of the Party leader Nguyen Thai Hoc along with twelve other party members by the French colonists, elevated the aspiration for independence of the Vietnamese people to the highest point as well as the undying animosity never seen previously.
Since this uprising, the end of the French colonialist regime in Vietnam came closer. Few French senior officials such as Generals Le Clerc and De Gaulle seemed to have foreseen this fact.
THREE: The world began to enter the Cold War between the two blocs led by the Soviet Union and the USA. Both sides advocated liberation of colonies to win them over.
The consequence of the facts mentioned above led to the independence of countries in Asia and then Africa. History had shown that in order for a country to gain independence from a foreign country, usually there were war, bloodshed. However, countries like India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, etc. easily restored their independence without any major war.
On March 9, 1945; Japanese forces overthrew the French in the Indochinese Peninsula and restored independence to Vietnam. The Japanese government as well as King Bao-Dai declared the independent status of Vietnam to the world. Premier Tran Trong Kim formed the first Vietnamese government. However, this period was very short because the Japanese surrendered to the Allies a few months later on August 13, 1945.
Before Japan surrendered to the USA, Ho Chi Minh worked with OSS (Office of Strategic Services), a US intelligence agency. He built up Viet-Minh forces. After Japan surrendered, Japanese forces were still in control of Indochina. They could have crushed Viet Minh forces easily had Bao Dai and Tran Trong Kim requested them to do so. However, King Bao-Dai agreed to transfer his power to Viet Minh because he thought that Ho Chi Minh was working with the USA, and could guarantee independence for Vietnam. On August 19, 1945, at a spontaneous non-communist meeting in Hanoi, Ho and his men stole the leading role to seize power and on September 2, he delivered his Declaration of Independence.
The irony of this declaration was its repeat of what King Bao-Dai had declared earlier. In the declaration , Ho Chi Minh plagiarized a famous statement from the Declaration of Independence of the USA: "All men are created equal." Under his regime's title "Democratic Republic of Vietnam" is the motto - still remaining today - "Independence - Freedom - Happiness," which was again plagiarized from the Sun Yatsen's "Three-People Doctrine."
People at that time were happy to join meetings after meetings, to march joyfully with drums beating and martial music. It was natural because after 80 years under the French domination, they were eager to enjoy the nation's independence and expected a happy bright future. Many did not realize that later they would be living under a dictatorial regime lasting for more than half a century until now.
In the late 1700's while fighting the Tay Son, Nguyen Anh (King Gia Long) sought for military help from France through a French bishop. Thus King Gia Long has been blamed for bringing enemy home, leading to the French invasion. Ho Chi Minh after in power, signed the March 6, 1946 agreement to allow the French forces coming back to Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh and his men often said that being ruled by the French is better than by the Chinese. This is more like a fool because later the Chinese army units in Vietnam had to withdraw to reinforce their troops in Manchuria against the Chinese Red Army. Chiang Kai Shek at the Yalta Convention refused to control Vietnam. "They (the Vietnamese) are not Chinese, they always rebel against China."
To show his welcome to the arrival of French Special Envoy Sainteny and French military units coming under the March 6 Agreement, Ho Chi Minh instructed people to display flags. Ho showed to the French that people appreciated their coming back..
Richard Nixon, in No More Vietnam, wrote: "While nationalist groups refused to cooperate with the French, the communist Viet Minh chose to collaborate with the French. Ho signed the so-called March 6 agreement that brought the French army back into Northern Vietnam. His greetings were effused 'I love France and French solders. You are welcome. You are heroes.' Some say Ho compromised with the French to force the Nationalist Chinese to withdraw. But one week earlier, China had pledged to remove its army in a separate agreement with France. As to the real motivation of the communists, Ho's right-hand man, Le Duan, later said it was to 'wipe out the reactionaries.' For the Viet Minh, this included all nationalists."
Ho and the French together massacred hundreds of leaders and thousands of rank-and-file members of various nationalist groups. The French gave the Viet Minh military equipment, troops and even artillery support to carry this out. In July 1946, Ho's forces stormed the headquarters of all the remaining nationalist groups while French armored personnel carriers cordoned off surrounding areas. Most of the few remaining opposition leaders were arrested and later killed. (No More Vietnam, Richard Nixon, page 34, 35)
On December 19, 1946, the War of Resistance against the French forces burst out. The French seized control of several cities. Ho Chi Minh and the resistance forces had to withdraw from those key cities and conducted the guerrilla warfare against the French Expeditionary Army.
If Mao Tse Tung had not taken over China in 1949, Ho Chi Minh would have been responsible for turning Vietnam over to France. Since 1949, communist China armed and trained Viet Minh. This led to the Viet Minh victory at the China-Vietnam Border Battle. Later, it was the Chinese artillery that helped Viet Minh to defeat the French at Dien Bien Phu.
Moreover, it should be noted that a large number of non-communist young men and intellects contributed an important part in the victory over the French. Many were eliminated in the bloody Land Reform in 1953-1956 only because they were sons of the so-called "wicked landlords."
The fact that Ho Chi Minh ruled North Vietnam as well as Bao Dai and Ngo Dinh Diem controlled South Vietnam did not mean that these rulers contributed much to the independence of Vietnam. Among them, Ho Chi Minh was even a betrayal who invited and worked with the enemy to kill his opponents.