Who: Born Nguyen Sinh Cung.
What: Vietnamese communist leader, President of North Vietnam.
Where: North Vietnam.
Why: Led the independence movement against France, and North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
When: Born May 19th, 1980, Died September 2nd, 1969.
“It was patriotism, not communism, that inspired me.” – Ho Chi Minh.
Ho Chi Minh, or Uncle Ho, was the principal architect of Vietnam’s independence, and North Vietnam’s subsequent struggle over unification. The son of a local official, he attended school in Hue before working as a cook on a French steamship, travelling to New York, Boston, London and Paris. He embraced Communism, becoming a founding member of the French Communist party, before moving to Moscow for training, and worked with the Chinese Communists. He returned to Vietnam in 1941 and organized the Viet Minh independence movement. After the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and the partition of Vietnam, he became President of North Vietnam, a post he retained until stepping down in 1965 on grounds of ill-health. He died in 1969, with the Vietnam War still in full swing. After the North won the War, Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City, and he is revered in his home country as one of the country’s founders, with his own personality cult. His embalmed body is on display, much like Lenin’s, Mao Zedong’s Kim Il-Sung’s and Kim Jong-Il’s, in a mausoleum in Hanoi, and his face adorns billboards and posters all over the country.