Vietnam's eagle-eyed leader

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Throughout history, there have been certain individuals who have had all the necessary characteristics and met all the requirements needed to make monumental changes at the right time.

Vietnam's founding President Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969), commonly known as Uncle Ho, was one of these individuals in Vietnamese history. This week, May 19, marks his 120th birthday.

In 1987, UNESCO officially honored President Ho Chi Minh for dedicating his life to national liberation and contributing to the common struggle for peace, national independence, democracy and social progress. He was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

"Ho Chi Minh had a special understanding of history and of life, and a profound awareness of his people's destiny and historical trends, late Prime Minister Pham Van Dong said


Vietnam founding President Ho Chi Minh meets with overseas Vietnamese from Thailand at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi on January 29, 1960

It was not his position as Vietnamese President but this understanding and awareness that created a great mind that could foresee major historical events.

Ho Chi Minh told American journalist Anna Louise Strong that "the people of Vietnam, including my own father, often wondered who would help them remove the yoke of French control. Some said Japan, others Great Britain, and some said the United States. I saw that I must go abroad to see for myself. After I had found out how they lived, I would return to help my countrymen.

Louis Arnoux, chief of the security service in Indochina who followed Nguyen Ai Quoc (then-Uncle Ho's name) in the 1920s said that "the young man, seemingly frail and fragile, was a man of vigor and action and could one day put an end to the French dominance in Indochina.

Arnoux's prediction was correct.

During a talk with scholars and the wealthy in the northern Thanh Hoa Province in 1947, Uncle Ho encouraged them to join the revolution but also talked about a strong country with wealthy people. "Make it so the poor have enough food, and those that have enough food get rich and the rich become richer, he said.

Nearly half a century later, his ideologies were officially adopted at a Communist Party meeting where members resolved to build a strong country with rich people and a fair, democratic and tolerant society.

More surprising, perhaps, is that Uncle Ho foresaw a number of major milestones in the revolution.

In 1941, he noted "1945-Vietnam gains independence in a booklet on the country's history. General Vo

Nguyen Giap remembered that people asked Uncle Ho about this but he just told them to wait and see. His prediction came true when Vietnam gained independence in August 1945.

He was proved right again when saying in a speech on National Day [September 2] in 1960, after the Vietnam War had broken out in 1954, that the country would unite in the next 15 years. The war ended on April 30 in 1975, just as he had foreseen.

In early 1969, Uncle Ho told air force officials that the US Army would send B-52 bombers to attack Hanoi before admitting defeat. In 1972, the US Army launched an operation to attack northern Vietnam in 12 days with a total of 741 sorties before agreeing to sign the Paris Peace Accords in January 1973.

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