Knowing who is fighting whom during the Vietnam War is sometimes difficult. Many Individuals and organizations involved on both sides of the 17th parallel fought for control of the country. In the context of the Vietnamese society, the wars in Vietnam are better understood by taking a look at the leaders of North and South Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh and Ngo Dinh Diem. Learning more about the two different styles of leadership will help to understand how they gained support from the Vietnamese people and other nations for their cause. The Democratic Republic of North Vietnam consisted of the land in Southeast Asia located north of the 17th parallel, as defined by the 1954 Geneva Agreements. The Soviet Union and China supported the DRV in
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Ho Chi Minh wanted Vietnam’s Independence first, free from colonial or foreign interference and he was determined to achieve his goal while gaining support from other nations for his independence movement. After WWI he traveled to Versailles to represent Vietnam in the peace talks, but he was not taken seriously and failed to gain a meeting with President Wilson. Ho became a member of the French Communist Party to work from within, but when the French failed to meet his expectations Ho traveled to the Soviet Union in disapproval of Western communism while showing a preference for the philosophies in Russia (Kirkpatrick, 2006). Ho also traveled to China where he became familiar with Chinese anticolonial revolution. Ho supported the U.S. effort during WWII because he wanted to develop a relationship with the country capable of aiding in Vietnam’s independence movement and influencing France. Ho actively resisted France, Japan, China, and the U.S. when doing so meant advancing the Vietnamese independence, but by the same token, he actively supported them for the same reason.
Ho Chi Minh (He Who Enlightens) projected his image as a man of the people. For example, he was often photographed in peasant clothes among the North Vietnamese people and was viewed as a simple man who required little and wanted only to see his country through to independence. Ho was a political activist committed to the