There have been countless books written about the war in Vietnam as the United States was involved in a very costly war in terms of human loss and what the conflict did to tear apart our country as a whole. But could the war in Vietnam have been avoided in the first place? In the closing days of World War II, the US’ OSS (Office of Strategic Services) had sent a team in Indochina to work with the Viet Minh and Ho Chi Minh. He pleaded to the US and President Truman to help Vietnam gain its independence. His pleas were ignored, Truman and the US backed the French to take back their colonial empire and the rest is history.

Was Ho’s plea a clever Communist tactic just to get economic support from the US and help a fledgling country get on its feet? Or was he, as tried to portray himself, a fervent Vietnamese nationalist who just wanted to free his people? The answer may never be known completely but the truth may be a little bit of both.

Ho Chi Minh traveled in his formative years, gained an education from the French school in Hue and traveled abroad first on a steamer to France and later lived in the United States for a short time working menial jobs in Harlem and Boston.

After World War I, he went to France, got into politics, especially when it came to Vietnamese independence. He wrote letters to French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, and US President Woodrow Wilson at the Versailles peace talks asking for civil rights for the Vietnamese people. Ho pointed out that the self-determination proposed in the peace talks should include Vietnam and end the French colonial rule there. He asked for freedom of the press, freedom of association and assembly. Supposedly he claimed that his hero was George Washington who freed America from British colonial rule. But it all fell on deaf ears.