From Ho Chi Minh’s fictional Diary:

20 December 1946
Hanoi, Vietnam

Threatened with a new French takeover I promulgated this battlecry!

“Compatriots all over the country!

As we desired peace, we made concessions. But the more concessions we made, the further the French colonialists went because they were resolved to invade our country once again.

No! We would rather sacrifice all than lose our country. We are determined not to be enslaved....

Men and women, old and young, regardless of creeds, political parties, or nationalities, all the Vietnamese must stand up to fight the French colonialists to save the fatherland. Those who have rifles will use their rifles; those who have swords will use their swords; those who have no swords will use spades, hoes, or sticks. Everyone must endeavor to oppose the colonialists and save this country.

Even if we have to endure the hardship of the Resistance War, with the determination to make sacrifices, victory will surely be ours.”

In the early days of the revolution, Ho lived in a house on stilts as some ethnic minority people in the countryside did. Later he moved to a small house and tended a garden. After returning to Hanoi, he again lived in a small house on stilts on the grounds of the French-built governor’s mansion.

Unlike the British who granted independence to India in 1948, the French fought to keep control of Vietnam from 1946 until they were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. During the early days of the war, the French quickly convinced the U.S. that Ho Chi Minh was a communist pawn of the Soviet Union rather than a nationalist who was, above all else, determined for Vietnamese independence and national unification. By defining the war as an anti-communist crusade, the French could count on aid from America. They did get U.S. aid until by 1954, the U.S. was paying for nearly all of the costs of the war. In spite of this aid and over 150,000 troops (the September 1946 treaty called for a maximum of 20,000 troops), the victories for the French were few and far between. They controlled only the large cities and main lines of communication.
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