Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 July 2021
This chapter offers a portrait of the younger Ho Chi Minh, including his family background in Vietnam prior to him setting out on a series of sea journeys that would lead to France. Settling in Paris at the end of World War I, he soon gained local and even international attention by petitioning for Vietnamese autonomy at the Versailles Peace Conference. Through the prism of French police reports, in this chapter we see Ho Chi Minh, now calling himself Nguyen Ai Quoc, immersed in study and networking with a view to exposing the worst excesses of colonialism. He was beginning to distance himself from the Eurocentric preoccupation of French communists, and was persuaded by Lenin's own framing of the colonial and national question. In his early adulthood he published his own newsletter and organized other colonials before making a dramatic exit in the direction of Moscow. There he undertook studious preparation under Communist International auspices ready to launch his revolutionary career, from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou (Canton) as it turned out.