June 1919 –19 May 1941 — France and U.S.S.R.
Though growing up in the small village of Kim Lien beginning in 1895, Nguyen Sinh Cung (later known as Ho Chi Minh) worked odd jobs in France, England, and the United States. Some time between 1919–1923, he embraced communist ideals while in France, most likely through his friend, Marcel Cachin. On multiple occasions, under the name of Nguyen Ai Quoc, he petitioned both the French government and the United States for aid in gaining independence for Vietnam. All of his requests were rejected.
In 1923, Quoc traveled to Moscow, U.S.S.R., where the Comintern (the Russian communist movement that overthrew the existing government in 1922) employed him. He participated in the Fifth Comintern Congress in June 1924, but eventually traveled to Canton, China, by November of that same year.
For 100,000 piastres, Quoc betrayed another revolutionary leader, Phan Boi Chau, in June 1925. He later explained that he did this because he needed the money to start his own communist organization. However, an anti-communist coup in 1927 prompted Quoc to leave in April 1927. After returning to Moscow and then Paris, he made his way back to Asia, eventually getting arrested in June 1931. The British announced he had died, however, and released him quietly in 1933.
After several years of recovering from tuberculosis in the U.S.S.R., he eventually returned to China in 1938. After serving as an advisor to the Chinese communist forces, he began using the name Ho Chi Minh (the last part of this name in essence meaning "bringer of light"). He returned to Vietnam in 1941 and began leading the movement called Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh Hoi (Viet Minh for short). He set up headquarters in a cave at Pac Bo.