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Establishing Hồ Chí Minh's Cult: Vietnamese Traditions and Their Transformations

Abstract

After Vietnam's August Revolution in 1945, Hồ Chí Minh was venerated as the center of a newly created political religion that eventually became part of the Vietnamese religious landscape. This article traces the origins of Hồ Chí Minh's veneration and his own role in cementing his image not only as the leader of the nation but as the Uncle, the head of the Vietnamese national family. Through an examination of Hồ Chí Minh's first (auto)biography, it explores some of the means employed to achieve these results. Hồ Chí Minh's cult transformed the nation and altered Vietnamese cultural traditions. It served to acquaint people with the new order and to create and perpetuate people's loyalty to the newly formed state entities. This article looks at how Hồ Chí Minh went from being the master of his own cult to losing control over it and becoming its employee.

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