Phạm Văn Đồng

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Phạm Văn Đồng About this sound pronunciation (March 1, 1906 – April 29, 2000) was an associate of Hồ Chí Minh. He served as Prime Minister of North Vietnam from 1955 through 1976, and was Prime Minister of reunified Vietnam from 1976 until he retired in 1987.

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Early life

According to an official report, Phạm Văn Đồng was born into a family of civil servants in Đức Tân village, Mộ Đức district, in Quảng Ngãi province on the central coast on March 1, 1906.

In 1925 at the age of 18, he joined fellow students to stage a school sit-in to mourn the death of the famous patriotic scholar Phan Chu Trinh. About this time he developed interest in the Communist party and in the unification of Vietnam. In 1926, he traveled to Guangzhou in southern China to attend a training course run by Nguyễn Ái Quốc (later to be known as Hồ Chí Minh) before being admitted as a member of the Vietnam Revolutionary Youth Association, the predecessor of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV).

In 1929, he worked for the revolutionary association in Saigon. In the same year, he was arrested, tried by the French colonial authorities and sentenced to ten years in prison. He served the term in Poulo Condor Island Prison until 1936 when he was released under the general amnesty granted by the government of the Popular Front in France after its recent electoral successes.

The First Indochina War

He joined the Indochinese Communist Party in 1940 and then continued to take part in activities led by Hồ Chí Minh. After Hồ Chí Minh rose to power during the August Revolution in 1945, Phạm Văn Đồng was appointed minister of finance of the newly established government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV), a position he occuped till 1954. Before he assumed the position of Minister of Finance, he was well known as head of the Vietnamese delegation to the Vietnam-France post-war negotiations at Fontainebleau (France) in May 1946.

Following the defeat of Japan, nationalist forces fought French colonial forces in the First Indochina War that lasted from 1945 to 1954. The French suffered a major defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and peace was sought. In May 1954, he led the delegation of the Hồ Chí Minh government to the Geneva Conference. After intense negotiations a peace treaty was signed and the French forces withdrew from direct conflict with the newly-independent North Vietnam. He signed the peace accords with French Premier Pierre Mendès France.

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