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Hoang Van Thu - a typical senior leader of the Party and Vietnamese revolution

(LLCT) - Hoang Van Thu is one of the typical senior leaders of the Party and Vietnamese revolution. Throughout his life with the revolutionary cause, Hoang Van Thu made significant contributions to many fields of work of the Party in theory and practical operation instruction, which were acknowledged by the Party and people. The noble communist cause and ideals of Hoang Van Thu are always the pride and bright example for the Vietnamese generations, especially youth, to learn and follow.

Keywords: comrade Hoang Van Thu.

1. Hoang Van Thu - a loyal and indomitable communist

Hoang Van Thu, whose birth name was Hoang Ngoc Thu and whose aliases were Loi Minh Ha, Ly, Giao, Van, etc., was born on November 4, 1909 into a Tay ethnic peasant family full of patriotism and studiousness in Phac Lan Village, Nhan Ly Canton, Van Uyen District (presently Nhan Hoa Hamlet, Hoang Van Thu Commune, Van Lang District, Lang Son Province).

During the years at Franco-Vietnamese Primary School in Lang Son, Hoang Van Thu started his patriotic activities by participating in establishing the patriotic student group at the school. In the years 1925-1926, the activities of leader Nguyen Ai Quoc and the Vietnam Revolutionary Youth League reached Lang Son like a new wind, inflaming the patriotic fire in the passionate heart of Hoang Van Thu. The fire soon took him to the revolution.

After graduating from the Franco-Vietnamese Primary School in Lang Son, in January 1928, Hoang Van Thu and his like-minded friend Luong Van Tri went to southern China to find a way to contact the division of the Vietnam Revolutionary Youth League there, and he was admitted to Vietnam Revolutionary Youth League, Longzhou branch. At the end of 1929, Hoang Van Thu was assigned to make contact with the cadres of the Communist Party of Indochina in Nanning by the branch of the Vietnam Revolutionary League in Longzhou, and he was admitted to the Communist Party of Indochina. Implementing the mission assigned by the Longzhou Branch, Hoang Van Thu came back to Vietnam many times secretly to work, enlighten, establish movement, and open the political training classes for patriotic youths. With the positive operations and wholehearted help from the patriots, Hoang Van Thu set up 10 mass organizations in the border villages of Van Uyen after only a short time, thereby expanding the operation zone to the surrounding areas. Step by step, Hoang Van Thu established a secret contact line between the two border areas from Lung Nghiu, Kho Lech (of Longzhou, China) to Khua Da, Ma Meo, Tai Lai (of Van Uyen, Lang Son), creating favorable conditions for the permanent cadres to work secretly and propagandize, and organize the revolutionary movement in the border areas(1). He directly trained politics for the patriotic youth, initially equipping them with the approach, method to work secretly, and way to cope with the enemy.

In late 1932 and early 1933, implementing the policy of Communist International(2), Le Hong Phong came to Nanning (China) to make contact with the Party cell of the Communist Party of Indochina in Longzhou (China). He decided to establish the special Party committee of Longzhou. Hoang Dinh Giong was nominated as the Secretary, and Hoang Van Thu was the Deputy Secretary. After Hoang Dinh Giong was assigned to work in Hai Phong and the northeastern coal-mining area, Hoang Van Thu was appointed as the Secretary of the special Party committee of Longzhou and was assigned with the tasks of returning to Lang Son to propagandize and mobilize youths to come over to Longzhou to participate the training classes. Before the development of revolutionary movement, the special Party committee of Longzhou decided to set up the Party grassroots organization in Van Uyen District as the core for the movement in Lang Son Province. In mid-1933, the first Party cell of Lang Son Province was established, and Hoang Van Thu was the Secretary. He was assigned to be in charge of the Civil Affairs Committee of Lang Son Province by the External Steering Committee when it was established. With his close style and understanding of the customs and people, he was always loved and protected by the people when working in those areas, and the revolutionary atmosphere was aroused in many places in Lang Son.

In late 1934 and early 1935, Hoang Van Thu was assigned to Macau to assist the External Steering Committee to prepare for the 1st Congress of the Party(3). After the 1st Congress on implementing the “new wartime policy” guideline of the Party, Hoang Van Thu instructed the Party committees to urgently establish the provincial committee agencies to lead the work of organizing and mobilizing the masses. After the 1st Congress of the Party (1935), he continued instructing the revolutionary movement and developing the Party grassroots organizations in Lang Son. For example, he instructed others to set up the first Party cell in Bac Son (September 1936) and Party cell in Trang Dinh (April 1938), etc. In April 1938, he joined the Northern Regional Party Committee, and he was assigned to reinforce and develop the revolutionary movement in the northeastern region. In September 1939, he was assigned to be Secretary of the Northern Regional Party Committee in charge of the revolutionary movement in the region of Hanoi and adjacent areas. In November 1940, at the 7th Plenum of the Party Central Committee, Hoang Van Thu was elected the Standing Member of the Party Central Committee. At the 8th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (May 1941), Hoang Van Thu, the Standing Member of the Party Central Committee, was assigned to be in charge of mass mobilization and front work, and he was the member of the supreme command of the Vietnamese revolution who led force building in preparation for a general uprising.

On August 25, 1943, on the way from Voi Phuc Temple to the army base at Nam Diem Lane, Tam Mai Area (presently the area of Hanoi Progress Printing Factory), Hoang Van Thu was captured by the enemy.

In the days of imprisonment at Hoa Lo Prison, Hanoi, the enemy used all their crafty tricks, including enticing, bribing, and torturing very brutally, but he still kept the loyal spirit of a communist. In the “cell of decapitation”, he confided in his brothers-in-arms: “...over 20 years of struggle for revolution, I find that I have been dedicated and devoted to the Party and people. Even if I die, I have no worries”(4). He encouraged his fellow prisoners: “If you have pain, endure it. Don’t forget the country and Party”(5). The poem Message for You written by Hoang Van Thu in Hoa Lo Prison was filled with courageous sentences:

“...Though I am in the prison and in danger

The wonderful days are still in my mind

Dear all my brothers-in-arms

Please keep your loyal heart”(6).

The image of Hoang Van Thu in his last moment and his calm and proud words in front of the judge, bishop, legionnaires, and priests when he was taken out to the execution ground showed his optimistic revolutionary spirit and firm belief in the final victory. “In the life-and-death fight between you - the invaders - and us - those who lose the country - the sacrifice of the people like us is a matter of course. I just know that we will win in the end”(7).

2. Hoang Van Thu - an outstanding leader of the Party

Working in southern China in the years 1928-1929 in the terrorist atmosphere of the extreme right people of the Chinese Nationalist Party towards the Vietnamese revolutionaries, Hoang Van Thu and his comrades overcame the difficulties and challenges and had a lot of significant merits and contributions from the early mobilization period to set up the Party.

As the Secretary of the special Party committee of Longzhou (1933), Hoang Van Thu decided to organize the cadre training classes in Longzhou which helped train the key cadres who came from Vietnam to the provinces of Lang Son and Cao Bang. Hoang Van Thu and the comrades in the Party committee of Longzhou also boosted the work of building Party organization, propagandized and mobilized the revolution in the border area, and spread it to the provinces of Lang Son, Cao Bang, and Thai Nguyen. Going through the practical operations of the revolution and arduous struggle, Hoang Van Thu became the first communist Party member of Lang Son Province, one of the forefather Party members of the Communist Party of Vietnam as well as the first leader of the Lang Son Provincial Party Committee.

After the first Congress of the Communist Party of Indochina (March 1935), Hoang Van Thu worked positively in the country, making a lot of contributions to the revolutionary movement in Lang Son. He left the deep mark on building Party organizations and the revolutionary movement in a great number of localities from the provinces of Viet Bac such as Cao Bang, Thai Nguyen, and Tuyen Quang to the Northeastern coastal ones such as Hai Phong, Quang Yen, etc. He made important contributions to leading the revolutionary movement of the above localities through difficulties and challenges in order to integrate and develop together with the revolutionary movement nationwide.

As the Secretary of the Northern Regional Party Committee (September 1939) directly instructing the revolutionary movement in Hanoi and adjacent areas when the French colonialists carried out the most terrorist attacks, Hoang Van Thu guided the Hanoi Party Committee to implement the guideline of the Party on withdrawing cadres to the secret bases for the cadres, Party members, and people, to find ways to protect cadres and leadership agencies of all levels and Party grassroots organizations, to raise the spirit to overcome challenges and sacrifice, and maintain the movement. Thus, the Party grassroots and people’s organizations were basically maintained, and a lot of losses caused by the enemy could be avoided.

After the Bac Son Uprising (September 1940), Hoang Van Thu proposed the guideline to maintain the Bac Son Guerrillas as the core to build the armed forces and make Bac Son-Vo Nhai the revolutionary base. After the 7th Plenum of the Party Central Conference, he was assigned to directly instruct the implementation and reinforcement of the Bac Son Guerillas, develop forces, and build the Bac Son-Vo Nhai revolutionary base. He often made timely conveyances of the guidelines of the Party Central Committee to Bac Son, proposed the solutions for organizing, strengthening, and developing the Bac Son Guerillas into the National Salvation Troops - one of the predecessors of the People’s Army of Vietnam, and make Bac Son - Vo Nhai a revolutionary and firm base in the country.

At the end of 1940, implementing the mission assigned by the Provisional Central Standing Committee, he went to southern China to make contact with leader Nguyen Ai Quoc and received his instructions on deploying the preparation of the 8th Plenum of the Party Central Committee. This was a big event in his revolutionary life because it was the first time he had met the supreme leader of the Party and nation and had worked under his direct instruction.

With the responsibility as the Standing Committee Member of the Party Central Committee in charge of the mass mobilization and front works, Hoang Van Thu and the Central Executive Committee led by leader Nguyen Ai Quoc implemented the Resolution of the 8th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (May 1941) and the Central Standing Committee Plenum (February 1943) on building and developing the Party organizations and Viet Minh Front from the central to local governments, boosting the construction of the safety zone, promoting the works of mass mobilization and military agitation enemy agitation, building of armed forces, etc. very effectively, which contributed to the process of preparing thoroughly, promoting opportunity, and proceeding to general uprising for the government in the August Revolution in 1945.

He also made many contributions to the revolutionary press. During the working period in Longzhou, he was the head of the Struggle Newspaper, and made a positive contribution to the works of revolutionary propaganda and mobilization of the patriotic people in southern China and the northern mountainous provinces of Vietnam. As the Secretary of the Northern Regional Party Committee, he decided to publish the Liberation Newspaper and was the editor-in-chief. He actively wrote articles to propagandize the path and guideline of the Party, popularize the experience and method to build the secret Party organization, educate politics and thought, mobilize people of different classes to participate in the anti-imperialist front, and encourage people’s spirit to struggle for the revolution.

3. Hoang Van Thu - a noble and pure moral example

With very early participation in the patriotic movement, Hoang Van Thu’s revolutionary life was associated with the hard mobilization process to establish the Party and the period that the Party led the national liberation revolution. During the years of secret operation as well as when he was captured, tortured, and imprisoned by the enemy, he always highlighted the steadfast spirit of a communist soldier, overcame all dangers and challenges, and believed in the final victory of the revolutionary cause.

Trusted and assigned with many important responsibilities by the Party and revolution leaders, he always did his best to be self-aware and have a devoted spirit and responsibility before the Party and nation regardless of position. He always had the correct and clear awareness of being ready to undertake and fulfill any tasks from which the people, nation, and Party enjoyed the interest with the best results.

With his belief in the people and the help and protection from the people, Hoang Van Thu asserted what the revolutionaries had to keep in mind: “We do not have to worry. Revolution has been imbued in the people. The enemy of course will not leave us alone. The people cannot diverge from revolution. It is a fear that the leaders like us are far from the people, not that the people leave us”(8). He was always aware of his responsibility of making the people less miserable and pledging to fight with all his might for the freedom and happiness of the people.

In his personal life, he sacrificed his own happiness for the Vietnamese revolution. He could not carry out marriage after getting engaged twice. He devoted his special affection and care to his homeland, family, and parents(9).

He died heroically before the gun muzzles when he was just 35 years old. He could not witness the glorious victory of the cause that he had pursued and cherished, but his name, career, merit, contribution, and sacrifice was the bright example for many generations of patriotic cadres, Party members, and people, especially the young generations in Vietnam.

Hoang Van Thu is a shining example of revolutionary uprightness and whole-hearted devotion for the Party and people of Vietnam. In the Political Report to the 2nd National Congress of the Party, President Ho Chi Minh asserted: “Our comrades such as Tran Phu, Ngo Gia Tu, Le Hong Phong, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Ha Huy Tap, Nguyen Van Cu, Hoang Van Thu and hundreds of thousands of other comrades have placed the interest of the Party, revolution, class, and nation first and foremost. They have had profound belief and confidence in the great force and glorious future of the class and nation. They have been glad to sacrifice everything, even their lives, for the Party, class, and nation. They have used their lives for the revolutionary tree, so it has grown up well like what it is now”(10).



(1) Lang Son Provincial Party Executive Committee: History of Lang Son Provincial Party Committee 1931-1950, Lang Son Provincial Communication and Education Department, 1998, pp.29-30.

(2) On February 27, 1932, the Communist International sent letters to the Communist Parties of France, China, and India to request their help with the Communist Party and revolutionary movement in Indochina. Previously, from mid-1931, the Communist International had sent more than 30 Vietnamese cadres back to Vietnam quickly to work with the specific mission of quickly reestablishing the Party leadership committees at all levels nationwide after they completed the training program in Soviet Union. Le Hong Phong was one of them.

(3), (9) The program for collecting materials and writing the biography of the forefather leaders of the Party and Vietnamese revolution: Hoang Van Thu - Biography, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2015, p.74, 251.

(4), (7) Tran Dang Ninh: The last days of Hoang Van Thu, printed in the Revolutionary Memoirs, vol.2, Education Publishing House, Hanoi, 1970, p.92, 97.

(5), (6), (8) Lang Son Literature and Art Association: Hoang Van Thu - The Forever Shining Name, Publishing House of Writers Association, Hanoi, 2009, p.190, 144, 50.

(10) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.7, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.25.

Dr. Dinh Ngoc Quy

Institute of Ho Chi Minh and Party Leaders,

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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