The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Vietnamese Politicians of all time. This list of famous Vietnamese Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Vietnamese Politicians.
With an HPI of 83.75, Ho Chi Minh is the most famous Vietnamese Politician. His biography has been translated into 117 different languages on wikipedia.
Hồ Chí Minh (; Vietnamese: [hò cǐ mīŋ̟] (listen), Saigon: [hò cǐ mɨ̄n]; Chữ Hán: 胡志明; 19 May 1890 – 2 September 1969), born Nguyễn Sinh Cung, also known as Nguyễn Tất Thành, Nguyễn Ái Quốc, Bác Hồ, or simply Bác ('Uncle', pronounced [ʔɓaːk̚˦˥]), was a Vietnamese revolutionary and politician. He served as Prime Minister of North Vietnam from 1945 to 1955 and President from 1945 until his death in 1969. Ideologically a Marxist–Leninist, he served as Chairman and First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Vietnam. Hồ Chí Minh led the Việt Minh independence movement from 1941 onward, establishing the Communist-ruled Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945 and defeating the French Union in 1954 at the Battle of Điện Biên Phủ, ending the First Indochina War. He was a key figure in the People's Army of Vietnam and the Việt Cộng during the Vietnam War, which lasted from 1955 to 1975. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam was victorious against the Republic of Vietnam and its allies, and was officially reunified with the Republic of South Vietnam in 1976. Saigon, the former capital of South Vietnam, was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in his honor. Ho officially stepped down from power in 1965 due to health problems, and died in 1969. The details of Hồ Chí Minh's life before he came to power in Vietnam are uncertain. He is known to have used between 50 and 200 pseudonyms. Information on his birth and early life is ambiguous and subject to academic debate. At least four existing official biographies vary on names, dates, places and other hard facts while unofficial biographies vary even more widely.Aside from being a politician, Ho was also a writer, a poet and a journalist. He wrote several books, articles and poems in French, Chinese and Vietnamese.
With an HPI of 77.72, Ngo Dinh Diem is the 2nd most famous Vietnamese Politician. His biography has been translated into 56 different languages.
Ngô Đình Diệm ( or ; Vietnamese: [ŋō ɗìn jîəmˀ] (listen); 3 January 1901 – 2 November 1963) was a Vietnamese politician. He was the final prime minister of the State of Vietnam (1954–55), and then served as President of South Vietnam (Republic of Vietnam) from 1955 until he was deposed and assassinated during the 1963 military coup. Diệm was born into a prominent Catholic family, the son of a high-ranking civil servant, Ngô Đình Khả. He was educated at French-speaking schools and considered following his brother Ngô Đình Thục into the priesthood, but eventually chose to pursue a civil-service career. He progressed rapidly in the court of Emperor Bảo Đại, becoming governor of Bình Thuận Province in 1929 and interior minister in 1933. However, he resigned the latter position after three months and publicly denounced the emperor as a tool of the French. Diệm came to support Vietnamese nationalism, promoting an anti-communist and anti-colonialist "third way" opposed to both Bảo Đại and communist leader Hồ Chí Minh. He established the Can Lao Party to support his political doctrine of Person Dignity Theory. After several years in exile, Diệm returned home in July 1954 and was appointed prime minister by Bảo Đại, the head of the Western-backed State of Vietnam. The Geneva Accords were signed soon after he took office, formally partitioning Vietnam along the 17th parallel. Diệm soon consolidated power in South Vietnam, aided by his brother Ngô Đình Nhu. After a rigged referendum in 1955, he proclaimed the creation of the Republic of Vietnam, with himself as president. His government was supported by other anti-communist countries, most notably the United States. Diệm pursued a series of nation-building schemes, emphasising industrial and rural development. From 1957, he was faced with a communist insurgency backed by North Vietnam, eventually formally organized under the banner of the Việt Cộng. He was subject to a number of assassination and coup attempts, and in 1962 established the Strategic Hamlet Program as the cornerstone of his counterinsurgency effort. Diệm's favoritism towards Catholics and persecution of South Vietnam's Buddhist majority led to the "Buddhist crisis" of 1963. The violence damaged relations with the United States and other previously sympathetic countries, and his regime lost favour with the leadership of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. On 1 November 1963, the country's leading generals launched a coup d'état with assistance from the CIA. He and his younger brother Nhu initially escaped, but were recaptured the following day and assassinated on the orders of Dương Văn Minh, who succeeded him as president. Diệm has been a controversial historical figure in historiography on the Vietnam War. Some historians have considered him a tool of the United States, while others portrayed him as an avatar of Vietnamese tradition. Many domestic and foreign people and leaders in the world and Vietnam have repeatedly criticized, and condemned him as a dictator but many people and recent studies also have portrayed Diệm from a more Vietnamese-centred perspective as a competent leader focused on modernisation of South Vietnam and nation building.
With an HPI of 74.13, Bảo Đại is the 3rd most famous Vietnamese Politician. His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.
Bảo Đại (Vietnamese: [ɓa᷉ːw ɗâːjˀ], Hán tự: 保大, lit. "keeper of greatness", 22 October 1913 – 30 July 1997), born Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh Thụy, was the 13th and final Emperor of the Nguyễn dynasty, the last ruling family of Vietnam. From 1926 to 1945, he was Emperor of Annam, which was then a protectorate in French Indochina, covering the central two thirds of the present-day Vietnam. Bảo Đại ascended the throne in 1932. The Japanese ousted the Vichy French administration in March 1945 and then ruled through Bảo Đại, who renamed his country "Vietnam". He abdicated in August 1945 when Japan surrendered. From 1949 to 1955, Bảo Đại was the chief of state of the State of Vietnam (South Vietnam). Bảo Đại was criticized for being too closely associated with France and spending much of his time outside Vietnam. Prime Minister Ngô Đình Diệm eventually ousted him in a fraudulent referendum vote in 1955.
With an HPI of 72.54, Lady Sun is the 4th most famous Vietnamese Politician. Her biography has been translated into 15 different languages.
Lady Sun, also known as Sun Ren in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Sun Shangxiang in Chinese opera and contemporary culture, was a Chinese noblewoman who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty. She was a daughter of the warlord Sun Jian and Lady Wu, and her older brothers were the warlords Sun Ce and Sun Quan, who founded the state of Eastern Wu in the Three Kingdoms period. Sometime in 209, she married the warlord Liu Bei to strengthen an alliance between Liu Bei and Sun Quan. Around 211, she returned to Sun Quan's domain when Liu Bei left Jing Province (covering present-day Hubei and Hunan) and settled in Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing).
With an HPI of 72.33, Nguyễn Phú Trọng is the 5th most famous Vietnamese Politician. His biography has been translated into 44 different languages.
Nguyễn Phú Trọng (born April 14, 1944) is a Vietnamese politician who has been the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the highest position in Vietnam since 2011. In addition, Trọng served as president of Vietnam from 2018 to 2021. As general secretary, Trọng heads the party's secretariat and is the Secretary of the Central Military Commission in addition to being the de facto head of the politburo, the highest decision-making body in Vietnam, which currently makes him the most powerful person in Vietnam.He was Chairman of the National Assembly from 2006 to 2011, representing Hanoi, was elected General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam at the party's 11th National Congress in 2011 and re-elected twice at the 12th National Congress in 2016 and the 13th National Congress in 2021.On October 3, 2018, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam formally nominated Trọng to be the next President of Vietnam to be voted on the next session of the National Assembly where the party holds an overwhelming majority, making him the third person to simultaneously head the party and the state after Ho Chi Minh (in North Vietnam only) and Trường Chinh. On October 23, 2018, he was elected as the 9th President of Vietnam in a meeting of the sixth session of the National Assembly. Nguyễn stepped down as President in 2021 but remained as General Secretary of the Communist Party.
With an HPI of 71.53, Nguyễn Văn Thiệu is the 6th most famous Vietnamese Politician. His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.
Nguyễn Văn Thiệu (Vietnamese: [ŋʷǐənˀ vān tʰîəwˀ] (listen); 5 April 1923 – 29 September 2001) was the president of South Vietnam from 1967 to 1975. He was a general in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), became head of a military junta in 1965, and then president after winning an election in 1967. He established rule over South Vietnam until he resigned and left the nation a few days before the fall of Saigon and the ultimate North Vietnamese victory. Born in Phan Rang in the south central coast of Vietnam, Thieu joined the communist-dominated Việt Minh of Hồ Chí Minh in 1945 but quit after a year and joined the Vietnamese National Army (VNA) of the French-backed State of Vietnam. He gradually rose up the ranks and, in 1954, led a battalion in expelling the communists from his native village. Following the withdrawal of the French, the VNA became the ARVN and Thiệu was the head of the Vietnamese National Military Academy for four years before becoming a division commander and colonel. In November 1960, he helped put down a coup attempt against President Ngô Đình Diệm. During this time, he also converted to Roman Catholicism and joined the regime's secret Cần Lao Party; Diệm was thought to give preferential treatment to his co-religionists and Thiệu was accused of being one of many who converted for political advancement. Despite this, Thiệu agreed to join the coup against Ngô Đình Diệm in November 1963 in the midst of the Buddhist crisis, leading the siege on Gia Long Palace. Diệm was captured and executed and Thiệu made a general. Following Diệm's death, there were several short-lived juntas as coups occurred frequently. Thiệu gradually moved up the ranks of the junta by adopting a cautious approach while other officers around him defeated and sidelined one another. In 1965, stability came to South Vietnam when he became the figurehead head of state, while Air Marshal Nguyễn Cao Kỳ became prime minister, although the men were rivals. In 1967, a transition to elected government was scheduled; and, after a power struggle within the military, Thiệu ran for the presidency with Kỳ as his running mate—both men had wanted the top job. To allow the two to work together, their fellow officers had agreed to have a military body controlled by Kỳ shape policy behind the scenes. Leadership tensions became evident, and Thiệu prevailed, sidelining Kỳ supporters from key military and cabinet posts. Thiệu then passed legislation to restrict candidacy eligibility for the 1971 election, banning almost all would-be opponents, while the rest withdrew as it was obvious that the poll would be a sham; Thiệu won more than 90 percent of the vote and the election was uncontested, while Kỳ retired from politics. During his rule, Thiệu was accused of turning a blind eye to and indulging in corruption, and appointing loyalists rather than competent officers to lead ARVN units. During the 1971 Operation Lam Sơn 719 and the communists' Easter Offensive, the I Corps in the north of the country was under the command of his confidant, Hoàng Xuân Lãm, whose incompetence led to heavy defeats until Thiệu finally replaced him with Ngô Quang Trưởng. After the signing of the Paris Peace Accords—which Thiệu opposed—and the American withdrawal, South Vietnam resisted the communists for another two years until the communists' final push for victory, which saw the South openly invaded by the entire North Vietnamese Army. Thiệu gave contradictory orders to Trưởng to stand and fight or withdraw and consolidate, leading to mass panic and collapse in the south of the country. This allowed the communists to generate much momentum and within a month they were close to Saigon, prompting Thiệu to resign and leave the country. He eventually settled near Boston, Massachusetts, USA, preferring not to talk to the media. He died in 2001.
With an HPI of 70.66, Dương Văn Minh is the 7th most famous Vietnamese Politician. His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.
Dương Văn Minh (Vietnamese: [zɨəŋ van miŋ̟] (listen); 16 February 1916 – 6 August 2001), popularly known as Big Minh, was a South Vietnamese politician and a senior general in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and a politician during the presidency of Ngô Đình Diệm. In 1963, he became chief of a military junta after leading a coup in which Diệm was assassinated. Minh lasted only three months before being toppled by Nguyễn Khánh, but assumed power again as the fourth and last President of South Vietnam in April 1975, two days before surrendering to North Vietnamese forces. He earned his nickname "Big Minh", because at approximately 1.83 m (6 ft) tall and weighing 90 kg (198 lb), he was much larger than the average Vietnamese.Born in Tiền Giang Province in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam, Minh joined the French Army at the start of World War II, and was captured and tortured by the Imperial Japanese, who invaded and seized French Indochina. During this time, Minh's teeth were plucked out, leaving him with his distinctive smile. After his release, he joined the French-backed Vietnamese National Army (VNA) and was imprisoned by the communist-dominated Viet Minh before breaking out. In 1955, when Vietnam was partitioned and the State of Vietnam controlled the southern half under Prime Minister Ngô Đình Diệm, Minh led the VNA in decisively defeating the Bình Xuyên paramilitary crime syndicate in street combat and dismantling the Hòa Hảo religious tradition's private army. This made him popular with the people and Diệm, but the latter later put him in a powerless position, regarding him as a threat. In 1963, the authoritarian Diệm became increasingly unpopular due to the Buddhist crisis and the ARVN generals decided to launch a coup, which Minh eventually led. Diệm was assassinated on 2 November 1963 shortly after being deposed. Minh was accused of ordering an aide, Nguyễn Văn Nhung, to kill Diệm. Minh then led a junta for three months, but he was an unsuccessful leader and was heavily criticized for being lethargic and uninterested. During his three months of rule, many civilian problems intensified and the communists made significant gains. Angered at not receiving his desired post, General Nguyễn Khánh led a group of similarly motivated officers in a January 1964 coup. Khánh allowed Minh to stay on as a token head of state in order to capitalize on Minh's public standing, but retained real power. After a power struggle, Khanh had Minh exiled. Minh stayed away before deciding to return and challenge General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu in the presidential election of 1971. When it became obvious that Thieu would rig the poll, Minh withdrew and did not return until 1972, keeping a low profile. Minh then advocated a "third force", maintaining that Vietnam could be reunified without a military victory to a hardline communist or anti-communist government. However, this was not something that Thiệu agreed with. In April 1975, as South Vietnam was on the verge of being overrun, Thieu resigned. A week later, Minh was chosen by the legislature and became president on 28 April. Saigon fell two days later on 30 April, and Minh ordered a surrender to prevent bloody urban street fighting. Minh was spared the lengthy incarceration meted out to South Vietnamese military personnel and civil servants, and lived quietly until being allowed to emigrate to France in 1983. He later moved to California, where he died.
With an HPI of 70.61, Ieng Sary is the 8th most famous Vietnamese Politician. His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.
Ieng Sary (Khmer: អៀង សារី; 24 October 1925 – 14 March 2013) was a Cambodian politician who was the co-founder and senior member of the Khmer Rouge. He was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kampuchea led by Pol Pot and served in the 1975–79 government of Democratic Kampuchea as foreign minister and deputy prime minister. He was known as "Brother Number Three" as he was third in command after Pol Pot and Nuon Chea. His wife, Ieng Thirith (née Khieu), served in the Khmer Rouge government as social affairs minister. Ieng Sary was arrested in 2007 and was charged with crimes against humanity but died of heart failure before the case against him could be brought to a verdict.
With an HPI of 70.52, Kaysone Phomvihane is the 9th most famous Vietnamese Politician. His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.
Kaysone Phomvihane (Lao: ໄກສອນ ພົມວິຫານ; 13 December 1920 – 21 November 1992) was the first leader of the Communist Lao People's Revolutionary Party from 1955 until his death in 1992. After the Communists seized power in the wake of the Laotian Civil War, he was the de facto leader of Laos from 1975 until his death. He served as the first Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic from 1975 to 1991 and then as the second President from 1991 to 1992.
With an HPI of 70.41, Lê Duẩn is the 10th most famous Vietnamese Politician. His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.
Lê Duẩn (Vietnamese: [lē zʷə̂n]; 7 April 1907 – 10 July 1986) was a Vietnamese communist politician. He rose in the party hierarchy in the late 1950s and became General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam (VCP) at the 3rd National Congress in 1960. He continued Hồ Chí Minh's policy of ruling through collective leadership. From the mid-1960s (when Hồ's health was failing) until his own death in 1986, he was the top decision-maker in Vietnam. He was born into a lower-class family in Quảng Trị Province, in the southern part of French Indochina as Lê Văn Nhuận. Little is known about his family and childhood. He first came in contact with revolutionary thoughts in the 1920s through his work as a railway clerk. Lê Duẩn was a founding member of the Indochina Communist Party (the future Communist Party of Vietnam) in 1930. He was imprisoned in 1931 and released in 1937. From 1937 to 1939, he climbed the party ladder. He was rearrested in 1939, this time for fomenting an uprising in the South. Lê Duẩn was released from jail following the successful Communist-led August Revolution of August 1945. During the First Indochina War (1946-1954), Lê Duẩn was an active revolutionary leader in South Vietnam. He headed the Central Office of South Vietnam, a Party organ, from 1951 until 1954. During the 1950s Lê Duẩn became increasingly aggressive towards South Vietnam and called for reunification through war. By the mid-to-late 1950s Lê Duẩn had become the second-most powerful policy-maker within the Party, eclipsing former party First Secretary Trường Chinh. By 1960 he was officially the second-most powerful Party member, after Party chairman Hồ. Throughout the 1960s Hồ's health declined and Lê Duẩn assumed more of his responsibilities. On 2 September 1969 Hồ died and Lê Duẩn became the most powerful figure in the North. He became the General Secretary in 1960, officially becoming the main personality in the party after Hồ Chí Minh. After Hồ's death, Lê Duẩn took over the leadership of North Vietnam. Throughout the Vietnam War of 1955 to 1975, Lê Duẩn took an aggressive posture, seeing attack as the key to victory. When South Vietnam was reunited with North Vietnam in 1976 and the party was restructured, Lê Duẩn became General Secretary of the Party. Lê Duẩn and his associates were overly optimistic about the future. The Second Five-Year Plan (1976–1980) failed and left the Vietnamese economy in crisis. He endorsed the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia of December 1978, aiming to overthrow the Chinese-backed Khmer Rouge regime. This heavily impacted relations between Vietnam and China, with Vietnam responding with the deportation of ethnic Chinese and China carrying out a heavy-loss punitive expedition against Vietnam in 1979. From then on, Vietnam maintained a closer alliance with the Soviet Union and joined Comecon in 1978. Lê remained General Secretary until his death in 1986. He died in Hanoi; his successor was initially Trường Chinh. Lê Duẩn was also known as Lê Dung, and was known in public as "anh Ba" (third brother).
Pantheon has 58 people classified as politicians born between 192 and 1974. Of these 58, 12 (20.69%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Nguyễn Phú Trọng, Trương Tấn Sang, and Nguyễn Xuân Phúc. The most famous deceased politicians include Ho Chi Minh, Ngo Dinh Diem, and Bảo Đại. As of October 2020, 1 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Đinh Bộ Lĩnh.
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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.