Independent Vietnam (since 1945)
In the summer of 1945, popular discontent reached a climax and revolutionary action involving both political and armed struggle proliferated throughout the country, from north to south, in villages and cities, and among the ethnic minorities in the mountainous regions.
The decisive factor was the Viet Minh Front which led and coordinated all the actions nationwide.
On August 13, following the defeat of the Japanese Kwantung Army by the Soviet Army and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the US, Japan surrendered. The same day, the Communist Party of Indochina, met at a national congress and decided to adopt the following slogans:
- End foreign aggression;
- Seize back national independence; and
- Found the people's power.
Orders were given to combine political and military action to agitate and to demoralize the enemy, to force them to surrender before an attack, and to focus on the most important targets.
On August 16, the Viet Minh convened a National Congress bringing together delegates from many parties, organizations, and ethnic and religious groups. The congress decided on the following resolution:
"To seize power from the hands of the Japanese and puppet government before the arrival of Allied troops in Indochina and receive in our capacity, as masters of the country, the troops which come to disarm the Japanese".
The problem was
pre-emptying the "Allies" (Chiang Kai-shek, British, French
and American) who all wanted to occupy
The Congress adopted a 10-point program:
Seize power and found the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on the basis of total independence; Arm the people. Strengthen the Liberation Army;
Confiscate the property of the imperialists and traitors, and depending on circumstances, nationalize it or share it out among the poor;
Abolish the taxes imposed by the French and Japanese, and replace them with a just and non-punitive budget system;
Guarantee the fundamental rights of the people:
- Human rights,
- Right to private ownership,
- Civil rights : universal suffrage, democratic freedoms, equality among ethnic groups, and between men and women;
Share out communal land fairly, reduce land rent and loan interest rates, postpone repayment of debts, and provide relief to victims of natural disasters;
Introduce labour legislation : an eight-hour workday, minimum salary, national insurance;
Build in independent national economy, develop agriculture, and set up a national bank;
Develop a national education system : fight illiteracy, and introduce compulsory elementary education. Build a new culture;
Establish friendly relations with the Allies and countries struggling for independence.
A National Committee for Liberation was elected, with the functions of at provisional government, headed by Ho Chi Minh. He soon made a moving appeal to the nation:
"This hour is a decisive one for our nation's destiny. Let us all stand up and fight tenaciously for our own liberation. Many peoples of the world are rising up to regain their independence. We cannot lag behind. Forward! Under the Viet Minh banner, let us march courageously forward"
Army promptly liberated the town of
In the three
major cities of
on August 14, pro-Japanese elements formed a united National
Front. The king's envoy from
The insurrection had won complete victory throughout the country.
Revolution of 1945 put an end to 80 years of French colonial
domination, abolished the monarchy and reestablished
The revolution dealt a severe blow to the colonial system, and along with other movements throughout the world, ushered in the dismantling of colonial empires.
The August Revolution was characterized by a sound combination of political and armed struggles, one supporting the other, the importance attributed to either varying with the circumstances. It showed the political maturity as well as the capacity for action of the masses and the leadership ability of the Viet Minh Front and Communist Party. Victory was achieved thanks to its leadership that had called for the right action at the right moment, and identified forms of action appropriate to each movement and each locality. It was also the product of long preparation, both political and military, that began at the start of the Second World War, and which ended in creating a strong national union on the basis of a close alliance between the workers and peasants, and succeeded in inspiring the masses with a courage that could be held out against all challenges.
The Founding of the Democratic
When World War
II ended and
French Aggression in
In the summer of
1945, the French government took a series of urgent measures
aimed at re-establishing French sovereignty in
On August 23,
French troops, among them Cedile, a delegate from the High
Commissioner, were parachuted into Nam Bo (southern
On the night of
September 22, French troops attacked
"Let the Government and our people throughout the country do all they can for the combatants and people of the south who are valiantly fighting their lives to safeguard the independence of the homeland."
Units of the People's Army immediately began the march towards the south.
At the end of
January 1946, deploying their armored vehicles and navy, the
French occupied Nam Bo's main cities and communication
routes and those of the southern part of Trung Bo and the
provoked incidents in
On the evening
We want peace, and we have made concessions. But the more concessions we make, the more the French colonialists use them to encroach upon our rights. They are determined to reconquer our country.
No. We would rather sacrifice all than lose our independence and be enslaved. All of you, men and women, young and old, what ever your region, ethnic origin, or political opinion, arise to struggle against French colonialism and save the homeland. Let those who have guns use their guns, those who have swords use their swords, those have neither guns nor swords use hoes, pick-axes, and sticks. Let all arise to oppose colonialism and defend our homeland.... Our people will win".
The war of resistance, until then limited to the south, spread across the country. The newly born Democratic Republic of Vietnam was confronted with a decisive challenge, a war against a heavily armed imperialist power far superior in strength in the technical and economic fields.
The First War of Resistance (1945-1954)
The war of resistance against French colonialist aggression which broke out on September 25 1945 in Nam Bo, and spread throughout the country after December 19 1946, marked a decisive stage in an almost century-long struggle to regain the nation's independence and democratize the country. While armed struggle came ahead of all other concerns, economic reconstruction, educational advancement, and the establishing of new administrative structures remained as the major tasks. While national liberation was the prime objective, the democratic objectives were no less important, all the more so since the struggle was led by a party of the working class and the fact that the worker-peasant alliance constituted the very foundations of the united national front.
Under the leadership of the
It was in this revolutionary atmosphere that the Vietnamese command decided its plans for the winter-spring campaign of 1953-1954. As had been foreseen, the fierce assaults launched by the enemy into the liberated areas at Lang Son and Ninh Binh brought poor results, and the French forces soon withdrew after sustaining heavy losses. Throughout the 1953-1954 winter-spring campaign, fighting had been fierce on all fronts.
The defeats at
The signed agreements included military and political provisions. Militarily, it was decided that the forces from each side would be regrouped into two different zones, north and south of the 17th parallel, so as to separate the armies which, given the special nature of the war, had been interlocked like "two combs". A 300 days deadline was agreed on for achieving this re-groupment.
agreements recognized the independence, sovereignty, unity
and territorial integrity of the three countries of
Building the initial foundations of socialism and the
stipulated that the southern half of
However, soon after the agreement were signed, Washington, with French government consent, set up a neo-colonialist regime in southern Vietnam with specific counter-revolutionary aims: liquidate the national revolutionary movement in southern Vietnam, turn the latter into a military base and colony of the US and set up a military and police apparatus to serve as an instrument for the enslavement of the south and reconquest of the north.
The North was led by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam where the reconstruction of the nation would start. In the South, the war for national liberation was still going on, which lasted for 20 years.
There were three definable stages during the period 1954-1975
- 1954-1965: the establishment of the initial foundations of socialism in the north, and the southern Vietnamese people's struggle against repression and the neo-colonialist war;
- 1965-1973: the
all-out struggle by north and south against direct
- 1973-1975: the collapse of the neo-colonialist regime in the south.
The Great Spring 1975 Victory
Assault of Ho Chi Minh's Campaign overthrew the Saigon
Government on the evening of
nation overcame the grave consequences of 30 years of war
and started rebuilding the country. Now,