1961 - The Vietnamese People's War of Liberation against the French Imperialists and the American Interventionists (1945-1954)
I - A FEW HISTORICAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
Viet Nam is one of the oldest countries in South-east Asia.
Stretching like an immense S along the edge of the Pacific, it includes Bac Bo or North Viet Nam which, with the Red River delta, is a region rich in agricultural and industrial possibilities, Nam Bo or South Viet Nam, a vast alluvial plain furrowed by the arms of the Mekong and especially favourable to agriculture, and Trung Boor Central Viet Nam, a long, narrow belt of land joining them. To describe the shape of their country, the Vietnamese like to recall an image familiar to them : that of a shoulder pole carrying a basket of paddy at each end.
Viet Nam extends over nearly 330.000 square kilometres on which lives a population of approximately 3o million inhabitants. During its many thousands of years old history, the Vietnamese people have always been able to maintain an heroic tradition of struggle against foreign aggression. During the 13th century in particular, they succeeded in thwarting attempts at invasion by the Mongols who had extended their domination over the whole of feudal China.
From the middle of the 19th century, the French imperialists began undertaking the conquest of the country. Despite resistance lasting dozens of years, Viet Nam was progressively reduced to the state of a colony, thereafter to be integrated in ` French Indo-China' with Cambodia and Laos. But from the first day of French aggression, the national liberation movement of the Vietnamese people unceasingly developed. The repression which attempted to stifle this movement only stirred it up the more; so much so, that after the First World War, it began to take on a powerful mass character and had already won over wide circles of the intellectual and petty bourgeois levels, while penetrating deeply into the peasant masses as well as into the working class which was then beginning to form. The year 1930 saw another step forward with the founding of the Indochinese Communist Party, now the Viet Nam Workers' Party which took upon itself the mission of leading the national democratic revolution of the Vietnamese people against the imperialists and the feudal landlord class.
Just after the launching of the Second World War in 1939, France was occupied by the Nazis, while Viet Nam was progressively becoming a colony of the Japanese fascists. The Party was able in good time to appreciate the situation created by this new development. Estimating that a new cycle of war and revolution had begun, it set as a task for the whole nation the widening of the anti-imperialist national united front, the preparation of armed insurrection and the overthrow of the French and Japanese imperialists in order to re-conquer national independence. The Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh (League for the Independence of Viet Nam, abbreviated to Viet Minh) was founded and drew in all patriotic classes and social strata. Guerrilla warfare was launched in the High Region of Bac Bo. A free zone was formed.
In August 1945, the capitulation of the Japanese forces before the Soviet Army and the Allied forces, put an end to the world war. The defeat of the German and Nippon fascists was the beginning of a great weakening of the capitalist system. After the great victory of the Soviet Union, many people's democracies saw the light of day. The socialist system was no longer confined within the frontiers of a single country. A new historic era was beginning in the world.
In view of these changes, in Viet Nam, the Indo-chinese Communist Party and the Viet Minh called the whole Vietnamese nation to general insurrection. Everywhere, the people rose in a body. Demonstrations and displays of force followed each other uninterruptedly. In August, the Revolution broke out, neutralising the bewildered Nippon troops, overthrowing the pro-Japanese feudal authorities, and installing people's power in Hanoi and throughout the country, in the towns as well as in the countryside, in Bac Bo as well as in Nam Bo. In Hanoi, the capital, in September 2nd, the provisional gouvernment was formed around President Ho Chi Minh ; it presented itself to the nation, proclaimed the independence of Viet Nam, and called on the nation to unite, to hold itself in readiness to defend the country and to oppose all attempts at imperialist aggression. The Democratic Republic of Viet Nam was born, the first people's democracy in South-east Asia.
But the imperialists intended to nip the republican regime in the bud and once again transform Viet Nam into a colony. Three weeks had hardly gone by when, on September 23rd, 1945, the French Expeditionary Corps opened fire in Saigon. The whole Vietnamese nation then rose to resist foreign aggression. From that day, began a war of national liberation which was to be carried on for nine years at the cost of unprecedented heroism and amidst unimaginable difficulties, to end by the shining victory of our people and the crushing defeat of the aggressive imperialists at Dien Bien Phu.
But at a time when, in the amazing enthusiasm aroused by the August Revolution, the Vietnamese people were closing their ranks around the provisional government, a new factor intervened which was to make the political situation more difficult and more complex. According to the terms of an agreement between the Allies, in order to receive the Japanese surrender, the Chinese Kuomintang forces entered in a body in the part of Viet Nam situated north of the 16th parallel, while the British forces landed in the South. The Chiang Kai-shek troop took advantage of the opportunity to pillage the population and sack the country, while using every means to help the most reactionary elements among the Vietnamese bourgeois and landlords - the members of the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang (the Vietnamese Kuomintang) and the pro-Japanese Phuc Quoc (Vietnamese National Restoration Party) - to stir up trouble throughout the country. After occupying the five frontier provinces, they provoked incidents even in the capital, and feverishly prepared to overthrow people's power. In the South, the British actively exerted themselves to hasten the return of the French imperialists. Never before had there been so many foreign troops on the soil of Viet Nam. But never before either, had the Vietnamese people been so determined to rise up in combat to defend their country.
These are the broad outlines of the historical and geographical conditions indispensable to an understanding of the unfolding of the war of national liberation of the Vietnamese people.
II - SUMMARY OF THE PROGRESS OF THE WAR OF NATIONAL LIBERATION
At the outset of the war, the French imperialists' scheme was to rely upon the British troops to re-conquer Nam Bo and afterwards to use it as a springboard for preparing their return to the North. They had shamefully capitulated before the Japanese fascists, but after the ending of the world war, they considered the resumption of their place at the head of their former colony as an indisputable right. They refused to admit that in the meantime the situation had radically changed.
In September 1945, French colonial troops armed by the British and soon strengthened by the French Expeditionary Corps under the command of General Leclerc, launched aggression in Saigon, with the direct support of the British army. The population of Nam Bo immediately rose up to fight. In view of the extreme weakness of its forces at the beginning, people's power had to withdraw to the countryside after waging heroic street fights in Saigon and in the large towns. Almost the whole of the towns and important lines of communication in Nam Bo and the South of Trung Bo gradually fell into the hands of the adversary.
The colonialists thought they were on the point of achieving the re-conquest of Nam Bo, and General Leclerc declared that occupation and pacification would be completed in ten weeks. But events took quite a different turn. Confident of the support of the whole country, the southern population continued the fight. In all the campaigns in Nam Bo the guerrilla forces were going from strength to strength, their bases were being consolidated and extended and people's power was maintained and strengthened during the nine years of the Resistance, until the re-establishment of peace.
Knowing that the invasion of Nam Bo was only the prelude to a plan of aggression by the French imperialists, pour Party guided the whole nation toward preparing a long-term resistance. In order to assemble all the forces against French imperialism, the Party advocated uniting all the elements that could be united, neutralising all those that could be neutralised, and widening the National United Front by the formation of the Lien Viet (Viet Nam People's Front) urgently organising general elections with universal suffrage in order to form the first National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam responsible for passing the Constitution and forming a widely representative resistance government grouping the most diverse elements including even those of the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang (the Vietnamese Kuomintang). At that time, we avoided all incidents with the Chiang Kai-shek troops.
The problem then before the French Expeditionary Corps was to know whether it would be easy for them to return to North Viet Nam by force. It was certainly not so, because our forces were more powerful there than in the South. For its part, our Government intended doing everything in its power to preserve peace so as to enable the newly created people's power to consolidate itself and to rebuild the country devastated by long years of war. It was thus that negotiations which ended in the Preliminary Agreement of March 6th 1946, took place between the French colonialists and our Government. According to the terms of this convention, limited contingents of French troops were allowed to station in a certain number of localities in North Viet Nam in order to co-operate with the Vietnamese troops in taking over from the repatriated Chiang Kai-shek forces. In exchange, the French Govern-ment recognised Viet Nam as a free state, having its own government, its own national assembly, its own army and finances, and promised to withdraw its troops from Viet Nam within the space of five years. The political status of Nam Bo was to be decided by a referendum.
Relations between the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam and France were then at a crossroads. Would there be a move towards consolidation of peace or a resumption of hostilities? The colonialists considered the Preliminary Agreement as a provisional expedient enabling them to introduce part of their troops into the North of Viet Nam, a delaying stratagem for preparing the war they intended to continue. Therefore, the talks at the Dalat Conference led to no result and those at the Fontainebleau Conference resulted only in the signing of an unstable modus vivendi. During the whole of this time, the colonialists partisans of war were steadily pursuing their tactics of local encroachments.
Instead of observing the armistice, they continued their mopping-up operations in Nam Bo, and set up a local puppet government there; in Bac Bo they increased provocations and attacked a certain number of provinces, pillaging and massacring the population of the Hongai mining area, and everywhere creating an atmosphere of tension preparatory to attacks by force.
Loyal to its policy of peace and independence, our Government vainly endeavoured to settle conflicts in a friendly manner, many times appealing to the French Government then presided over by the S.F.I.O. (Socialist Party) to change their policy in order to avoid a war detrimental to both sides. At the same time we busied ourselves with strengthening our rear with a view to resistance. We obtained good results in intensifying production. We paid much attention to strengthening national defence. The liquidating of the reactionaries of the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang was crowned with success and we were able to liberate all the areas which had fallen into their hands.
In November 1946, the situation worsened. The colonialists by a coup de force in Haiphong seized the town. After engaging in street fights, our troops withdrew to the suburbs. In December, the colonialists provoked tension in Hanoi, massacred civilians, seized a number of public offices, sent an ultimatum demanding the disarming of our self-defence groups and the right to ensure order in the, town, and finally provoked armed conflict. Obstinately the colonialists chose war which led to their ruin.
On December 19th, resistance broke out throughout the country. The next day, in the name of the Party and of the Government, President Ho Chi Minh called on the whole people to rise up to exterminate the enemy and save the country, to fight to the last drop of blood, and whatever the cost, to refuse re-enslavement.
At the time when hostilities became generalised throughout the country, what was the balance of forces? From the point of view of material, the enemy was stronger than us. Our troops were thus ordered to fight the enemy wherever they were garrisoned so as to weaken them and prevent them spreading out too rapidly, and thereafter, when conditions became unfavourable to us, to make the bulk of our forces fall back towards our rear in order to keep our forces intact with a view to a long-term resistance. The most glorious and most remarkable combats took place in Hanoi, where our troops succeeded in firmly holding a huge sector for two months before with-drawing from the capital unhurt.
The whole Vietnamese people remained indissolubly united in a fight to the death in those days when the country was in danger. Replying to the appeal by the Party, they resolutely chose the path of Freedom and Independence. The central government, having withdrawn to bases in the mountainous region of Viet Bac, military zones - soon united in inter-zones - were formed, and the power of local authorities was strengthened for mobilising the whole people and organising the resistance. Our government continued appealing to the French government not to persist in their error and to reopen peaceful negotiations. But the latter under the pretext of negotiation demanded the disarming of our troops. We replied to the colonialists' obstinacy by intensifying the resistance.
In fact, the French High Command began regrouping forces to prepare a fairly big lightning offensive in the hope of ending the war. In October 1947, they launched a big campaign against our principal base, Viet Bac, in order to annihilate the nerve centre of the resistance and destroy our regular forces. But this large-scale operation ended in a crushing defeat. The forces of the Expeditionary Corps suffered heavy losses without succeeding in causing anxiety to our leading organisations or impairing our regular units. It was a blow to the enemy's strategy of a lightning war and a rapid solution. Our people were all the more determined to persevere along the path of a long-term resistance.
From 1948, realising that the war was prolonging itself, the enemy changed their strategy. They used the main part of their forces for "pacification" and for consolidating the already occupied areas, in Nam Bo especially, applying the principle: fight Vietnamese with Vietnamese, feed war with war. They set up a puppet central government, actively organised supplementary local units, and indulged in economic pillage. They gradually extended their zone of occupation in the North and placed under their control the major part of the Red River delta. During all these years, the French Expeditionary Corps followed a procedure of great dispersion, scattering their forces in thousands of military posts to occupy territory and control the localities. But ever-growing military and financial difficulties gradually led the French imperialists to let the American imperialists interfere in the conflict.
The enemy having altered their strategy, we then advocated the wide development of guerrilla warfare, transforming the former's rear into our front line. Our units operated in small pockets, with independent companies penetrating deeply into the enemy-controlled zone to launch guerrilla warfare, establish bases and protect local people's power. It was an extremely hard war generalised in all domains: military, economic and political. The enemy mopped-up, we fought against mopping-up. They organised supplementary local Vietnamese troops and installed puppet authorities; we firmly upheld local people's power, overthrew men of straw, eliminated traitors and carried out active propaganda to bring about the disintegration of the supplementary forces. We gradually formed a network of guerrilla bases. On the map showing the theatre of operations besides the free zone, "red zones", which ceaselessly spread and multiplied, began to appear right in the heart of the occupied areas. The soil of the fatherland was being freed inch by inch right in the enemy's rear lines. There was no clearly-defined front in this war. It was there where the enemy was. The front was nowhere, it was everywhere. Our new strategy created serious difficulties for the enemy's plan to feed war with war and to fight Vietnamese with Vietnamese and finally brought about their defeat.
The centre of gravity of the front was gradually moving towards the enemy's rear. During this time, the free zone was continually being consolidated. Our army was growing in the struggle. The more our guerrillas developed and the more our local units grew, the more we found ourselves able to regroup our forces. At the end of 1948 and the beginning of 1949, for the first time we launched small campaigns which inflicted considerable losses on our adversary. The imperialists were beginning to feel great anxiety. The commission of enquiry presided over by General Revers made a fairly pessimistic report which came to the conclusion that it was necessary to ask the United States for more aid.
1949 saw the brilliant triumph of the Chinese Revolution and the birth of the People's Republic of China. This great historic event which altered events in Asia and the world, exerted a considerable influence on the war of liberation of the Vietnamese people. Viet Nam was no longer in the grip of enemy encirclement, and was henceforth geographically linked to the socialist bloc.
At the beginning of 1950, the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam was officially recognised by the People's Republic of China, the Soviet Union and the brother countries. The following year, the second Congress of the Indochinese Communist Party decided to alter the name of the Party and founded the Viet Nam Workers' Party. The Viet Minh and the Lien Viet were amalgamated. In 1953, the Party and the Government decided to carry out agrarian reform in order to liberate productive forces and give a more vigorous impulse to the Resistance. All these facts contributed to shaping to our advantage the course of our struggle.
In effect, 1950 marked the opening of a new phase in the evolution of our long Resistance. During the winter, in the frontier campaign, for the first time, we opened a relatively big counter-attack which resulted in the liberation of the provinces of Cao Bang, Lang Son and Lao Cai. Immediately after, we began a series of offensive operations on the delta front.
The enemy, routed, sent General De Lattre de Tassigny to Indo-China. The military aid granted by the United States following an agreement signed in 1950, was on the increase. The aggressive war waged by the French colonialists gradually became a war carried out with "U.S. dollars" and "French blood . It was really a 'dirty war'.
De Lattre's plan, approved by Washington, provided for a strong line of bunkers in the Red River delta to stop our progress, and for a regrouping of forces in order to launch violent mopping-up operations so as at all costs to 'pacify' the rear and create the right conditions for an offensive which would enable the French forces to recapture the initiative while attacking our free zone. In October 1951, the enemy occupied Hoa Binh. We replied by immediately launching the Hoa Binh campaign. On the one hand we contained and overwhelmed the adversary's forces on the "opposite" front, on the other hand, we took advantage of their exposed disposition of troops to get our divisions to strike direct blows at their rear in the Red River delta. Our large guerrilla bases were extending further still, freeing nearly two million inhabitants. Hoa Binh was released. De Lattre's plan was checked.
In 1952, we launched a campaign in the North-Western zone and freed vast territories as far as Dien Bien Phu. At the beginning of 1953, units of Vietnamese volunteers, co-operating with the Pathet Lao liberation army, began the campaign in Higher Laos which brought about the liberation of Sam Neua.
In short, the face of the various theatres of operations was as follows:
The main front was that of North Viet Nam where most of the big battles were taking place. At the beginning of 1953, almost the whole of the mountainous region, say, more than two thirds of the territory of North Viet Nam, had been liberated. The enemy still occupied Hanoi and the Red River delta, but outside the large towns and the im-portant lines of communication, our enlarged guerrilla bases-our free zone - already embraced nearly two thirds of the villages and localities situated in the enemy rear. In Central and South Viet Nam, we still firmly held vast free zones while continuing powerfully to develop our guerrilla bases in the occupied zone.
The face of the theatres of operations had greatly altered : the zone of enemy occupation had been gradually reduced, whereas the main base of the Resistance - the free zone of North Viet Nam, had gone on extending and being consolidated day by day. Our forces constantly maintained the initiative in operations. The enemy found themselves driven into a very dangerous impasse.
The French imperialists were getting more and more bogged down in their unjust war of aggression. American aid, which covered 15 per cent of the expenditure on this war in 1950 and 1951, rose to 35 per cent in 1952, 45 per cent in 1953, soon to reach 80 per cent in 1954 But the situation of the French Expeditionary Corps remained without much hope. In Autumn 1953, taking advantage of the armistice in Korea, the American and French imperialists plotted to increase their armed forces in Indo-China in the hope of prolonging and extending hostilities.
They decided on the Navarre plan which proposed to crush the main part of our forces, to occupy the whole of Viet Nam, to transform it into a colony and a Franco-American military base and to end the war victoriously within 18 months. It was, in fact, the plan of the "war-to-the-end" men, Laniel and Dulles. In order to realise the first phase of this plan, General Navarre assembled in the North more than half the entire mobile farces of the Indochinese theatre, including reinforcements newly arrived from France, launched attacks against our free zone, and parachuted troops into Dien Bien Phu to turn it into the springboard for a future offensive.
The enemy wanted to concentrate their forces. We compelled them to disperse. By successively launching strong offensives on the points they had left relatively unprotected, we obliged them to scatter their troops all over the place in order to ward off our blows, and thus created favourable conditions for the attack at Dien Bien Phu, the most powerful entrenched camp in Indo-China, considered invulnerable by the Franco-American general staff. We decided to take the enemy by the throat at Dien Bien Phu. The major part of our forces were concentrated there. We mobilised the entire potentiality of the population of the free zone in order to guarantee victory for our front line. After 55 days and 55 nights of fighting, the Viet Nam People's Army accomplished the greatest feat of arms of the whole war of liberation: the entire garrison at Dien Bien Phu was annihilated. This great campaign, which altered the course of the war, contributed decisively to the success of the Geneva Conference.
In July 1954, the signing of the Geneva Agreements re-established peace in Indo-China on the basis of respect for the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos. It is following these agreements that North Viet Nam, with a population of 16 million inhabitants, is today entirely free. This success crowned nearly a century of struggle for national liberation, and especially the nine long and hard years of resistance war waged by the Vietnamese people. It was a crushing defeat for the French and American imperialists as well as for their lackeys. But at present, half of our country is still living under the yoke of the American imperialists and the Ngo Dinh Diem authorities. Our people's struggle for national liberation is not yet finished, it is continuing by peaceful means.
III - THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEMS OF OUR WAR OF LIBERATION
The Vietnamese people's war of liberation was, a just war, aiming to win back the independence and unity of the country, to bring land to our peasants and guarantee them the right to it, and to defend the achievements of the August Revolution. That is why it was first and foremost a people's war. To educate, mobilise, organise and arm the whole people in order that they might take part in the Resistance was a crucial question.
The enemy of the Vietnamese nation was aggressive imperialism, which had to be overthrown. But the latter having long since joined up with the feudal landlords, the anti-imperialist struggle could definitely not be separated from anti-feudal action. On the other hand, in a backward colonial country such as ours where the peasants make up the majority of the population, a people's war is essentially a peasant's war under the leadership of the working class. Owing to this fact, a general mobilisation of the whole people is neither more nor less than the mobilisation of the rural masses. The problem of land is of decisive importance. From an exháustive analysis, the Vietnamese people's war of liberation was essentially a people's national democratic revolution carried out under armed form and had twofold fundamental task: the overthrowing of imperialism and the defeat of the feudal landlord class, the anti-imperialist struggle being the primary task.
A backward colonial country which had only just risen up to proclaim its independence and install people's power, Viet Nam only recently possessed armed forces, equipped with still very mediocre arms and having no combat experience. Her enemy, on the other hand, was an imperialist power which has retained a fairly considerable economic and military potentiality despite the recent German occupation and benefited, furthermore, from the active support of the United States. The balance of forces decidedly showed up our weaknesses against the enemy's power. The Vietnamese people's war of liberation had, therefore, to be a hard and long-lasting war in order to succeed in creating conditions for victory. All the conceptions born of impatience and aimed at obtaining speedy victory could only be gross errors. It was necessary to firmly grasp the strategy of a long-term resistance, and to exalt the will to be self-supporting in order to maintain and gradually augment our forces, while nibbling at and progressively destroying those of the enemy; it was necessary to accumulate thousands of small victories to turn them into a great success, thus gradually altering the balance of forces, in transforming our weakness into power and carrying off final victory.
At an early stage, our Party was able to discern the characteristics of this war: a people's war and a long-lasting war, and it was by proceeding from these premises that, during the whole of hostilities and in particularly difficult conditions, the Party solved all the problems of the Resistance. This judicious leadership by the Party led us to victory.
From the point of view of directing operations, our strategy and tactics had to be those of a people's war and of a long-term resistance.
Our strategy was, as we have stressed, to wage a long-lasting battle. A war of this nature in general entails several phases; in principle, starting from a stage of contention, it goes through a period of equilibrium before arriving at a general counter-offensive. In effect, the way in which it is carried on can be more subtle and more complex, depending on the particular conditions obtaining on both sides during the course of operations. Only a long-term war could enable us to utilise to the maximum our political trump cards, to overcome our material handicap and to transform our weakness into strength. To maintain and increase our forces, was the principle to which we adhered, contenting ourselves with attacking when success was certain, refusing to give battle likely to incur losses to us or to engage in hazardous actions. We had to apply the slogan: to build up our strength during the actual course of fighting.
The forms of fighting had to be completely adapted that is, to raise the fighting spirit to the maximum and rely on heroism of our troops to overcome the enemy's material superiority. In the main, especially at the outset of the war, we had recourse to guerrilla fighting. In the Vietnamese theatre of operations, this method carried off great victories: it could be used in the mountains as well as in the delta, it could be waged with good or mediocre material and even without arms, and was to enable us eventually to equip ourselves at the cost of the enemy. Wherever the Expeditionary Corps came, the entire population took part in the fighting; every commune had its fortified village, every district had its regional troops fighting under the command of the local branches of the Party and the people's administration, in liaison with the regular forces in order to wear down and annihilate the enemy forces.
Thereafter, with the development of our forces, guerrilla warfare changed into a mobile warfare - a form of mobile warfare still strongly marked by guerrilla warfare --which would afterwards become the essential form of operations on the main front, the northern front. In this process of development of guerrilla warfare and of accentuation of the mobile warfare, our people's army constantly grew and passed from the stage of combats involving a section or company, to fairly large-scale campaigns bringing into action several divisions. Gradually, its equipment improved, mainly by the seizure of arms from the enemy - the material of the French and American imperialists.
From the military point of view, the Vietnamese people's war of liberation proved that an insufficiently equipped people's army, but an army fighting for a just cause, can, with appropriate strategy and tactics, combine the conditions needed to conquer a modern army of aggressive imperialism.
Concerning the management of a war economy within the framework of an agriculturally backward country under-taking a long-term resistance as was the case in Viet Nam, the problem of the rear lines arose under the form of building resistance bases in the countryside. The raising and defence of production, and the development of agriculture, were problems of great importance for supplying the front as well as for the progressive improvement of the people's living conditions. The question of manufacturing arms was not one which could be set aside.
In the building of rural bases and the reinforcement of the rear lines for giving an impulse to the resistance, the agrarian policy of the Party played a determining role. Therein lay the anti-feudal task of the revolution. In a colony where the national question is essentially the peasant question, the consolidation of the resistance forces was possible only by a solution to the agrarian problem.
The August Revolution overthrew the feudal State. The reduction of land rents and rates of interest decreed by people's power bestowed on the peasants their first material advantages. Land monopolised by the imperialists and the traitors was confiscated and shared out. Communal land and rice fields were more equitably distributed. From 1953, deeming it necessary to promote the accomplishment of anti-feudal tasks, the Party decided to achieve agrarian reform even during the course of the resistance war. Despite the errors which blemished its accomplishment, it was a correct line crowned with success; it resulted in real material advantages for the peasants and brought to the army and the people a new breath of enthusiasm in the war of resistance.
Thanks to this just agrarian policy, the life of the people, in the hardest conditions of the resistance war, in general improved, not only in the wast free zones of the North, but even in the guerrilla bases in South Viet Nam.
The Vietnamese people's war of liberation brought out the importance of building resistance bases in the country-side and the close and indissoluble relationships between the anti-imperialist revolution and the anti-feudal revolution.
From the political point of view, the question of unit among the people and the mobilisation of all energies in the war of resistance were of paramount importance. It wa at the same time a question of the national united fror against the imperialists and their lackeys, the Vietnamese traitors.
In Viet Nam, our Party carried off a great success in its policy of Front. As early as during the difficult days of the Second World War, it formed the League for the Independence of Viet Nam. At the time of and during the early years of the war of resistance, it postponed the application of its watchwords on the agrarian revolution, limiting its programme to the reduction of land rents and interest rates, which enabled us to neutralise part of the landlord class and to rally around us the most patriotic of them.
From the early days of the August Revolution, the policy of broad front adopted by the Party neutralised th( wavering elements among the landlord class and limited the acts of sabotage by the partisans of the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang.
Thereafter, in the course of development of the resistance war, when agrarian reform had become an urgent necessity, our Party applied itself to making a differentiation within the bosom of the landlord class by providing in its political line for different treatment for each type of landlord according to the latter's political attitude, on the principle of liquidation of the regime of feudal appropriation of land.
The policy of unity among nationalities adopted by the National United Front also achieved great successes and the programme of unity with the various religious circles attained good results.
The National United Front was to be a vast assembly of all the forces capable of being united, neutralising all those which could be neutralised, dividing all those it was possible to divide in order to direct the spearhead at the chief enemy of the revolution, invading imperialism. It was to be established on the basis of an alliance between workers and peasants and placed under the leadership of the working class. In Viet Nam, the question of an alliance between workers and peasants was backed by a dazzling history and firm traditions, the party of the working class having been the only political party to fight resolutely in all circumstances for national independence, and the first to put forward the watchword "land to the tillers "and to struggle determinedly for its realisation. However, in the early years of the resistance a certain under-estimation of the importance of the peasant question hindered us from giving all the necessary attention to the worker-peasant alliance. This error war subsequently put right, especially from the moment when the Party decided, by means of accomplishing agrarian reform, to make the peasants the real masters of the countryside. At present, after the victory of the resistance and of agrarian reform, when the Party has restored independence to half the country and brought land to the peasants, the bases of the worker-peasant alliance will daily go from strength to strength.
The war of liberation of the Vietnamese people proves that, in the face of an enemy as powerful as he is cruel, victory is possible only by uniting the whole people within the bosom of a firm and wide national united front based on the worker-peasant alliance.
IV - THE FACTORS OF SUCCESS
The Vietnamese people's war of liberation has won great victories. In North Viet Nam, entirely freed, the imperialist enemy has been overthrown, the landlords have been got rid of as a class, and the population is advancing with a firm tread on the path of building socialism to make of the North a firm base of action for the reunification of the country.
The Vietnamese people's war of liberation was victorious because it was a just war, waged for independence and the reunification of the country, in the legitimate interests of the national and the people and which by this fact succeeded in leading the whole people to participate enthusiastically in the resistance and to consent to make every sacrifice for its victory.
The Vietnamese people's war of liberation won this great victory because we had a revolutionary armed force of the people, the heroic Viet Nam People's Army. Built in accordance with the political line of the Party, this army was animated by an unflinching combative spirit, and accustomed to a style of persevering political work. It adopted the tactics and strategy of a people's war. It developed from nothing by combining the best elements among the workers, peasants and revolutionary students and intellectuals, stemming from the patriotic organisations of the popular masses. Born of the people, it fought for the people. It is an army led by the Party of the working class.
The Vietnamese people's war of liberation was victorious because we had a wide and firm National United Front, comprising all the revolutionary classes, all the nationalities living on Vietnamese soil, all the patriots. This Front was based on the alliance between workers and peasants, under the leadership of the Party.
The Vietnamese people's war of liberation ended in victory because of the existence of people's power established during the August Revolution and thereafter constantly consolidated. This power was the Government of alliance between classes, the government of the revolutionary classes and above all of the workers and peasants. It was the dictatorship of people's democracy, the dictatorship of the workers and peasants in fact, under the leadership of the Party. It devoted its efforts to mobilising and organising the whole people for the Resistance; it brought the people material advantages not only in the free zones, but also in the guerrilla bases behind the enemy's back.
The Vietnamese people's war of liberation attained this great victory for the reasons we have just enumerated, but above all because it was organised and led by the Party of the working class : the Indochinese Communist Party, now the Viet Nam Workers' Party. In the light of the principles of Marxism-Leninism, it was this Party which proceeded to make an analysis of the social situation and of the balance of forces between the enemy and ourselves in order to determine the fundamental tasks of the people's national democratic revolution, to establish the plan for the armed struggle and decide on the guiding principle: long-term resistance and self-reliance. It was the Party which found a correct solution to the problems arising out of the setting up and leadership of a people's army, people's power and a national united front. It also inspired in the people and the army a completely revolutionary spirit which instilled into the whole people the will to overcome all difficulties, to endure all privations, the spirit of a long resistance, of resistance to the end. Our Party, under the leadership of President Ho Chi Minh, is the worthy Party of the working class and the nation. President Ho Chi Minh, leader of the Party and the nation, is the symbol of this gigantic uprising of the Vietnamese people.
If the Vietnamese people's war of liberation ended in a glorious victory, it is because we did not fight alone, but with the support of progressive peoples the world over, and more especially the peoples of the brother countries, with the Soviet Union at the head. The victory of the Vietnamese people cannot be divided from this support; it cannot be disassociated from the brilliant successes of the socialist countries and the movement of national liberation, neither can it be detached from the victories of the Soviet Red Army during the Second World War, nor from those of the Chinese people during the last few years. It cannot be isolated from the sympathy and support of progressive peoples throughout the world, among whom are the French people under the leadership of their Communist Party, and the peoples of Asia and Africa.
The victory of the Vietnamese people is that of a small and weak nation and possessing no regular army, which rose up to engage in an armed struggle against the aggression of an imperialist country with a modern army and benefiting from the support of the American imperialists. This colonial country has established and maintained a regime of people's democracy, which will open up to it the path to socialism. That is one of the great historic events in the national liberation movement and in the proletarian revolutionary movement, in the new international position born of the Second World War, in the period of transition from capital-ism to socialism, in the time of the disintegration of imperialism. The Vietnamese people's war of liberation has contributed to making obvious this new historic truth: in the present international situation, a weak people which rises up resolutely to fight for its freedom is sure to triumph over all enemies and to achieve victory.
This great truth enlightens and encourages the Vietnamese people on the path of struggle for peace, socialism and the reunification of the country. This path will certainly lead it to new victories.