Vietnam: fundamental problems

In 1945, French imperialism, although weakened, was able to send to Indochina tens of thousands of troops equipped with the most modern weapons, perfected during the Second World War.
In 1945, French imperialism, although weakened, was able to send to Indochina tens of thousands of troops equipped with the most modern weapons, perfected during the Second World War. The French expeditionary corps sprang from a well-trained army with a long habit of colonial wars and commanded by men of valour. On the Vietnamese side, there were no armouries, no professional military men, only a few old rifles and bamboo spears to face tanks and aircraft, and for commander-in-chief a ... law graduate. In the course of nearly a century of colonial conquest and domination, French colonialism had never engaged more than ten thousand troops at a time in military operations in Indochina. To re-conquer Vietnam and a fortiori, Cambodia and Laos in 1945 seemed an easy task, a matter of a few months in the opinion of the more experienced French generals. But the war was to last until 1954 and ended with the victory of the Vietnamese resistance.
Strategy and politics
The source of this victory was the heroism of the combatants and the people behind them, but this did not explain everything, for even if everyone was resolved to fight and to endure all sacrifices for the sake of independence and freedom, he still had to know how to fight. Right at the beginning of the war, the leadership of the Communist Party (which was to become the Workers’ Party in 1951) laid down the strategy to be adopted by all:
“The general strategic line to be followed by our resistance is protracted warfare. An agricultural country, we are brought into conflict with an industrial country. With rudimentary weapons we are fighting an enemy equipped with aircraft, armour, warships. If we hurled our army into a few decisive battles, we would meet with inevitable defeat.
On the contrary, if, while fighting, we know how to preserve and increase our strength, season our army and give military training to our people, if we learn to wage war while carrying out combat operations, we shall obtain what we lacked at the beginning, and though weak at first, we shall become strong. By decimating, harassing, demoralizing the enemy, we shall turn the tide. Losing his initial superiority, the enemy, a victor at the start, will be vanquished in the end.
If we prolong the war, our strength will increase; that of the enemy will dwindle, the poor morale of his troops will sink ever deeper, the serious financial problems saddled on him will be ever more aggravated. The more we fight on, the closer national unity will grow and the stronger the support of the world democratic forces.
On the other hand, in France itself, the enemy will be ever more hampered by the popular movement against war and for democracy; the revolutionary upsurge in his colonies will force him to scatter his forces; his isolation in the international arena will worsen. To get at this result, we need time. Time is for us.”
(Truong Chinh, “The Resistance Will win”)
With a view to carrying out this protracted resistance, three categories of armed forces were set up:
-    local self-defence units made up of guerilla fighters who, while going on with their daily work, ensured the defence of their villages;
-    regional units operating within a district or a province; and
-    the regular army, composed of important units, well equipped, trained to all forms of warfare, capable of striking decisive blows.
Starting from village guerillas, a careful selection was carried out, resulting in the organisation of armed forces with a very high fighting spirit and excellent training. But it should not be believed that good military training alone was enough: the formation of armed units had to be preceded by a long period of political struggle. As early as 1939, the Party had already conducted active political work among the masses with a view to the setting up of guerilla and other para-military organisations.
“ In order to prepare the armed insurrection well, the first and most important work was that of propaganda among the masses, their organisation, the expansion and the consolidation of patriotic organisations. Only on the basis of strong political organisations was it possible to build strong paramilitary organisations, and progress towards the creation of small guerrilla groups tightly bound to the revolutionary masses and consequently capable of conducting combat operations and expanding their strength.”
(General Giap, “People’s War, People’s Army”)
The armed forces were but the spearhead of the combatant nation. The whole population was organised in such a fashion as to be able to support its army at any time, to become integrated into it, and to participate in combat directly or indirectly. A unit of the people’s army arriving in any locality immediately got all necessary information on the enemy, all indispensable material; before the hour of assault, each soldier and cadre knew where to take cover; the local population participated in food and ammunition transport, cared for the wounded, and looked after war booty. After the battle, the unit withdrew without leaving any trace, “without having damaged a single lettuce leaf or taken away a single needle belonging to the people”.
To ensure that the army and people are like fish and water requires first of all that the army fully grasp the people’s political objectives — national objectives and class objectives — and translate this into military actions. To fight against a modern army equipped with tanks aircraft and artillery presupposes on the part of the people’s fighters not only tested heroism but also constant initiative. No psychological recipe, no mechanical discipline can form such combatants, who are capable of enduring all sacrifices, engaging in the most daring actions, and holding out in the most difficult conditions. We cannot do better than quote General Giap:
“Our army was born and has grown in the revolutionary struggle of our whole nation. It is the instrument of the revolutionary Party and State in waging political struggle. It includes in its ranks elite elements of the working class and the peasantry, who consciously undertake to fight to the end for the interests of the nation, the laboring people, the worker and peasant masses.
It is a people’s army, the army of the labouring people, in essence that of the workers and peasants led by the Party of the working class. There lies the revolutionary essence, the class character of our army.
This is what constitutes the radical difference between our army and that of our enemy. There lies the fundamental problem, the number one problem, from which we should never depart, at any stage of the building of our army.”
The functioning of such an army is essentially democratic; all militarism will only lead to disasters.
“Political democracy: regular conferences and meetings should be held to allow combatants and cadres to express their opinion on all questions concerning combat, work, training, study, and the life of the unit. Combatants have the right to criticize cadres and vice-versa.
Military democracy: in combat and training, democratic conferences should be held to communicate to all the operational plan, stimulate the spirit of initiative, put heads together when looking for means to overcome difficulties.
Economic democracy: combatants as well as cadres have the right to take part in management, to seek to improve their material life within the framework of “open finances”.
It is thanks to the practice of broad democracy that we have succeeded in exalting the dynamism and creative faculties of the large masses of combatants and cadres, and in drawing on their wisdom for the solution of extremely difficult and complex problems.”
(General Giap)
We are far from the Prussian methods favoured by bourgeois armies. No wonder that political studies take such a large place in the life of the people’s army, and it is evident that it is first of all the content of the policy followed which has made possible the building of a people’s army.
In 1953, having received substantial reinforcements in men and material, financed by the United States, the French command though it could impose its will on the Vietnam People’s Army which, in its opinion, was incapable of any new effort likely to offset this considerable increase in the French forces. But such effort was to be deployed first of all on the political plane by the Vietnamese resistance. In response to the intensification of the war by the French command, the Workers’ Party mobilized the masses for land reform. This triggered off a movement of unprecedented scope among millions of peasants, whose patriotism increased tenfold following the awakening of their class consciousness. Hundreds of thousands of them volunteered to go to the front and to carry supplies for the various theatres of operations.
“Thanks to these measures (of land reform) the combativeness of millions of peasants was powerfully stimulated, and the worker-peasant alliance reinforced. The National Front became firmer, the administration and the army stronger, the various activities of the resistance received a new impulse. The political courses on mass mobilization for land reform had increased our army’s revolutionary ardour tenfold. One cannot lay too much stress on the considerable role played by this agrarian policy in the victories of winter 1953 and spring 1954, particularly at Dien bien phu”.
General Giap)
The horizon of the fighter in the people’s forces did not stop at the national boundaries. It stretched to the other countries of the world. The combatant knew that he was supported by progressive opinion in all countries, by all peoples, including the French people, by the socialist countries, by all peoples, including the French people, by the socialist countries, by the immense movement of liberation of colonial peoples. Proletarian ideology instilled into his mind allowed him to see in the enemy soldier, whether he be a Frenchman, an African or a Baodai mercenary, a class brother who had gone astray and in whom one could always hope to awaken the feeling of class solidarity, of fraternity among the peoples. The people’s army and the fighting people never confused the colonialists with the French people to whom they felt close. That is why the work of political persuasion among enemy soldiers took on capital importance. French prisoners were well treated; Bao Dai’s soldiers, poor peasants, received each his own plot of land in land reform, like all toiling peasants.
In the midst of this omnipresent people’s war, the enemy vainly tried to escape from insoluble contradictions.
“Because of its colonial character, the war, for the enemy command, could have no other purpose than the occupation and enslavement of our country. The very nature and aims of the fight he pursued forced the enemy to scatter his forces in order to occupy the regions invaded. The pursuit of the war, for the French expeditionary corps, was an uninterrupted process of dispersion of forces. Grouped into divisions at the beginning, it was successively broken up into regiments, battalions, companies and finally platoons stationed in thousands of positions and posts scattered in all corners of the Indochinese theatre of operations.
The French command thus faced a dilemma; without dispersing its troops, it would not be able to occupy the invaded territories; but if it dispersed them, it would find itself in a difficult position. Its units thus broken up into small fragments became easy prey for our troops; its mobile forces dwindled ever more and manpower shortage worsened with every passing day. If it concentrated its troops to face our actions and try to regain the initiative, its occupation forces would diminish by as much and it would become difficult, indeed impossible, for it to keep conquered ground; but if it abandoned conquered ground; but if it abandoned conquered territories, the very aim of the war of reconquest could not be reached”.
(General Giap)
The superiority of the people’s army lay in the fact that it did not have to keep the ground at all costs, for it benefited from the population’s loyalty under all circumstances. By basing itself on those strategic and political advantages, by relying on the heroism of the soldiers and the population, the command of the people’s forces was able to neutralize the enemy’s superiority in all domains and work out appropriate tactics. The Dien Bien Phu campaign supplied a brilliant illustration of the military and political line of the people’s war. When after Dien Bien Phu the French command resigned itself to signing the peace agreement, it still had at its disposal half a million men equipped with the most modern weapons. Since 1950 the United States had sought to help the French expeditionary corps by every means to crush the Vietnamese resistance. Dien Bien Phu was also an American failure. Victory would not have been possible without a political mobilization of the masses, which ensured a permanent and multiform support for the armed forces. For every unit operating in each region, youth, women’s and old people’ organization wove an omnipresent network of support, and its operational plan, tactics and supply were always worked out on the basis of this help from the population. The people’s war is first of all political.
A unilateral war
With the setting up of the Diem regime in South Vietnam following the signing of the Geneva Agreements, the Americans and their valets thought they could crush the patriotic and revolutionary movement once and for all. The resistance’s armed forces and administrative cadres having been regrouped in the North, there only remained in the South the population, weaponless and, so the enemy thought, without political cadres
— therefore powerless. American policy, using the administration as a tool, especially aimed at 
— installing a pseudo-national government, with a powerful army and efficient police, financed, equipped and trained by American advisers;
-    Liquidating the patriotic movement through the systematic extermination of all former resisters, of all opponents dubbed “Vietcong”, in short through a large-scale bloody repression which would rid South Vietnam of all more or less patriotic or democratic elements; then
-    launching the southern army into a march north, the ground being prepared beforehand by subversive organisations and sabotage commandos.
Naturally, there could be no question of the Americans and Diem implementing the Geneva agreements with a view to reunifying Vietnam. For long years, starting from 1954, there was a veritably unilateral war in which the men of Saigon, at the instigation of American advisers, hurled their army and police against the defenseless population in a series of bloody operations. Mass massacres followed summary executions; the most atrocious tortures were used; jails and concentration camps were full of detainees. These facts have become too well-known by now to need further elaboration.
All social strata in South Vietnam vigorously struggled against this prolonged bloody repression, a veritable white terror which caused untold sufferings to the South Vietnamese population. Peasants opposed moves by landlords to dispossess them of lands distributed to them by the Resistance; city workers and intellectuals demonstrated and staged strikes to protest against starvation wages and fascist legislation; religious sects and national minorities in the High Plateau rebelled.
The more this struggle went on, the more savage repression became, exacerbating mass combativeness, till finally the American advisers and the men of Saigon resorted to repressive measures of such scope as to lead straight to wholesale extermination of the people. By 1959, the South Vietnamese people were faced with these alternatives: either to take up arms for self-defence or resign themselves to being exterminated.
It was evident that a people which had fought for nine years, arms in hands against French colonialism would not let itself be led to the slaughter-house like docile sheep. As early as 1959, self-defence groups were born among the peasants of the plains and the ethnic minorities of the high plateau. The more blood-thirsty agents of the Diem administration were punished. Then groups of guerillas, equipped with weapons captured from the enemy and helped by the peasants, started attacking military posts, and laying ambushes first against patrols, later against raiding columns. Political struggle, stimulated by those armed combats, grew to unprecedented scope. A demonstration grouping a few thousand unarmed people ran the risk of being massacred by police, just as a few guerillas, armed with old rifles, risked their lives when they encountered a platoon-size garrison. But now that demonstrations were protected by though self-defence groups, even the most cruel policemen showed hesitation, and many posts surrendered without a single shot being fired.
The year 1960 witnessed local uprisings which spread to a great part of the territory. Village populations, sweeping away or neutralizing puppet administrations and military posts, started liberating themselves from U.S.-Diem domination. Fifty per cent of the villages liberated themselves in this way and set up a regime of self-management, while in many others, puppet administrations subsisted, but in name only, for taxes could no longer be collected and decrees enforced. Towards the end of 1960, the Diem administration underwent a profound crisis, its base at village level having collapsed. The towns and cities began to seethe, and in the army ambitious colonels and general plotted for power. December 20, 1960 saw the birth of the South Vietnam National Front for Liberation (NFL) which grouped many mass organisations, political parties, religious and ethnic groups. On February 15, 1961, the Liberation Army was born, unifying the three types of popular armed forces: local guerillas, regions units, and regular forces.
The people’s resistance against the U.S.-Diem regime had thus followed the classical process of a people’s war: it started with five years of mass political struggle, multiform and fierce, then gradually armed self-defence groups sprang from the masses and grew into the first nuclei of a true people’s army. The masses’ political struggle, supported by these armed forces, received a new impulse. In face of this movement, the U.S.-Diem regime, rigged up at high costs by Washington, showed itself powerless in spirte of terror, machiavellian maneuvres, and the influx of dollars. This was the second American failure in Vietnam.
People’s war versus special war
Kennedy came into office in late 1960, with General Taylor as his military adviser. Taylor was the promoter of the strategy of “flexible response” which consisted of combining preparations for a nuclear war with the working out of “special warfare” aimed at suppressing national liberation movements.
Drawing lessons from French and British colonial wars, Taylor recommended the use, under cover of a “national” policy and through a “national” government, of a “national” army, specially trained and equipped by the Americans, to crush popular resistance. Military equipment was to be supplied by the U.S. while American counter-guerilla and psycho-war experts, advisers to the local command, would in fact take in hand the direction of operations. Special measures would be adopted to clamp a tight control on the population. With special warfare, the Pentagon strategists though they had found the antidote to revolutionary warfare, guerilla warfare in particular, against which the best imperialist armies had so far been powerless.
In May, Lyndon B. Johnson, then U.S. Vice-president, was sent to Saigon, followed by the economic Staley and General Taylor. These trips resulted in the working out of a special war plan, the Staley-Taylor plan, according to which
-    South Vietnam would be pacified within a period of 18 months, this first stage ending with the liquidation of the popular resistance and the consolidation of the Diem regime. At the same time, bases would be created in North Vietnam for sabotage and subversive activities:
-    Pacified South Vietnam would be strengthened economically, socially and politically;
-    In the third stage, North Vietnam, badly shaken, would be re-conquered.
The American plan aimed at no less than the total annexation of Vietnam, and Washington was firmly determined to carry it through. Starting from the second half of 1961, American arms and advisers began pouring into South Vietnam, while Diem put the country on a war footing, mobilizing even women. On the military plane, various measures were taken, and new tactics licked into shape.
Diem’s regular army increased by 20,000 to 170,000 civil guard to 100,000, armed police to 90,000; this, together with village militia, combat youth, secret police, and special forces, added up to about half a million men. Their equipment included:
-    a large number of helicopters, which gave them great mobility, and the ability to carry out surprise landings of strong units with a view to encircling and annihilating scattered guerilla groups;
-    important airforce and artillery; giving them considerable firepower;
-    M.113 amphibious armoured cars, capable of running over rice fields and crossing rivers and canals;
-    new-type small weapons, ultra-quick-firing automatic rifles, microjet rockets...
-    electronic equipment, improved detection devices, making up a network covering the whole territory and supplying quick and precise information.
To complete this arsenal, for the first time in the history of war, the Pentagon used tozic chemicals to destroy vegetation along communication lines and crops in regions under NFL control, with a view to starving the population. In early 1962, 5,000 American advisers flocked to Saigon; their number increased rapidly to 15,000 by the end of the same year. On February 8, 1962, Washington set up an operational command in Saigon. At this time, 500 million dollars were being spent each year on the war.
With this enormous military machine, the U.S. Command hoped to
-    exterminate the people’s armed forces; and
-    herd the rural population into 16,000 strategic hamlets so as to separate it from the guerillas; in other words, scoop out the water to catch the fish.
Prolonged and intensive “mopping-up” raids were aimed at cleaning up whole regions, and then penning up the population in strategic hamlets; on the other hand, quick surprise operations were also carried out with heliborne units swooping down on N.F.L. forces “like eagles on sparrows”. The backbone of the special war was the concentration of the rural population in strategic hamlets.
Each hamlet, built by the forced labour of the inhabitants, was surrounded by a stockade with moats, barbed wire entanglements and watch-towers; the inhabitants driven from their native villages were regrouped there. People were allowed to go out only at fixed hours, and lived under the permanent control of police and secret agents who never hesitated to resort to torture and murder at the least suspicion. Youth organisations and special squads recruited among the most reactionary elements kept the population under constant surveillance. Foodstuffs were stored and distributed on a day-to-day basis, so that no food reserves could be kept.
What with helicopters, amphibious armoured cars, and the strategic hamlet policy, the special war, carried out with savage ferocity, seemed to yield excellent results in the first months. In early 1962, contentment reigned in the Saigon ruling circle as well as in the Pentagon. Cachmang quocgia, mouthpiece of the Diem family, reported an operation of April 24 as follows:
“An operation bearing the poetic name of Operation Nightingale has sent heliborne nightingales to sing for the Vietcong the song of eternal peace. The roar of the choppers, thundering like an earthquake, has sung the song of death for 89 of the enemy, in the midst of the ruins of their den”.
Saigon communiques boasted of sensational victories, but the New York Times observed that
“Many of the enemy, counted dead by the South Vietnamese government, were simply peasants who had been killed as they fled their villages at the approach of troops”. (July 25, 1962).
In December 1962, Diem’s Minister of the Interior asserted that 80% of the population would be regrouped in strategic hamlets by the end of the year. But on the 12th of the same month, at a press conference, Kennedy was rather pessimistic:
“Anti-guerilla fighting involves a great difficulty: in this kind of combat, we must engage ten or eleven men against every single guerilla, especially on such a difficult terrain as South Vietnam. This is a tunnel with no end in sight”.
On January 2, 1963, in a small village 60 kilometres south of Saigon, 2,000 Saigon troops, encircling 200 guerillas, suffered a crushing defeat: 450 killed or wounded, 6 helicopters shot down, 3 M.113s destroyed, 13 American advisers killed or wounded. This was a veritable turning point in the history of special warfare: the battle at Apbac supplied evidence that the popular forces had found the way of coping with the most modern weapons and tactics.
From 1963 to 1965, “mopping-up” raids by the Saigon army ran up against ever stronger resistance. The best defended military posts and sectors fell on after another. Strategic hamlets were destroyed by thousands. By mid-1965, four-fifths of the territory had been liberated, with over 10 million inhabitants. Meanwhile, Diem was liquidated on November 1, 1963, leaving the place for a series of “governments”, equally impotents and ephemeral. The puppet army was completely disintegrated by losses and desertions. Washington had to resign itself to recognising the total failure of special warfare, on the military as well as the political plane. A new strategy had to be adopted: massive landings of G.I.s in South Vietnam inaugurated a new stage in American aggression.
The N.F.L. established the 1961-1965 balance-sheet as follows:
-    615,000 enemy troops put out of action (killed, wounded, deserters...)
-    2,950 aircraft and helicopters shot down or destroyed on the ground by commando raids on airbases.
-    75,000 weapons captured.
-    6,000 strategic hamlets destroyed.
-    2,000 military posts and training centres destroyed.
(These figures also include the second half of 1965).
One can never lay too much stress on the failure of special warfare, which was a major strategical defeat for the U.S. Command. This was the third American failure in Vietnam.
The three “spearheads”
How had the South Vietnamese people and armed forces succeeded in inflicting such a crushing defeat on the U.S. — Diem army? A concrete example will give us an idea of how people’s war countered special war.
On March 17, 1964, a Saigon regiment was landed at Batri, in Bentre province. But just at this moment, 25,000 people coming from many localities were flocking to the provincial capital for a big demonstration. The enemy had to bring back two battalions to ensure the safety of the town. The following day, the Liberation forces surrounded and annihilated one Saigon battalion, while 600 people, whose brothers, sons or husbands served in the puppet regional forces, came to Batri to dissuade their relatives from going to the rescue of the encircled battalion. On March 19 and 20, more people kept coming to Batri from the neighbouring villages, and before a 3,000-strong rally the district chief had to promise to pay damages to the population for the destruction caused by military operations. On March 20th, 165 soldiers, urged by their relatives, deserted. For a whole month, there was a succession of armed engagements, demonstrations, marches, and disputes between the population, the puppet army and the puppet authorities. Two thousand puppet soldiers were put out of action, killed, wounded, or had fallen into spiked pits. Five hundred deserted. Three hundred weapons were captured by the popular forces, and 320 strategic hamlets destroyed.
Thus three forms of struggle were brought into play against the special war: armed struggle, mass political struggle, and intense persuasion and agitation work among the puppet soldiers.
Amred struggle had started with rudimentary weapons and progressed towards the use of the most modern ones, the major part of them taken from the enemy, especially heavy weapons, recoilless rifles, heavy machine guns, mortars — all redoubtable weapons against helicopters, amphibious armoured cars and airbases. The popular forces were able to rely on innumerable villages scattered over the whole country: those were surrounded by defence works, full of traps and mines, crisscrossed with shelters and trenches, provided with numerous gun emplacements, all located in the midst of muddy rice fields and hidden by luxuriant vegetation. The people and armed forces could take refuge in underground shelters against bombing and shelling, move about freely in the midst of battle, and wait for the enemy behind strong positions.
An enemy column penetrating into one of those villages would inevitably suffer casualties on account of spike pits or booby traps; from behind a bush, one or two snipers would fire on the aggressors before disappearing into an underground gallery and moving to another place where they would lay in wait for the enemy. Helped by the population, a platoon of guerillas could hold at bay a whole battalion an inflict heavy casualties on it. “Mopping-up” raids became over more costly as the war went on; more and more villages got organised and the guerillas became ever more battle-seasoned. To guerilla warfare, which bled the enemy white, was added regular warfare with assaults launched on military posts, combined with murderous ambushes against relief columns. Besides, specially-trained commandos attacked U.S. air bases, command posts, barracks and billets, destroying large numbers of planes and helicopters, sinking on one occasion the 15,000-ton aircraft-carrier Card in the midst of Saigon harbour, killing U.S. and puppet pilots, technicians, officers in their very living quarters.
_000200000B3C00007617_B36,All those military operations took place not apart from but at the same time as an uninterrupted political movement of great scope, reaching into the remotest villages and highly organized. Columns of demonstrators, numbering thousands, even tens of thousands, left their villages when the signal came and converged on district centres and provincial capitals, either on foot or in small sampans, besieged administrative offices, military posts, field headquarters, directly facing puppet military and civilian authorities. This was a new characteristic, a form of struggle little used in the days of the anti-French resistance. As neo-colonial warfare was being conducted through the channel of a “national” army and administration, the latter, in order to play its role, had to put forward slogans of independence, democracy and protection for the people. Availing themselves of those slogans, the people launched political offensives, besieged puppet military and civilian chiefs, badgered them with requests and questions: “You represent the government and so your duty is to protect us. Why did you shell our villages? Why did you ask the Americans to spray toxic chemicals on our fields and orchards?” The demonstrators took along with them the bodies of their murdered children and branches from their orchards seared by toxic chemicals. They persuaded police and soldiers not to open fire on their processions, mostly made up of women, old folk and children. Sometimes however, the police opened fire on these unarmed demonstrators; if one fell, the others continued to march forward, taking his body with them. One or more demonstrators might be killed in this fashion, but the crowd kept surging, and finally, it was the soldiers and police who were thrown into confusion and had to give way. Such demonstrations demoralized and disorganized the puppet army and administration, and in many regions, Saigon troops and functionaries, though present, just closed their eyes to the people’s activities and those of the N.F.L. armed forces.
The popular masses were organized for political struggle like an army, for demonstrations lasted sometimes several days on end, involved thousands of people coming from many villages, called for tactics which were at the same time vigorous and flexible in the face of changing situations, and this presupposed a unified command, leadership at various levels, good communications, and well-organized food supply. Women were particularly well organised: when thousands of them demonstrated and held their own before police and troops for several days, it was a perfectly co-ordinated struggle, with orders for offensive or withdrawal quickly transmitted, and medical care for children and pregnant women ensured. Back in their villages, household chores and the care of their children were ensured by well-organised services,
It was a veritable mass political army who, barehanded, directly intervened in the war, paralysed the puppet administration and army, and gave powerful support to the liberation armed forces. The women’s “long-haired army”, so combative and tenacious, was greatly feared by puppet officers and officials. From 1961 to 1965, attendance figures for those innumerable meetings, marches, mass struggles, went beyond one hundred million. This direct intervention of the masses, especially women, in the war, played a decisive role.
This political army was all the more efficacious as it unceasingly carried out the permanent work of persuasion and political explanation among the puppet troops so as to awaken their national and humanitarian consciences. Mothers, wives, relatives of puppet soldiers participated in this work. It was not a few psychowar experts who were responsible for this work, but every man, woman, child availed themselves of the least occasion to speak to the hearts and conscience of the soldiers. The Saigon army, apart from those blinded by class hatred or hardened criminals lost to all human conscience, was unable to resist this corrosion which literally broke its moral spring. The NFL gave its protection to deserters, distributed land to those who returned to their villages, incorporated in the Liberation army those who wanted to fight the Americans, cared for the wounded. During Tet (Lunar New Year) festivals, it gave the Saigon soldiers permission to visit their villages, where they were able to attend artistic shows given by Liberation troupes, or hold discussions with the people’s army-men. One understands why desertions multiplied in the puppet army, reaching the figure of 113,000 in 1965 according to American sources. Saigon soldiers passed weapons and information to the Liberation forces, helped them in their attacks on military posts or air bases. In fact the Saigon army gradually became a source of supply in men and weapons to the Liberation forces, U.S. aid boomeraning thereby on its promoters.
In the higher ranks, as more and more defeats were sustained, colonels and generals were torn by conflicting interests, coups d’etat succeeded one another followed by massive purges in the ranks of the army and administration, each clan relying on the support of some American secret service. The puppet army underwent an irresistible process of dislocation under the impotent eyes of 30,000 American advisers.
Already in 1964, UPI had reported:
“The Vietcong guerilla is a redoubtable enemy, whom one must fear and admire”. (April 23, 1964).
American troops fared no better
When the American expeditionary corps landed in South Vietnam in 1965, it faced a population and Liberation armed forces already steeled by many years of struggle and war. Railways and important strategic roads had been blocked; the country was full of fighting villages which were so many redoubtable fortresses. Whereas in 1950, the American troops landed in South Korea had rushed headlong towards the 38th parallel without caring about their rear and had succeeded in establishing at the demarcation line between North and South Korea a classical front where modern weapons could be brought into full play, nothing of that sort happened in South Vietnam.
From March to November 1965, the enormous U.S. military machine was immobilized in the building of bases: Danang, Chulai, Ankhe, Camranh... where large numbers of troops were used for protection and building work. Danang alone immobilized 35,000 men. Communications between the various bases involved many battalions. Guerilla forces, with the assistance of NFL regualrs, tightened their noose on U.S. bases. Any G.I. going out on the beach for a bathe, any patrol or column venturing a few kilometres from the bases ran the risk of stumbling on mines or running into ambushes. American troops starting out on an attack were harassed and counter-attacked, while those staying at their bases were subjected to surprise commando raids or mortar shelling, or were blown up by explosive charges laid at key places.
This omnipresence of the popular forces posed a thorny problem for the U.S. Command regarding the choice of and co-ordination between the various theatres of operations. Neither in the Central Highlands, in the neighbourhood of Saigon, in the Mekong delta, nor in the coastal plains of Trungbo, could a place be found where American troops might drive a wedge without incurring heavy losses. For after nine years of war against French troops and eleven years of armed and political struggle against the U.S. puppet regime, the entire population of South Vietnam was mobilized against the aggressor and could fight every where. Every inhabitant, man or woman, young or old, was a versatile fighter, capable of laying a mine, digging a trap, as well as of firing a gun or hurling a grenade. Guerilla forces and regional units, well armed, well trained, perfectly familiar with the terrain, availing themselves of combat positions, shelters and trenches dug in fighting villages, carried out a war of attrition extremely costly for the enemy, while the regular forces, with their great mobility and modern equipment could strike hard blows at unexpected moments and places. Whenever the enemy launched an offensive in some direction, he faced blows coming from another direction. Either he would fail to find regulars and be harassed by guerillas, or he would run into regulars, but in totally unexpected conditions.
The U.S. expeditionary corps did not escape the eternal contradiction inherent in all wars of conquest: should the invader try to occupy more ground at the risk of scattering his troops and exposing them to his adversary’s blows, or should he concentrate important mobile forces for attacks, but then deprive large areas of any garrison? What should he do, once he has finished mopping up a region? maintain U.S. troops, or puppet troops there? With 300.000 troops, the U.S. Command barely succeeded in maintaining ten important bases in the country, while the puppet forces were scattered in three thousand posts and sectors without having anything under full control.
Besides, how could they use a puppet army in full disintegration? At the beginning, the U.S. command had thought that the American troops would only have to set up solid “bolts”, their presence and support being enough to instill an offensive spirit into the Saigon troops, who would undertake to clean up the countryside. But soon, their respective roles were reversed. U.S. troops were launched on raids, whereas the puppet troops were assigned “pacification” jobs. The puppets’ morale was so low however that they could not enforce obedience on a particularly combative population.
By itself, the massive intervention of U.S. troops created a profound crisis among the puppets. The men took no more interest in the war, saying to themselves that, since the Americans were there, it was up to them to bear the full weight to military operations. The thin coat of “national independence” disappeared, and at all levels, from the simple private to the high command, permanent rivalries opposed the Americans to their puppets, due to questions of precedence, competence, authority, and to lack of mutual confidence. G.I.s took the best places in bars and restaurants, the nicest-looking girls, the most comfortable quarters, provoking ill-concealed rancor among the Saigon men. Massive arrivals of Americans triggered off a galloping inflation whose first victims were puppet soldiers, officers and functionaries, who lived on their pay.
The Saigon regime’s political crisis, especially its persecution of the Buddhists, completed the disarray of the puppet troops, whole units of whom rebelled, especially in the Hue-Danang region where one entire division, men and officers, refused to obey Saigon orders. In April 1966, McNamara had to obey Saigon orders. In April 1966, McNamara had to admit that on account of this crisis, military operations had decreased by 70%. According to AP (August 29, 1966) desertions reached the figure of 67,000 for the first six months of 1966, as against 113,000 for the whole of 1965.
In its rear, acute problems had to be solved by the American expeditionary force. The immediate rear consisted of those areas still under the control of Saigon, limited to one-fifth of the territory of the country, where it was impossible to find any supplies, where all indusrial and handicraft production had been stopped, where there was no more rice and coal, where the youths violently opposed conscription, where demonstrations, strikes and riots succeeded one another without respite. Moreover, patriots were active in those areas, hitting hard at U.S. air bases, barracks and billets, destroying hundreds of aircraft and helicopters, setting fire to fuel and ammunition dumps, killing U.S. pilots, technicians, and officers. There was not a single safe place for the Americans in South Vietnam, and each American office had to be protected by heavy guards.
Supplies coming from the United States ran up against a major obstacle: harbours were cloggled for they had to handle five to ten times more cargoes than their normal capacity. In the first months, ships had to wait two months off the coast. American technical services exerted considerable efforts to improve port facilities, but the war, as it was intensified, called for an increasing quantity of material and equipment. G.I.s were besides hard to please: they demanded good food, soda water and ice in the field; drinking water had to be brought over from the Philippines, and camps fitted with the best comforts. An this ran supply personnel off their legs.
For it part, the N.F.L., having control over four-fifths of the territory, had important resources at its disposal. Every inhabitant, from the age of 15 to 60, was an exellent potential fighter. Besides, the Saigon army itself was a good supplier of men and weapons. Repeated bombings and sprayings of toxic chemicals caused extensive damage to production, but the land in the Mekong delta and on the Central Highlands is most fertile, and improved cultural techniques (irrigation, fertilizers, seed selection) made it possible to increase crop yields quickly. Education and health work recorded continual progress which increased fighting potential.
The Liberation forces have also a vast and powerful rear consisting of North Vietnam and, beyond her, all the socialist countries.
A convincing dry season
By November 1965, the U.S. Command had about 250,000 G.I.s in South Vietnam — 800,000 men if satellite troops and Saigon puppet troops were counted. The two major trumps of this army were:
-    a great mobility due to the use of large numbers of helicopters, which could rapidly land strong units at any place; an
-    colossal fire-power due to the intensive use of aviation, artillery, and if need be, of naval units. According to UPI, in March 1966 alone, U.S. forces fired nearly 5 million rockets, 10 million mortar shells, 88 million machine gun bullets from aircraft, and one billion small arms projectiles. The cost of ammunition used in Vietnam ran to several billion dollars a year. The waste took on such huge proportions that the U.S. had to buy back old bomb stocks from West German firms. B 52s taking off from Guam dropped 500 tons of bombs each time on a single locality.
The war was conducted by the U.S. Command with unprecedented ferocity: whole villages were razed to the ground by bombs and rockets, burnt down by napalm; toxic chemicals were sprayed on vast areas; American troops mopped up many regions, destroying and burning all as they passed, blew poison gas into shelters where women and children had taken refuge.
American tactics followed a veritable routine: intense air and artillery pounding, then landing of heliborne GIs or advance of armoured and infantry columns on the adversary’s positions, which were thought to have been pulverized by bombs and rockets. Various electronic or infra-red devices, portable radar, were used to detect the popular forces.
With this impressive equipment, the US Command, availing itself of the dray season (from November of each year to May of the following year), launched offensives in various directions in November 1965. The massive intervention by US troops posed a crucial problem to the leadership of the NFL: how to face the enemy on the strategic and tactical planes? Should, one do as in 1945-46, i.e. hold on to the defensive, yield, ground temporarily, so as to let US troops scatter and gain time to build up our own forces, in short should one go back to the old methods? Any decision taken would have important bearing on both the near and distant future of the war.
After a thorough analysis of strategic and tactical data, the NFL leadership decided to maintain an offensive strategy, not to dissolve the regular units, to keep combining guerilla warfare, mobile warfare, and attacks on enemy bases, to combine armed and political struggle, to seek to annihilate the most enemy forces possible, to seek battle and not refuse it. The fundamental fact at the origin of such a decision was that, in spite of appearances, UD troops were in a strategically defensive position, and ours in an offensive one, for the enemy had intervened not to follow up any victories but to ward off disaster and try to save a desperate situation. This analysis also revealed that the adversary’s mobility and fire-power, however impressive, failed to solve all difficulties born of the unfriendly terrain and especially of the nature of the war.
Such a deluge of fire, such good co-ordination between aviation, armour, infantry and heliborne units would achieve wonders on a classical front, in a war of the American (or European) type. But here, the war follows the Vietnamese pattern, with no well-defined front, and against and adversary who is extremely mobile, disappears and re-appears as if by magic from behind bushes, from underground galleries prepared years ago by an industrious and resolute population. For the GI, the enemy is everywhere and nowhere. Fire-power is ineffective, for targets are ill-defined, the shells just exploding in the mud of the rice fields or on top of solid underground shelters. Where the Americans thinks their enemy has concentrated troops, there is only thick vegetation; but it often happens that GIs suddenly face bushes from which a deadly fire is opened at a range of 15-20 metres. When this happens, aviation and artillery have no role to play, for they will kill as many friends as they do foes. The Liberation forces have brought the art of camouflage and troop movement to such a degree of perfection that troop movement to such a degree of perfection that whole battalions often move to within a few score metres from American lines without being detected. On the other hand, whenever GIs penetrate into a village or approach a locality which they think has been crushed under bombs and shells, defenders emerge from underground tunnels and pour steady fire at them.
While the U.S. Command, with such an enormous fire-power at its disposal, strikes at random for want of precise information, the people’s forces can concentrate their blows on any of a thousand targets: military posts, air bases, ammunition and fuel dumps, bridges, columns on the move or encamped. The more important U.S. material means grow, the more targets the U.S. war machine offers to N.F.L. blows. A mortar shell accurately fired on a plane hangar, a pilots’ barrack, an officers’ mess, a gasoline dump, causes more damage than a random bombing by B.52s. There is always a fault in the best defence system: in each attack on the Americans, the people’s forces always concentrate their blows on key points right at the beginning — command posts, artillery pieces, communication centres. The progress made by the N.F.L. forces in armament poses serious problems to the U.S. Command for the defence of its bases.
For the above reason, U.S. offensives during the 1965-66 dry season resulted in disaster. In February, Johnson had Nguyen Cao Ky called to Honolulu where he conjured up prospects of victories, drew the picture of a “pacified” South Vietnam, a reinvigorated Saigon regime, a country where “prosperity” would return thanks to “generous” American “aid”. But by April this optimism had disappeared. Washington set about preparing American public opinion for the prospect of a protracted war demanding heavy sacrifices in men and dollars. The 300,000 G.I.s already in South Vietnam would no longer suffice, nor would the 15 billion dollars spent there annually. From 400,000 to half a million men would be required, perhaps even more — 750,000 according to some estimates — together with two billion dollars per month. For the balance-sheet of the dry season was as follows:
-    47,000 American troops put out of action (this includes Australians and South Koreans);
-    115,000 puppet troops killed, wounded, or having deserted;
-    1,429 aircraft and helicopters shot down or destroyed on the ground;
-    1,122 military vehicles destroyed.
U.S. troops had failed to reconquer any important region. The puppet regime was more badly shaken than ever whereas the N.F.L. regulars, whom the dry season U.S. offensive was to have crushed, showed increased dash and vigour. None of the objectives put forward by the U.S. Command had been achieved, and Washington had to resign itself to sending more reinforcements.
Escalation also comes to grief
While sending an expeditionary corps to South Vietnam, Washington has hurled its air force on North Vietnam, particularly since February 1965. The air war of destruction against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (D.R.V.), an independent and sovereign country and a member of the socialist camp, a war which had been triggered off without either declaration or warning, has assumed such an aggressive and cynical character as to recall no historical precedent, even when one evokes the actions of Hitler. For twenty months now, the most powerful aerial fleet of the imperialist world has been hurled against a small country, with little industry and apparently without any adequate means of defence. Washington’s avowed objective is to cut communication lines, and prevent North Vietnamese convoys from reaching the South; in fact, hospitals and schools, industrial installations, market places, the most remote villages, as well as roads and bridges have been savagely attacked. Let us cite among other instances the Quynhlap leper sanatorium, a veritable city with 2,600 patients, located far from all important communication lines and military objectives, which was razed to the ground following many successive raids. Let us also point out the fact that U.S. aircraft have been using shrapnel bombs, the size of an apple, which send out about 300 steel pellets, wholly ineffective against bridges or other military objectives, but riddling the victims’ bodies with buckshot and making impossible all surgical operations. Children in particular have been victims of those shrapnel bombs dropped by the thousand on villages and hamlets. U.S. aircraft have attacked river dykes, attempting to submerge whole provinces and reduce the inhabitants to starvation.
The purpose is less to cut communication lines, an operation judged impossible by all military experts, including American experts, than to sow terroramong an entire people, to give everyone the impression that at any time death may swoop down from the sky, so that the country victim of aggression will implore the cessation of the bombings and accept all of Washington’s “peace” conditions. The maneuvre is all the more transparent as U.S. President Johnson, two months after the start of air strikes on North Vietnam, put forward the following offer to the D.R.V. government, in a resounding speech of April 7, 1965: “Come to the negotiating table and we’ll stop the bombing”. And each time U.S. aviation steps up its air escalation against the D.R.V., the White House reiterates its “peace” proposals.
But this blackmail has not succeeded, for Washington is facing a people who know how to defend themselves and are ready to endure all sacrifices to safeguard their independence and freedom and struggle for the reunification of their country. This firm will of an entire people lies at the basis of their defence system.
The D.R.V., thanks to help from the brother socialist countries, has the most modern weapons at her disposal for her defence: anti-aircraft artillery, radar, aircraft, missiles. But she does not entirely rely on those weapons. Her defence judiciously combines those engines with a popular defence carried out with ordinary weapons. Anti-aircraft gun, missile, and air force units are helped and protected by a ring of positions from which popular militiamen, armed with infantry weapons, fire on all planes diving or flying at low altitude to escape flak and missiles. Whenever the alert is sounded, millions of people, men and women, armed with mere rifles, leave their work and take up their positions against enemy aircraft. One of the most extraordinary facts of this war is that millions of peasants, men and women, who have had only cursory training, will calmly wait for aircraft to swoop down on them in order to open fire at the precise moment when the planes are at the lowest point of their dive, without paying the least attention to the rockets, bombs and bullets showering on them. A great number of aircraft have been shot down in this way by infantry weapons: their carcasses show numerous traces of the latter’s bullets. By compelling the US aircraft to fly at high altitude, this antiaircraft defence of a popular character exposes them to the blows of anti-aircraft batteries and missile units. Many an American pilot has confessed his fear when caught in such a dense network of fire.
The people’s help allows the regular forces to move about and set up their positions very rapidly. Within a few hours, a heavy gun is hauled into position in the midst of protective trenches and shelters; its crew is saved a multitude of jobs. When the time for fighting comes, local people come to help the gunners carry ammunition, and even replace them should they be wounded.
The whole population is also mobilized for the repair of roads, bridges, railway tracks. The US Command’s plan for the destruction of our communication lines has met with complete failure. Here also, the combination of modern with rudimentary means has yielded surprising results, for it brings the masses’ spirit of initiative into full play. This spirit has made possible the solution of innumerable economic difficulties caused by air strikes: dispersion of enterprises, work stoppages, lack of raw materials, manpower shortage due to mobilization, etc. One of the objectives of US war escalation is to destroy the achievements of socialism in North Vietnam and warn the countries of the Third World that any under-developed country choosing socialism will run up against violent opposition from the USA. The North Vietnamese people, led by the Workers’ Party and with the help of the brother socialist countries, have successfully defended the fruits of socialism, and progress continues to be recorded in many fields — agriculture, regional industry, education, etc. — in spite of US bombings.
Washington has suffered a double failure. A military failure: US aviation, which was believed to be a decisive arm for waging an economical, rapid and “clean” war, has revealed itself to be ineffective against a small but determined nation. To date (September 1966) nearly 1,400 US aircraft have been shot down over North Vietnam. The myth of the omnipotence of the US air force has been exploded, and all strategy based on the myth has had to be subjected to an agonizing reappraisal. A political failure: by attacking North Vietnam, Washington has laid bare before the whole world its extremely aggressive nature, its scorn for all international law. It has also revealed on the other hand, the solidity of the socialist regime in North Vietnam, a regime on which US propaganda has for years been pouring all kinds of base slanders. Since the start of escalation, US imperialism has found itself more isolated than ever, and even in the United States, attempts to justify escalation have found less and less willing ears.
At the time of writing (September 1966) Washington is feverishly preparing for an intensification of the war: troop landings continue in South Vietnam where American strength will be brought to 400,000 men with a view to a second offensive when the 1966-67 dry season comes, while bombing raids on the D.R.V. are intensified. It is evident that neither the N.F.L, the socialist countries, nor those in the world who have given help and support to the Vietnamese people have remained inactive. American and puppet forces, nearly 800,000 strong, suffered crushing defeats in the 1965-66 dry season, and a few more U.S. divisions will not change the situation any more than the stepping up of air raids on North Vietnam will bring her to her knees. On the contrary, it is certain that American losses will increase with the intensification of the war. For Washington the military situation offers no reassuring prospects: either a prolonged bogging down with growing losses, and uninterrupted political crises in Saigon together with increased international isolation, or an extension of the war with incalculable risks. As to making the people of Vietnam renounce their aspirations to independence and freedom, this is absolutely out of the question.
The failure suffered by the enormous U.S. war machine in Vietnam remains for many a hardly credible fact, for when a man visits a Seventh Fleet aircraft carrier, or a U.S. air base in South Vietnam, or looks at an abundantly-equipped American G.I., he may be awed by an apparently infallible technique; when he visits the H.Q. of an American general, full of electronic equipment, charts ant graphs, he may get an impression of flawless science. But put to the test in the field, this technique and this science have proved full of gaps, for they have not foreseen everything, neither the shortcomings nor weaknesses of the G.I.s, nor the capabilities of their adversary.
The more he relies on technique, the less the soldier uses his eyes and his ears, the less he learns to run, crawl, climb, and sneak behind bushes, the less he is inured to the sun, the mud, the leeches and the mosquitoes. The helicopter does not dispense him from wading in the mud of the rice fields; motorized convoys can only drive on wide macadamized roads. Aviation is not capable of solving all problems. Helicopters and armored cars, even amphibious ones, are vulnerable when they face resolved gunners. Artillery preparations and air bombings may be useful, but the effect of surprise is lost, which is on capital importance in guerilla warfare. The use of important technical means gives rise to contradictions at every turn.
The most ingenious electronic devices and mathematical calculations always miss numerous historical, social, political and human data, and only result in pseudo-science, most of the time leading to erroneous decisions. In face of this technique and this science, there is the “people’s war”, which relies on the unshakable resolution of a whole nation to defend its independence and freedom, a nation heir to an age-old tradition of struggle; there is the creative spirit of the great popular masses; there is the leadership of a Marxist-Leninist party tempered by twenty years of political and armed struggle in the most complex conditions. “People’s war”, far from confining itself to stereotypes, is continually enriched by practice and thought, by new ideas and tactics, and develops to the full the capacities of each man, combatant and civilian alike. After 80 years of colonial domination, and especially after twelve years of American rule in the South, the Vietnamese people know that no sacrifice, no suffering can be worse than colonial slavery. Fired by hatred of the aggressor, enlightened by a just political and military line, the Vietnamese fighter knows how to hit hard and accurately with only scanty means at his disposal. If, in the words of a French journalist, the American army has to spend a million dollars to get a “Viet Cong”, one single bullet is enough for a Vietnamese guerilla to get a G.I. and one single shell to blow up a U.S. tank, for, having to avenge his father, his wife, his child murdered, his village burnt down by napalm, his rice fields seared by toxic chemicals, he has been waiting for months, often for years, for this minute when he finds himself face to face with the Yanks.
Since 1950, the Vietnamese people have been able to gauge, not through theoretical studies, but through uninterrupted confrontation, the real force of American imperialism. It is in Vietnam that Washington has tested its weapons and tactics of the latest type with a view to imposing a neo-colonial policy full of wily schemes and maneuvres. The Vietnamese people have learnt to frustrate these schemes and neutralize those arms one after another. Like everyone else, the leaders of the N.F.L. and the government of the D.R.V. are acquainted with the figures of U.S. industrial production, the number of aircraft and guns it can turn out, but this does not prevent them from affirming, on the strength of many years’ experience, that they can defeat U.S. aggression. The Vietnamese people have infinite love for peace, but they know that a peace that sacrifices their independence would constitute the worst of escalations and lead to a much more disastrous war. The defense of peace and that of national independence is but one and the same thing. For the Vietnamese people, national and international duties lie in the same struggle, and that is why they will never lay down their arms before final victory.
_3_0Á_‚‚Á_‚_00070000013100000006_0Â_‚_1_0Â__6A03E2AE_0_18_0‚Á_Â__3_0‚_12_9_0‚_12_0Â_‚_10_0Â__6A03E2AE_0_18_0‚Á_Â__3_0_-2_0_12_9_0‚_12_0Â_‚_6_0Â__6A03E2AE_0_18_0‚Á__2_0Â__3_0‚_12_9_0‚_12_0Â_‚_8_0Â__6A03E2AE_1‚_12_0‚_18_0‚Á_Â__3_0_-3_0_12_9_0‚_12_0Â_‚_1_0Â__6A03E2AE_0_18_0‚Á__3_0Â_Á_‚_12_9_0‚_12_0Â_‚_1_0Â__6A03E2AE_0_18_0‚Á_Â__00080000015D00000002_40,_Arial___________________________________________________________40,_________________________________________________________________4_0_4E4_400_0‚‚_1_0‚_40008_0‚_101_0_40,_Times New Roman_________________________________________________40,_________________________________________________________________4_0_4E4_400_0‚‚_1_0‚_40008_0‚_101_0_00090000001700000002_0‚_17C_18E_0‚_17C_18E_000A0000001900000002_0‚_4A76_18E_0‚_4A76_18E_000B0000000500000002_0 _000C0000001E00000002_0‚‚_1_1B_0‚‚_1_F6A1_0Â_‚‚_1_000F0000002100000000_40_0Â
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_1A99_18E_FF00_0‚‚_1_0Â__00010000024700000008_0_AF8_84_0_2E_0_7_0‚‚_34A_17F_AE8_0_4_CC00_0_338_0_34A_53_0_AF8_1963_84_2E_3F_7_A_0_34A_0_7CC_17F_E43_0_4_CC40_0_7BA_0_7CC_EF_0_1963_24DF_4081_55_28_11_9_0_7CC_0_AAE_1EC_B55_0_4_CC40_0_A9C_0_AAE_CF_0_24DF_3188_4081_7D_30_1A_11_0_AAE_0_E30_1EC_CA0_0_4_CC00_0_E1E_0_E30_32_0_3188_3D76_4081_AD_2E_2B_16_0_E30_0_1198_1EC_BDE_0_4_CC00_0_1186_0_1198_56_0_3D76_4A34_4081_DB_32_41_18_0_1198_0_154C_1EC_C7C_0_4_CC40_0_153A_0_154C_185_0_4A34_532C_4081_10D_23_59_D_0_154C_0_17DC_1EC_8EB_0_4_CC40_0_17CA_0_17DC_43_0_532C_5E46_4081_130_25_66_8_0_17DC_0_1A99_1F1_B1A_0_4_8E00_0_1A86_1B_1A99_1B_0_000200000AFE00000000_AF8,The 1954 Geneva Agreements on Vietnam have formally recognized the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Vietnam.
The Vietnamese people, proud of their victory, thought, after ten years of war, they would be able to free themselves for ever from slavery and to enjoy a life in peace and happiness.
Their dream would have come true if it had not been for the US Government’s violation of the Geneva Accords and its ever increasing interference in the Affairs of South Vietnam, its setting up of the Ngo Dinh Diem administration and use of this regime of traitors and lackeys to carry out US neo-colonialist schemes, to apply a fascist policy of unpralided barbarity, and to suppress the Patriotic and democratic movement of the South Vietnamese people.
Faced with our people’s unshakable will for independence and rock-like determination, the US has been resorting to violence with growing crudeness, first by introducing “advisers” into South Vietnam, then by committing en masse over half a million US expeditionary troops, and forces of its allies, to a direct aggression against South Vietnam. At the same time, it has been dumping bombs and shells on North Vietnam in a savage war of destruction.
The prolonged US war of aggression, continuously escalated, has been causing untold grief and mourning to the people of South Vietnam, making havoc of the land of Vietnam, and rendering the life of the South Vietnamese people utterly miserable.
As they all have been installed by the US to serve its aggressive schemes, the various Saigon administrations, from Ngo Dinh Diem to Nguyen Van Thieu, Nguyen Cao Ky and Tran Van Huong at present, are but traitors to the country the people and instruments of foreigness. They have sold out the nation’s sovereignty and the lives of and the South Vietnamese people, and have been the causes of our fellow-countrymen’s wretched plight and servitude.
Resolved not to submit to violence, the South Vietnamese people, united millions as one, have resolutely risen up with unusual heroism to fight for their sacred national rights, their right to independence, and their right to be masters of their destiny. Our people, from the towns to the countryside, from the highlands to the plains, with a high determination, have foiled all the aggressive schemes of the enemy and been winning one victory after another. And since early spring this year, in the new period of the fight, the revolutionary armed forces and people of South Vietnam have stood up with an unmatched mettle, attacking the enemy everywhere, simultaneously and repeatedly, right in the towns and his most strongly guarded sanctuaries, even in Saigon-the military and political nerve centre of the US imperialists and the puppet administration.
_000200000E7100000AF8_E6B,The revolutionary armed forces and people have been recording successes of great import and significance, and have brought about a situation conducive to the defeat of the US imperialists’ war of aggression, overthraw of the puppet regime, and peace and glorious independence for the nation.
As their grow, the US imperialists’ stubborn and savage nature as aggressor and the Saigon puppet administration’s odious and brutal features become increasingly transparent and their challenge to the aspirations of the people of all strata more blatant. As a result, the front against the US imperialists and their stooges in the urban areas has been considerably broadening, rallying people of all walks of like from the working people to students, intellectuals, bourgeois to even civil servants, officers and soldiers of the puppet administration.
The basic and most earnest aspirations of our compatriots now are independence, national sovereignty, democratic freedoms, an end to the war, peace, neutrality, a life of plenty and happiness, and ultimate reunification of the country. The Vietnam alliance of Natival, Democratic and Peace Forces, which came into being early spring this year with a policy and line consonant with the people’s demands and aspirations, has enjoyed the enthusiastic response and participation of patriotic people of all social strata, political leanings and shades and religious beliefs, who have voluntarily resolved to do their share in the cause of national liberation.
In its National Salvation Manifesto, the VNANDPF has made clear that its line is “to unite all patriotic forces and individuals, to resolutely resist foreign aggression, to completely overthrow the Nguyen Van Thieu-Nguyen Cao Ky puppet regime, to set up a national coalition government, to achieve independence, democracy and peace.”
With a single eye, the VNADPF hereby solemnly proclaims its Political Program where have been charted concrete policies and courses of action to save and rebuild the country, achieving an independent, free, democratic, peaceful, neutral and prosperous South Vietnam, thereby making it possible to gradually achieve the reunification of the country.
The Political Program comprises the following main points:
I.   National Salvation
To unite all patriotic forces and individuals, resolutely to resist the war of aggression, to overthrow the puppet regime, to set up a national coalition government, to win independence, democracy and peace
1.   National salvation is the cause of the entire nation, and the agency vouching for its victory is the bloc of great national union. The VNANDPF advocates the union of all patriotic forces and individuals, regardless of political leaning, racial group, religion and social standing, in the present struggle for independence and national sovereignty as well as in the future national reconstruction.
2.   The South Vietnamese people cherish peace, but that must be a peace in honour and freedom. The Vietnam Alliance of National, Democratic and Peace Forces is for the recovery of independence and sovereignty for South Vietnam, and the US Government’s ending of its war, withdrawal of its troops and those of its allies from South Vietnam, dismantling of US military bases here, and respect for the independence and sovereignty of Vietnam as provided for by the 1954 Geneva Agreements on Vietnam. It is imperative that the national independence, national sovereignty and territorial integrity of South Vietnam be recognized and respected by various governments in the world. The Vietnam Alliance of National, Democratic and Peace Forces is ready to discuss the above questions with the US Government.
_000200000B8200001963_B7C,3.    The South Vietnam National Front for Liberation- a patriotic force which has been credited with tremendous contributions to the mustering of the necessary forces for the organization and leading of the fight against foreign aggression in the past years-cannot be absent in the settlement of the problems of South Vietnam. The Vietnam Alliance of National, Democratic and Peace Forces favours contacts and exchanges of view with the South Vietnam National Front for Liberation to map out the course of the common effort, to win back national independence, restore peace, rebuild the country, and bring welfare and happiness to the entire people.
4.   On the basis of the joint actions of the various patriotic forces and individuals taking part in the struggle for national liberation -including patriotic individuals in the puppet administration and army-a broad national, democratic coalition government will be set up with as its members representatives of the people of various strata, nationalities, religions, progressive political parties and organizations, patriotic personalities, etc; whose single goal is independence, democracy, peace neutrality and prosperity in South Vietnam.
II.  National Construction
To build South Vietnam into an independent, free, democratic, peaceful and prosperous state
After independence, sovereignty and peace have been regained, the VNANDPF stands for constant unity with all patriotic forces and individuals in the work of healing the wounds of war, building the country, and making of South Vietnam an independent, sovereign, free democratic peaceful, neutral and prosperous state.
A.   Domestic Affairs
I.   Political Regime:
-    To do away with all vestiges of colonialism and neo-colonialism in South Vietnam; to completely overthrow the puppet regime; to dissolve the “Senate” and “House of Representatives” created through fraudulent elections: to abolish the constitution approved by the former “Constitutional Assembly” to cancel all illegal, unequal treaties running counter to the interests of the nation and world peace and signed the between the South Vietnamese puppet regime and the US or other foreign countries; to abrogate all anti-popular laws enacted by the puppets, and all arbitrary and illegal decrees, decisions and verdicts by the puppets that prejudice the life, property, dignity, and interests of the citizens.
-    To establish a really democratic and free republican regime, hold general elections in strict conformity with the rule of equality, universal suffrage, direct and secret ballots, to elect a truly representative Constitution Assembly. This body will work out a democratic constitution taking into full account the aspirations and interests of the entire people. The constitution will define conditions for the establishment and organization of a sound administrative machine, truly democratic and having the character of broad national coalition.
_000200000CAF000024DF_CA9,-     All citizens will be equal in all respects. The people will fully enjoy genuinely democratic freedoms of movement, freedom of assembly, freedom of organization, etc., without any discrimation. The inviolability of the body, residence and personal correspondence will be respected. Parliamentary immunity will be ensured.
-    To set free all people detained under any form by the US puppet regime in South Vietnam for patriotic activities or opposition. People in exile or living as refugees in foreign countries because of the terror and suppression by the puppet regime have the right to the homeland. To reconsider unfair sentences under Common Law for amnesty or commutation.
-    To enforce equal rights, political, economic, cultural and social, for men and women.
-    To achieve equality among religions, without any discrimination. To oppose all divisive schemes of the imperialists and their quislings.
-    To protect and help restore pagodas, churches, shrines, temples and communal houses destroyed by enemy bombs and shells.
-    To follow a policy union and equality among all nationalities within the national community of Vietnam.
-    To look after the interests of oversea Vietnamese encourage them and provide them with facilities to return to the homeland to contribute to national construction .
-    To respect the legitimate interest of foreign resident in South Vietnam.
-    To put an end to forcible assimilation practised by the US-puppets as regards Chinese residents.
-    All units or individuals among the officers, soldiers, police, and civil servants of the South Vietnam puppet administration who take patriotic actions and join in the struggle against the US war of aggression and the puppet regime under any forms (revolt, mutiny, defection to the people with weapons, sympathy with, and support for, the South Vietnamese people’s struggle for independence, democracy and peace) and even if they merely refuse to carry out orders of the enemy-will be welcomed by the people and rewarded accordingly.
-    Those who are guilty of crimes against the people but show sincere repentance and wish to come back to the people will be granted amnesty; if they redeem their faults with distinguished service, they will be duly rewarded.
-    After recovery of independence and under the new regime, these people will be allowed without any discrimination to continue in their jobs, if they so desire.
 2. Economy:
-    To build an independent and sovereign economy, not dependent on the US imperialists or any other country.
After the return of peace, to make all-out efforts to make good the devastation of war; to solve the problem of unemployment; and to restore the people’s normal life on the basis of a vigorous development of the economy which will make the country prosperous.
-    To respect and protect the citizens’ private ownership of means of production and other property.
-    To pay attention to creating favourable conditions for the restoration and development of agricultural production purposes; to improve techniques; to develop water conservancy and irrigation works; to put into effect a system of prices which will encourage agricultural production and find adequate outlets for agricultural produce.
_000200000BF400003188_BEE,-     To carry our an equitable and reasonable program of land reform in order to help boost agricultural production.
-    To enforce land rent reduction.
-    The State will negotiate with landowners purchases of lands that exceed a certain quota, which will be shared out to the landless or land-poor peasants. To recognize the ownership of the present peasant holder of lands distributed to them by the SVN NFL under the force of the circumstances of the Resistance. Those lands entrusted by the SVN NFL to peasants in the absence of the owners will be dealt with appropriately in consideration of the political attitude of the latter.
-    To respect the legitimate ownership of land by the Church, Buddhist and other religious communities.
-    To give aid and encouragement to plantations of industrial crops and fruit trees.
-    To restore and develop industry, small industries and trade
-    To apply a policy of free enterprise useful to the State and beneficial to the people. To give a strong fillip to industrial, trade, communication and transport undertakings with a view to making the people prosperous and the country powerful.
-    To abolish monopoly.
-    To encourage the production and comsumption of home-made goods.
-    To establish a stable, independent monetary system.
-    To adopt an equitable tax policy.
-    To expand the home and foreign trade.
-    To maintain economic exchanges with North Vietnam with a view to mutual assistance and help in the development of both zones.
-    To develop economic relations with foreign countries, and to call for economic aid and assistance in funds, techniques, and experts from all countries regardless of political and social systems and on the principles of equality, mutual benefit, without strings attached, and on the basis of respect for South Vietnam’s independence and sovereignty.
-    In the development of economy, care will be given to the living conditions of workers, other labouring people and civil servants. To enact a labour law and regulations to ensure the interests of public and private employees; to improve living conditions in labouring people’s quarters; to carry out a policy of mutual benefit to capital and labour.
1.   Culture, Education, Science, Technique and Public Health:
-To wipe out all vestiges of the decadent, depraved and bastard culture.
-    To build a progressive national culture and education; to make all-out efforts to promote the fine traditions of the nation’s time-honoured culture; to preserve and develop good customs and habits.
-    To endeavour to raise the cultural standard of the people: to eliminate illiteracy, to build more schools of different degrees and complementary education and vocational courses, and to lay foundation for compulsory education.
-    To develop science and technique and place them at the service of the people’s well-being, national construction, and national defence.
-    To make an all-round reform of the system of learning and examinations.
-    To use Vietnamese as the teaching medium in all the higher learning establishments.
_000200000CC400003D76_CBE,-     To pay attention to the training and fostering of talents.
-    To ensure employment for graduates.
-    To exempt private schools from taxes in order to reduce schools-fees; to exempt poor students from fees and grant them scholarships.
-    To give facilities to intellectuals from various branches-scientific, technical, cultural-and writers and artists, to widen their researches, creations and inventions, to improve the regulations concerning those who go to study abroad with a view to serving national construction.
-    To look after the people’s health; to develop public health service; to reorganize existing hospitals and build fresh ones, more consultation rooms and maternity houses in the towns and the countryside to serve broad masses of the people, and at the same time to push ahead the sanitation and prophylactic movement and bring about a new way of life among the people.
-    To establish cultural relations with North Vietnam, and establish cultural relations with foreign countries.
2.   Public Relief:
-    To give utmost care to social welfare.
-    To look after the life and health of the aged, women, wounded and sick armymen, orphans, invalids, etc.
-    To root out all social evils harmful to the dignity and health of women.
-    To assist war victims including needy families of puppet armymen.
B.   External Relations
 -To pursue a foreign policy of peace, non-alignment with any camp or bloc, and non-participation in any military alliance.
-    To establish diplomatic relations with all states regardless of their political systems, and on the principles of equality, respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, and peaceful co-existence.
-    To attach special importance to the development of friendship with our neighbours: Cambodia and Laos; to develop friendly relations with nationalist countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
-    To give active support to the movements for national independence of the Asian, African and Latin American peoples.
-    To make active contributions to the safeguarding of peace and security in Southeast Asia and the world.
-    To promote trade with foreign countries and call for economic aid according to the principles of equality, mutual benefit, without strings attached, and on the basis of respect for South Vietnam’s independence and sovereignty.
-    To establish cultural relations with foreign countries.
II.  Reunification Of The Country
The Governments in South and North Vietnam will enter into negotiations on the eventual peaceful reunification of the country
To reunify the country is an earnest aspiration and a sacred duty of our people.
The reality in our country now is that there exist two different political regimes, one on the South, the other in the North. As the reunification of the country cannot be achieved overnight, there must be discussions and negotiations between the South and the North on the basis of equality and consideration for each other’s specific conditions, on the eventual peaceful reunification of the country.
 -Pending the reunification of the country, relations should be established between the two zones in economy, culture, correspondence, movement, etc.
_0002000008FE00004A34_8F8,-     South Vietnamese citizens regrouped to the North and North Vietnamese moving to the South (after the return of peace in 1954-Ed.) are free to return to their native places or stay where they are.
-    To exchange materials on education, science and technology, literature and arts, between the two zones.
-    To exchange delegations of professors, scientific and technical cadres, literary and art workers of the two zones to learn from each other’s experiences and develop education, science, technique and culture.
-    Students in one zone are free to seek admittance to universities in the other zone if they so desire.
The South Vietnamese people are faced with the most dangerous foreign aggression.
Because of the utterly ruthless war of extermination conducted by the US Government, much blood of our people has been shed, numerous crop fields and houses of our people have been devastated, and many of our people have had to live in humiliation and misery.
Our country is being dragged through fire and sword, from the towns to the countryside.
People of one country must love one another. No one can help feeling a deep hatred for the enemy who are piling up their crimes and inflicting tremendous suffering on our country.
Our nation’s tradition is one of dauntlessness and heroism, with the people always standing shoulder to shoulder in the gravest hours of the Fatherland.
The Dien Hong Assembly of Elderly Notables (convened by General Tran Hung Dao in the 13th century to seek their advice in face of foreign invasion-Ed.) is still fresh in the memory of our patriots.
Continuing this tradition, our people in South Vietnam have closed their ranks and checked the aggressive will of the enemy, driving them onto the verge of total failure and complete collapse.
However, the nearer our victory, the more numerous our difficulties.
Despite its heavy and repeated setbacks, the US Government still has not drawn in time practical lessons to that a satisfactory solution may be found to end the war. On the contrary it has gone further on the criminal path. In a desperate last-ditch effort, it has been using more lethal means of unheard of savagery. Our people, therefore, should further close their ranks and rush forward, holding the high banner of unity and victory.
_000200000B200000532C_B1A,To meet these requirements and at these grave moments of history, the Vietnam Alliance of National, Democratic and Peace Forces solemnly publishes its Political Program to be used as a basis for further broadening the bloc of national union, further strengthening the ranks of patriotic people, forming a broad national united front to resist US aggression and save the country, and deal a decisive blow at the aggressors.
At this stage of our grim fight, the Vietnam Alliance of National, Democratic and Peace Forces constantly stands shoulder to shoulder with the South Vietnam National Front for Liberation so as to fulfil together the glorious task of saving the country and regaining independence, freedom and peace for the nation.
The Vietnam Alliance of National, Democratic and Peace Forces earnestly calls on all our compatriots in the town and other areas still under the enemy’s terror in South Vietnam, intellectuals, religious believers, youth, students, women, workers, peasants, traders, industrialists, personalities, and all patriotic and pregressive forces and organizations, to broaden and strengthen their unity to enhance the winning position of the nation and give a powerful impetus to its advance irresistible like a tidal wave toward complete victory over the US aggressors, the overthrow of the whole puppet regime, the recovery of independence, national sovereignty and democratic freedoms, toward peace and happiness for the entire people.
The Vietnam Alliance of National, Democratic and Peace Forces calls on all the civil servants and officers and men of the puppet regime to try to see that the just, and glorious path of certain victory of the nation is to resist US aggression, whereas the path of the puppets is one of shame, without future and without escape, to have a clear idea of the duties and interests of the Vietnamese people, to go over to, and side definitively with, the people in order to save themselves, their homes and the country and, together with the entire people, build our homeland.
Ever since its foundation, the Vietnam Alliance of National, Democratic and Peace Forces has been enjoying the active participation and warm support of compatriots at home and abroad, and receiving unreserved support from progressive mass organizations all over the world. the Alliance will strive to live up to the trust of the people by assuming and fulfilling with determination its historic role. It pledges itself to do its best to make active contributions to the just cause of the entire people.
Let our entire people close their ranks and unite millions as one under the banner of national resistance to US aggression and for national salvation! Let us march forward with greater mettle!
South Vietnam, July 31-1968


Tin Nóng

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