Tanks of the Liberation Army captured the Presidential Palace in 30 April, 1975. Photo: Vietnam News Agency
Editor’s note: On the 40th anniversary of the liberation of South Viet Nam and national reunification (30 April, 1975-30 April, 2015), comrade Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Viet Nam’s Central Committee, Secretary of the Central Military Commission wrote an important article on this great victory. Communist Review would like to introduce the article of the General Secretary.
The General Offensive and Uprising in Spring 1975 victoriously put a complete end to the Vietnamese people and army’s resistance war against the US aggressors for national liberation, creating a turning point in national history, ushering in a new era for Viet Nam - an era of independence, reunification, and advancement to socialism. The victory of the resistance war against the US aggressors for national liberation demonstrated profoundly the power of Viet Nam’s revolutionary heroism, virtue, and intellect in Ho Chi Minh era. It was also a great international event of deep epochal significance. That triumph was attributed to many factors, of which the most decisive was the sound and creative leadership of the Party, highly promoting Viet Nam’s unique military arts.
The resistance war against the US aggressors for national liberation (1954-1975) was the continuation of the people’s democratic revolution. Amid the temporary partition of the country, the Communist Party of Viet Nam and President Ho Chi Minh based on international and national situation, comparing the status and strength of Viet Nam and its enemy, fully grasping Marxist-Leninist doctrine, setting out independent, self-reliant, sound and creative resistance policies and organizing the implementation of these policies in conformity with concrete context and development of the Vietnamese revolution in the new stage.
The most prominent and also a unique feature of the Vietnamese revolution from July 1954 to May 1975 was the Communist Party of Viet Nam pursued independent and self-reliant political and military policies, holding the flag of national independence and socialism aloft, concurrently launching two revolutionary strategies: the people's democracy revolution in the South and the socialist revolution in the North, aiming to achieve national independence, reunification and advance to socialism.
The Communist Party of Viet Nam considered that the North was the great rear and the socialist revolutionary cause in the North was of highest decisive significance to the whole country’s revolution; the South was the great front, and the revolution of the South had direct decisive effects towards the liberation of the South. The relation between the two strategies of the North and the South was the organic and close relation, strengthening and supporting each other to develop. That was a unique and unprecedented feature in history and a great merit of the Communist Party of Viet Nam, and at the same time the major and decisive factor to the victory of the fierce, arduous, and protracted resistance war against the US aggressors for national liberation of the Vietnamese people.
The Party’s far-sighted vision, strategic thinking and outstanding leadership particularly at the turning point of the resistance war were manifested through its independent, self-reliant, correct, and creative revolutionary guidelines. While the henchmen administration of Ngo Dinh Diem was implementing its policy of “denouncing the communists”, “eliminating the communists”, executing communists and brutally oppressing revolutionaries and people and the revolutionary movement in the South was in a difficult situation, in January 1959 the Party Central Committee organized the 15th Conference (extended) under the chairmanship of President Ho Chi Minh to set out the way forward of the revolution of the South, clarifying revolutionary objectives and methodology, relations between the two revolutionary strategies of the North and the South, between the Vietnamese and world revolutions to liberate the South, protect the North and reunify the country.
The Resolution of the 15th Conference of the Central Committee pointed to the Vietnamese revolution’s fundamental roadmap in the South. It was to wage uprisings to wrest back power to the people. There was no other alternative. Those sound guidelines of the Party breathed “a new life,” new momentum and became a motive force for the revolution in the South to advance forward.
Started with uprisings at the end of 1959, the movement rapidly reached its peak throughout the South. The victory of the uprising movement created a turning point, bringing the Southern revolution from sustaining force to offensive. This was a unique and creative beginning of the resistance war against the US aggressors for national salvation and the foundation for the Party to continue developing people’s comprehensive war, defeating the US’s strategies of “special war” (1961-1965), “local war” (1965-1968), “Vietnamization of war” (1969-1973), “fighting so that the US aggressors have to quit,” then “fighting to overthrow the henchmen,” liberating completely the South and reunifying the country.
Together with setting forth sound, creative political and military guidelines, the Communist Party of Viet Nam persistently employed comprehensive revolutionary violence including two major forces which were the mass political force and the people’s armed forces, combined political struggle with armed struggle throughout the resistance war against the US aggressors for national liberation. At the same time the Party consistently realized the ideology of strategic offensive. That thinking was pursued not only when the enemy “scaled down” but also when they “escalated” the war and not only in the revolutionary war in the South but also in the protection of the socialist North.
The offensive strategy was employed at all time, in all circumstances with the motto “fight to repulse each step, dismantle the enemy unit by unit, force the enemy to scale down, eventually defeat completely the enemy and win the ultimate victory for the resistance war against the US aggressors for national liberation.”
After the Paris Agreement was signed on January 27, 1973, and US troops pulled entirely out of Viet Nam's southern region on March 29, 1973, the battle changed significantly in Viet Nam’s favor. Firmly grasping strategic opportunity brought about by nearly 20 years of fighting, the Central Committee 21st Plenum, 3rd Tenure met twice. The first meeting was from 19 June to 6 July 1973 and the second meeting was from 1 October to 4 October, 1973 when the Party affirmed and consolidated determination to liberate the South and reunify the country in the earliest possible time.
In 1974, the Vietnamese army and people launched offensives throughout the South which forced the enemy into passive and responsive position. After the triumph of Thuong Duc and Dong Xoai battles, especially of the Highway 14 - Phuoc Long campaign, the Politburo of the Party Central Committee determined to liberate the South in 1975-1976. Another alternative was to liberate the South in 1975, even before the 1975 rainy season if opportunity came.
In the resistance war against the US aggressors for national liberation, under the leadership of the Party, Viet Nam’s military arts and people’s war reached a peak. The factor that ensured the unceasing development of people’s war was the armed forces including the regular, local and militia and guerrilla forces which were strongly fostered and widely stationed. Of them, the regular army played the key role in campaigns, and large scale operations of combined arms.
Fully aware of the rule of the war, applying and implementing creatively the military arts of the people’s war, we gradually changed the battle situation in our favor, fighting the enemy from the position of strength, proactivity and sudden.
The outstanding and unique feature of the people’s war was also demonstrated in the close and flexible combination of elements “status, strength, opportunity and strategy” in each of the battle and campaign so that the enemy could not project our direction, prong, power and offensive strength. That was the basis for the Communist Party of Viet Nam to realize the motto “dismantling the enemy unit by unit, winning victory after victory, eventually defeating completely the enemy and winning ultimate triumph for the resistance war against the US aggressors for national liberation.”
The Communist Party of Viet Nam paid special attention to and brought into play the Party work and political affairs in the army, especially during campaigns. Lessons learnt from the Party work and political affairs started since the Vietnamese army was founded and during the resistance war against the French colonialists helped strengthen, and diversify the Party work and political affairs to become “the soul and lifeline” of the Vietnamese army in the resistance war against the US aggressors for national liberation.
Based on the battlefield situation, the Party work and political affairs concentrated on fostering fighting determination, mobilizing the army to reach high unanimity with the Party’s guidelines on strategic objectives, opportunity, leading motto, operation methods to win victory; proactively gave guidance to “working units” in newly-liberated zones; and promoted the role of local armed forces and people in operating fields.
The Party work and political affairs directly guided the soldiers’ morale, instigating and promoting patriotism, strength of the superior socialist regime in the North, the staunch fighting spirit of the Southern people - “the fortress of the Fatherland,” generating political and spiritual driving force for compatriots and soldiers through out the country in their struggle against the enemy. Activities of the Party work and political affairs made contribution to building officers and soldiers’ revolutionary and scientific military thinking, correctly solving relations between man and weapon and between politics and military and between democracy, discipline and unity.
On Party organization and building, efforts were made to build “4-good Party cells,” strong regiments and divisions, train Party members and cadres, strictly maintain activities and meetings of Party organizations during the war time, care for and ensure priority policy toward soldiers and the rear. The contingent of political commissars was completed in quality, fostered in virtue and capacity. They developed rapidly and played an important role in fighting.
Especially, the Communist Party of Viet Nam set great store by building a contingent of officers at campaign and strategic levels with devoted “heart”, high “position” and experience in leading operations. We will forever glorify and learn from exemplary, dynamic, and decisive commanders, political commissars of regular forces who devoted to the cause of liberation of the South and national reunification. Effective Party work and political affairs and other work turned the Party correct and creative guidelines into reality of struggle of our army and people, generating great political and spiritual strength particularly at decisive turning point.
The great victory in Spring 2015 was the great achievement of our people, showing our people’s will, aspiration for independence and reunification in Ho Chi Minh era. Given its independent and self-reliant resistance guidelines, the Communist Party of Viet Nam rallied the people's power in terms of financial resources, political and spiritual strength and patriotism of the century-old civilization for the protracted, arduous and fierce resistance war against the US aggressors.
Upholding the banner of national independence and socialism, persisting in its viewpoint of loyal and pure international solidarity, the Communist Party of Viet Nam brought into full play national power in combination with the power of the time. The Party, State, and army of Viet Nam have been grateful to and never forgotten the wholehearted assistance given by progressive people from across the globe and fraternal socialist countries, especially the Soviet Union and China, to the just struggle of our nation, particularly the unity and alliance to fight against the common enemy of Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia. The great material and spiritual support of the international community was an important factor to the victory of Viet Nam’s resistance war against the US aggressors.
Currently, beside advantages the world and regional situation has seen complicated and unprecedented development. Strategic competition among powers have become fierce, containing factors leading to instability, local war, armed conflicts, disputes over resources, territory, waters, islands, racial and religious conflicts, interference, subversion, separation, terrorism and increasing non-traditional elements threatening security, causing challenges to many countries. At home, we have made important achievements in all fields after 30 years of renovation; the country’s potential in all aspects has been consolidated; our country’s prestige and position have been elevated. However, difficulties and challenges remain.
Hostile forces have stepped up its strategy of “peaceful evolution,” accelerating “self-evolution,” “self-transformation,” and “non-politicized” army. The situation in the East Sea has developed complicatedly; the struggle to defend waters and island sovereignty will be protracted with numerous difficulties. In that situation, the task of national defense of the Party, people and army is heavy with mixed advantages and difficulties, opportunity and challenges. To ensure successful implementation of this strategic task, we should strengthen the Party’s leadership, the State’s governance, promote the role and responsibilities of the whole political system, levels, branches, forces of which the armed force plays the key role.
This year, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the complete liberation of the South and national reunification at a time when the Party organizations at all levels are convening Party congresses in anticipation of the 12th National Party Congress. This is an important event for the Communist Party of Viet Nam, and the Vietnamese people. This is also an opportunity for the Communist Party of Viet Nam to heighten its leading capacity, fighting strength, and wisdom to complete its renovation guidelines, and successfully implement the cause of national construction and defense in the new revolutionary period.
The lesson learnt from the success of Party leadership in the resistance war against the US aggressors should be inherited and promoted in this new period of development. The lesson was about persistently following national independence and consistently applying Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought, firmly maintaining the nature of the working class and consolidating the ideological foundation of the Party. On that basis, the Party must develop sound leading guidelines and solutions, meeting the revolution’s development, actively renovate leading methods, study theory, generalize practical development and identify objective rule to ensure that the Party leadership is effective and efficient.
To build a clean and strong Communist Party of Viet Nam into “ethic and civilization” as aspired by Uncle Ho, the entire Party must resolutely and persistently continue to implement the Resolution of the 4th Plenum of Party Central Committee, 11th Tenure on Party building and continue learning and following the moral example of President Ho Chi Minh. Efforts to prevent and combat corruption, waste and degradation in terms of political ideology, ethics, and lifestyle among Party members and State officials must also be reinforced.
Party organizations from Central to grassroots levels must pay more attention to Party building, Party cadres must truly be servants of people, caring for people’s aspiration and legitimate interests, overcoming bureaucracy, staying aloof of the mass, “group interests,” and internal division. At the same time, efforts must be made on internal political protection, active fighting to foil all schemes and acts of sabotage of hostile forces and maintaining the Party leadership and socialism.
Absolutely loyal and reliable to the Party, Fatherland and people, the people’s army in its role as the core force to defend the country must continue building itself into a “revolutionary, regular, elite and modern” army.
The army must proactively understand the situation, make accurate projections of development trends particularly on issues relating to national defense and security. On that basis the army must closely coordinate with public security and foreign affair forces to provide consultancy and recommendations to the Party and State in making guidelines and strategies of national defense, responses and settlement to avoid passivity, sudden development and contribute to creating a peaceful and stable environment for national construction and development. The Vietnamese army is the revolutionary army from the people and for the people must continue to fulfil its role as the fighting, working, production force, live up to the Party, State and people’s trust and enrich its tradition of “Uncle Ho soldiers.”
To that end, the Party's absolute and comprehensive leadership over the army should be intensified, focusing on the political, ideological and organizational spheres, comprehensive leading capacity, high fighting strength of the Party Central Military Commission to resolutely fighting against any hostile forces’ attempt and maneuver of “non-politicizing” the army. The Party Central Military Commission and the Ministry of National Defense must study, and implement successfully the Resolution of the 8th Party Central Committee, 11th Tenure on the Strategy on National Defense in the new period, focusing on building the all people national defense, the all people national defense force and all people security force, defensive region and options and plans on national defense. Pay regular attention to building the people’s army in politics, actively renovate and heighten quality of Party work and political affairs in the army and the militia and guerrilla forces.
The 85-year history and development of the Party showed its firmness, intellect, virtue and sound leadership capability in difficult and complicated situations. We believe that the lessons from the success of the Party's leadership in the great victory in Spring 1975, as well as during the entire struggle against the US aggressors to liberate the country, will be promoted in the new era.