46 Years After the Great Victory: Ho Chi Minh and the Role of the Vietnamese Communist Party

Carlos Aznarez
https://www.history.com/.image/ar_1:1%2Cc_fill%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_1200/MTU3ODc5MDg1ODkyNzA4MDYz/ho-chi-minh-2.jpgVietnam has always been a hard nut to crack for imperialism that attempted to carve out its territory. Before the Americans, it was the French, who in the mid-19th century had undertaken the conquest of the country, and met with a heroic resistance that “once and a thousand times made us retreat in our attempts”, as one of the military chiefs in Paris later explained.

However, the firepower and the massive military intervention made it easier for the country to progressively become a colony. But since the establishment of the domination of the French imperialists the National Liberation Movement of the Vietnamese people continuously developed.

In 1939 the Second World War broke out, France was quickly occupied by the Nazis, and Vietnam became a colony of the Japanese. That was the moment when the Communist Party of Vietnam promptly and accurately analyzed the new situation, concluding that a new cycle of wars and revolutions was beginning. Soon after, the Vietminh (Vietnam Independence Front) was formed, which began guerrilla warfare, which would increase from 1945 (when the Soviet Red Army and the Allied forces would defeat the Japanese army) and would culminate in a general insurrection and the establishment of the people’s power in Hanoi and throughout the country. Ho Chi Mính, the greatest leader of all Vietnamese victories presided over the government and independence was proclaimed and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the first people’s democracy in Southeast Asia, was created. However, on September 23, 1945, the French Expeditionary Corps opened fire in Saigon, generating that day, lasting nine years, the development of a war of national liberation that ended with the Vietnamese victory at Dien Bien Phu.

The fourth and last chapter of this escalation of imperial attacks of various kinds suffered by Vietnam began in 1959 and lasted until 1975, with the powerful military apparatus of the United States playing the leading role this time, in an attempt to prevent the reunification of Vietnam into a single nation. Hundreds of thousands of Marines set out to defend the puppet government of South Vietnam, and as happened to the French and Japanese, they came up against the wall of resistance of an entire people enrolled in the Vietnam Liberation Front. From that moment on and during fifteen long years of asymmetric struggle, in which the invaders used the most sophisticated weapons of mass destruction against the Vietnamese civilian population, one of the most shocking and emotional pages of world revolutionary history was written.

There are unforgettable images of the definitive defeat of the brutal empire that had produced so much evil in a territory so far from their own, by the Vietnamese people in arms. The bursting of a North Vietnamese tank into the presidential palace in Saigon on April 30, 1975, the image of the American soldiers stripping off their clothes to change them for others that would not give them away, or those same soldiers launching their powerful helicopters into the sea so that they would not fall into the hands of the victors, or the historic image of officials and officers of the invading army desperately climbing onto the last ship that could take them out of that “hell” that they had collaborated so much in generating. All this symbolized the fall of the US Army in the Vietnam War, and served to show the world that when a people are aware of what they represent and have a revolutionary leadership such as that of Ho Chi Minh, they can organize, resist and win.

The result of the aggression was devastating: more than five million dead, among which around 58 thousand were American soldiers and the rest Vietnamese settlers and militiamen, to which must be added the generalized devastation of a territory, its homes and infrastructure, which were bombed thousands of times with approximately 8 million tons of extremely powerful explosive charges as well as napalm and “agent orange” which devastated villages and human beings. In addition to all this American aggressive action, we must add what is commonplace for its deployment troops in different countries: widespread ill-treatment, torture and every kind of abuse against the detained inhabitants, so much so that the U.S. government itself later had to acknowledge that 278 soldiers were sentenced by military tribunals for the atrocities committed.

This April 30, it is important to remember the 46th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War and the reunification between the south and the north, thus fulfilling Ho Chi Minh’s aspiration to ensure that the country from that moment on would be one and begin a slow but effective reconstruction. Therefore, it is worth bearing in mind the words of Ho himself, when he said at the dawn of the U.S. aggression: “No matter how many difficulties and hardships the future may bring, our people are confident that they will win total victory. The U.S. imperialists will have to retreat. Our country will be reunified. Our compatriots in the north and south will be reunited under the same roof. Our country will have the distinct honor of being a small nation that, through a heroic struggle, defeated two great empires – the French and the American – and thus made a worthy contribution to the national liberation movement”.

Since those victorious days of April 1975, the Vietnamese people have been striving to build a socialist nation, emphasizing leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam and unity as decisive factors in achieving such successes. These hallmarks are maintained to this day in the country’s construction and development work.

With the renewal process (Doi Moi), promoted and led by the Party since 1986, Vietnam has achieved remarkable economic feats. In the last 30 years its Gross Domestic Product grew at an average annual rate of over 5%. They inserted market dynamics into their economy, without losing the sense of equity in the distribution of wealth.

Poverty rates decreased, from 58 % in 1993 to 7.5 % in 2015, 30 million Vietnamese came out of economic misfortune at that stage. A result that has had the people as the protagonist and its Party as the architect.

It should also be noted that during the difficult times the world is experiencing today, resulting from the ravages of the Covid 19 pandemic, Vietnam has once again shown that it could confront this new “war” with solvency and, without hesitation, winning as it did in the previous ones.

People, Party, Leadership

It is also essential to highlight the important role played by the local Communist Party, as the leader of each and every one of the projects to lift the country from the Government, and thus be able to establish it as one of the leaders in terms of development in Southeast Asia.

Moreover, the exploits of the Vietnamese people would not have been possible without the political vanguard founded and educated by Ho Chi Minh, which the Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro described as “a wise party that knew how to bring together all the progressive layers of the population in a broad front to lead it to victory”.

This anniversary also comes after the successful XIII Party Congress held in February of this year. The documents approved at that meeting, visualized the historical achievements of Vietnam in the 35 years of the renewal process, and the efforts of the Party, Government and people of Vietnam in the implementation of the Platform for national construction in the period of transition to socialism and the strategies of socio-economic development and foreign relations.

The young Vietnamese men and women who have had the opportunity to grow, study and train in freedom, enjoying high levels of education throughout these years deserve a separate mention. These new generations, who did not suffer war but are the children and grandchildren of those who gave everything to achieve emancipation as a people, are responsible for consolidating all that has been achieved by their elders and projecting the country towards an ever better future. To this end, in these days of remembrance, it is worth treasuring the historical values of the victory of the spring of 1975 and redouble our study of the teachings left as a legacy by President Ho Chi Minh.

For the popular Uncle Ho, as he was known by the men, women and children of Vietnam, these last lines are not a synthetic biography but a sample of the undeniable dimension of his revolutionary figure. Ho Chi Minh was all his life a fighter for the ideas of communism and a born organizer. Born in French Indochina, his first involvement in militancy took place when he emigrated with his family to Paris. There he participated in the founding of the French CP in 1920, then went to China where he gathered a group of exiles to promote an anti-colonial revolution in Indochina, and some time later, in 1930, he founded the Indochinese CP. There he embarked on a path of self-sacrificing commitment that would last until his death.

Ho Chi Minh always had peace and friendship among progressive nations as his unquestionable goal. He invested all his militant experience in achieving this goal, combining patriotism and revolutionary morality as two fundamental elements. Hence, his name and example have been inscribed in the history of the peoples of the world and continue to be a spur to the self-esteem of each and every one of the inhabitants of the prosperous Vietnamese nation.

Translation by Internationalist 360°