(redirected from Yuenan)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


(vēĕt`näm), officially Socialist Republic of Vietnam, republic (2015 est. pop. 93,572,000), 128,400 sq mi (332,642 sq km), Southeast Asia. Occupying the eastern coastline of the Southeast Asian peninsula, Vietnam is bounded by China on the north, by Laos and Cambodia on the west, and by the Gulf of Tonkin and the South China Sea on the east and south. The capital is HanoiHanoi
, city (1997 est. pop. 3,500,800), capital of Vietnam, on the right bank of the Red River. It is the transportation hub of the country, with two airports and rail connections to Kunming, China, as well as to the main Chinese system centering on Beijing; it is also linked
..... Click the link for more information.
 and the largest city is Ho Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh City,
formerly Saigon,
city (1997 pop. 5,250,000), on the right bank of the Saigon River, a tributary of the Dong Nai, Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city, the greatest port, and the commercial and industrial center of Vietnam.
..... Click the link for more information.
, formerly Saigon.

Land and People

The northern and western sections of Vietnam are dominated by the mountains of the Annamese Cordillera, continuations of the mountains of the Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi to the north. The mountains reach elevations of more than 8,000 ft (2,440 m), and contain a notable plateau known as the Central Highlands (alt. 600–1,600 ft/180–490 m), which, although sparsely populated, contains rubber, coffee, and tea plantations. East of the Annamese Cordillera in the north is an alluvial plain drained by the Red River and other streams that empty into the Gulf of Tonkin. South of the Red River delta are the Central Lowlands, a narrow, coastal strip where short, often torrential rivers, flowing from west to east, form fertile deltas. The alluvial plain of the Mekong River delta forms the southern portion of the country. The country has a tropical monsoon climate, modified by local conditions.

The population is concentrated in the two main river deltas. The Vietnamese account for more than 85% of the population. They speak an Annamese-Muong language (see Southeast Asian languagesSoutheast Asian languages,
family of languages, sometimes also called Austroasiatic, spoken in SE Asia by about 80 million people. According to one school of thought, it has three subfamilies: the Mon-Khmer languages, the Munda languages, and the Annamese-Muong subfamily.
..... Click the link for more information.
). The approximately 50 minority groups in the highlands include the Muong, Tai, Hmong, Dao, Sedong, Jarai, Bahnar, Rhade, Cham, and smaller groups. There is a significant population of Cambodians (Khmers) near the Cambodian border and at the mouth of the Mekong River. There are large numbers of Chinese in the urban centers, although many fled after South Vietnam was defeated by the North and after a border clash with China in 1979.

A mix of Buddhism, Confucianism, and traditional local beliefs and Roman Catholicism are the most widely practiced religions. Although the Communist government has discouraged religious practice, it is tolerated within the context of government-regulated Buddhist and Catholic groups, and since the 1990s traditional worship at Buddhist temples has been encouraged. Protestant evangelical churches (found mainly among ethnic minorities) and other unregulated groups are actively suppressed. Vietnamese is the official language, and English is increasingly favored as a second language. French, Chinese, Khmer, and languages of the various minority groups are also spoken.


Agriculture still employs a majority of the population (though it produces a smaller share of the GDP than industry and services), and rice is by far the leading crop. The Mekong and Red river deltas are among the world's greatest rice-growing regions, the former benefiting from heavy rainfall and rich alluvial soil and the latter notable for its elaborate network (c.2,700 mi/4,350 km) of dikes, dams, canals, and locks that provide irrigation and flood control. Soybeans, peanuts, bananas, corn, and sweet potatoes are secondary food crops, and coffee, cotton, tea, pepper, cashews, and sugarcane are among the cash crops. Fishing and aquaculture comprise an important industry, and marine products are a major export, especially shrimp. Rubber is also important. Timber resources are still substantial, particularly in the north, but deforestation resulting from highland resettlement, shifting cultivation, and commercial cutting is an increasingly serious problem.

Most of the country's mineral resources are in the north. Vietnam produces large amounts of coal as well as having sizable deposits of phosphates, manganese, bauxite, chromate, and other metal ores. Substantial offshore oil and gas deposits exist in southern waters, and crude oil is an important export; petroleum products are refined as well. Vietnam's industrial development was hampered by more than three decades of war, but as a result of economic reforms that began in the late 20th cent. and accelerated in the early 21st cent., there has been considerable industrial development. Important industries include food processing; machine building; mining; and the production of clothing, steel, chemical fertilizers, glass, tires, oil, and mobile phones. The tourism industry is also significant. The major exports are crude oil, marine products, rice, coffee, rubber, tea, mobile phones, garments, and shoes. The main imports are machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer, steel, cotton, grain, and motorcycles. Vietnam's main trading partners are China, Singapore, the United States, Japan, and South Korea.


Vietnam is governed under the constitution of 2013. The president, who is the head of state, is elected by the legislature for a five-year term. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is appointed by the president. The unicameral legislature consists of the 500-seat National Assembly, whose members are popularly elected for five-year terms. Administratively, the country is divided into 59 provinces and five municipalities. Vietnam's Communist party is the only legal political party.


European Contacts

The early history of Vietnam is that of TonkinTonkin
, historic region (c.40,000 sq mi/103,600 sq km), SE Asia, now forming the heartland of N Vietnam. The capital was Hanoi. Tonkin was bordered on the north by China, on the east by the Gulf of Tonkin, on the south by the historic region of Annam, and on the S and W by Laos.
..... Click the link for more information.
, AnnamAnnam
, historic region (c.58,000 sq mi/150,200 sq km) and former state, in central Vietnam, SE Asia. The capital was Hue. The region extended nearly 800 mi (1,290 km) along the South China Sea between Tonkin on the north and Cochin China on the south.
..... Click the link for more information.
, and Cochin ChinaCochin China
, Fr. Cochinchine, historic region (c.26,500 sq mi/68,600 sq km) of Vietnam, SE Asia. The capital and chief city was Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). Cochin China was bounded by Cambodia on the northwest and north, by the historic region of Annam on the
..... Click the link for more information.
. The first Europeans to arrive were the Portuguese in 1535. Dutch, French, and English traders came in the 17th cent., at which time missionaries entered the area, winning many converts to Roman Catholicism. The persecution of missionaries and of their Vietnamese converts by the ruler of Vietnam was a factor prompting French conquest in the 19th cent. The French captured Saigon in 1859, and after a period of warfare, organized (1867) the colony of Cochin China. In 1884, France declared protectorates over Tonkin and Annam; in 1887 it merged Tonkin, Annam, and Cochin China with Cambodia to form a union of IndochinaIndochina,
Fr. Indochine, former federation of states, SE Asia. It comprised the French colony of Cochin China and the French protectorates of Tonkin, Annam, Laos, and Cambodia (Cochin China, Tonkin, and Annam were later united to form Vietnam). The capital was Hanoi.
..... Click the link for more information.
, to which Laos was added in 1893.

Nationalism and Foreign Occupation

A nationalist movement arose in Vietnam in the early 20th cent. and gained momentum during the Japanese occupation in World War II. The Japanese allowed the French Vichy administration to continue as a figurehead power until Mar., 1945, when they ousted it and established the autonomous state of Vietnam (comprising Tonkin, Annam, and Cochin China) under the rule of Bao DaiBao Dai
, 1913–97, emperor of Annam (1926–45) and chief of state of Vietnam (1949–55). Born Prince Nguyen Vinh Thuy, he was the son of Emperor Khai Din and succeeded to the throne in 1926, but did not occupy it until 1932.
..... Click the link for more information.
, the emperor of Annam. The Bao Dai government quickly collapsed, and at the end of World War II, the Viet MinhViet Minh
, officially Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh [League for the Independence of Vietnam], a coalition of Communist and nationalist groups that opposed the French and the Japanese during World War II.
..... Click the link for more information.
 party (the League for the Independence of Vietnam, a coalition of nationalist and Communist groups), headed by Ho Chi MinhHo Chi Minh
, 1890–1969, Vietnamese nationalist leader, president of North Vietnam (1954–69), and one of the most influential political leaders of the 20th cent. His given name was Nguyen That Thanh. In 1911 he left Vietnam, working aboard a French liner.
..... Click the link for more information.
, established a republic with its capital at Hanoi.

The Chinese Nationalists, who occupied N Vietnam for seven months after the war (in accordance with a decision made at the Potsdam ConferencePotsdam Conference,
meeting (July 17–Aug. 2, 1945) of the principal Allies in World War II (the United States, the USSR, and Great Britain) to clarify and implement agreements previously reached at the Yalta Conference.
..... Click the link for more information.
), did not challenge Ho's power. The French attempted to reassert their authority in Vietnam following the war, and the British, who occupied S Vietnam, permitted French troops to land and assisted them in suppressing native resistance. In Mar., 1946, France signed an agreement with Ho Chi Minh, recognizing Vietnam as a free state within the Indochina federation and the French Union. French troops were then permitted to replace the Chinese in the north. However, differences immediately arose over whether Cochin China was included in the independent state of Vietnam; in June, 1946, France supported the establishment of a separate republic of Cochin China.

War with France

Fighting broke out (Nov., 1946) between Vietnamese and French troops in Haiphong, and French ships shelled the city, killing some 6,000 civilians. The next month the Viet Minh attacked the French at Hanoi, ushering in the prolonged and bloody guerrilla conflict that became known as the French Indochina War (1946–54). In an attempt to win popular support, the French in 1949 reinstalled Bao Dai as the ruler of Vietnam, of which Cochin China was then recognized to be a part.

Spurred by the Communist takeover of mainland China, which brought Chinese Communist forces to the northern border of Indochina by Dec., 1949, France concluded a treaty (ratified Feb., 1950) granting Vietnam independence within the French Union. The new state was promptly recognized by the United States, Great Britain, and other states; meanwhile the Ho regime was recognized by the USSR, Communist China, and other Soviet allies. Except for Thailand (which recognized Bao Dai), the states of Southeast Asia held aloof from both regimes.

Bao Dai failed to win the general support of the Vietnamese, many of whom saw him as a French puppet. Thousands of non-Communists joined the Viet Minh, and the war reached an eventual stalemate, with the French controlling the cities and a few isolated outposts and the Viet Minh occupying most of the countryside. France formally asked U.S. aid for the Bao Dai regime in Feb., 1950. By 1954, the United States was paying about 80% of the French war costs in Vietnam. The French military situation deteriorated rapidly in early 1954 as Viet Minh forces closed in on DienbienphuDienbienphu
or Dien Bien Phu
, former French military base, N Vietnam, near the Laos border. It was the scene in 1954 of the last great battle between the French and the Viet Minh forces of Ho Chi Minh in Indochina. The French occupied the base by parachute drop in Nov.
..... Click the link for more information.
, upon which the French had staked the defense of the Red River delta. Dienbienphu fell in May, and at the Geneva Conference of 1954, France had to accept disadvantageous terms for an armistice. The truce agreement was signed by representatives of the French Union and of the Viet Minh forces.

Two Vietnams

As a temporary expedient after the Vietnamese defeat of French forces, Vietnam was divided into two parts along a line approximating the 17th parallel (lat. 17°N). North Vietnam, where the Viet Minh were the strongest, went to the Communist government of Ho Chi Minh, while South Vietnam was placed under the control of the French-backed government of Bao Dai. Freedom of movement between the two areas was to be permitted for a period of 300 days, thereby facilitating the regroupment of Communist forces in the north and non-Communist forces in the south. During this period some 900,000 people, many of whom were Catholics or individuals fleeing the land reform program initiated by the Ho Chi Minh government, migrated south. The unification of the country under one government was to be effected through general elections, later scheduled for July, 1956. These elections, which were considered likely to favor the Communists, were never held; the South Vietnamese government refused to participate on the grounds that it had not signed the Geneva agreements and was therefore not bound by them.

A few months after the partition of Vietnam in 1954, South Vietnam withdrew from the French Union and thus attained complete sovereignty. In a referendum held in Oct., 1955, the electorate deposed Bao Dai as chief of state and approved the establishment of a republic with Ngo Dinh DiemDiem, Ngo Dinh
, 1901–63, president of South Vietnam (1955–63). A member of an influential Roman Catholic family, he was a civil servant before World War II and was connected with the nationalists during the war.
..... Click the link for more information.
 as president. The republic, proclaimed on Oct. 26, 1955, was recognized as the legal government of Vietnam by the United States, France, Great Britain, and other Western powers. Diem was faced with a war-torn economy and serious political chaos as numerous factions and individuals vied for power. He suppressed the Cao Dai, a religious sect with its own private army (the Binh Xuyen), and the Hoa Hao, an occultist religious group, both of which opposed him. But his authoritarian policies—rigid press censorship, interference with elections, restriction of opposition parties, and mass arrests—drew increasing criticism.

North Vietnam, meanwhile, continued to be dominated by Ho Chi Minh, who maintained good relations with both China and the USSR, receiving enormous aid from both countries while skillfully protecting the independence of his country. A three-year economic rehabilitation program (1958–60) and a five-year plan (1961–66), financed with Soviet and Chinese aid, were aimed at improving both industry and agriculture. Electric power production was increased fifteenfold, new mineral deposits were located, mining operations were expanded, and many new industries were established, especially in Hanoi and Haiphong. Also constructed were a large iron-and-steel complex at Thai Nguyen, a chemical combine at Viet Tri, and a textile complex at Nam Dinh. Much national effort was also devoted to the support of Communist insurgents in South Vietnam (the Viet CongViet Cong
, officially Viet Nam Cong San [Vietnamese Communists], People's Liberation Armed Forces in South Vietnam. The term was originally applied by Diem's regime to Communist troops (about 10,000) left in hideouts in South Vietnam after the Geneva Conference of 1954,
..... Click the link for more information.
), who operated under the leadership of the National Liberation Front, an organization alleged to be indigenous to South Vietnam.

The Vietnam War

By late 1961, the Viet Cong had won control of virtually half of South Vietnam with little local opposition. The United States increased its military and economic aid to combat the Communist threat and at the same time put pressure on President Diem for democratic reforms. In Apr., 1961, Diem was reelected president, but many voters boycotted the election. Resentment against the government was dramatized by the Buddhist crisis, which erupted in May, 1963, as a result of government persecution. A number of self-immolations by Buddhist monks followed. Large antigovernment demonstrations provoked police shootings, mass arrests, and more repressive government measures. These actions, along with the increasing loss of territory to the Viet Cong, prompted Diem's own military commanders to resort to a coup (Nov. 1, 1963), in which Diem and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu (who headed the secret police), were murdered. A period of great political instability followed, with frequent changes in government, mounting disorders, and continued religious unrest (both Buddhist and Catholic).

In 1964 regular units of the North Vietnamese army began infiltrating into South Vietnam by way of what came to be known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. The guerrilla conflict expanded into open warfare. The United States, deeply committed to the support of the non-Communist government of South Vietnam, became increasingly involved militarily, sending troops and then engaging in systematic bombing (see Vietnam WarVietnam War,
conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. The war began soon after the Geneva Conference provisionally divided (1954) Vietnam at 17° N lat.
..... Click the link for more information.
). The U.S. bombing of North Vietnam began after two U.S. destroyers were reportedly attacked (Aug., 1964) by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin. The bombing was directed at military and industrial targets and extended to Hanoi and Haiphong.

In June, 1965, a military junta came to power with Gen. Nguyen Van ThieuThieu, Nguyen Van
, 1924–2001, president of the former Republic of South Vietnam (1967–75). After World War II, he joined the Viet Minh, but then left it to join what became the South Vietnamese National Army (ARVN). He rose rapidly, becoming a division commander.
..... Click the link for more information.
 as chief of state and Air Vice Marshal Nguyen Cao KyKy, Nguyen Cao
, 1930–2011, premier (1965–67) and vice president (1967–71) of the former Republic of South Vietnam. Flight trained by the French, he returned to Vietnam (1954) and held a series of commands in the South Vietnamese air force.
..... Click the link for more information.
 as prime minister. Their regime was strengthened by the capture (1966) of Buddhist rebel strongholds in Da Nang and Hue. A new constitution (approved Mar., 1967) provided for a strong executive and a bicameral legislature. In Sept., 1967, Thieu and Ky were elected president and vice president respectively. The problems they faced were aggravated by the rapidly accelerating war. Heavy fighting in the rural areas forced thousands of people to seek refuge in the cities, where serious overcrowding ensued. Heavy damage was sustained in the Tet offensive of early 1968, especially in Hue and in the Saigon area.

Later in 1968 the United States, in response to increasing pressure by the American public, began a policy of "de-escalation." In Mar., 1968, raids north of latitude 19°N were halted to promote peace negotiations, and in Nov., 1968, all bombing ceased. Peace talks between the United States and Hanoi were begun in Paris. During this time, South Vietnam had become increasingly dependent upon U.S. aid, which reached massive proportions, and the presence of U.S. troops, whose numbers peaked at almost 550,000 in 1969 dislocated the traditional agricultural economy. Peace talks made little headway, and in early 1970 U.S. "protective action" air strikes against military installations south of latitude 19°N were resumed, as well as air strikes against North Vietnamese forces in Laos and Cambodia.

In Oct., 1971, President Thieu of South Vietnam was reelected for another four-year term; he ran unopposed as other candidates, fearing a rigged election, refused to participate. In his second term President Thieu faced serious problems. The gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops, which had begun in 1969, adversely affected the economy, bringing a severe recession. At the same time, the endless war fed a raging inflation. In Apr., 1972, in response to a major Communist drive from North Vietnam, the United States reinstituted mass bombings throughout the country; Haiphong harbor and six other North Vietnamese ports, as well as rivers and canals, were mined and effectively closed to shipping. Heavy, concentrated air strikes (as many as 340 a day) continued, with one temporary halt (Oct. 24–Dec. 18), until Dec. 30, 1972, inflicting enormous damage.

The country's industrial plant was destroyed, transportation lines were cut, and many non-military targets—including the extensive system of dikes in the Red River delta and numerous residential areas—were hit. Morale nevertheless remained high; damaged transportation facilities were constantly repaired, and "ant tactics" kept supplies laboriously moving from China. Despite the declaration of a cease-fire in Jan., 1973, fighting continued. While the fighting prevented any attempt at economic recovery in the south, North Vietnam was able to begin reconstruction with foreign aid, and in less than a year the shipyards at Haiphong, the iron- and steelworks at Thai Nguyen, and many small factories were again in operation. In 1974, South Vietnam came into direct conflict with China, which seized the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

President Thieu gradually assumed dictatorial powers; he abolished local self-government, restricted the press, arrested thousands of suspected Viet Cong sympathizers, and increased the number of executions. Mass protest demonstrations (Oct., 1974) in Saigon caused Thieu to reorganize his cabinet in an attempt to quiet the opposition. In early 1974 the constitution was amended to permit him to seek a third term in 1975, at the same time increasing that term from four to five years. During 1974 Thieu decided to abandon military defense of outlying areas, which were becoming increasingly difficult to hold without the U.S. presence. In Jan., 1975, the North Vietnamese began a major offensive, and the repeated withdrawal of South Vietnamese troops quickly enabled the North Vietnamese forces to gain a decisive advantage. By April President Thieu resigned and fled to Taiwan, the remaining government of South Vietnam surrendered, and the North Vietnamese entered Saigon without opposition.

A Reunified Nation

In June, 1976, the country was officially reunited. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Vietnam expanded its control of Southeast Asia by invading Cambodia (where it toppled the regime of Pol PotPol Pot,
1925–98, Cambodian political leader, originally named Saloth Sar. Paris-educated, and a Khmer Communist leader from 1960, he led Khmer Rouge guerrillas against the government of Lon Nol after 1970.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and installed a Vietnamese-backed government) and also by establishing a military presence in Laos. These actions alienated Vietnam from China, its long-time ally, and generally worsened its international relations. In 1979, Vietnam and China fought a brief, but intense border war. Vietnam succeeded in establishing close ties with the Soviet Union during this period, a necessity in consideration of the severe economic difficulties caused by the war. Despite substantial aid from the Soviet Union, Vietnam continued to experience economic problems, exacerbated by a U.S. trade embargo. Economic hardship prompted the flight of great numbers of refugee boat people.

In the late 1980s changes in national leadership resulted in a policy reorientation toward privatization and efforts to attract foreign investment. In 1991, Do MuoiDo Muoi,
1917–2018, Vietnamese political leader, originally named Nguyen Duy Cong. He joined the fight against French rule as a teenager, became a Communist party member in 1939, and was imprisoned by the French during World War II.
..... Click the link for more information.
 was chosen as party leader; Vo Van Kiet became premier and Le Duc Anh became president. Relations with China were normalized the same year. By the early 1990s the country had experienced limited success in revitalizing its economy, although there was no corresponding attempt to introduce political liberalization. In 1994 the United States ended its embargo, in response to Vietnamese cooperation in the search for missing American servicemen. A U.S. liaison office was opened in Hanoi early in 1995, and in July the United States extended full recognition to Vietnam. Also in 1995, Vietnam was admitted to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In 1997, Le Kha Phieu took over as general secretary of the Communist party; Phan Van Khai, an economic reformer, became premier, and Tran Duc Luong was chosen as president. Vietnam's economy was affected by the Asian financial crisis of 1997–98, and the country was forced to devalue its currency. China and Vietnam signed an agreement settling disputes concerning their shared land border in 1999, and the following year demarcated their territorial waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. In 2000, Vietnam and the United States signed an agreement designed to normalize trade relations between the two countries; an embargo on U.S. weapons sales, however, remained in effect until 2016.

Le Pha Phieu was replaced as party leader in 2001 by Nong Duc ManhManh, Nong Duc
, 1940–, Vietnamese political leader. A member of the Tai minority and a forestry worker, Manh joined the Communist party in 1963 and studied forestry in Hanoi (1958–61) and Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg, 1966–71).
..... Click the link for more information.
, a moderate regarded as more receptive to further economic reform. There was speculation that Manh, an ethnic Tai, was chosen in part to help ease ethnic tensions that had sparked violence in the Central Highlands. The government continued to move forward slowly on economic reforms, largely out of necessity. Manh was reappointed party leader in 2006, and Nguyen Tan Dung, a southerner with experience in Vietnam's security forces, and Nguyen Minh Triet, the party chief for Ho Chi Minh City, became premier and president, respectively. Dung subsequently was an advocate for economic reforms and increased foreign investment. By 2010, however, the economy, despite its growth, was hampered by its dependence on relatively inefficient state-run companies and by the effects of the 2008 global financial crisis.

Manh retired in 2011 and was succeeded as party leader by Nguyen Phu TrongTrong, Nguyen Phu,
1944– Vietnamese political leader. Trong became a member of the Communist party in North Vietnam in 1968 and began working for the Communist Review in 1973, ultimately serving as editor in chief (1991–96).
..... Click the link for more information.
, the former chairman of the National Assembly; Truong Tan Sang, a southerner and high-ranking party leader, became president the same year. Tensions with China increased in 2011 over economic interests in the South China Sea, where China was more confrontational in asserting its extensive claims. The revision of the constitution in 2013 (effective 2014) was notably mainly for continuing the role of state-owned companies in the economy and further entrenching the Communist party's political power. In May, 2014, confrontations at sea between Vietnamese and Chinese vessels over Chinese oil exploration in the South China Sea led to anti-Chinese riots and attacks on Chinese- and Taiwanese-owned factories. Trong was reappointed party leader in 2016; the more conservative Trong had been unsuccessfully challenged by Premier Dung. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the deputy premier, was chosen as premier, and Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang, president. Quang died in office in 2018; Trong succeeded him as president. In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the country's reported cases and deaths were very low compared to other nations.


See C. Bain, Vietnam: The Roots of Conflict (1967); J. F. Cairns, The Eagle and the Lotus: Western Intervention in Vietnam, 1847–1968 (1969); P. Gheddo, The Cross and the Bo-tree: Catholics and Buddhists in Vietnam (1970); D. G. Marr, Vietnamese Anticolonialism, 1855–1925 (1971); W. Duiker, Vietnam since the Fall of Saigon (rev. ed. 1985); G. M. Kahin, Intervention: How America Became Involved in Vietnam (1986); S. Karnow, Vietnam (2d rev. and upd. ed., 1997); F. Logevall, Choosing War (1999, repr. 2001) and Embers of War (2012); M. P. Bradley, Imagining Vietnam and America: The Making of Postcolonial Vietnam, 1919–1950 (2000); D. Lamb, Vietnam, Now (2002); B. Hayton, Vietnam: Rising Dragon (2010).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.




Vietnam is located in Southeast Asia, on the Indochinese Peninsula. It is a narrow strip, up to 600 km wide in the north, 375 km in the south, and 50 km in the central portion (the narrowest part), stretching meridionally 1,750 km along the eastern coast of the peninsula. It borders on China to the north and Laos and Cambodia to the west. The South China Sea and the Gulf of Bac Bo (Tonkin), a part of the South China Sea, lie to the east of Vietnam; the Gulf of Siam lies to the southwest. Area, 332,600 sq km. Population 39.2 million (1969, UN estimate).

From the end of the 19th century until 1945, Vietnam was a French colony, part of French Indochina. The August Revolution of 1945 led to the establishment of the first popular democratic state in Southeast Asia and the proclamation in September 1945 of the state of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, or DRV (see below: Democratic Republic of Vietnam). Between 1945 and 1954 the Vietnamese people defended their state in the struggle against the French colonialists in the War of Resistance (Indochina War). Under the Geneva agreements of 1954, the territory of Vietnam was temporarily divided by a demarcation line running approximately along the 17th parallel, along the Ben Hai River. With the support of the American imperialists, the so-called Re-public of Vietnam was established in the south of the country in October 1955 in violation of the Geneva agreements of 1954. As a result of the national liberation movement, part of South Vietnam came under the control of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF)—as of June 1969, the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) of the Republic of South Vietnam (see below: South Vietnam).

Population coast is primarily low-lying. The Vietnamese (about 34 million, according to a 1969 estimate), along with the closely related Muong (about 500,000), constitute about 87 percent of the total population of the country; they inhabit the plains and, to some extent, the foothill regions, as well as the cities. The Khmers (about 600,000) live on the southern plains; the mountain Tay (about 1.5 million in all, including Thai, 450,000; Tho, 550,000; Nung, 350,000; and Cao Lan, 25,000), Meo, Man (Meo, or Miao, 250,000; Man, or Yao, 250,000), and mountain Mon (Sakau, 40,000) live in the elevated and mountainous areas of the north; the mountain Khmers (over 600,000 in all, including Bahnar, 120,000; Chamre, 110,000; Sedang, 100,000; Mnong, 50,000; Ma, 50,000, Ve, 40,000; and Van Kieu, 40,000) live in the southwest; and the Chams (60,000) and mountain Chams (Jarai, 200,000; Ede, 150,000; and Raglai, 50,000) live in the southeast. There are also about 1 million Chinese living in the cities. The languages spoken by the Vietnamese and Muong constitute a separate language group (belonging, in the opinion of various scholars, to the Austroasiatic or Sino-Tibetan language families); the Khmers, mountain Khmers, and Mon speak languages of the Mon-Khmer family, and the Chams and mountain Chams speak Indonesian languages, with substantial borrowings from Khmer. The languages of the mountain Tay, Meo, and Man belong to the Sino-Tibetan family; however, linguists believe they are probably related to the Mon-Khmer and Indonesian languages. Buddhism, closely intertwined with Taoism, Confucianism, and ancestor worship, is prevalent among a large part of the believers of the country; there are also Christians (primarily Catholics). The majority of the Chams are Hindus; the rest are Muslims. Some of the mountain tribes retain old traditional beliefs.

The official calendar is the Gregorian. At the same time, the lunar-solar am lich calendar, which consists of 60-year cycles, is used extensively, especially in everyday life; in terms of the Gregorian calendar, the first day of the year in this calendar falls on various dates between January 20 and February 21—for example, in 1969, February 16; in 1970, February 6; in 1971, January 27; and in 1972, February 15.

Natural features. The coast is primarily low-lying, sandy, and weakly indented. The coastline is more than 2,500 km long. The Gulf of Bac Bo, with the Phait Xi Long archipelago, is in the north; the large Ca Mau peninsula is in the south. There are few bays and gulfs suitable for navigation. The best natural harbor is Cam Ranh Bay.

TERRAIN. The greater part of the country’s surface— primarily the north, northwest, and interior regions—is occupied by mountains (mostly middle or low mountains) that are deeply dissected by valleys. In the northern half of Vietnam, parallel ranges and chains of massifs stretching toward the southeast predominate; their slopes are primarily gentle. Hoang Lien Son, with Phan Si peak (3,143 m), is the highest range, and Truong Son is the longest—about 300 km. In the southern half of Vietnam, the mountains form an elevated, longitudinal strip made up of broad massifs, tablelands, and plateaus with smoothed-out surfaces. Elevations are predominantly 500-1,500 m; the highest point is 3,280 m. The most extensive elevations are the highlands and plateaus of Kontum, Darlac, Dalat, and Mnong (which is partially in Cambodia). Along the coasts there are low-lying plains, the largest of which are located in the north (the lower reaches and delta of the Hong [Red] and other rivers) and south (the delta of the Mekong River).


GEOLOGICAL STRUCTURE AND MINERAL RESOURCES. The northeastern part of North Vietnam is part of the South China platform; the southwest is part of a Mesozoic fold system. The Precambrian foundation of the platform is com-posed of quartzite, shale, marble, and granitoid rocks; the cover is composed of Paleozoic sand-shale, Carbonaceous, and Mesozoic terrigenous (partly red) strata. The Mesozoid fold structures, formed at the end of the Triassic period, are composed of late Precambrian metamorphized layers, as well as Paleozoic and Triassic sand-shale, terrigenous-carbon-aceous, and volcanogenic strata, with a total thickness of over 10 km. They are severely unconformably overlaid by terrigenous—frequently red—and volcanogenic Rhaetian, Jurassic, and Cretaceous rock, which forms overlapped sinks. In the northern part of Vietnam, granitoid magmatism developed in the Middle and Late Triassic, Cretaceous, and Paleocene periods.

The north of the southern portion of Vietnam (the Kontum plateau) is associated with the Sino-Indian medial massif, which is assumed to have stabilized in either the Precambrian or Hercynian periods. A number of researchers distinguish the structures south of the Kontum plateau as a Hercynian fold system. Mantles of Cenozoic basalts are extensively developed both on the plateau and south of it.

The northern part of Vietnam is rich in various minerals, the most important of which are coal (in late Triassic de-posits), iron ore (in skarns of Middle Carbonaceous intrusions and in Precambrian quartzites), lead and zinc (associated with late Cretaceous and Permian granitoid rocks), bauxites (in Permian and Triassic deposits), tungsten and tin (in alluvial deposits), and ores of rare-earth elements (associated with alkaline granites of the late Cretaceous and Paleocene periods).

In southern Vietnam, deposits of coal (in late Triassic de-posits of the Kontum plateau), gold (in quartz veins among Precambrian rocks of the Kontum plateau), and molybdenum (in quartz veins associated with Middle Carboniferous and Triassic granitoids) are known.


CLIMATE. The climate is monsoonal subequatorial, with hot winters in the south and cool winters in the north; there fs a sharply defined precipitation maximum during the wet monsoon. For a large part of the country, the summer south-west or southeast monsoon is wet and the winter northeast monsoon is dry. In low areas, the mean temperature of the coldest month ranges from 15° C in the north (January) to 25.8° C in the south (December); the temperature of the warmest month is 28°-29° C (June and July in the north; April in the south). There are frosts above 1,500 m in the north in winter. Annual precipitation is 1,500-2,500 mm, and in some places (primarily in the mountains) it is more than 3,000 mm. Throughout the country, except for the eastern maritime strip running approximately from Cape Dinh to the Gulf of Bac Bo, about 80 percent of the total annual precipitation comes between May and October; in the eastern maritime strip, it comes between August and January. Typhoons are not infrequent in the north of Vietnam during the second half of the summer and in the fall.

RIVERS AND LAKES. The river network is dense. All rivers belong to the basin of the South China Sea; they are full of rapids. There are characteristic sharp rises in levels (up to 10 m, sometimes more) and discharge (dozenfold) during sea-sons of monsoonal rains. For all the rivers of the north and south and for the rivers of the western slope of the central portion of the country, the flood season comes between June and October; for the rivers of the eastern slope of the central portion, it comes between September and December. The rivers are of great importance for irrigation and local freight transportation. The main rivers are the Hong Ha (length within Vietnam, 475 km) and its large tributary, the Da (Black), in the north, and the Mekong (only the lower reaches—about 220 km—belong to Vietnam) in the south.

SOILS. Mountain laterites predominate. In the coastal belt and the low mountains there are red-yellow laterites; in river deltas, alluvial soils. Along the external periphery of the Mekong River delta and in other sections of the coast there are boggy saline soils.

FLORA. About one-third of the surface of Vietnam— primarily mountain regions—is covered with tropical and subtropical forests. Most of the forests are of secondary origin. In the foothills and lower mountain zones, forests of tropical evergreen species of the families Dipterocarpaceae, Leguminosae, and Euphorbiaceae predominate. Above 600-700 m in the north and 1,000-1,200 m in the south, forests in which species of subtropical and temperate climates—oak, beech, chestnut, and various pines—mix with tropical species are widespread. In the south, pines form vast pure stands. Bamboo is widespread both in the undergrowth of humid forests and in pure stands, primarily along rivers. In the highlands and plateaus of the southwest there are sparse savanna forests and savannas; on the sites of repeatedly thinned forests, primarily in low-lying areas, there are secondary savannas and shrub thickets. In the zone of low-lying coastal plains, the predominant type is cultivated field vegetation and stands of palm and bamboo. Substantial sections of the plains, particularly in the south, are covered with marsh vegetation. In the flooded tidal coastal belt, mangrove swamps are prevalent—thickets of sclerophyllous evergreens, rhizophores, and mangroves (Bruguiera).

FAUNA. The territory of Vietnam lies within the India-Indochina subregion of the Indo-Malayan zoogeographic region. The most characteristic animals are gibbons, rhesus monkeys, bears (the Tibetan bear and the Malayan sun bear), tigers, arboreal civets, squirrels, flying squirrels, giant boa constrictors, great monitors (lizards), and white and green parrots in the rain forests; and the Indian elephant, one- and two-horned rhinoceros (these are both rare), antelope, deer, wild ox, wild boar, porcupine, peacock, eagle, grouse, and wild hen in the savanna forests and savannas. Swamps and river deltas are inhabited by the pink flamingo, storks, pelican, heron, and wild ducks and geese. River fauna includes fish of the carp family (gudgeon, carp, perch, and pike).

NATURAL REGIONS. The belt of coastal depressions is a chain of depressions, generally plains and primarily having cultivated landscapes, separated by low mountain spurs. In the northern part of Vietnam, there are depressions with cool winters and a summer precipitation maximum; in the central portion, depressions with warm winters and a fall-winter precipitation maximum; and in the southern portion, depressions with hot, very dry winters and a summer precipitation maximum.

The mountain belt is a chain of mountainous and highland sections separated by deeply cut valleys (in places, less than 200 m above sea level). Forest flora predominates, and there is altitude zonality of the landscape.

The plateau belt is a series of flat or hilly plateaus west of the southern portion of the mountain region, at elevations of 200-1,000 m. The climate is warm, with dry winters; there are savannas and savanna forests.



Shcheglova, T. N. V’etnam. Moscow, 1957.
Fridland, V. M. Priroda Severnogo V’etnama. Moscow, 1961.
Geologiia lugo-Vostochnoi Azii: Indokitai. Leningrad, 1969.

Historical survey. PERIOD OF THE PRIMITIVE COMMUNAL SYSTEM AND THE BEGINNING OF CLASS SOCIETY (UNTIL THE THIRD CENTURY). Monuments of the material culture of the Lower Paleolithic period have been preserved in central Vietnam; the distinctive Bac Son-Hoa Binh culture existed there in the Mesolithic and early Neolithic periods. During the developed Neolithic period, Vietnam entered the sphere of cultures characterized by the use of the “shoulder ax” and ceramics with stamped designs. Metal implements appeared at the end of the second millennium B.C., and the late stage of the Bronze Age came in the middle of the first millennium B.C. (the Dong Son culture). The transition to the Iron Age took place at the turn of the Common Era. During the Neolithic period and the early Bronze Age, the population of the basin of the Hong Ha and the lower reaches of the Mekong belonged, on the basis of their anthropological com-position, to the Indonesian anthropological type and apparently spoke a language of the Austroasiatic family. The main occupations of the population of these regions during the third to first millennia B.C. were agriculture, to some extent fishing, and to a lesser degree hunting. Primitive communal relations were dominant among the tribes inhabiting the territory of Vietnam. The question of the formation of the direct ancestors of the Vietnamese (the Lac Viets) involves the history of the Viet (Yiieh) ethnic group, which occupied the lower reaches of the Yangtze River in the first millennium B.C. and then began to move south, to the basins of the Hsi and Hong rivers, where they merged with the local population (proto-Indonesian and Austroasiatic tribes).

The process of decomposition of the primitive communal system among the tribes inhabiting the territory of North Vietnam, accelerated by the move of the Viets to this area, resulted in 257 B.C. in the formation of Au Lac, an early class state. In 207 B.C., Au Lac became subject to the Viet state of Nam Viet, which had formed in the basin of the Hsi River in the second half of the third century B.C. In 111 B.C., Au Lac—along with Nam Viet—was seized by the western Han empire. The uprising of the Lac Viets (A.D. 40-43; the “Two Sisters” Uprising) and the numerous actions taken by the Lac Viets against the Han conquerors in the second half of the first century and particularly in the second century forced the Han authorities to renounce the policy of assimilation. Effective power in the country gradually passed to the local service nobility (quans). In the central part of present-day Vietnam, class society and the Champa state took shape among tribes of the Indonesian language family, the Chams, in the second century.

THE PERIOD OF FEUDALISM (THIRD CENTURY TO THE MID-1880’s). Vietnam to the early 19th century. During the third and fourth centuries, feudal relations took shape on the territory of North Vietnam. At the same time, the Vietnamese nationality began to coalesce on the basis of the Lac Viets; this process was completed by the early tenth century. In 544, under the leadership of the powerful quan Ly Bon, the Vietnamese drove out the Chinese governor. Van Xuan, an independent early-feudal Vietnamese state, emerged on the territory of North Vietnam; it was conquered by the Chinese Sui dynasty in 603. De facto power in the country remained, as before, in the hands of the Vietnamese quans and the Vietnamese landed feudal aristocracy. During the period of the T’ang dynasty (ruled in China from 618 to 907), the Common Government of Anh Nanh (Annam) was established on the territory of North Vietnam (622).

By the tenth century, the feudal mode of production had become dominant in Vietnam. In terms of its socioeconomic development, Vietnamese society was on a par with the most highly developed feudal societies of the Far East—China, Japan, and Korea. The basic features of a distinctive type of Vietnamese material and spiritual culture, which had assimilated many achievements of the culture of the Chinese people, were formed simultaneously. The independence of the Vietnamese state was restored in the early tenth century. In 939, under the Ngo dynasty (ruled 93£-65), the Vietnamese feudal lords permanently liberated themselves from Chinese domination. The supremacy of the monarch’s (vua’s) claim to all land was the foundation of feudal relations in the country. The land was cultivated by the members of the communes, who were either directly dependent on the feudal state or on bureaucrat-lords, who received rent-tax from the communes given over to them on a temporary basis. At the same time, a substantial portion of the communes were dependent on hereditary great feudal lords (xu quans). The xu quans strove to become fully independent within their appanages. Between 945 and 967, Vietnam began to disinte-grate into**/ quan holdings as a result of the intensification of internecine strife. The vuas of the Dinh dynasty (ruled 968-81) waged a struggle against the xu quans for the creation of a centralized state. The country received a new official name, Dai Co Viet (Great Ancient Viet). By 980 some of the xu quans had been deprived of their holdings, and the lands of others had been broken up into administrative units, political control over which passed to the officials. This struggle continued under the early Le dynasty (ruled 981-1009) as well. By the last quarter of the tenth century thejcw quans and their feudal bodyguards had ceased to play any role; a regular army was established in the country.

In the first half of the llth century, a centralized feudal state that exploited the communal peasants by means of an extensive feudal-bureaucratic apparatus began to take shape in Dai Co Viet. Various trades began to develop in the communes ; craftsmen also concentrated in the cities and in guild settlements (phongs). The middle and small feudal lords were essentially represented by the feudal service bureaucracy. A portion of the commune members were personally dependent on the great secular feudal lords (members of the royal family and the titled nobility) and church feudal lords (Buddhist monasteries; Buddhist Church landholding became widespread beginning in the tenth century). The power of the feudal state was based on the regular army and royal guard.

In the second half of the llth century, the strengthened Vietnamese state (called Dai Viet, “Great Viet,” beginning in 1069) began to fight for the expansion of its possessions. The war against the Sung empire (1075-77) brought the annexation of the territory of the Nung tribes (the present-day province of Cao Bang). In 1069 the northern provinces of Champa were occupied (the territory of the present-day provinces of Quang Binh and Quang Tri). From the early 12th to the early 13th centuries Vietnam waged a protracted war against Cambodia. Between 1257 and 1288, Dai Viet was invaded three times by huge Mongol armies, but it defended its independence. A prominent role in the struggle against the Mongols—a struggle that embraced the entire people—was played by the general Trang Hung Dao. In the late 13th century, Dai Viet waged a struggle against the Laotian state of Lan Xang on the central Mekong. Through a treaty with Champa in 1307, Dai Viet also acquired the regions of O and Ri (the territory of the present-day province of Thua Thien).

The onerous wars of the second half of the 13th and the early 14th centuries brought an increase in the peasants’ tax burden. The power of the great feudal lords grew, and that of the vua diminished. Peasant uprisings increased in the second half of the 14th century—the uprising of 1379 in the Hong Ha delta was particularly significant. In 1377, Champa invaded southern Dai Viet. Amid the peasant uprisings and military defeats and the collapse of central authority, the feudal bueaucracy began to unite around Ho Cuy Ly, who was in effect the ruler of the country beginning in 1378. In 1389, having strengthened the army and repulsed the Champa attack, he began implementing reforms, including land re-form (1397). These reforms had the purpose of undermining the authority of the great feudal lords and consolidating the position of the central authority and the feudal bureaucracy. The passage of power to the Ho dynasty (ruled 1400-07) was accompanied by increased centralization. The reform activity of the Ho met with fierce resistance from the great lords, who turned to China for aid. The Chinese Army invaded the country in 1407; the Ho dynasty was overthrown, and many reforms were abolished. A mass liberation movement began in response to the occupation and the harsh tyranny of the Chinese feudal lords.

In 1427 the aggressors were driven out of Dai Viet. The victory in the war of liberation and the existence of a strong army allowed the leader of the insurgents, Le Loi, who founded the posterior Le dynasty (ruled 1428-1789), and his immediate successors to continue the reforms that had been begun by the Ho dynasty to consolidate centralization. State land property was consolidated in the 15th century, cities grew rapidly (particularly in the southern part of the country), the irrigation network expanded, and foreign and domestic trade developed. The army and bureaucratic apparatus were organized in an orderly manner; their organization was clearly differentiated and centralized. Confucianism became the official ideology. The Vietnamese feudal state reached its maximum development under Emperor Le Thanh Ton (ruled 1460-97). A number of regions in the west were annexed to Dai Viet, and Champa was finally subjugated (1471).

The first decades of the 16th century were marked by large peasant uprisings, the most significant of which was the Tran Cao uprising of 1516-24. As of this same time, the southern and western regions that had earlier belonged to Dai Viet became the base for the feudal houses of Mac, Nguyen, and Trinh, which were fighting against the central government. By the mid-16th century, the central government of the Le dynasty had almost completely lost control over the country; power was actually wielded by the Mac feudal house. In the course of the uninterrupted internal wars for supreme power among the houses of Mac, Nguyen, and Trinh, the small and middle feudal warlords played ever-increasing roles, receiving lands for their service; patrimonial landholding increased rapidly. Beginning in the second half of the 16th century, foreign missionaries and merchants (Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, English, and French) began to penetrate Vietnam, and the feudal lords waging internecine wars had recourse to their services—for example, the purchase of European forms of weapons. Toward the end of the 16th century, political power in the country passed from the Mac house to the Trinh and Nguyen houses. By the 1630’s, although the Le dynasty retained nominal power, the Dai Viet state had actually split into two feudal possessions: the holdings of the Trinhs in the north and those of the Nguyens in the south, and wars were being waged between them continually. Toward the end of the 17th century, the Trinhs completed the assimilation of the northwestern parts of Vietnam, and the Nguyens had begun to consolidate themselves in what is today South Vietnam.

The intensive disintegration of the commune associated with the growth of productive forces proceeded beginning in the mid-17th century. The commune was subjected to twofold exploitation: by the old feudal-bureaucratic apparatus and by the owners of estates. In the 18th century craftsmen, merchants, and mining industrialists began to play a large role.

The deterioration in the position of the peasantry toward the last third of the 18th century produced a new upsurge in the peasant struggle. The thickly settled northern sections of the Nguyen state became the center of the peasant movement: the largest peasant uprising in the history of feudal Vietnam (the Tay Son Uprising) began there in 1771. In 1786 the Tay Son peasant army occupied the entire territory of the Trinh state. The antifeudal struggle of the Vietnamese peasantry proceeded under the slogan of the return to power of the Le dynasty. After the formal restoration of the government of the Le dynasty (1786), actual power in the country was in the hands of the Tay Sons, who united the entire territory of Vietnam. The Le attempt to assume effective power led to the overthrow of the Le dynasty by the Tay Sons in 1789. By 1802 the feudal lords of the south, led by Nguyen Phuc Anh and supported by the French merchants and missionaries, suppressed the Tay Son Uprising.

Formation of the absolute monarchy (early 19th century to the 1850’s). Seizure of Vietnam by the French colonialists (1858-84). Under the first rulers of the Nguyen dynasty (ruled 1802-1945), founded by Nguyen Phuc Anh (who took the name Gia Long), an absolute monarchy formed in Vietnam. A strong and somewhat modernized army stood guard over its interests. In 1804, Gia Long’s monarchy acquired the name of Vietnam (South Viet), and the city of Hue became its capital. Beginning in the early 19th century, the mining industry developed rapidly, the domestic market began to form, and commodity-money relations developed. In the mining industry, hired labor began to be employed more and more extensively in state and private manufactories (which arose in the early 17th and 18th centuries respectively). By the mid-19th century Vietnam was a developed late-feudal state. However, the independent development of Vietnamese society was suspended during this period by the aggression of the capitalist powers, above all France, which engaged in colonial expansion in the countries of Asia.

Between 1858 and 1862, France launched the first colonial war against Vietnam. It succeeded in tearing away three southern provinces (the Vietnamese-French-Spanish treaty of 1862). Two groupings took shape within the ruling class of Vietnam from the 1860’s to the 1880’s: the patriotic group led by Ton That Thuyet, which favored the continuation of the struggle against the aggressors; and the procapitulation group, which sought to retain its privileges by submitting to French domination. Utilizing the procapitulation group, France seized northern and central Vietnam as a result of the war of 1883-84.

THE PERIOD OF FRENCH COLONIAL RULE (1885-1945). Establishment of the regime of colonial exploitation and the origin of the national liberation movement (1885-1917). As a result of the conquest of Vietnam by the French colonialists, the unified, historically formed country was divided into three parts: southern Vietnam (which became the colony of Cochin China), northern Vietnam, and central Vietnam (which became the protectorates of Tonkin and Annam, respectively). In 1887 the colony of Cochin China and the protectorates of Annam and Tonkin—along with Cambodia, which had been seized by the French colonialists—were united into the so-called Indochinese Union (French Indochina; Laos was included in 1893).

France began the economic enslavement of the country with the appropriation of the land and the mineral resources of Vietnam. At the same time, the import of capital increased. The lands seized by the colonial authorities were distributed, for the most part, in concessions (between 1890 and 1901, French concessionaires received 187,000 ha of land); some land was given to Vietnamese landlords. Beginning in 1884, French entrepreneurs effectively monopolized the exploitation of the mineral wealth of Vietnam. The total amount of the loans (state capital investment) of the French colonialists between 1896 and 1914 was 515 million francs (here and below, the figures cited are for all of Indochina), about 90 percent of which was used for the construction of railroads. Private French investment amounted to 500 million francs from 1888 through 1918 (40-50 million up to 1908).

In the sphere of agriculture, rice—the oldest Vietnamese agricultural crop and the main food product of the population—became the major export commodity; the exports of rice in 1918 amounted to 1,620,000 tons, or 76.1 percent of the value of all exports. The first French rubber plantations (1907; production of raw rubber in Indochina was 245 tons in 1911 and 2,976 tons in 1919, or 2.8 percent of the value of the exports of Indochina), as well as coffee and tea plantations, appeared. Vietnamese landlords played the main role in agriculture. In the 1930’s, 50 percent of the cultivated land belonged to them, and 9 percent belonged to the French colonialists. About 10 percent of the land was considered communal but was effectively controlled by the landlords and the rural upper class; peasants (90 percent of the population) owned only 30 percent of the rice fields, and 58 percent of the rural population had no land. Like the French colonialists, the landlords used feudal and semifeudal methods of exploiting the peasants. Capitalist methods of exploitation were used ever more extensively in the production of rubber, coffee, and tea on the plantations of the French companies; contracted coolie labor was used.

About one-half of the private French investment in Vietnam between 1888 and 1918 was directed toward mining. During this period, the French imperialists established the main companies for the exploitation of mining resources; al-most all mineral raw materials were exported from the country. A portion of the French capital was invested in the establishment of enterprises of the manufacturing industry. To a considerable degree, the Vietnamese bourgeoisie emerged as a comprador bourgeoisie, intimately associated with the imperialists. The formation of a national bourgeoisie was extremely slow; its capital was invested primarily in retail trade and light industry (rice milling, dye workshops, and the production of leather).

The national liberation movement began to develop in Vietnam at the end of the 19th century. In response to the French colonialists’ effort to subdue Vietnam, a patriotic-minded portion of the class of feudal lords developed the can vuong movement, which demanded the expulsion of the French aggressors and the restoration of the former rights of the Vietnamese feudal monarchy and which involved extensive participation by the popular masses. The movement was suppressed by French troops in 1896, but a partisan— primarily peasant—struggle against the colonialists continued until 1913 in three provinces of North Vietnam under the leadership of the Vietnamese national hero De Tham.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the national liberation movement entered a new stage marked by the emergence of bourgeois nationalism. It was subdivided into two main cur-rents: the revolutionary current, which was headed by Phan Boi Chau, and the moderate current, headed by Phan Chau Trinh. In 1904, Phan Boi Chau secretly established the first political organization in Vietnamese history in central Vietnam—the Association for the Restoration of Vietnam— which set as its goal the expulsion of the colonialists from the country with aid from the outside (Japan) and the establishment in Vietnam of a constitutional monarchy on the Japanese model. In this connection, an expedition of progressive youth to Japan (the Dong Du movement) was organized. The Tonkin Social-Educational School was founded in 1907 (it lasted nine months). In 1908 there were peasant actions against taxes, led by bourgeois nationalists, in central Vietnam. In 1912, under the direct influence of the Hsinhai Revolution (the Revolution of 1911), the Association for the Rebirth of Vietnam was established (to replace the Association for the Restoration of Vietnam, which had disintegrated) in China, where the Vietnamese political emigres were concentrated at the time. It set the task of expelling the French invaders and fighting for a democratic republic. In 1913, after a series of terrorist acts, many participants in the bourgeois nationalist movement were subject to repression. However, their work came to life again during World War I (1914-18), as they took advantage of the growing anti-imperialist mood in the country. In 1914-15 there was an attack on the central prison in Saigon and an uprising in Bien Hoa Province; in 1916 there was an attempted uprising in the city of Hue; and in 1917-18, an uprising of Vietnamese soldiers in Thai Nguyen Province.

Intensification of the imperialist enslavement of Vietnam and the growth of the national liberation struggle (1918-30). After World War I the influx of French capital increased sharply, primarily in the form of private investment (between 1924 and 1929, about 3,815,000,000 francs throughout Indochina). The growing demand for rubber and rice on the world market helped to increase the level of activity of the French imperialists in the sphere of agriculture. By the end of 1930 the colonialists had seized 909,300 hectares (ha) of land in the form of concessions. In 1930, 100,000 ha were under rubber (30,000 ha in 1924). The extraction of minerals had tripled in comparison to the preceding period (before 1918). In 1929, 1,972,000 tons of coal were mined and 47,500 tons of zinc and 1,579 tons of tin produced. There were more than 220,000 workers in the French enterprises of Indochina, including about 55,000 in mining. Some growth in national capital, primarily in trade and transportation and to some extent in manufacturing, was evident in Vietnam during and after World War I. (Between 1916 and 1921, six national enterprises for rice processing were founded, and between 1922 and 1926, another 24; in 1926 the Vietnamese bank, Ngan Hang Vietnam, was established in Saigon.) Thus, the process of the formation of a Vietnamese bourgeoisie gathered force, although the development of the class was hampered by French colonial rule. The formation of the working class also proceeded.

Socioeconomic changes led to a strengthening of the national liberation movement. The victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, as well as the development of the Communist movement in France and China, had an enormous influence on the struggle of the Vietnamese people. The ideas of the October Revolution were first taken in by Vietnamese emigres in France. In January 1919 the eminent Vietnamese revolutionary Ho Chi Minh (Nguyen Ai Quoc) sent a petition to the Paris Peace Conference, demanding that the people of Indochina be granted democratic freedoms. In December 1920, at a congress in Tours, Ho Chi Minh took part in the establishment of the Communist Party of France and joined its ranks. In 1922, along with other revolutionaries from various French colonies, he organized the League of Peoples of the French Colonies and the news-paper Le Pariah in Paris; these played significant roles in the struggle for national liberation. In 1924, Ho Chi Minh took part in the work of the Fifth Congress of the Comintern.

The national liberation movement, in which the petite bourgeoisie played an active role, broadened in Vietnam. Newspapers that sharply criticized the colonial regime began to appear in the early 1920’s. The Constitutional Party, which expressed the interests of the South Vietnamese trade and industrial bourgeoisie (which was closely associated with feudal landowning), was formed in 1923.

In 1924 representatives of Vietnamese emigre youth established a Vietnamese revolutionary organization, the Society of Confederates, in China. At the same time, the workers’ movement was growing within the country. Between 1920 and 1925, 25 strikes were arranged in Vietnam, including a major strike on a rubber plantation in Phu Zieng (Bien Hoa Province). Subsequently there were strikes in the electric power plants of Vinh Mong Province (1926) and strikes of coolies on rubber plantations in Phu Zieng (1927; 3,000 participants) and coffee plantations in Thai Nguyen (in southern Annam). Peasant unrest erupted: there were spontaneous peasant actions in the village of Linh Phong (1927, Cochin China) and the district of Tien Rang (1927, Annam).

In June 1925, on the initiative of Ho Chi Minh, the first Vietnamese revolutionary organization with a Marxist orientation was founded in China—the Fellowship of Revolutionary Youth of Vietnam, which developed its work among workers and peasants. Toward the end of 1927 the National Party of Vietnam, which expressed the interests of the small and middle Vietnamese bourgeoisie, was established. At the same time, the Revolutionary Party of New Vietnam (founded in 1925) was active; it consisted primarily of representatives of the intelligentsia and students, and it developed under the direct influence of the Fellowship. In the mid-1920’s the workers’ movement began to enter the stage of organized struggle. There were over 30 strikes (6,600 participants) in 1928-29, including strikes in the cement plant in Haiphong, the textile combine in Nam Dinh, and the rubber plantation in Phu Zieng. The working class of Vietnam was becoming an independent political force.

An important feature of this period was the development of the peasant movement—the actions of the peasants of the Ninh Han Loi region (1928, Cochin China) and the peasants of the mountain nationalities in the Kong Turn area (1929).

Transition of the leadership of the national liberation movement to the working class (early 1930’s to 1945). The world economic crisis of 1929-33 had a serious effect on the economy of Vietnam. Falling world prices for rice and rubber brought a decrease in the export and production of these crops. Mining and export of mineral raw materials declined (coal production fell by 25 percent). Only in the mid-1930’s did the economy of Vietnam gradually begin to emerge from the crisis. Some reanimation in the mining industry and in the production of export agricultural crops was evident on the eve of World War II: in 1939, the production of rice was over 5.5 million tons; rubber, about 52,000 tons; tea, over 20,000 tons; coffee, about 3,000 tons; coal, over 2.6 million tons; zinc, 13,400 tons; and cement, 305,800 tons.

The French colonialists attempted to shift the brunt of the crisis to the Vietnamese people. Between 1931 and 1935 the French government issued loans of 1,551,600,000 francs (interest on the loans was 3,355,000 piasters in 1931 and 9,415,000 piasters in 1933). Increased taxes were collected from the population. The ruination of the peasants and the expropriation of their lands intensified. There were mass dismissals of industrial and office workers (unemployment reached 50 percent), and wages declined sharply. The destruction also overtook many representatives of the petite and national bourgeoisie as their enterprises passed into the hands of the French monopolies.

In the 1930’s, as contradictions intensified between the Vietnamese people and French imperialism and between the popular masses (primarily the peasantry) and the class of feudal landlords, leadership of the national liberation movement in the country gradually began to pass to the working class, which was led by the Communist Party of Vietnam (established in February 1930; in October 1930 it was renamed the Communist Party of Indochina, or CPI). The formation of the CPI coincided with the preparation of an anti-French uprising in North Vietnam by the National Party of Vietnam (the Yen Bay Uprising). However, the alienation of the National Party of Vietnam from the people made it possible for the colonialists to suppress the uprising quickly. The National Party lost influence among the masses. Beginning in February 1930, the Communist Party led a powerful upsurge in the mass movement, which embraced the entire country. In 1930-31 there were 129 workers’ strikes, including a strike at the plantation in Phu Zieng and 535 peasant actions. The first trade-union organizations appeared in 1929-30. The revolutionary movement was most acute in central Vietnam, where people’s councils that lasted for several months were formed in a number of districts in August and September 1930 (the Nghe An-Ha Tinh Councils of 1930). Beginning in late 1931, amid the harsh terror carried out by the French colonialists, the mass movement temporarily receded; how-ever, as early as the middle of 1932 it began to grow once more.

The First Congress of the CPI assembled in Macao (Aomen) in March 1935. It adopted resolutions on the consolidation and expansion of the Party’s ranks and the intensification of work among the masses. After the Popular Front government came to power in France (June 1936), the CPI shifted to semilegal status. During this period, the Party set as its immediate tasks the organization of the defense of Indochina against Japanese aggression, the establishment of a broad popular front in Indochina, and the implementation of democratic reforms. In 1936 the CPI led a movement for the convocation of an Indochinese congress to work out a program of demands on behalf of all strata of the population. Although the congress was not convened, the mass movement yielded positive results. Decrees were published de-creasing the workday, introducing paid leaves, and granting amnesty to political prisoners. The workers’ struggle to im-prove living conditions, to achieve democratic liberties, and to lower taxes began to unfold in late 1936. In 1937 there were about 400 workers’ strikes and numerous actions by the peasants and other strata of the population. In March 1937, on the initiative of the CPI, the Democratic Front of Indochina was formed. It included legal Communist groups, the Indochina section of the Socialist Party of France, and societies of workers, the intelligentsia, small traders, and entrepreneurs. The Democratic Front scored a notable success in the elections of 1937-38 to the consultative chambers of popular deputies of Tonkin and Annam (formed in Tonkin in 1913 and in Annam in 1920) and the so-called Council of Economic and Financial Interests of Indochina (formed in 1928).

After France entered World War II (September 1939), the colonial authorities wiped out many of the achievements of the popular masses. The CPI and all democratic organizations were subject to harsh persecution. In 1940 the French government, which had capitulated to fascist Germany, made a deal with the Japanese militarists, agreeing to their occupation of Vietnam (the Franco-Japanese conventions of Sept. 22, 1940, and July 26, 1941). The French colonial administration in Vietnam continued to exist until March 1945, side-by-side with the Japanese occupation forces and actively collaborating with the occupiers. The Franco-Japanese agreements of 1940-41 secured Japan enormous opportunities for the exploitation of the natural resources of Indochina. (In 1940, Japanese capital in Indochina was 12.5 million francs, and the total foreign capital investment in Indochina was 299,200,000 francs; the respective figures for 1943 were 111 million francs and 769,100,000 francs.)

Under the leadership of the CPI, the popular masses of Vietnam developed the active struggle against the Japanese occupiers and French colonialists. During 1940 and 1941 up-risings erupted in Bac Son (Lang Son Province), a number of sections of South Vietnam, and Do Luong (Nghe An Province). In May 1941, on the initiative and under the leader-ship of the CPI, an organization for a unified national front of Vietnam was established—the League of Struggle for the Independence of Vietnam (Vietminh). The first bases and armed detachments of the Vietminh began to appear in 1941; the northern mountain region of Viet Bac became the pri-mary area for them. The first detachment of the liberation army of Vietnam was established in Cao Bang Province on Dec. 22, 1944, on the basis of partisan groups, self-defense detachments, and detachments of the people’s volunteer corps.

Seeking to weaken the growing liberation movement in Vietnam, the Japanese occupiers resorted to political maneuvers. On Mar. 9, 1945, they carried out a so-called coup d’etat that was expressed in the liquidation of the French colonial administration and the concession of fictitious independence to Vietnam. This essentially signified the passage of all power in Vietnam into the hands of the Japanese imperialists.

From Mar. 9 to Mar. 12, 1945, an expanded session of the Permanent Bureau of the Central Committee (CC) of the CPI was held in the hamlet of Tu Son (Bac Ninh Province). It adopted a resolution on the preparation of a general uprising. The military-revolutionary conference held on April 15-20 outlined a plan of preparation for a general uprising. In accordance with the resolution of the conference, all liberation armed forces were united in the single liberation army of Vietnam (the People’s Army of Vietnam, or PAV) in May 1945. On June 4, 1945, a single liberated region, with its center in the village of Tan Trao (Tuyen Quang Province) was officially established in six provinces of North Vietnam.

By August 1945 the territory liberated by the PAV in North Vietnam had expanded substantially. The partisan struggle and the liberation movement also came to life in central and South Vietnam. In the summer of 1945 the Ba To Liberated Region was established.

The victory of the August Revolution and the proclamation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (1945). Having victoriously concluded the struggle against fascist Germany, Soviet troops moved to the offensive against the Japanese Kwangtung army in Manchuria in early August 1945. The Japanese were defeated. In this context, the population of Quang Ngai Province came forward on Aug. 11, 1945. The revolutionary forces of the Ba To Liberated Region moved in the direction of the city of Hue. On August 12 the popular regime was established in the province of Ha Thinh. The conference of the CPI, meeting from August 13 to 15, adopted a resolution on beginning the general uprising in Vietnam with the purpose of winning complete independence and establishing a people’s regime. A Committee of the Up-rising headed by Vo Nguyen Giap was formed. On the night of Aug. 13-14, 1945, it issued an order on the development of the general uprising. The All-Vietnam National Congress, held in the village of Tan Trao on August 16-17, approved the decision concerning the general armed uprising. The National Committee for the Liberation of Vietnam (Provisional Government of Vietnam), headed by Ho Chi Minh, was established. In a matter of days, the national popular-democratic revolution (the August Revolution of 1945) was victorious throughout the country (in Hanoi on August 19, in Hue on August 23, and in Saigon on August 25; also on August 25, Bao Dai, the emperor, signed a document in Hué renouncing the throne). On Sept. 2, 1945, in the name of the Provisional Government, Ho Chi Minh announced the Declaration of Independence of Vietnam, proclaiming the birth of a free and independent state, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, to a meeting of 500,000 people in Hanoi (see below: Democratic Republic of Vietnam).


Boriskovskii, P. I. Pervobytnoe proshloe V’etnama. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966.
Deopik, D. V. “Vozniknovenie gosudarstva vo V’etname.” Sovetskoe vostokovedenie, 1958, no. 4.
Deopik, D. V. “Krest’ianskie vosstaniia vo V’etname v I-II vv. n.e.” In Voprosy istorii i literatury stran zarubezhnogo Vostoka. Moscow, 1960.
Ognetov, I. A. Vosstanie Tei-Shonov vo V’etname (1771-1802). Moscow, 1960.
Cheshkov, M. A. Ocherki istorii feodalnogo V’etnama. Moscow, 1967. [Based on materials of Vietnamese chronicles of the 18th and 19th centuries.]
Cheshkov, M. A. Osobennosti formirovaniia v’etnamskoi burzhuazii. Moscow, 1968.
Noveishaia istoriia V’etnama. Moscow, 1963.
Istoriia V’etnama v noveishee vremia (1917-1965). Moscow, 1970.
“Dokumenty Zhenevskogo soveshchaniia.” Mezhdunarodnaia zhizn’, 1954, no 1.
Ho Chi Minh. Izbrannye stat’i i rechi. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from Vietnamese and French.)
Ho Chi Minh. Leninizm i osvobozhdenie ugnetennykh narodov. Moscow, 1960.
Ho Chi Minh. “Tridtstaf let Partii trudiashchikhsia V’etnama.” Problemy mira i sotsializma, 1960, no. 2.
Le Xuan. Izbr. stat’i i rechi. Moscow, 1971.
Truong Tinh. “Oktiabr’skaia revoliutsiia i bor’ba v’etnamskogo naroda za natsional’nuiu nezavisimost’, narodnuiu demokratiiu i sotsializm.” Voprosy istorii, 1957, no. 10.
Minh Tranh. “Revoliutsionnoe dvizhenie vo V’etname.” Sovetskoe vostokovedenie, 1956, no. 1.
Minh Tranh. “Oktiabr’skaia revoliutsiia i natsional’no-osvoboditel’naia bor’ba v’etnamskogo naroda.” In the collection Velikii Oktiabr’ i narody Vostoka. Moscow, 1957.
Bui Cong Trung. “Velikii Oktiabr’ i sozdanie Kommunisticheskoi partii Indokitaia.” Voprosy istorii KPSS, 1958, no. 6.
Shiltova, A. P., and V. F. Mordvinov. Natsional’no-osvoboditel’noe dvizhenie vo V’etname (1858-1945). Moscow, 1958.
Guber, A. A. V’etnam vo vremia i posle Vtoroi mirovoi voiny. Moscow, 1950.
Mkhitarian, S. A. Rabochii klass i natsional’no-osvoboditel’noe dvizhenie vo V’etname (1885-1930). Moscow, 1967.
Chesneaux, J. Ocherk istorii v’etnamskogo naroda. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from French.)
V’etnam (Spravochnik). Moscow, 1969.
Bibliografiia lugo-Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow, 1960.
Baksht, I. “Izuchenie V’etnama v Sovetskom Soiuze (bibliograficheskii obzor).” Narody Azii i Afriki, 1968, no. 1.
Viet sirthong giam cuong muc: Chinh bien, vols. 1-20. Hanoi, 1957-60.
Dai nam thurc luc, vols. 1-20. Hanoi, 1963-68.
Minh Tranh. Tim hieu lich su phat trien xa hoi Viet-nam. Hanoi, 1957.
Van Tan. Lich su Viet-nam so gian. Hanoi, 1963.
Lich su che do phong kien o Viet-nam, vols. 1-2. Hanoi, 1960.
Truong Chinh and Vo Nguyen Giap. Van de dan cay. Hanoi, 1959.
Boudet, P., and R. Bourgeois. Bibliographie de I’Indochine française, vols. 1-3. Hanoi, 1932-34.
Brébion, A. Dictionnaire de bio-bibliographie … de I’Indochine franfaise, Paris, 1935.
Indochina: A Bibliography of the Land and People. Washington, 1950.


Science and scholarship. Prior to the French colonization, scientific and technological knowledge developed under the influence of Chinese science and technology. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, French scholars in Vietnam conducted studies of the climate and of methods of combating infectious diseases. A geological service was organized in order to reveal the mineral resources of the country. Topo-graphical and cartographical work was done, primarily with military aims.

PHILOSOPHY. In early class society (third to first centuries B.C.) an independent, apparently polytheistic system of religious and mythological views emerged; little of it has been preserved. In the first centuries of the Common Era, religious and philosophical currents from India and China—Buddhist philosophy and Confucianism—entered the country. A complex of mystical views conventionally called Taoism formed, although this complex differed sharply from proper Taoism (Chinese Taoism) in the absence of an integral system of philosophical views, in its intimate association with the practice of magic, and in the worship of local gods.

The dominant orientation in Vietnamese philosophy from the sixth through tenth centuries was Dhyana Buddhism (Vietnamese thien). A struggle began in the late llth and early 12th centuries between Dhyana and Confucianist philosophy; it concluded in the late 14th century with the victory of Confucianism, which became the dominant, but not sole, philosophy in Vietnam. Confucianism in the changed form given it by the Chinese thinker Chu Hsi was the main philosophical trend in Vietnam up to the 16th century. Buddhist philosophy receded and its exponents were persecuted, but it, like Taoism, maintained a strong position in the sphere of the private life of the ruling class and among the bulk of the population.

The Confucianist philosophy of Chu Hsi underwent a crisis connected with changes in the social structure of Vietnam and with the weakening of the role of the state in the economic and political life of society during the 16th to 18th centuries (Nguyen Binh Khiem, 16th century). A new up-swing in Buddhism was evident; one of its greatest exponents was Nguyen Gia Thieu. In the 18th century the two philosophies in effect enjoyed equal status. As before, how-ever, views associated with the worship of the heavens that were given form in the conceptions of Taoist doctrine and views linked to ancestor worship dominated among the masses of the people. The first attempts at creating a naturalmaterialistic Weltanschauung appeared in the 18th and early 19th centuries (Le Quy Don, Phan Huy Chu, and others). In the 19th century, Christian philosophy spread among the educated strata of Vietnamese society (Nguyen Truong To and others).

The absence of a dominant philosophical conception, the spontaneous formation of materialist views, and the dissemination of Christianity among the educated all led, after the fall of the Vietnamese monarchy and the seizure of the country by the French colonialists, to a decrease in the influence of traditional religious teachings at the turn of the 20th century; Confucianism and Buddhism began to play an ever smaller role in the development of philosophical thought. However, in the 1930’s Buddhist philosophy entered a period of “modernization,” which was expressed in the demand for more active participation in social life.

Materialism began to spread in the early 20th century, but an independent materialist system was not developed. At this time, the teachings of the Chinese thinker and revolutionary democrat Sun Yat-sen were the most popular among the petit-bourgeois intelligentsia. The most prominent philosophers of the early 20th century were Phan Boi Chau and Phan Tu Trinh. During the 1930’s and 1940’s there were attempts at creating a conformist philosophy to synthesize Chu Hsi Confucianism with European idealistic concepts (Pham Quynh and Nguyen Van Vinh).

Marxist thought began to take shape in Vietnam in the early 1920’s, when the first works of Ho Chi Minh and the first translations of Marxist works (the Communist Manifesto and others) appeared. Marxist philosophy spread increasingly from this point on; during the 1930’s and 1940’s work was done primarily on problems of aesthetics and literary criticism. The establishment of the Communist Party in Vietnam in 1930 was important in strengthening the positions of Marxist ideology. After the victory of the revolution in Au-gust 1945 and the formation of the DRV, Marxist philosophy became dominant there.

HISTORY. Vietnamese feudal historiography emerged no later than the 13th century. A major representative was Le Van Huu, who published Historical Notes on Dai Viet—a survey of the history of the Vietnamese state from earliest times—in 1272. This work, like Le Tac’s Notes on Annam (late 13th and early 14th centuries), the anonymous Essay on the History of Viet (13th-14th centuries), Li Te Xuyen’s Collection of Invisible Protectors of the Country of the Viets (1329), and Phan Phu Tien’s History of Dai Viet With Commentaries (1453), was influenced somewhat by feudal Chinese Confucianist historiography. A new current in Vietnamese historiography became established after the appearance in 1479 of Ngo Si Lien’s work Complete History of Dai Viet, which stressed the independent nature of the development of the Vietnamese state—a feature that was reflected in the periodization that he introduced and that was adopted by all of Vietnamese feudal historiography (prior to 939, when the Vietnamese state became officially independent from the Chinese Empire, and after 939). The work of Ngo Si Lien, as well as subsequent works—Pham Cong Tru’s Basic History with Commentaries of Dai Viet (1665) and Le Quy Don’s History of Dai Viet (1749)—was characterized by the glorification of the Vietnamese feudal monarchy and of the political tendency toward the confirmation of a unified centralized state. In these books the account is based on the chronological principle, and attention is devoted primarily to political history.

The next phase in the development of Vietnamese historiography began with the publication in 1821 of Phan Huy Tu’s work Description of the Establishment of All Dynasties, in which an attempt is made at a comparative analysis of economic, legal, and political institutions examined throughout the course of Vietnamese history. Elements of the historical analysis that appeared in his work were developed in the major Vietnamese work Complete Survey of the History of Viet (1856-84), which was written by a group of authors under the direction of Phan Thanh Giango.

During the first years after the seizure of Vietnam by the French colonialists (1850’s to 1880’s), Vietnamese historiography proceeded to develop under the influence of French bourgeois historiography (Truong Vinh Ky, Duong Quang Nam, and others). Le Thanh Khoi’s general work The His-tory and Civilization of Vietnam (Paris, 1955) occupies a special place in bourgeois Vietnamese historiography. The works of the ideologists of the nascent national bourgeoisie and the patriotic-minded intelligentsia (Phan Boi Chau and Phan Tu Trinh) exposed the colonial policy of France in Vietnam and posed problems of the national liberation struggle and the further socioeconomic development of Vietnam. The establishment of the University of Hanoi (1918) was of great importance for the development of the study of history in Vietnam.

The first Marxist study of the history of Vietnam —Indictment of French Colonization—was written by Ho Chi Minh in 1925. The work lays bare the mechanism of colonial exploitation, showing the grievous situation of the toiling masses under the conditions of a colonial regime. In the article Lenin and the East (1926), Ho Chi Minh under-scored the importance of the Leninist proposition concerning the unification in the world revolutionary process of the workers’ movement in the developed capitalist countries and the national liberation movement in the colonies.

The works of Ho Chi Minh initiated the study of issues of socioeconomic development, classes and the class struggle, and the history of the national liberation, workers’, and revolutionary movements in Vietnam. Marxist historiography was definitively established in the DRV after the establishment of the popular democratic regime (1945).


ECONOMICS. One of the first attempts to collect systematic materials on the economy of Vietnam (information on the development of economic institutions, including the tax system, and their comparative analysis)—materials that provided the most integral notion of the economic history of the country—was that of Phan Huy Chu, a representative of Vietnamese feudal historiography.

Bourgeois economic thought began to develop in Vietnam in the last quarter of the 19th and in the early 20th centuries within the framework of nascent bourgeois nationalism. The recognition of the desirability of developing the nation’s industry, agriculture, and trade on the basis of capitalist enterprise was characteristic of the views of the revolutionary democratic wing of the “reform” movement (Phan Boi Chau and others). Representatives of the moderate (liberalreformist) orientation (Phan Tu Trinh and his followers) criticized the economic policies of the colonial authorities and favored the political and economic development of the country, including democratic economic reforms.

Marxist economic ideas began to penetrate Vietnam in the 1920’s. Under the influence of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia and the workers’ and communist movements in France and China (the revolution of 1925-27), a progressive section of the Vietnamese intelligentsia began to propagandize socialist ideas, including the economic teachings of Marx. Along with Ho Chi Minh, large roles in the dissemination of Marxist-Leninist ideology, the propagation of Marxist economic theory, and the development of the basic propositions of Marxist economics in conformity with national conditions were played by the professional revolutionaries Ton Due Thang, Tran Phu, Le Hong Phong, Ngo Gia Tu, Bui Cong Trung, Duong Bach Mai, and Nguyen Van Tao, who came from the ranks of the Fellowship of Revolutionary Youth of Vietnam. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, Marxist economists worked on problems of the confiscation and nationalization of landlord, colonialist, and church lands and of their transfer to the peasants; the nationalization of the industrial enterprises of the colonialists; the abolition of old, exorbitant taxes and the introduction of a progressive tax; and the establishment of the eight-hour workday. This work was reflected concretely in the program documents of the CPI.


Literature. The ancient folklore of the Vietnamese is rep-resented by a cycle of mythological legends about the ruler Dra Con Lac, the progenitor and prime teacher of humanity; the epic tale of the hero Phu Dong; and legends about the construction of the Helix Fortress and the ancient warrior Trung sisters. Early monuments of the Vietnamese written language of the tenth to 12th centuries, written in hanvan—a Vietnamized variant of archaic Chinese—combine features of oratorical works and forms developed by Chinese literary tradition. A monumental style marks works expressing patriotic self-assertion: the Decree on Transferring the Capita (1010) by Emperor Li Thai To and the poem “To the Sovereigns of the South, Ever to Possess …” (1076) by Ly Thuong Kiet (1019-1105). Court poetry reflecting the influence of the meditative Buddhist disposition was developed in the 13th and 14th centuries: aestheticized landscapes are depicted in quatrains and octaves of the poet-kings of the Tran dynasty (1225-1400); poems also served as inscriptions for pictures. Patriotic attitudes, inseparable from patriarchal notions of the duty of a feudal lord and his property rights, are imprinted upon the poetry and rhythmic prose about the struggle against the Mongol invasion of the 13th century: the Appeal to Military Leaders (1285) by Tran Hung Dao (died 1300) and the poems of Tran Quang Khai (1248-94). The theme of social protest appeared at the end of the 14th century in the work of a number of poets belonging to the service estate, and early social utopias appeared in the first half of the 15th century. The short story in hanvan originated in the 14th century; it took shape on the basis of narrative folklore and the chronicle tradition. Poetry in colloquial Vietnamese developed in the 15th century (it originated as early as the 13th century): the Collection of Poems in the Vernacular by Nguyen Trai (1380-1442). The literary association Assembly of Twenty-eight Stars, headed by the emperor Le Thanh Tong (1440-97), played a role in this process. Rhythmic prose spread in the 16th and 17th centuries. The aphoristic and ironic poetry of Nguyen Binh Khiem (1491-1585) developed the theme of social injustice, which was viewed as the consequence of the deterioration of morals. The Collection of Tales of the Amazing of Nguyen Du (16th century), written in hanvan, marked a high degree of perfection of the short-story genre.

The genre of narrative and philosophical-lyrical poetry emerged no later than the second half of the 16th century. The vast historical epic poem Book of the Heavenly South—poetic tales of the exploits of historical figures and legendary heroes of Vietnam—was written in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Increased attention was devoted to the individual in the literature of the 18th and early 19th centuries. The genre of lyrical poetry, which gave scope to the depiction of the inner world of people, was born: Complaints of a Soldier’s Wife by the poetess Doan Thi Diem (1705-48) and Complaints of a Royal Concubine by Nguyen Gia Thieu (1741-98). The flowering of the genre of narrative poetry reflecting private life began. The narrative poem Groans of a Tormented Soul by Nguyen Du (1765-1820) was a synthesis of the traditions of these genres and an outstanding monument of Vietnamese classical literature. In the poetry of smaller forms, which was particularly constrained by tradition, interest was evidenced in original figurativeness; themes were expanded to include everyday life and city life. The verses of the gifted poetess Ho Xuan Huong (late 18th to early 19th centuries), which affirm the value of the sensual life of people, contain satirical images of Buddhist monks and Confucianist hypocrites. In hanvan prose, the genres of the novel-epic (Emperor Le Is the Unifier of the Country), memoirs (Description of Affairs in the Glorious Capital by Le Huy Trac, 1720-91), and essays displaying expanded knowledge of the world (the essays of Le Quy Don, 1726-83) made their appearance. In the 19th century, literature developed in traditional forms, although the works of Truong Vinh Ky (1837-98) already heralded a new prose. Patriotism became the leading motif: the poems of Nguyen Dinh Tieu (1822-88) and Nguyen Thong (1827-94). Corresponding to the development of colonial and feudal society, the satirical orientation gained strength—the poems of Nguyen Khuen (1835-1909) and Tu Xuong (1870-1907). The poetry and publicism of the early 20th century expressed the ideas of enlightenment and civic enthusiasm. Modern prose genres—the short story, the novel, and also modern drama—took shape in the first quarter of the 20th century. There was a reorganization in poetic composition, and the New Poetry movement, marking the release of the personality from feudal fetters, emerged in the 1930’s. Revolutionary literature was born in the 1920’s: the comedy The Bamboo Dragon, the poems in the collection Prison Diary (1942-43), the stories and publicism of Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969), the poetry of To Huy (born 1920), and the documentary art genre. The realistic orientation took shape as writers turned to peasant themes: the novel Last Step (1938) by Nguyen Cong Hoan (born 1903), his satirical tales, the novella The Lamp Is Dying Out (1939), and the essays Village Affairs by Ngo Tat To (1892-1954). The novel Thief (1938) by Nguyen Hong tells of the life of the lower classes of the city. The realistic orientation of the novels of Vu Trong Phung (1912-39), which exposed the system of colonial feudal Vietnam with great power, reduced the influence of Freudianism somewhat. The tendency toward the psychological treatment of images gained strength in the early 1940’s—the novel Shabby Life (1944, published posthumously in 1956) and short stories by Nam Cao.


Mkhitarian, T. T. “Iz istorii sozdaniia v’etnamskoi pis’mennosti.” Vestnik istorii mirovoi kul’tury, 1961, no. 2.
Nguyen Due Dan. “Cherty razvitiia v’etnamskoi literatury 1930-1945 godov.” NarodyAzii i Afriki, 1964, no. 1.
Nikulin, N. I. “O periodizatsii v’etnamskoi literatury epokhi srednevekov’ia.” Ibid.
Nikulin, N. I. Velikii v’etnamskii poet Nguen Zu. Moscow, 1965.
Architecture and art. The earliest monuments of artistic culture in Vietnam (including the bronze ngoc lu drums, with relief images of animals, birds, and scenes from the life of the people) date from the first centuries B.C. The golden age of Vietnamese art was in the first millennium B.C. and was associated with the formation of the Champa state (central Vietnam). Cham art was influenced by the culture of India and, to some extent, that of the Khmers. In the cities of My Son and Dong Duong, ruins of Buddhist and Hindu temples of the seventh to tenth centuries are preserved, including Bo Khat Re Soa (Bhadreswar, tenth century), a classic ex-ample of the kalan—a towerlike brick temple distinguished by its shapely proportions. The sculpture of the Chams was connected with their architecture. Playing primarily a decorative role, it attained a high degree of expressiveness. The best specimens (seventh to tenth centuries) have been uncovered in the ruins of the temples of Tra Kie (among which are high reliefs on pedestals, depicting musicians and female dancers; tenth century [?]), My Son, and Dong Duong. Depictions of animals and fantastic beings occupy a special place in Cham sculpture.
The crafts of the Chams attained a high level. Gold and silver articles (diadems, coffers, vases, chalices, and so on) from the treasure houses of the kings of Champa have been preserved; they have also been discovered during excavations in My Son, Ponagar, and other areas. Signs of decline appeared in the art of central Vietnam beginning in the 11th century (the proportions of the temples became clumsy, the decor dry and degenerate). The kalans of the llth and 12th centuries—the Gold Tower, Silver Tower, and Bronze Tower (all near the modern city of Qui Nhon)—are marked by these features.
The art of northern Vietnam entered a golden age during the llth to 13th centuries. Some Chinese influence was dis-played in the works of this period. Multitier towers (among them the tower in Binh Son, near Vinh Yen, tenth to llth centuries) and temple ensembles characterized by their connection with nature, their symmetrical layout, and the use of wooden frameworks in the structure (the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, dedicated to Confucius, founded in 1070; the Temple of the Great Buddha, near Hanoi, 13th century) were built. The wooden Duen Bo (Mot Cot) pagoda in Hanoi, which was built on one pillar (1049, restored in 1955), is unique. Among the structures of subsequent centuries that have been preserved are the temple complexes of But Tap near Hanoi (prior to the 14th century) and Keo in Thai Binh Province (17th century) and the many-columned dinh structure in the village of Dinh Bang near Hanoi (18th century), which was intended for assemblies and trials but also served as a temple. Late palaces are distinguished by the abundant use of carving and lacquer in the trimming (including the Palace of Perfect Harmony in the city of Hue, 1805-33), Depictions of canonized deceased church figures marked by precise attention to nature appear in Vietnamese sculpture as of the 15th century (for example, the statue of the sage Thuyet Son from the Tai Phuong pagoda, 15th century). The painting of the 15th to 19th centuries was represented by temple paintings, landscapes, and sepulchral portraits. Cheap popular prints developed. Prevalent crafts were ivory and wood carving combined with inlays of bone and mother-of-pearl; metal casting; cane weaving; and the production of lacquered articles with paintings in colored and gold lacquers.
The domination of French colonialists (beginning in the mid-19th century) retarded the development of the national culture. Comfortable residential and public buildings influenced by the styles of European architecture (modern and functionalist) began to appear in the late 19th century in the European quarters that emerged in cities. The districts inhabited by the Vietnamese had no amenities whatever. Industrial installations were situated close to residences; in port cities the shores of rivers and sea inlets were occupied by chaotically situated port structures.
The Higher School of Fine Arts in Hanoi, founded in 1925, acquainted Vietnamese artists with Western European art and gave them professional skills while instilling the principles of European academic and salon art.


Tiuliaev, S.I. Iskusstvo V’etnama. Moscow, 1957.
Ngo Gui Quin and S. S. Troitskii. “Nekotorye pamiatniki arkhitektury Severnogo V’etnama.” In the collection Arkhitektura stran lugo-Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow, 1960.
Prokof’ev, O. Iskusstvo lugo-Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow, 1967. Pages 214-36.
Parmentier, H. Les sculptures chames au Musee de Tourane. Paris-Brussels, 1922 (Ars Asiatica, IV.)
Bezacier, L. L’art viêtnamien. Paris [1955].
Dang Trung. L’artisanat au Vietnam. Hanoi, 1958.
Music. Each of the nationalities inhabiting multinational Vietnam has its own national culture, each with its ancient traditions. Musical folk art has retained its distinctiveness. The music is rich in various vocal genres, including the so-called ho—lyrical, comical and satirical, and work songs of the peasants, oarsmen, and wood-cutters, marked by deter-mined, energetic rhythms; they consist of improvised phrases sung by the soloist, with rhythmic choral exclamatory responses. Northern tunes (quang bac) are characterized by light, lively melodies; southern tunes (quang nam), by drawn-out, melancholy melodies performed in a slower tempo and reflecting the influence of the Khmer musical culture of Cambodia.
The music of Vietnam is based on a pentatonic system; singing is primarily in unison. The initial notation system of professional music in Vietnam consisted of words corresponding to the sounds of the five-stringed zither: cung, thuong, doc, thuy, and vu. Notation was by means of Chinese hieroglyphs, since it was introduced by representatives of the court musical culture of Vietnam, which—in contrast to folk art—was strongly influenced by the Chinese, as well as Cham and, to some extent, Buddhist (primarily ritualistic) musical cultures during the Middle Ages. Pentatonic music was enriched by the development of professional music: along with the strict five-step scale, six- and seven-step melodies also appeared. A system of notation corresponding to the system of the seven-stringed zither was formed: ho, xu, xang, xe, cong, luu, and u. The national opera of Vietnam is a synthetic art form, combining singing, recitative, speech, dance, mime, and gestures; orchestral accompaniment characterizes the dramatis personae and links the action on stage through interludes.
Court music in feudal Vietnam also differed considerably from folk music in terms of genre. Professional salon and chamber music were developed at court. Music theory reached a high level of development. Two musical societies were established in the 16th century: the theoretical Bo Dong Van and vocal-instrumental Bo Nia Niac, later the Bo Gia Phuong (reorganized into a vocal and dance society). The court orchestra, Doi Ba Lenh, which played at royal ceremonies and ritual processions, was organized. The Niac Chanh orchestra, which was made up of the best musicians and singers, was established in the mid-19th century.
In addition to Vietnamese folk instruments, Chinese instruments were used in court music. Vietnamese wind instruments include the bamboo khen (joined stem-tubes of different lengths with openings having a common mouth-piece), lengthwise and transverse flutes (the due, thieu, pi dot [double reed], sao bang, and sao bao [a bamboo flute with a gourd resonator]), and the pi ram lang and pi tarn lay (a type of oboe); stringed instruments (with one to 42 strings) include the ancient one-string bao whose quivering sound is close to that of folk singing, and the thap luc (a plucked type of zither); bowed instruments include two-stringed instruments similar to the viola; and percussion instruments include the trong dai (a large drum), trong cheo (small drum), the tang ban (a kind of tambourine), the mo (wooden), various rattles and hand-bells, the bamboo xylophone, or trung, and gongs, both stone (the thanh) and bronzed (the chieng).
At the end of the 19th century, a semiprofessional theater with large lyrical vocal pieces, or vong co (remembrances of the past—a genre that took shape under the influence of the Cham culture), recitative, recitations to music, and dances emerged on the basis of folk theater (the future cai luong professional theater). It was clearly national in character, since it was based on South Vietnamese folk songs and on the classic tuong theater. Melancholy Cham or Khmer folk tunes were intertwined in the classical tuong aria. Instead of the drums and pipes that characterized the northern theater, Vietnamese guitars, violins, and flutes were used in the cai luong theater orchestra, which was placed in the wings. The first professional cai luong troupes were established in the 1920’s; one of the popular versions of Groans of a Tormented Soul (after the poem by Nguyen Du) dates to this period. National musical art fell into decline in the 1930’s, and professional theatrical music also lost its national distinctiveness: operas from the European repertoire or operas by Vietnamese com-posers imitating European models were staged.


Nguyen Dinh Thi. “Narodnye pesni V’etnama.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1955, no. 5.
Mic Quang. “V’etnamskoe opernoe iskusstvo.” V’etnam, 1961, no. 3.
“Natsional’nye muzykal’nye instrumenty.” V’etnam, 1963, no. 1. Nguyen Dinh Lai. Etude sur la musique sino-vietnamienne et les chants populaires du Viêt-Nam. Saigon, 1956.
Theater. Information about the theater in Vietnam prior to the 19th century is scanty and fragmentary. The traditional genres are the teo and the tuong. The teo is folk theater: teo art was transmitted orally from generation to generation. Themes were drawn from history, tales, legends, and narrative poems. The emergence of the teo was linked to the yearly holidays that marked the gathering of the harvest in the delta of the Hong Ha River. The teo is characterized by improvisation. Peasants were the main characters in the presentations (both men and women participated in the shows). The teo is closely tied to folk music and dance; the action is accompanied by a chorus. The music, dance, and singing most frequently tell of agricultural processes (for example, the cultivation of rice). Various dance elements, such as conventional movements of hands in dances with fans, reveal the content of the play. Performances were given in the court-yards of houses of worship and pagodas; the audience sat on the floor, surrounding the place where the action occurs on three sides. Teo shows exposed social vices, presented satirical depictions of feudal lords and representatives of the French colonial authorities, and celebrated the valor of the people. The theatrical figure and playwright Nguyen Dinh Ngi, who worked in the teo genre, is best known: he wrote about 50 plays, historical (The Heroine of the Great South and On the Head of a Rabid Elephant} as well as comic and satirical. Popular actors, including the well-known artist Nguyen Van Thinh, worked in his theater.
The tuong theater, the classical theater of Vietnam, developed in the north of the country between the 11th and 13th centuries as a court spectacle. The tuong was influenced somewhat in its development by the classical Chinese theater: it borrowed ritual and symbolic costumes and conventional makeup. The tuong retains conventional gestures, costumes, performance style, and intonation; there is no scenery. Plays recounting events of national history and the history of China hold an important place in the repertoire. Themes from Vietnamese mythology or treatment of works of Chinese classical literature and drama are often the basis of the work. In addition to the court tuong troupes, there were also itinerant troupes, which brought a democratic tendency to tuong theater. By the mid-19th century, the tuong had been enriched by new content; representatives of the people appeared among the characters. The action in the tuong is divided into acts. Music and dance, which help dis-close the character of the hero, are an integral part of the show. Declamation is in a singsong voice, in the high registers. The best achievements of the tuong theater in the early 20th century included the historical plays of the playwrights of Hanoi, Nguyen Huu Tien (The Phoenixes of Dong A, about the heroes of the struggle against the Mongol invasion, the military leaders Tran Hung Dao and Pham Ngu Lao) and Hoang Tang By (Vengeance for the Husband and Duty to the Homeland, a play about the Trung sisters, who led an uprising against the foreign conquerors in the first century). The images of traitors in these plays unambiguously pointed to the people who served the colonialists in modern times.
The cai luong (reformed) theater took shape in about the 1920’s. Presentations are accompanied by music; there are curtains and scenery. The action of the play is divided into acts. The most diverse plots are used: themes from the life of Vietnamese society in the early 20th century, historical plots, and legends; plays of the European theater and film scenarios are often reworked. Much was done for the development of the cai luong theater by the poet The Lu, who established the troupe bearing his name in 1942-43.
Kich not, the contemporary “colloquial,” or dramatic, theater, also emerged in the 1920’s. The first presentations were comedies by Moliere; plays by Vietnamese authors followed (Friend and Wife by Vu Dinh Long, Money by Vu Guyen Dae, and others). A comedy written by Ho Chi Minh—Bamboo Dragon (1920’s), which makes fun of a puppet king—was staged.

General information The DRV is a socialist state whose jurisdiction (since 1954) extends to the northern part of Vietnam, north of the demarcation line. Area, 158,800 sq km; population, 21 million (1969, UN estimate). Capital, Hanoi.

Administratively, the DRV is divided into 25 provinces, eight of which belong to two autonomous regions. There are two cities (Hanoi and Haiphong) under the central administration. The provinces are Quang Ninh, Ha Bac, Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Vinh Phuc, Ha Tay, Hoa Binh, Hung Yen, Nam Ha, Hai Duong, Thai Binh, Ninh Binh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, and Quang Binh; the Vinh Linh Special Zone, which adjoins the 17th parallel and is equal to a province; Cao Bang, Lang Son, Bac Thai, Tuyen Quang, and Ha Giang, which belong to the Viet Bac autonomous region; and Lai Chau, Nghia Lo, and Son La, which belong to the Tay Bac Autonomous Region.

Constitution and government. The existing constitution came into force on Jan. 1, 1960. The constitution consolidates the leading and directing role of the Workers’ Party of Vietnam in all public and state life.

The head of state is the president of the DRV (chosen by the National Assembly for a term of four years). The presi-dent appoints and replaces members of the government; publishes laws and decrees; declares amnesty, war, or martial law; ratifies international treaties; appoints diplomatic representatives; and heads the armed forces and presides over the National Defense Council. The Special Political Conference, which is called to discuss major sociopolitical problems, operates as a consultative organ to the president.

The supreme body of state authority and the sole legislative body is the unicameral National Assembly, to which deputies are elected to four-year terms according to the standard of one deputy for every 50,000 people (industrial regions with populations of 10,000-30,000 are represented by one deputy each). The national minorities are guaranteed one-seventh of the total number of deputies in the National Assembly. The National Assembly forms the Permanent Committee of the National Assembly from among its deputies.

The government of the DRV—the Council of Ministers—is formed by the National Assembly on the basis of candidates presented by the president.

The bodies of state authority in all territorial administrative units are the people’s councils, which are elected for three-year terms in the provinces, autonomous regions, and cities under the central administration and for two-year terms in districts, settlements, and villages. The executive bodies of the people’s councils at all levels are the executive committees.

Universal, direct, and secret suffrage was introduced in the DRV under the constitution and the electoral law of Jan. 14, 1960. All citizens 18 and older are entitled to vote; citizens 21 and older may be candidates for office.

The highest judicial authority is the People’s Supreme Court, the chairman of which is chosen by the National Assembly for a five-year term. There are people’s courts in the provinces, districts, cities, and autonomous regions. The Supreme People’s Attorney’s Office is charged with supervision of the observance of the law.


Population. The average annual natural population increase (during 1963-69) is approximately 3 percent. The population is distributed extremely unevenly with respect to territory: it is basically concentrated in the area of the Hong Ha delta and on the coastal plain, where density reaches 500—and in some places 1,500—persons per sq km. Small cities and large villages predominate. The urban population is about 20 percent (1965). Large cities include Hanoi (414,600; with suburbs, 643,600 [I960]), Haiphong (182,500; with suburbs, 369,200), and Nam Dinh (86,000).

Historical survey. THE DRV AT THE FIRST STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT OF THE POPULAR DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM (SEPTEMBER 1945 TO JULY 1954). The first workers’ and peasants’ state in Southeast Asia formed in Vietnam as a result of the victory of the August Revolution of 1945. The formation of the DRV (Sept. 2, 1945) was a serious blow to the colonial system of imperialism. The international reaction attempted to restore the colonial regime in Vietnam. Shortly after the formation of the DRV, Kuomintang troops appeared on Vietnamese territory north of 16° N lat., and English troops on the territory south of 16° N lat., on the pretext of disarming Japanese forces. On Sept. 23, 1945, the French imperialists, supported by English troops, occupied Saigon. By early 1946 the French interventionists had seized virtually all of the large cities and important roads of South Vietnam and the southern portion of central Vietnam. The people of North and central Vietnam offered all possible assistance to their compatriots in South Vietnam, who had risen up to fight the interventionists.

Amid the complex conditions produced by imperialist aggression in the south, the conspiracies of followers of Chiang Kai-shek and Vietnamese reactionaries in the north, and economic and financial difficulties, the government of the DRV consolidated the popular regime and set the economy right. In January 1946 there were elections to the new local governmental bodies. In the south, where battles were being waged against the aggressors, special governmental bodies, the Resistance Committees, were established. In January 1946 general elections to the National Assembly of the DRV were held; over 90 percent of the voters participated. In May the United Vietnam National Front, or Lien Viet, which joined together the organizations of the Vietminh front and many new sociopolitical organizations, was formed. The Lien Viet was established as a mass organization to expand the united popular front in the struggle for the consolidation of independence and the construction of the new democratic state. At the same time, the ranks of the Vietminh were strengthened; as before, it retained its importance as a van-guard organization. On Nov. 8, 1946, the National Assembly adopted the constitution of the DRV, which proclaimed Vietnam an independent sovereign state and consolidated the power of the people and the democratic rights and liberties of citizens. (It was in effect until 1960.) The people’s regime decreed the introduction of the eight-hour workday in the state and private enterprises of the country, established a minimum wage, and determined the obligations of private entrepreneurs with respect to the workers. The poll tax was replaced by a progressive income tax; the land tax was lowered by 20 percent. The state required the landowners to decrease by 25 percent the rent exacted from the peasants. In rural localities, a start was made toward establishing labor mutual-aid groups, and the first consumers’, credit, and producers’ cooperatives were established. The state aided small trades, craftsmen, and the national bourgeoisie in developing their business activity in order to advance industry and trade. The French monopoly on the extraction of minerals in Vietnam was abolished. The government of the DRV took control over foreign trade into its own hands, repealing French tariff legislation. At the same time, many French enterprises were given the opportunity to continue their activity on the basis of the legislation of the DRV, submitting to a degree of control both by the government and by workers. Abandoned French and Japanese enterprises were restored.

The government of the DRV strove to achieve peaceful settlement of Franco-Vietnamese relations and to avert war. By the Vietnamese-French agreements of 1946, France recognized the independence of the DRV within the limits of the Indochinese Federation and the French Union; military actions were discontinued, and all controversial questions were to be resolved by means of negotiations; it was provided that the question of the reunification of South Vietnam (Cochin China) with the republic be resolved by a referendum. The government of the DRV agreed to the substitution of French forces for Kuomintang troops north of 16° N lat. (At the end of 1946, Great Britain transferred “authority” to France and withdrew its own forces from South Vietnam.)

However, France violated the obligations it had assumed. After French forces entered the northern and central areas of Vietnam, the occupiers engaged in numerous provocations, including repression of the civilian population. In response to the self-defense measures undertaken by the republic, the French command demanded the disarmament of the Vietnamese armed forces. On Dec. 19,1946, French troops began to initiate military action, attempting to establish control over the main cities. At the call of the party and the government of the DRV, the Vietnamese people rose up in the national War of Resistance. During 1946-47 the French expeditionary force managed to occupy the greater part of the cities (on Feb. 17, 1947, Hanoi) and coastal regions. In May 1948 the colonialists formed the puppet Nguyen Xuan government on occupied territory; within a year, they proclaimed the establishment of the so-called State of Vietnam, headed by the former emperor, Bao Dai. As of the end of 1950, despite the increasing aid to the French colonialists (primarily military supplies) by the USA, the military initiative began to pass to the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAY). By early 1950 the greater part of the country had been liberated from French troops. This made it possible for the DRV to establish direct ties with the socialist countries. The recognition of the DRV by the Soviet Union (Jan. 30, 1950) and the other socialist countries strengthened the international position of the DRV. The blows administered by the PAV to the colonialists’ troops and their puppets grew in force. At the end of 1950, French troops received reinforcements from North Africa and a large quantity of American arms. A permanent American military mission came to Vietnam. The open intervention of the USA created additional difficulties for the DRV in its conduct of military actions.

In 1949 the government of the DRV set about implementing agrarian reforms aimed primarily at limiting feudal and semifeudal exploitation of the peasantry. Decrees were published on the confiscation of the lands of the French colonizers and Vietnamese traitors and the transfer of these lands to the temporary use of the poor peasants (July 1, 1949), on the lowering of land rent by 25 percent (July 14, 1949), and on rental relations and the lowering of interest on debts (May 22, 1950). The nationalization of the mineral wealth of the country, the main irrigation systems, forest tracts, and the means of communication began in March 1950. In May 1951, the National Bank of Vietnam was established, monetary reform was carried out, and the department of state trade was organized. The system of taxation was unified, and measures were adopted to reduce inflation and price increases and to suppress speculation. In February 1951 the Second Congress of the Communist Party of Indochina adopted a resolution changing its name to the Workers’ Party of Vietnam (WPV). The merger of the Vietminh and the Lien Viet into a single national front for Vietnam, the Lien Viet, took place in March 1951.

The crucial stage of the agrarian revolution began in 1953. On Dec. 4, 1953, a session of the National Assembly adopted a land reform law providing for the elimination of the rights of the imperialists to land property, the abolition of landlord landownership, and the implementation of the slogan “land to those who work it.”

The PAV intensified its blows against the troops of the interventionists, who constituted four isolated groupings at the end of 1953 and early 1954. The first and strongest group occupied the triangle formed by Hanoi, Mong Cai, and the mouth of the Hong River. The second held the Lai Chau region in northwestern Vietnam. The third, in Trung Bo, was pressed into a narrow strip of seacoast. The fourth group operated in Nam Bo in the Saigon region. In March 1954 a battle unfolded in the Dien Bien Phu region (11 battalions of French troops were surrounded); it concluded (May 7) in a brilliant victory for the PAV, and as a result, all of north-western Bac Bo was liberated. The colonialists’ defeat and the struggle of all peace-loving forces, led by the USSR, to terminate the war in Vietnam forced the French government to enter into negotiations to settle the problem of Indochina. In July 1954, at the Geneva Conference of ministers of foreign affairs of nine states, an agreement on the restoration of peace in Indochina was signed despite the obstacles presented by the government of the USA. The agreements provided for the armed forces of the DRV and France to cease firing and, within 300 days, regroup within their respective zones—the People’s Army of Vietnam north of the 17th parallel, the French expeditionary corps to the south. A temporary demarcation line running approximately along the 17th parallel (along the Ben Hay River) from the coast to the border with Laos was established. Foreign troops were prohibited access to Vietnam, and the establishment of military bases by foreign states was forbidden. A political settlement in Vietnam was to be reached, in accordance with the concluding declaration of the Geneva Conference, by means of free general elections, to be held under international control in July 1956. The participants in the conference were obligated to respect the sovereignty, independence, and territorial unity and integrity of Vietnam and to refrain from any intervention in its internal affairs. The signing of the Geneva agreements was a great victory not only for the Vietnamese people but also for all the progressive forces of the world. However, the South Vietnamese authorities, inspired by the USA and attempting to thwart the peaceful unification of Vietnam, refused to carry out the general elections (see below: South Vietnam, Historical information).

THE DRV SINCE 1954. During the period of reconstruction (1955-57) the WPV and the government of the DRV focused their attention on the rehabilitation of the national economy and the completion of agrarian reform. As a result of the agrarian transformations, the landlord class was eliminated and a system of peasant landownership introduced. Over 2 million peasant families received free 810,000 ha of land and 74,000 head of draft animals. Even in the period of reconstruction, the DRV began the socialist transformation of the private (small-scale commodity and private capitalist) sector. Toiling peasants and craftsmen were enlisted in various production cooperatives, mixed private-state enterprises were established, and the state sector was strengthened and expanded; beginning in 1955, state socialist farms (goskhozes) were established in the agriculture of the DRV. The rehabilitation of the national economy of the DRV at this stage, like its development in the succeeding phase, was carried out with the aid of the socialist countries, above all the USSR. The government of the DRV simultaneously waged a struggle for the fulfillment of the Geneva agreements of 1954. It repeatedly addressed proposals to the Saigon authorities for the organization of a consultative meeting to discuss the question of the implementation of free general elections for the purpose of peaceful unification of the country (June 6 and July 19, 1955; May 11, 1956). The government of the DRV also made an initiative aimed at normalizing relations between the north and south of the country; however, the South Vietnamese authorities declined the DRV’s proposal and, supported by the USA, took the line of consolidating the split of Vietnam. In accordance with the task of struggling for the peaceful unification of the country, the Patriotic Front of Vietnam (PFV) was established in September 1955 on the basis of the Lien Viet.

In 1958, after the conclusion of the period of reconstruction, the DRV embarked on the construction of the foundations of socialism. A three-year plan for the development and transformation of the economy and development of the culture of the DRV during 1958-60 was developed.

As a result of the realization of the three-year plan for the transformation and development of the economy and culture, there were fundamental changes in social relations, in addition to the advancement of all branches of the national economy. By the end of 1960, about 85 percent of the families of the toiling peasantry and 75 percent of handicraft workers were in production cooperatives, and 98 percent of private capitalist enterprises had been made into mixed state-private enterprises. The number of state enterprises had grown; the relative share of industry in the economy had risen to 41.8 percent (16.9 percent in 1955).

For the purpose of legislative consolidation of socioeconomic achievements, a session of the National Assembly (Dec. 31, 1959) confirmed a new constitution, which became effective on Jan. 1, 1960.

The Third Congress of the WPV was held in September 1960. Adopting a policy of socialist industrialization and development of all branches of the national economy, it defined the Party’s general line for the period of transition to socialism in North Vietnam. The results of the rehabilitation and development of the national economy of North Vietnam were summarized at the congress, and directives were adopted for the first five-year plan for the development of the national economy (1961-65). The plan provided for the implementation of the first stage of socialist industrialization and the conclusion of the socialist transformation of the national economy. In the course of fulfilling the five-year plan, the workers of Vietnam began the establishment of the material and technical basis of socialism. However, the peaceful development of the DRV was soon interrupted. The USA, which in large measure had taken upon itself the conduct of the war against the patriotic forces of South Vietnam, simultaneously organized acts of armed aggression against the DRV. In early August 1964, the navy and air force of the USA bombarded and fired on a number of military installations and populated points on the coast of the Gulf of Tonkin, and on Feb. 7, 1965, the American Air Force began systematic bombardment of the territory of the southern provinces of the DRV; the bombardment was later extended to the entire country.

The toiling masses of the DRV rose up in defense of their homeland. The WPV and the government of the DRV carried out essential measures to strengthen the country’s military-economic potential and to increase the fighting ability of the army and the population. As soon as the USA’s aggression against North Vietnam began, the government of the USSR, faithful to its international duty, declared its readiness to offer the DRV the necessary aid. In April 1965 a session of the National Assembly devoted special attention to organizing the repulsion of the aggressor. It also adopted a four-point government program for the peaceful settlement of the Vietnamese problem. The main demands of the program were the recognition of the basic national right of the Vietnamese people to peace, independence, unity, and territorial integrity; the cessation of the USA’s aggression against the DRV and the people of South Vietnam; the withdrawal of all troops of the USA and its allies, the withdrawal of military staff, and the removal of armaments from the territory of South Vietnam; and the concession to the Vietnamese people of the opportunity to resolve independently their internal problems, including the question of the unification of the country. The government of the DRV approved and supported the declaration of the Central Committee of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF) concerning a peaceful settlement in Vietnam (five points, Mar. 22, 1965). The position of the government of the DRV received support from the coun-tries of socialist cooperation, above all the USSR (the declaration of the Soviet government of Feb. 9, 1965; the response of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR to the appeal of the National Assembly of the DRV, Apr. 29, 1965; the Soviet-Vietnamese communiques published between 1956 and 1968; and the declaration of the Twenty-third Congress of the CPSU regarding American aggression in Vietnam, 1966). World opinion was on the side of the Vietnamese people.

The bombing by the American Air Force inflicted great material harm on the country’s economy. Power plants and mining, metallurgical, textile, and other enterprises were destroyed. Transportation suffered greatly. Railroad lines, roads, bridges, and river crossings were destroyed. Seaports, particularly Haiphong, were also bombed repeatedly. Nonetheless, during the years of American aggression, the transportation of goods for the army and national economy was carried on without interruption.

As industrial enterprises were shifted from the cities to the countryside, the role of local industry in supplying products to the army, the national economy, and the populace grew considerably.

A session of the National Assembly of the DRV in April 1966 discussed the tasks of economic construction under the conditions of the struggle against American aggression. The USA’s visions of producing economic chaos through the air war were destroyed. In conjunction with the intensified American air bombardment, the WPV adopted a policy of the priority development of agriculture and local industry in order to turn every province into a self-supplying economic unit. The DRV considerably strengthened its defensive potential, establishing a modern antiaircraft system that included antiaircraft rocket units and jet aircraft that successfully repelled the raids of American planes. According to the data of the Vietnamese press, between Aug. 5, 1964, and Nov. 1, 1968, more than 3,000 American combat planes were brought down over the territory of the DRV, and dozens of enemy ships were damaged and sunk in the territorial waters of the DRV. In April 1968, after the government of the USA was forced to adopt a partial cessation of the bombing of the DRV, the government of the DRV agreed to the establishment of contacts for the purpose of discussing the question of the unconditional cessation of the bombing and other acts of war against the DRV so that negotiations on the settlement of the Vietnamese problem might then begin (the declaration of the government of the DRV of Apr. 3, 1968). Negotiations between representatives of the governments of the DRV and the USA began in Paris on May 13, 1968.

Within the framework of the Paris negotiations, agreement was reached on the unconditional and complete cessation of the bombing and shelling of all DRV territory by the USA (as of Nov. 1, 1968), as well as on the convocation of a four-power conference of representatives of the DRV, the NLF, the USA, and the Saigon administration to deal with questions of the peaceful settlement of the Vietnamese problem as a whole.

The conference began in January 1969 in Paris. From the first days of the negotiations, the government of the DRV adhered to a constructive position. It supported the ten-point program for a peaceful settlement in Vietnam that was pro-posed in May 1969 by the NLF and supported the peace-loving efforts of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam (established in June 1969) —in particular, its representatives’ proposals of Sept. 17 and Dec. 10, 1970, and July 1, 1971, which gave concrete expression to the program for a peaceful settlement in Vietnam. However, as a result of the obstructionist actions of the USA and the Saigon administration, the Paris negotiations were drawn out.

During the period after the cessation of the bombing of the territory of the DRV, economic construction was carried out under complex conditions. According to the data of the Vietnamese press, by November 1968 about 80 percent of the cities and provincial centers were either wiped from the face of the earth or else suffered greatly from air raids. (The American Air Force carried out over 100,000 sorties and dropped over 1 million tons of bombs on the territory of the DRV—more than it dropped on all fronts of the war against Germany and Japan during World War II.) Strenuous efforts by all forces were required to increase production and carry out the pressing tasks of rehabilitation, above all on transportation lines.

In September 1969 the Vietnamese people suffered a grave loss: the eminent figure in the international communist, workers’, and national liberation movement, chairman of the Central Committee of the WPV, and president of the republic, Ho Chi Minh, passed away. At a commemorative funeral meeting devoted to Ho Chi Minh, the first secretary of the Central Committee of the WPV, Le Duan, spoke in the name of the Central Committee, vowing to be faithful to the legacy of the leader who in his testament had called upon the party and the people to rally together and fight for the establishment of a single, independent, democratic, and prosperous Vietnam and to make a worthy contribution to the cause of world revolution. On September 23 the session of the National Assembly elected Ton Due Thang president and Nguyen Luong Bang vice-president of the DRV.

The DRV successfully carried out economic construction. While engaged in the solution of economic tasks, the DRV was forced to exert great efforts in order to strengthen its defensive capacity, since the USA did not end its armed provocations against the DRV and expanded the front of aggression on the Indochinese Peninsula, undertaking aggression against Cambodia (April 1970) and an invasion of southern Laos (February 1971).

In the struggle against the American aggressors, the Vietnamese people enjoyed the support and aid of the USSR and other socialist countries. The first economic and technical cooperation agreement between the DRV and the USSR was concluded in 1955. To rehabilitate the economy, which had been devastated during the War of Resistance, the USSR granted the DRV 400 million rubles as free aid, as well as credits of 160 million rubles (in terms of the old scale of prices). The agreements of Dec. 23, 1960, Oct. 3, 1966, and Sept. 23, 1967, as well as agreements of 1968, 1969, 1970, and 1971, provided for all-around aid from the USSR for the development of the national economy of the DRV and the strengthening of its defenses.

Between 1955 and 1970, 122 industrial installations and 37 goskhozes were built with the aid of the USSR; the USSR supplied the DRV with agricultural machinery, mineral fertilizers, and mining equipment. More than 3,000 Soviet specialists visited the DRV; economic agreements also provide for the training of national specialists for the DRV in the USSR. As Le Duan said at the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU (1971), the support of the Soviet people is “a powerful stimulus that inspires compatriots and fighters throughout our country to new, still greater victories; at the same time, it evokes among the Vietnamese people still deeper feelings of sympathy with the fraternal Soviet people’ (Pravda, Apr. 1, 1971, p. 6).

The foreign policy of the DRV is that of peaceful coexistence with states of different social systems and of peace among nations. As of Aug. 1, 1970, the DRV had diplomatic relations with 37 states, maintained trade relations with 45 countries, and participated in the activity of 40 international democratic organizations. Exchanges of delegations at various levels are carried out between the DRV and the USSR and other socialist countries. In July 1955 a Party-state delegation of the DRV headed by Ho Chi Minh was in Moscow, and in May 1957 the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, K. E. Voroshilov, visited Hanoi; in February 1965 a Soviet Party-state delegation headed by A. N. Kosygin visited Hanoi; in April 1965 a Party-state delegation of the DRV headed by Le Duan came to Moscow; in October 1969 a Party-state delegation of the DRV headed by Prime Minister Pham Van Dong arrived in the USSR on a goodwill visit; in September 1969 a Party-state delegation headed by A. N. Kosygin visited Hanoi in connection with the passing of Ho Chi Minh, president of the DRV; in April 1970 a delegation of the Central Committee of the WPV headed by Le Duan arrived in Moscow for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of V. I. Lenin; and during March and April 1971 a delegation of the WPV headed by Le Duan participated in the work of the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU.

During October and November 1969 a Party-state delegation of the DRV visited a number of socialist countries and conducted negotiations on questions of cooperation and mutual aid.

Complete solidarity with the position of struggling Vietnam was declared by the participants at the Moscow Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties (1969) and the participants at the meeting of leaders of the socialist countries held in Moscow (Dec. 3-4, 1969). The conference of the Political Consultative Committee of the member states of the Warsaw Pact, held in Berlin, adopted a special declaration on Dec. 2, 1970, in connection with the exacerbation of the situation in Indochina. In its resolutions, the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU (1971) declared multifaceted support for the Vietnamese people on the part of the CPSU and the government and people of the USSR (the Resolution of the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU; and the Appeal of the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU, “Freedom and Peace to the Peoples of Indochina!”). Many international organizations supported the Vietnamese people with condemnations of the aggressive actions of the USA against the DRV. On Jan. 27, 1973, an agreement to end the war and restore peace in Vietnam was signed in Paris.

A. G. MAZAEV [updated]


Demokraticheskaia respublika V’etnam: Konstitutsiia, zakonodatel’nye akty, dokumenty. Moscow, 1955. (Translated from Vietnamese, French, and English.)
III s” ezd partii trudiashchikhsia V’etnama. Moscow, 1961. [Translated from Vietnamese.]


Ho Chi Minh. O bor’be protiv amerikanskikh agressorov za spasenie rodiny. Hanoi, 1967.
Demokraticheskaia respublika V’etnam 1945-1960. Moscow, 1960. 15 let DRV. Moscow, 1960.
Lavrishchev, A. A. Indokitaiskii vopros posle vtoroi mirovoi voiny. Moscow, 1960.
Vo Nguyen Giap. “OsvoboditeFnaia voina v’etnamskogo naroda protiv frantsuzskikh imperialistov i amerikanskikh interventov (1945-1954).” Voprosy istorii, 1959, no. 4.
Truong Chin. Avgustovskaia revoliutsiia vo V’etname. Moscow, 1954. (Translated from Vietnamese.)
Ho Chi Minh. Ve cong nghiep hoa xa hoi chu nghia. Hanoi, 1962.
Le Duan. Ve each mang xa hoi chu nghia o Viet-nam. Hanoi, 1963.
Pham Van Dong. Our Struggle in the Past and at Present. Hanoi, 1955.
Doan Trong, Truyen Va Pham, and Thanh Vinh. L’ édification d’une économic nationale indepéndante au Vietnam (1945-1965), 2nd ed. Hanoi, 1966.
Political parties. The Vietnam Fatherland Front, trade unions, and other social organizations. POLITICAL PARTIES. The Workers’ Party of Vietnam (WPV) was established on Feb. 3, 1930, under the name of the Communist Party of Vietnam. From October 1930 to February 1951 it was called the Communist Party of Indochina (CPI); in February 1951, at the Second Congress, the CPI was renamed the Workers’ Party of Vietnam. It has more than 1.1 million members and candi-dates (1969). The Democratic Party of Vietnam includes representatives of the petite bourgeoisie, artisans, and trades-men. It was founded in 1944. The Socialist Party of Vietnam essentially includes members of the intelligentsia. It was founded in 1946.
THE VIETNAM FATHERLAND FRONT (VFF). The VFF Was founded in 1955. It includes the WPV, the Federation of Trade Unions of Vietnam, the Ho Chi Minh Union of Working Youth, the Democratic Party of Vietnam, the Socialist Party of Vietnam, the Union of Women of Vietnam, and other social and religious organizations and patriotic-minded individuals. The leading and directing force of the VFF is the WPV. The VFF has over 10 million members (1969).
TRADE UNIONS AND OTHER SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS. The Federation of Trade Unions of Vietnam was established in 1946 (until 1961 it was called the General Confederation of Workers of Vietnam). It has 1.1 million members (January 1968). Since 1949 it has belonged to the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU). The Ho Chi Minh Union of Working Youth was founded in 1931 (it was named after Ho Chi Minh in early 1970). It has 2.6 million members (1969). The Federation of Vietnamese Youth was founded in 1946 and unites all the youth organizations of Vietnam. Since 1948 it has belonged to the World Federation of Democratic Youth. The Union of Women of Vietnam, founded in 1946, has 4.5 mil-lion members (1968). Since 1946 it has belonged to the World Democratic Federation of Women. The Vietnamese Committee for the Defense of Peace was founded in 1950. The Vietnamese Committee for Solidarity With the Countries of Asia and Africa was founded in 1955. The Society for Vietnamese-Soviet Friendship was founded in 1950.
Economic geography. The victory of the August Revolution of 1945 created the prerequisites for the socialist development of the DRV. In the first stage of popular democratic development, the DRV was forced to direct all its efforts to repulsing foreign aggression; under the conditions of the developing War of Resistance (1945-54), it had to begin the socioeconomic transformations that were to be the basis of the socialist reconstruction of the economy. After the conclusion of the war, the country’s economy was in an extremely grave condition, primarily because of the ravages of protracted military actions and the disruption of the traditional economic ties of the northern and southern regions, and also because of the removal abroad or to South Vietnam of a portion of the country’s industrial equipment and valuable materials by the national bourgeoisie and French capitalists.
During the years of postwar rehabilitation of the national economy (1955-57) the prewar level was essentially achieved as a result of the fulfillment of three one-year plans. Agricultural production somewhat exceeded the prewar level; the production of food and industrial crops was increased. There were advances in industry, the majority of large industrial enterprises were restored, and many new industrial installations were constructed. Economic policy was aimed at limiting, transforming, and using private-capitalist elements in the interests of socialist construction. As a result of the completion of agrarian reform (with the exception of the mountain regions), feudal land property was eliminated, and the land of landlords and other exploiters was distributed without compensation among land-starved peasants. Mutual labor aid groups and goskhozes were organized, and the establishment of production cooperatives began. Toward the end of the period of reconstruction and at the beginning of the new stage of socialist reforms and construction, the economy of the DRV was still suffering from the onerous legacy of feudalism and capitalism; it was characterized by backward agriculture, based on the individual peasant farm, and by underdeveloped industry. There were various forms of property: the national economy had five sectors—state, cooperative, small-scale commodity, private capitalist, and state capitalist. The socialist sector supplied almost 60 percent of the output of industrial production, about 25 percent of the gross product of industrial and domestic production, 61 percent of wholesale trade turnover, 29.5 percent of retail trade turn-over (taking into account trade through various forms of state capitalism, 36.7 percent), and 98 percent of foreign trade. It completely dominated rail transportation and the banking system. In agriculture, the socialist sector accounted for only 0.14 percent (20 goskhozes). The cooperative sector accounted for 9.8 percent of the agricultural product and 7.2 percent of the industrial and domestic product; the small-scale commodity sector accounted for 80 percent of the agricultural product and 50.2 percent of the industrial and domestic product; and 10 percent of the agricultural product and 14.2 percent of the industrial and domestic product were concentrated in the private capitalist sector.
The years of the fulfillment of the three-year plan of 1958-60 became a period of fundamental socioeconomic transformations and of the consolidation of the dominant role of the socialist sector in the economy of the DRV. The basic task of the three-year plan—the simultaneous development of agriculture and industry, with expansion on a priority basis of production of the means of production—was fulfilled.
Structural changes in the economy occurred. The relative share of industry in the gross output of industry and agriculture rose considerably (see above: Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Historical survey).
The implementation of the first five-year plan for 1961-65 was an important stage in the economic development of the DRV. The primary task of the plan was the creation of the foundations of the material and technical basis of socialism. In the context of maximum use of domestic resources and aid from socialist countries, the DRV embarked on socialist industrialization. During these years, the average annual in-crease in industry was 13 percent; in agriculture, it was about 5 percent. The greatest attention was devoted to the development of power engineering, machine building, and the chemical and mining industries. On the whole, the production of means of production reached 41 percent of the total industrial output by 1965, as against 27 percent, not including domestic production, in 1955. Goskhozes and cooperatives —over half of which had become cooperatives of the higher type—began to be furnished with agricultural implements. In 1963 the share of agriculture in the national income was 48.6 percent (53.6 percent in 1960); of industry and construction, 29 percent (22.9 percent); of trade, 19.3 percent (20.7 percent); and of transportation and communications, 3.1 percent (2.8 percent).
During the period from August 1964 through the beginning of 1965, peaceful development was interrupted by the American Air Force’s bombing of the DRV and then by open aggression. Measures to disperse and transfer large enterprises to the countryside and to build small and medium-size enterprises for local industry were reflected in the new economic policy of the DRV and the two-year plan for the development of the economy in 1966-67.
The solution of the DRV’s national economic tasks at all stages of development was aided by close cooperation with other socialist countries. Enterprises constructed with the aid of the USSR during 1955-65 provided three-fourths of the output of coal; over one-half of the output of metal-cutting machines; virtually the entire output of tin, apatites, and superphosphate; and a substantial portion of the electric power.
INDUSTRY. By the end of the 1961-65 five-year plan, industry and domestic production accounted for over 50 percent of the overall gross product of industry and agriculture.
Mining industry and power engineering. The coal industry is very important in the economy of the DRV. Coal is the base of the energy balance; some is exported. Most coal is mined in the Hon Gay basin, primarily by the open-pit method; it is also mined in the Cam Pha and Quang Yen regions. With the aid of the USSR, the Uong Bi (1966-67) and Vang Giang coal mines and the Deo Nai, Coc Sau, and Ha Tu coal pits have been created. The main electric power plants, including the major Uong Bi steam power plant, are located in the coal regions. A beginning has been made in the assimilation of hydroelectric power: the Ban Thach and Thac Ba hydroelectric power plants have been built. Tin and tungsten (Cao Bang Province), iron ore (Thai Nguyen Province), chromites (in Co Din in the Thanh Hoa region), and apatites (Lao Cai Province) are mined in the DRV; salt is evaporated from seawater.
Manufacturing industry. The metallurgical base is weak. Small-scale metallurgy predominates; a small amount of iron is smelted. The construction of a metallurgical combine in Thai Nguyen with a capacity of 200,000 tons of steel and 150,000 tons of iron was not completed; the first unit was destroyed by American aircraft. With the aid of the USSR, a tin combine has been built in Tin Tuc. Metalworking and machine building, which use mainly imported metal, have made considerable strides. About one-half of the output of machine building is earmarked for agriculture (spare parts for motor vehicles and tractors; water pumps; and agricultural machines); in addition, metal-cutting machines, small ships, train cars, and metal-cutting implements are produced. The largest enterprises include the machine plant, locomotive re-pair and car-building shop, and auto repair plant in Hanoi; agricultural-machinery plants in Ha Dong; a pump plant in Hai Duong; and a shipyard in Haiphong. A large plant for the production and repair of mining equipment and tools is under construction (1971) in Cam Pha. The chemical industry produces mineral fertilizers, caustic soda, toxic chemicals, acids, rubber articles, and drugs; the largest enterprises are the chemical combine in Viet Tri and the superphosphate plant in Lam Thao. The building-materials industry has virtually been created anew (the cement plant and glass works in Haiphong and the plant for silica brick in Dong Trieu). Branches connected with woodworking are developing— saw-milling, the production of plywood, parquet (in the suburbs of Hanoi and in the cities of Ben Thuy and Vinh), paper (Thai Nguyen), and matches. Among the branches of light industry, textiles are most highly developed; in part, imported raw materials are used. Textile and clothing enterprises are concentrated in Hanoi and Nam Dinh, knitwear enterprises in Haiphong. The food industry is widespread; rice-polishing is the main branch (Hanoi, Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa, and Vinh). There are brewing, fish and fruit canning (Haiphong), tea processing (Phu Tho), sugar, starch-syrup, and also soap manufacture and tobacco industry; there is also production of fish sauce (a national food). (See Table 1 for the output of industrial products.) Local industry and domestic production (about 600,000 people, 1965) supplies up to 70 percent of all consumer goods; the role of local and domestic industry in producing agricultural implements, simple machines for the processing of agricultural produce, fertilizers, and means of transportation is considerable. There are numerous artistic crafts.
Table 1. Production of major industries
1million kw-hrs
Electric power............1122.553121.2256.1595
Water pumps3............2,115
Round timber4............381,000362,400439,200753,2001,030,000
Cotton fabric5............55.68.868.176.0110
Silk fabric5............ 
AGRICULTURE. Agriculture is an important branch of the national economy of the DRV, employing about 80 percent of the economically active population. Under the people’s regime, along with the socialist transformation in agrarian relations, much work was accomplished in raising agricultural production and increasing the cultivated area by assimilating virgin lands and using irrigation. (Ten large irrigation systems have been restored and constructed, including the Bac Hung Hai irrigation system; as a result, by 1965, 78 percent of all cultivated land was irrigated.) The one-crop nature of field-crop cultivation has been partially overcome in the interests of solving the food problem: plantings of such food crops as sweet potatoes and cassava have been expanded, and much attention has been devoted to tropical industrial and fruit crops, as well as to the development of livestock raising. The share of farming in the gross product of agriculture is 64.8 percent; of livestock raising, 20.2 percent; and of secondary trades, 15 percent (1965).
The main branch of agriculture is farming. Cultivated land is 12.5 percent of the territory of the DRV (2 million ha in 1966); the harvested sown area is 3.3 million ha (including repeated plantings), of which about 88 percent is under grains. The leading agricultural crop is rice, which occupies about 80 percent of the planted harvesting area (2.7 million ha in 1968); on the average, there are two harvests per year. Rice is cultivated predominantly on irrigated lands in plains regions: the main rice-producing region is the delta of the Hong Ha. In addition to the plains rice-producing agricultural region, the foothill agricultural region (with grain and industrial crops, as well as plantation farming) and the mountain agricultural region (two-thirds of the territory of North Vietnam, where the cultivation of grains and industrial crops is combined with livestock raising and forestry industry) stand out. In addition to rice, food crops include corn, sweet potatoes, and cassava. Industrial crops include jute, soybean, sugarcane, tobacco, peanuts, the castor-oil plant (castor seed), cotton, tea, and coffee. Market gardening and orchard cultivation, especially bananas, pineapples, and citrus fruits, are prevalent. (See Table 2 for agricultural production.)
Cattle (2.6 million head, including 1.8 million buffalo in 1967-68) are used primarily as draft animals; there are 6.2 million pigs.
Fishing is carried on primarily in coastal waters. The annual catch is approximately 300,000 tons.
About two-thirds of the forest tracts of the DRV are concentrated in the northern mountain regions. Valuable varieties of trees are logged: lignum vitae, ebony, rosewood, and various kinds of bamboo. Cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, benzoin, gum, rosin, and the raw materials for the production of tannic acid and dyes are gathered.
TRANSPORTATION. There are about 1,000 km of railroads in the DRV (1969). The main rail routes branch out from Hanoi in four directions: in the northeast toward Nam Quang, in the northwest to Lao Cai, in the east toward Haiphong, and in the south to Vinh. There are over 15,000 km of hard-surfaced highways and 25,000 km of internal waterways. Rail transportation accounts for 60 percent of the total freight turnover, and internal water transportation for 30 percent. The marine fleet is used primarily for coastal transportation; foreign trade transportation is mainly by foreign vessels. The main seaports are Haiphong (freight turnover, 5 million tons), Hon Gay, Cam Pha, and Ben Thuy. The DRV has air links with the USSR, the Chinese People’s Republic, and other countries. Hanoi’s Gia Lam Airport is the center for international air communications.
In 1955 the DRV entered the Organization for Railroad Cooperation—an international transportation organization of the socialist states. In 1957 it became a member of the Organization for the Cooperation of the Socialist Countries in the areas of electrical and postal communications.
Table 2. Harvest of main agricultural crops
1In shells
2Cotton fiber
Sweet potatoes............156,000535,000584,000800,000800,000
Castor-oil plant1,0002002,1002,0002,000
Raw cotton............1,0002,6004,6002,00022,0002
FOREIGN TRADE. The economic ties of the DRV with the socialist countries include foreign trade relations, economic and scientific-technical cooperation, and various forms of aid (see above: Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Historical survey).
About one-half of the value of the DRV’s exports (1965) was accounted for by the produce of mining and forestry; about one-third by goods made from imported raw materials and domestic-crafts articles, and about one-fifth by agricultural produce and processed goods. The major export items include coal, apatites, chromites, lumber, agricultural products, clothing, knitwear, and domestic craft articles. Machinery, equipment, and raw materials account for 85 percent of imports; consumer goods, 15 percent. In 1965 the socialist countries’ share of the foreign-trade turnover of the DRV was about 80 percent; trade with the USSR makes up most of the foreign-trade turnover. The USSR imports parquet, clothing and other sewn articles, mats, domestic-crafts articles, tea, and knitwear from the DRV; it exports machines, petroleum products, and textiles. Between 1955 and 1966 the volume of foreign trade between the DRV and the socialist countries tripled. The DRV has trade ties with the developing countries of Asia and Africa and with the capitalist countries, particularly Japan and France. The monetary unit is the dong. According to the official rate of the State Bank of the USSR (May 1971), 100 dongs = 30.60 rubles.


Bui Cong Trung. Severnyi V’etnam na puti postroeniia sotsializma. Moscow, 1959.
Mazaev, A. G. “Demokraticheskaia Respublika V’etnam.” In Mirovaia sotsialisticheskaia sistema khoziaistva, vol. 4. Moscow, 1967.
Mazaev, A. G. “Sistema planirovaniia i upravleniia narodnym khoziaistvom v DRV.” In Planirovanie i upravlenie narodnym khoziaistvom v sot statistic he skikh stranakh. Moscow, 1969.
Mazaev, A. G. Agrarnaia reforma v Demokraticheskoi Respublike V’etnam. Moscow, 1959.
Merzliakov, N. S. Demokraticheskaia Respublika V’etnam. Moscow, 1961.
Karamyshev, V. P. Sel’skoe khoziaistvo Demokraticheskoi Respubliki V’etnam. Moscow, 1959.
Rastorguev, V. S. Finansy i kredit Demokraticheskoi Respubliki V’etnam. Moscow, 1965.
V’etnam: (Spravochnik). Moscow, 1969.
Ekonomika stran sotsializma. Moscow, 1969. Pages 307-22.
Armed forces. The People’s Army of Vietnam (PAV) consists of ground forces, an air force, and a navy. It has been equipped with the aid of the USSR and other socialist countries and is armed with rockets of various classes, artillery, modern tanks, armored carriers, aircraft, battleships, and other war materiel. Units of various sizes include subunits of engineering troops, communications, transport, and other special forces. The president is the supreme commander in chief.
The PAV was established in 1945 on the basis of partisan detachments, which had waged a heroic struggle against the Japanese and French interventionists. Since its inception the PAV has come a long way, defending the socialist achievements of the Vietnamese people, acquiring vast battle experience, and training command cadres. From 1946 to 1954 it waged a struggle against the French colonialists. The operations of the PAV acquired particularly broad scope in the fall of 1950 and spring of 1951. In May 1951 it gained a major victory over the French expeditionary corps in the valley of the Hong Ha. In May 1954, troops of the PAV inflicted a blow against the enemy at Dien Bien Phu. Since August 1964 the PAV, along with the entire nation, has been repelling the aggression of the American militarists against the DRV.
Medicine and public health. In 1964 the death rate per 1,000 population was 6.9; infant mortality was 15.8 per 1,000 live births. Infectious pathology predominates. Trachoma, helminthiases, tsutsugamushi disease, tuberculosis, and leprosy are the painful legacy of many years of colonial oppression. There are intestinal infections in the plains areas: dysentery, typhoid fever, amebiasis, and viral hepatitis; nematode helminthiases afflict 60-80 percent of the population. In areas of hilly plains there is wucheriasis, and outbreaks of dengue are recorded periodically. Malaria is highly endemic in mountain regions.
Thanks to the energetic measures undertaken by state public health bodies, as well as to the aid of the USSR and other socialist countries, by 1965 cases of malaria had declined sharply in 19 provinces (less than 1 incident per 10,000 people), and in 21 provinces tropical malaria had been eliminated. By 1958 cholera, plague, and smallpox had been virtu-ally eliminated. After 1957, tens of thousands of children were vaccinated, and the incidence of poliomyelitis declined substantially. As a result of prophylactic measures, the incidence of tuberculosis decreased to 3 percent by 1966 (25 percent in 1955).
Despite the military situation, labor laws were promul-gated on Mar. 12, 1947. These laws prohibited children under 12 from working, granted women eight-week pregnancy leaves, and introduced compulsory medical services for workers. During the War of Resistance, the medical department of the University of Hanoi, which had been transferred into the jungle, trained hundreds of doctors. People were vaccinated against smallpox and cholera, and measures to counter epidemics were taken in liberated areas. Production of drugs and medical instruments was resumed in the jungle.
The main principle of the public health organization of the DRV is the prevention of disease. Since its formation, the government of the DRV has prohibited the sale of opium and alcoholic beverages. The public-health service carries out campaigns under such slogans as “for the three cleanlinesses” (in eating, drinking, and living) and “for the elimination of the three” (flies, mosquitoes, and rats). Ninety per-cent of the districts of the country have their own hospitals; each province and each city has two or three hospitals, with 100-1,000 beds. The railroads have their own medical ser-vice. By 1965, 480 hospitals, with 28,900 beds, were in operation (1.1 beds per 1,000 people); the largest were the Vietnamese-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Hanoi, the Vietnamese-Czech Friendship Hospital in Haiphong, and the Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi. By 1965, 5,300 medical stations had been established in the countryside (200 in 1955). There have been 183 hospitals and medical stations, with 6,100 beds (42, with 1,000 beds, in 1956), organized in industrial enterprises. The country also has 45 tuberculosis clinics, 3,700 trachoma stations, and five hospitals for lepers. By 1966 the system of day nurseries and kindergartens extended to over 10 percent of the children of preschool age. The country had 1,500 working doctors (one doctor for 13,000 people), 900 pharmacists, 840 trained hospital nurses, and 540 midwives. The Tuberculosis Institute, the Institute of Microbiology, the Institute of Eye Diseases, and the Institute of Eastern Medicine have been established in Hanoi. The institute of medicine and pharmacy (Hanoi) trains doctors.


Taraskina, L. A. “Razvitie zdravookhraneniia v Demokraticheskoi Respublike V’etnam.” Sovetskoe zdravookhranenie, 1968, no. 3.
Education and cultural affairs. As a result of colonial policies, about 95 percent of the population of the country was illiterate at the time of the August Revolution of 1945. Many national minorities, especially in the mountain regions, did not have their own written languages. During the first days after the establishment of the popular-democratic system, decrees aimed at developing public education were promulgated. A great deal of work was done to eliminate illiteracy: new school programs and textbooks were created, and instruction in the native language began. By the beginning of 1959, illiteracy had been eliminated among 93.4 per-cent of the population aged 12 to 50 in the plains regions. The transition to universal elementary education began in 1961. Much attention is devoted to the development of education in the mountain regions, where more than 30 small nationalities and ethnic groups live; written languages have been created for the Tai, Nung, Meo, and other peoples. By 1968 the number of students in the mountain regions had grown by a factor of 7 in comparison with 1954.
The school reform of 1956 established a single ten-year school consisting of three levels (the first level is four years; the second and third, three years each). In the 1968-69 academic year there were about 4 million students in general-educational schools (in the 1939-40 academic year there were 567,300).
Secondary specialized education has developed considerably. Technicums have been established at large industrial enterprises—for example, at the Hon Gai coal combine and the Nam Dinh textile combine. In the 1954—55 academic year there were six technicums (1,100 students) in all; in the 1968-69 academic year there were 200 specialized secondary institutions, with 151,400 students. Over 40,000 specialists with a technical secondary education were trained between 1954 and 1965.
Much has been done for the development of higher education. Since 1954 a number of institutes have been established on the basis of the university in Hanoi (founded in 1918): medicine and pharmacy, literature, pedagogy, agriculture, and forestry. The University of Hanoi was reorganized in 1955 to include departments of physics and mathematics, chemistry, biology, and social sciences. In 1956 a polytechnical institute was opened in Hanoi, and in 1959, institutes of finance and economics and power engineering and irrigation. The new Polytechnical Institute in Hanoi, built and equipped with the aid of the USSR, was officially opened in 1965. In the 1968-69 academic year there were 73,000 students in institutions of higher education and their branches. The socialist countries have offered a great deal of aid in the development of higher education in the DRV. The USSR has contributed medical-pharmaceutical and agricultural equipment for the institutes, and many Soviet instructors have given lectures in institutes of higher education of the DRV. Between 1954 and 1963, of the 10,000 Vietnamese specialists with higher education, 1,000 had graduated from higher educational institutions in the socialist countries, including over 700 in the USSR. In 1967, 2,100 Vietnamese students were studying in the USSR. Many Vietnamese specialists worked as trainees in the industrial enterprises of the socialist countries.
Hanoi is the site of the State Library of the DRV (founded as the Central Library in 1919; 900,000 volumes), the Central Scientific Library (founded in 1898; 250,000 volumes), the Historical Museum, the Museum of the People’s Army of Vietnam, and the Museum of the Revolution.
Science and scientific institutions. After the formation of the DRV, despite exceptionally difficult conditions, much was done for the development of science. A division of scientific research was established in the reorganized University of Hanoi (1955). The Committee for the Study of Literature, History, and Geography was founded in 1953. The State Committee for the Sciences of the DRV, which exercised leadership in both the humanities and the natural and technical sciences, was established in 1958. In 1965 it was reorganized into the State Committee for Science and Technology and the State Committee for the Social Sciences. The State Committee for Science and Technology is a center that coordinates all the scientific research work being conducted in the country in the area of the natural and technical sciences, as well as organizing the training of scientific specialists. The following divisions operate under the committee: mathematics, physics, and computer mathematics; technical sciences; medicine; chemistry, biology, geology, and geography; agriculture; metallurgy; and mining. The State Committee for the Social Sciences includes institutes of history, literature, economics, philosophy, and law.
The socialist countries offer aid in the training of scientific specialists and in equipping institutions for research work. The Institute of Measures and Standards, a scientific station for the tropicalization of technology, an oceanographic station, and a scientific information service have been organized. Medical scientific research centers have been established. During the period 1946-70, significant success has been achieved in medical research in the treatment of fungus and stomach diseases and eye diseases and in the surgical treatment of the heart and liver. The scientist and surgeon Ton That Tung is widely known.
The State Committee for Science and Technology also directs scientific research institutes and stations (under minis-tries and departments) engaged in the study of problems of agriculture, chemistry, medicine (hygiene and epidemiology, the study of malaria, parasitology, and entomology), forestry, and fish breeding. The State Committee for Science and Technology maintains international scientific ties. An agreement on scientific cooperation has been concluded between the committee and the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (May 26, 1961). The committee directs the work of a number of scientific societies and publishes several scientific journals. Tran Dai Ngia, chairman of the State Committee for Science and Technology, has been chosen a foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1966).
Extensive opportunities for the development of Marxist-Leninist philosophy, history, economics, law, and other social sciences were created after the establishment of the popular-democratic system.
PHILOSOPHY. The development of Marxist philosophical thought in the DRV has proceeded in a two-fronted struggle—against existentialist and other Western bourgeois doctrines and against petit bourgeois revolutionary theories. Vietnamese Marxists have simultaneously waged a struggle against the religious-idealist philosophical systems that are traditional in Vietnam. The attention of Vietnamese Marxists has been focused on problems of historical materialism associated with the attempt to understand the experience of socialist revolution and the construction of socialism in the country; particular attention is devoted to enhancing the role of Marxist-Leninist theory, with due regard for national traditions, in the process of social construction (Tran Van Giau, Dang Xuan Ky, and others). Research is being conducted on the history of sociopolitical and philosophical thought, in aesthetics (Vu Huu), and in the criticism of the idealist currents dominant in South Vietnam. The centers for the study of philosophy are the Institute of Philosophy, founded in 1965, and the Nguyen Ai Quoc Party School, founded in 1948. Articles on issues in philosophy are published in the journals Hoc Tap (organ of the Central Committee of the WPV) and Thong Bao Triet Hauc.
HISTORY. Historians in the DRV devote the bulk of their attention to the study of the history of the toiling masses and the national liberation struggle of the Vietnamese people, the researching of questions of the popular-democratic revolution and socialist construction in the country, and the expo-sure of bourgeois falsification of the history of Vietnam. Works have been written illuminating the struggle of the Vietnamese people against the French colonialists (Tran Huy Lieu), the history of the August Revolution of 1945 (Truong Chinh, Van Tao, Thanh The Vi, and Nguyen Cong Binh), the development and growth of the Vietnamese working class (Tran Van Giau), the history of the WPV (Minh Tranh, Bui Cong Trung, and others), problems of socialist construction in Vietnam under conditions of the existence and struggle of two world systems and of the scientific and technical revolution (Le Xuan), the struggle of the Vietnamese people against American aggression, the agrarian and national questions, and problems of South Vietnam. Questions of the ancient and medieval history of Vietnam are also studied (Van Tan, Dao Duy Anh, and others)—in particular, socioeconomic problems and the history of the class struggle in ancient and feudal Vietnamese society. Historical works have increasingly been grounded in archaeology and source criticism; a number of collections of historical documents and materials have been published (see above: Democratic Republic of Vietnam, references under Historical survey). The Institute of History was established in 1959. Articles on historical questions are published in the journal Ngien Cuu Lich Xu.
ECONOMICS. Most of the works published in the 1950’s and 1960’s were devoted to pressing problems of the economic development of Vietnam on the path of the construction of socialism: the solution of the agrarian question and cooperation in agriculture, the transformation of private capital (Bui Cong Trung, Vo Nhan Tri, Luu Quang Hoa, Tran Phuong, and others), the industrialization of the country, the development of branches of the national economy (Vu Quoc Tuan, Nhu Hai Nhuoc, and others), the development of the system of finances and credit (Vu Ngoc Hue, Pham Van Dong, and Pham Tho), the introduction of profit-and-loss ac-counting, problems of prime cost and price formation (Do Van Suu, Le Xuan Trung, and Tuong Lai), questions of foreign trade, problems of managing the economy, control over the distribution of products, and the creation of a rational economic system (Le Duan).
Much attention is also devoted to the study of the processes taking place in the economy of South Vietnam, the mechanism and essence of economic penetration of the economy of South Vietnam by American imperialism, including the role of American economic “aid” to South Vietnam (Vo Nguyen, Nguyen Phong, Hoan Linh, and others). Vietnamese economic scholars have done substantial work on the study of the economic history of Vietnam (Vuong Hoang Tuyen, Thanh The Vi, Phan Huy Le, Tran Van Giau, and Le Thanh Hoi), including problems of the genesis and development of capitalism in Vietnam (Minh Tranh and Nguyen Kinh/Giang) and the economy of colonial Vietnam (Nguyen Khac Dam and Nguyen Ngoc Minh); issues of the wartime economy are being studied.
Scientific research work in the area of economics is conducted in the Institute of Economics (founded in 1958), the scientific research institute of the Ministry of Finances of the DRV, the Institute of Finance and Economics (a higher educational institution founded in 1959), and appropriate divisions of the ministries and departments of the DRV. Materials on the economy of Vietnam are published in the journal Ngien Cuu Kinh Te (since 1961) and Ngan Hang (since 1959), the weekly Courier du Vietnam (1964), and the collections Etudes viêtnamiennes (1964—; also published in English).
JURISPRUDENCE. The birth of socialist jurisprudence in the DRV dates to the period of the war against the French colonialists: in January 1954 the publication of the legal journal Tap San Tu Phap began in the Viet Bac zone of military action. The center for the study of law is the Institute of Law (the institute is headed by the well-known jurist Pham Van Bach, the chairman of the Supreme Court of the DRV). The main problems studied are the Marxist-Leninist theory of the state and law; criticism of the state systems and law of the imperialist states and of the reactionary theories of the state and law instilled by the American imperialists in South Vietnam; the history of the state and law of Vietnam, legislative acts and other sources of early Vietnamese law; and state, administrative, criminal, labor, and civil law of the DRV. A number of scientific works have been published: A Study of the Legislation Concerning the Organization of the People’s Councils and Administrative Committees at All Levels; Economic Contracts; The Fascist Terror in South Vietnam: Law 10-59; The Traitorous Documents Signed With the Americans by the Authorities of South Vietnam; and New War Crimes in South Vietnam.
Press, radio, and television. More than 100 newspapers and journals are published in the DRV (1970), including about 70 central and provincial newspapers. The main newspapers published in Hanoi are Nhan Dan (The People), since 1951, circulation about 100,000, organ of the CC of the WPV, published daily; Lao Dong (Labor), since 1943, circulation about 10,000, organ of the Federation of Trade Unions of Vietnam, published twice a week; Cuu Quoc (National Salvation), since 1941, circulation 20,000, organ of the Central Committee of the Patriotic Front of Vietnam, published weekly; Doc Lap (Independence), since 1953, circulation 7,000, organ of the Democratic Party of Vietnam, published twice a month; To Quoc (Homeland), since 1946, circulation 1,200 (1966), organ of the Socialist Party of Vietnam, published twice a month; and Tien Phong (Vanguard), since 1953, circulation about 16,000, organ of the Ho Chi Minh Union of Working Youth of Vietnam, published three times a week. The journal Phu Nu Vietnam (The Woman of Vietnam), with a circulation of 40,000, is the organ of the Union of Women of Vietnam. The Vietnamese Information Agency (VIA)—the official press agency of the DRV—has been in operation since 1945; it supplies news to the entire press of the DRV.
The radio broadcasting service, Voice of Vietnam, founded in 1945, is in operation in Hanoi. Broadcasting is in Vietnamese, English, French, Japanese, Chinese, Lao, Thai, Indonesian, Khmer, and Korean. A television studio has been broadcasting in Hanoi since February 1971.
Literature. After the August Revolution of 1945, the literature of the DRV formed on the basis of the experience of illegal revolutionary literature and the creative work of realist writers and romanticist poets; it reflected the formation of the new man and the revolutionary progress in the country. In 1946 the poems of the poet-revolutionary To Huu were first published in a separate volume; plays re-creating the image of the revolutionary people appeared—Uprising in Bac Son by Nguyen Huu Tuong (1912-60) and To Hieu by Nguyen Cong My. During the War of Resistance, the creative forms and literary language were further democratized, a phenomenon that was reflected in the predilection for folk-song meters and genres and attention to the folk theater, or teo. Small genres predominated in literature—the essay, short story, poem, and one-act play. The assimilation of strata of life that were new to literature, which was in the process of revolutionary transformation, prompted interest in documentary artistic genres: the essays, stories, and creative reporting of Tran Dang (1922-50), Nam Cao (1916-51), and Nguyen Tuan (born 1910). The novellas and novels of the period of the War of Resistance tended toward the depiction of the collective hero (companies and partisan detachments)—Forward, To the Attack! (1951) by Nguyen Dinh Thi (born 1924), The Coal Basin (1951) by Vo Huy Tarn (born 1920), and Buffalo (1952) by Nguyen Van Bong (born 1920).
The Association of Literary and Art Workers, which operated under the leadership of the CPI, was founded in 1948. There was a qualitative advance in the literature of the DRV during the 1950’s; writers actively mastered the method of socialist realism, depicting their contemporaries in the scheme of the historical perspective of the victory of communism. Vietnamese literature looked to the experience of Soviet literature and the literature of other socialist countries, and this played an important role. The Writers’ Union was formed in 1957. The further deepening of the socialist ideal in literature was reflected in the creation of novellas, novels, and multivolume epics in which an important role was assigned to the scope and social significance of the events depicted and to the creation of psychologically authentic individualized images: the novella The Country Rises Up (1956) by Nguyen Ngauc (born 1932), about a partisan mountaineer leader; the trilogy The Life of the Peasant Luc (vols. 1-2, 1955; vol. 3, 1956) by Nguyen Huu Tuong, about agrarian revolution; Dao Vu’s two-volume work about the cooperative movement in the countryside, which is made up of The Paved Yard (1959) and Spring Harvest (1961); and the novella A Step Toward New Happiness (1960), about overcoming the past in the consciousness of people, by Nguyen The Phuong. Vo Huy Tarn’s novel The Miners (1961) is de-voted to the theme of the working class; the novel Profit (1961) by Bui Huy Phon (born 1918) tells of the dual role of the Vietnamese bourgeoisie in occupied Hanoi. Epics portraying the history of the revolution in Vietnam were written by Nguyen Dinh Thi (the two-volume work The Shores Are Falling In: vol. 1, 1962; vol. 2, 1970) and Nguyen Hong (born 1918; the tetralogy Sea Gates, of which two volumes are completed: The Waves Roar [1961] and The Typhoon Burst Forth [1968]). Works devoted to the heroism of the Vietnamese people in repelling the aggression of the USA include Nguyen Dinh Thi’s novellas Under Fire (1966), about antiair-craft gunners, and The Front Line Draws on the Sky (1967), which tells of the young air force of the DRV; the novels To the Island (1970) and Road in the Clouds (1970) by Nguyen Khai (born 1930) and River Gates (1967) by Nong Minh Chau; and the book of essays On the Hanoi Front (1968) by Nguyen Tuan. Socialist construction was reflected in the novels Western Region (1967) by Tao Hoai (born 1920), Typhoon From the Sea (1969) by Tu Van, and Cement (1968) by Huy Phuong. The short-story genre plays a large role in literature, echoing the new phenomena in the life of the DRV: the short stories of Nguyen Ngauc (“High in the Mountains,” 1961), Do Tu (“Deposits,” 1967), Tao Hoai (“Man From the Suburbs,” 1968), and Vu Thi Thuong (“Water Lilies,” 1967).
Poetry is dominated by lyricism, expressing the strained emotional life of man in the new society during the years of radical social change and the ordeals of war. The creative searching of the poets of the DRV has been aimed primarily at carefully preserving the existing poetic forms, perfecting them rather than breaking with them. Well-received poems have been written by Nguyen Dinh Thi (Black Sea Poem, 1959, about the exploits of Ton Due Thang, who raised the banner of revolt on a French warship) and To Huu (Thirty Years With the Party, 1959; With Lenin, 1958). Collections of poems giving a lyrical image of Vietnam are popular: Gust of Wind (1961) by To Huu, Everyday Flowers: Stormy Petrel (1967) by Che Lan Vien (born 1920), Two Sea Billows by Xuan Dieu (born 1917), and New Songs (1966) by Huy Can (born 1919). The collection Poems (1967) by Ho Chi Minh evoked a great response.
The following literary journals are published in Hanoi: the monthly Tac Pham Mhoi, since 1969, organ of the Union of Writers; the multipage newspaper Van Nge, since 1948, organ of the Association of Literary and Art Workers; the journal Van Nge Quan Doi, the organ of military writers and artists; and Tap Ti Van Hauc (from 1960 to 1963 entitled Ngien Cuu Van Hauc}, organ of the Institute of Literature. Literary journals and anthologies are also published by local branches of the Association of Literary and Art Workers in other cities.


Zimonina, I. P. “Puti razvitiia prozy Demokraticheskoi respubliki V’etnam (1945-1960).” In the collection Khudozhestvennyi opyt literatur sotsialisticheskikh stran. Moscow, 1967.
Architecture and art. During the War of Resistance (1945-54), artists (To Ngoc Van, Phan Ke An, Luong Xuan Nhi, and others) created agitation leaflets, posters, prints, and cartoons devoted to the deeds of heroes. Restorative work and new construction unfolded after 1954. Industrial construction (plants in Hanoi, Cao Bang, and other cities) held an important position. Large residential complexes were erected around major industrial centers (Hanoi and Haiphong). Construction of the Polytechnical Institute in Hanoi was completed in 1965. In the fine arts, watercolor painting on silk (Nguyen Phan Chan, Tran Dong Luong, and others) and especially lacquer painting (Phan Ce An, Hoang Tic Tu, Nguyen Kim Dong, and others) were developed. For the first time, painting in lacquer began to serve for the creation of easel paintings, which were marked by distinctive decorative expressiveness. Oil painting also became widely known (Tran Van Can, Mai Van Khien, Luong Xuan Nhi, and others). The main theme of paintings is the work life and struggle of the people. Graphics continue to develop (illustrations, prints, and posters), as has sculpture (Tran Van Lam, Dien Minh Chau, Dao Van Can, and others). Traditional forms of decorative applied art known in and outside of the DRV—ivory carving and carving of various kinds of wood, combined with inlaying of bone and mother-of-pearl; cane weaving; the preparation of lacquered articles with showy paintings in colored and gold lacquers on a black background; embroidery; and metal casting—are being perfected. The Higher Arts School opened in 1957, and the School of Arts and Industry opened in 1958, both in Hanoi. The Union of Artists of the DRV was organized in 1958. Under conditions of the nationwide struggle against the American aggressors, builders are working heroically to restore and rebuild ravaged cities, as well as to reconstruct old cities. The courageous resistance and fortitude of the people is displayed in the works of the DRV’s artists Pham Van Don, Mai Van Khien, and Quang Phong. Exhibitions of the artists of struggling Vietnam are shown in various countries (exhibitions in Moscow in 1959 and 1971).


Prokofev, O. S. Sovremennoe iskusstvo sotsialisticheskikh stran Vostoka. Moscow, 1961. Pages 53-62.
Shmeleva, G. V. Stankovaia lakovaia zhivopis’ Demokraticheskoi Respubliki V’etnam. Moscow, 1970.
(Also see above: references for the section Vietnam to 1945, Architecture and art.)
Music. The mass patriotic song, which developed from revolutionary folklore and emerged during the national liberation war against the French colonialists, was the first professional genre in the DRV. Battle songs with new con-tent have been patterned after, and frequently composed on the melodies of, the work songs of the people. Professional music has begun to take shape on this basis (oratorios, cantatas, and program symphonies). Opera, which grew out of the teo folk theater, is the most prevalent genre. Both old and contemporary opera combine singing, instrumental music, and dance. The authors of the first Vietnamese operas are Do Nhuan (Co Sao—The Star Girl) and Nhat Lai (On the Shores of the Ba River). The most important contemporary opera composer is Nguyen Xuan Khoat, an active figure in music (chairman of the Union of Composers of the DRV since 1948) and author of the opera Crossing a Bridge Over the Great River, which combines national musical folklore with a professional composer’s technique. Like other Vietnamese musicians, he has made many records of the current folk music of teo theaters and of other folk melodies and, on this basis, has composed professional music for a number of teo shows. Other authors of operas include Nguyen Nheo Tuy, Nguyen Lai, Pham Chuong, Le Ba Tung, and Ca Te and the actress Ngo Thi Lieu. Many composers are engaged in work to restore the music of well-known ancient operas (Dao Phi Phug, Lu Phung Din, and others). An art new to Vietnam—ballet—was born in 1960. With the aid of Soviet and Korean choreographers, the national ballets Tarn and Cam (after the motifs of a well-known tale) and The Flame of Nghe An and Ha Tinh (about the revolutionary events of 1930) and one-act ballets have been staged. Music for ballets is written by the composers Nguyen Xuan Khoat (Thanh Dong), Tran Cuy (The Prison Is Destroyed), Hoan Van (The Girl Chi), and Nguyen Dinh Tan (three ballets). Symphonic and chamber music (primarily of a program nature) have developed from folk songs. The first Vietnamese program sym-phony (Homeland by Hoang Viet), a symphony and three cantatas by Nguyen Dinh Tan, a cantata and preludes by Hoang Van, the first oratorio in Vietnamese (by Dam Linh), and many other works have been written.
A conservatory was opened in Hanoi in 1955; the School of the National Musical Theater, secondary and higher musical courses, and a children’s music school followed. Students are studying modern music theory and collecting and writing down folk melodies. Many musicians are becoming more advanced by studying in the USSR and other socialist coun-tries. A symphonic orchestra has existed in Hanoi since 1959; the orchestra of folk instruments and the State Chorus of the DRV, since 1962. The “Review of Performers of National Music and Songs” has been held regularly since 1962. During the 1950’s vocal and dance ensembles performed successfully abroad, including in Moscow (in 1955, in honor of the tenth anniversary of the DRV; in 1959, songs of the Man and Meo nationalities were performed). The opera Eugene One gin by P. I. Tchaikovsky was performed in Hanoi in 1961 (directed by E. Badridze). Many Vietnamese musicians have participated in international youth festivals and have been singled out for awards (performers on national instruments have enjoyed particular success).


Van Cao. “Muzyka svobodnogo V’etnama.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1954, no. 12.
Vladimirov, L. “Druz’ia iz V’etnama.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1955, no. 11.
Leont’eva, O. “Iskusstvo, zakalennoe v boiakh.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1957, no. 10.
Polianovskii, G. “Pevtsy i muzykanty Narodnogo V’etnama.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1960, no. 1.
Badridze, E. “ ’Evgenii Onegin’ v Khanoe.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1961, no. 11.
Liu Hiu Phuoc. “Kompozitor Nguen Suan Khoat.” V’etnam, 1961, no. 10.
Nguyan Dinh Lai. Etude sur la musique sino-vietnamienne et les chants populates du Viet-Nam. Saigon, 1956.
Theater. After the August Revolution (1945), dramaturgy was enriched by new, contemporary themes. During the period 1946-54, kich noi and cai luong (see above: Vietnam to 1945, Theater) were the most popular theatrical forms. The events of the national war against the interventionists found their reflection in plays on the burning topics of the day (To Hieu by Nguyen Cong My, The Flame Has Already Risen by Phan Vu, Bac Son and People Remain in Place by Nguyen Huu Tuong, The Peasant Woman Hoa by Hauc Phi, and August 19 by Tham Tan). The Orchid, People’s Troupe, Au-gust, and other itinerant troupes performed before the populace and military units. Numerous troupes were active in large units of the Vietnamese People’s Army (including the Victory Troupe, founded in 1949).
A festival of various theatrical troupes and amateur actors was first held after the liberation of Hanoi in 1954 (it is now held once every four years). The plays shown have included The Young Gan and the Young Vuc, Three Sacks of Rice, To Go or Stay, and To the North!
Theater holds an important place in the country’s social life. Numerous kich noi plays have successfully resolved the primary task of creating an image of the contemporary individual, the fighter for the liberation of the homeland and the builder of the new life. The most popular plays have been Near the Steep Rise (about the collectivization of the peasantry) and Member of the Party (about a Communist hero) by Hauc Phi, Diary of a Geologist (about the national intelligentsia) by Thiet Vu, and Professor Hoang by Buu Tien, which presents vivid images of Vietnamese patriots. These plays have been staged in the Central Dramatic Theater in Hanoi and by dramatic groups of the People’s Army of Vietnam and the city of Haiphong. Productions of the plays Liubov’ larovaia by K. A. Trenev, Irkutsk Story by A. N. Arbuzov, and other works by Soviet directors have been significant for the further development of the theater. The show The Kremlin Chimes by N. F. Pogodin was staged in Hanoi for the 100th anniversary of the birth of V. I. Lenin.
Rejecting purely external effects, the cai luong theater turned to a deepened, realistic embodiment of life. The popular plays Actress From the South, In Insurgent Nam Ky, When the Peach Trees Are in Bloom, Kieu, and Quang Trung, were created on the cai luong stage.
The tuong theater underwent a serious crisis, losing its audience and almost disappearing; however, the tuong troupe of North Vietnam was strengthened starting in 1958, and a tuong division was opened in the School of the National Musical Theater, furthering the renaissance of this genre. The most successful presentations have been General Chong (1961) by Kim Hung and Flame of the Red Mountains (1962), created by Hoang Chau Ky and Tong Phuoc Pho on the basis of an old play. Tuong shows on contemporary themes are rare. Dung Hiep’s play Unbending Courage, which recounts the exploit of an old patriot, has enjoyed great success.
After a certain decline, the teo theater is developing successfully: by the end of 1963, of the 35 professional troupes and creative groups, 19 specialized in teo plays. Contemporary themes in this genre were represented extensively at the cheater festival of 1962. The works awarded prizes included The Orange Orchard by Luong Ta, about the new path of the peasantry.
The old folk art of puppet theater, which existed in the country for centuries, is being reborn. The first professional puppet theater was established in Hanoi in 1957.
The Association of Vietnamese Theatrical Artists was organized in 1957. Its tasks are the unification of theatrical workers, the study of national theatrical traditions, and the exchange of artistic experience. The Higher Drama School was opened in 1961.
Films. The birth of cinematography in the DRV was closely connected to the struggle for the liberation of the country, the striving to show the heroism and courage of the PAV and the partisans. The Battle for Mac Hoa—the first newsreel, which initiated the development of documentary films in Vietnam—was made in 1948. Among the founders of Vietnamese cinema are the cameramen Hoang Me, Mai Loc, Quang Tuy, and Phan Nghiem. Such significant documentary films as Victory on the Northwestern Front, The Defense of a Village, and Victory at Dien Bien Phu were made in the early 1950’s. Most films of that time were devoted to the armed struggle of the people and the construction of socialism in North Vietnam. The directors and cameramen of the USSR, the GDR, Poland, Hungary, and other countries have given much assistance to the cinematographers of Vietnam.
After 1954, possibilities for the development of national cinematography appeared in the country. A film studio was established in Hanoi in 1958. The production of the photo-play On the Shores of the Common River (1959, in the Soviet release, On the Shores of a River \ directed by Nguyen Hong Ngi and Pham Phieu Dan) marked the birth of feature cinematography in Vietnam. The films of the 1960’s included The Orange Grove (1960, directed by Pham Van Hoa, based on the play by Luong Ta), Memorial Present of the Deceased (1961, in Soviet release, Souvenir of One Who Perished, directed by Hong Ngi and Hieu Dan), Little Tomtit (1962, directed by Nguyen Van Thong), Two Soldiers (1962, directed by Vu Son), The Girl Tu Hao (1963, directed by Phan Ky Nam), Little Kim Dong (1964, directed by Nong Ich Dat and Vu Phan Tu), Nguyen Van Choi (1966, directed by Ly Thai Bao), Young Fighter (1966, directed by Hai Ninh and Nguyen Dae Hinh), The Storm Is Gathering (1966, directed by Huu Thanh Le Hien), and The Forest of the Girl Tham (1970, directed by Hay Ninh). Many of these films are directed against war; they reflect the life of the people, fighting for freedom. Some have been awarded prizes at the International Festivals in Moscow and Karlovy Vary.
In 1959 a national film school to train scriptwriters, directors, actors, and economists for the film industry was established in Hanoi. Film studios for feature films, newsreels and documentaries, popular scientific films, and animated pictures are in operation; there is a film-copying plant. In con-junction with the American aggression, some enterprises have been evacuated to the jungle. The actors of the DRV include Phi Nghe, Ngoc Lan, Nguyen Hong Sen, Tra Giang, Tue Minh, Thu Hien, and Thuy Vinh.


Ibragimov, A. Kinoiskusstvo srazhaiushchegosia V’etnama. Moscow, 1968.

South Vietnam occupies that part of Vietnam south of the demarcation line. Area, 173,800 sq km; population, 17,900,000 (1969, UN estimate). The so-called Republic of Vietnam was established in South Vietnam on Oct. 26, 1955, in violation of the Geneva agreements of 1954; its capital is Saigon. Administratively, it is divided into provinces.
The average annual natural population increase is about 2.6 percent (1963-68). The population is distributed extremely unevenly, with relatively high average density (about 100 per sq km); the maximum density of 300-400 per sq km (in places, up to 1,500) is found in the fertile plain of the Mekong River delta and in depressions in the central portion of the country, where most of the population is concentrated. The urban population is less than 15 percent (1965). Small cities predominate; among larger cities, Saigon and Solon (population 1.6 million, 1967), Da Nang (239,400), and Hue (137,600) are prominent.
The present constitution of the so-called Republic of Vietnam was proclaimed on Apr. 1, 1967. Under the constitution, the head of state is the president, who is endowed with dictatorial powers and is also the supreme bearer of executive power. The government, headed by the prime minister, is considered the supreme administrative body. The legislative body, which has limited powers, is the bicameral Parliament, which consists of the Senate (60 senators) and the House of Representatives (137 deputies). On the basis of the electoral law of 1967, Communists and neutralists are not permitted to take part in voting.
The Congress of People’s Representatives, held on terri-tory controlled by the NLF from June 6 to June 8, 1969, on the initiative of the NLF, the Union of National, Democratic, and Peace-loving Forces (UNDPF), and other patriotic organizations proclaimed the formation of the Republic of South Vietnam (RSV); the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) of the RSV and the Consultative Council of the PRG of the RSV were formed as the supreme authoritative and administrative bodies. Shortly after its formation, the PRG of the RSV was recognized by about 30 states, including the DRV—the first to recognize it—and the Soviet Union (the USSR recognized the PRG of the RSV on June 13, 1969). Local governmental bodies—the people’s revolutionary councils—operate effectively in the liberated regions of South Vietnam.
Historical information.
After the signing of the Geneva agreements of 1954, the USA and the Saigon government— of which Ngo Dinh Diem became prime minister in July 1954—set out to undermine the agreements, reinforce the division of the country, and establish a pro-American regime in South Vietnam. Basing itself on the support of the feudal-bourgeois comprador elements of South Vietnam, the USA began to supplant France, which as early as the beginning of 1955 was forced to declare the withdrawal of all French armed forces from South Vietnam by the spring of 1956. The government of Ngo Dinh Diem carried out a policy of sup-pressing the patriotic forces, which were calling for the peaceful unification of the country. The activity of patriotic and democratic organizations was prohibited. All decrees of the government of the DRV, as well as the measures implemented by the popular authorities during 1945-54 in the free and partisan areas of South Vietnam, were declared un-lawful.
With the support of the USA, the Diem government organized a so-called popular referendum in October 1955. As a result of this referendum, the pro-French head of the Saigon government, Bao Dai, was removed from his post, and South Vietnam was proclaimed the so-called Republic of Vietnam, headed by President Diem. With the aid of American imperialism, the Diem group established a dictatorial military regime in South Vietnam, basing itself on the most reactionary, pro-American circles of landlords and comprador bourgeoisie and implementing a terrorist, reactionary domestic policy. By the summer of 1956, the landlords’ holdings had been reestablished in South Vietnam through force of arms. However, under the pressure of the powerful peasant movement, the Diem government was forced into certain agrarian reforms. In essence, these reforms corresponded only to the interests of a narrow stratum of prosperous peas-ants and small landlords, whom the government attempted to use as a base for itself in the countryside. By the summer of 1960, a total of 320,000 hectares of landlord lands had been given over for redemption; thereafter, the implementation of the land decree (which came into force on Oct. 22, 1956) was virtually halted.
Despite harsh terror, the national liberation movement grew rapidly in South Vietnam. People’s self-defense detachments began to appear and fight against the punitive expeditions in many rural areas in the summer of 1959. The first major action against the Saigon regime was the armed popular uprising in Mo Cai District of Bien Che Province (100 km south of Saigon), which began on Jan. 17, 1960, and soon engulfed the entire province. The staff of the revolutionary forces in this province was headed by the woman patriot of South Vietnam Nguyen Thi Dinh. By the end of 1960, a considerable portion of rural South Vietnam was under the control of the patriotic forces.
On Dec. 20, 1960, the constituent congress of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF) was held in one of the liberated areas of Nam Bo. The congress adopted a manifesto and program for the front and elected a provisional central committee. The program provided for the construction of an independent, democratic, peaceful, and neutral South Vietnam and for the unification of Vietnam by peaceful means. On Feb. 15, 1961, the Liberation Army of South Vietnam was established. By 1962 the organizational structure of the armed forces of the NLF had taken shape. All patriotic armed forces (regular troops of the Liberation Army of South Vietnam, partisan detachments and self-defense detachments) were placed under the general headquarters of the supreme commander in chief, which operated under the leadership of the chairman of the CC of the NLF. The First Congress of the NLF was held in early 1962. It approved the resolutions adopted at the constituent congress and elected the directing bodies of the NLF. Nguyen Huu Tho was elected chairman of the NLF.
The growth of the national liberation movement and the general dissatisfaction with the reactionary regime that had established itself created the conditions for the overthrow of Ngo Dinh Diem in November 1963. A military junta headed by General Duong Van Minh seized power. A series of military coups followed—an expression of the crisis of the puppet Saigon regime. In 1965, with the support of the USA, a military junta headed by Generals Nguyen Van Thieu and Nguyen Cao Ky came to power. The junta carried out a number of reorganizations of the government for the purpose of establishing the appearance of a constitutional civilian government.
The USA began to participate in the suppression of the national liberation movement in South Vietnam as early as the 1950’s, training and arming the army of the Saigon regime. From the moment the aggressive SEATO bloc was established in 1954, the USA included South Vietnam in its “sphere of protection.” On Dec. 31, 1954, the State Department of the USA officially declared that as of Jan. 1, 1955, the USA would aid South Vietnam in order to defend it against “Communist subversive activity.” The American military mission in South Vietnam increased from 200 men in 1954 to 2,000 men in 1960. In accordance with the joint American-South Vietnamese communique of May 13, 1961—essentially a bilateral military agreement—the USA increased its appropriations for the South Vietnamese Army and began to send military advisers to South Vietnam. An American military command was established in Saigon; it planned and carried out military operations against the patriotic forces. Special plans for the conduct of a “special war” were worked out. In 1964 the number of American advisers in South Vietnam grew to 25,000-30,000.
In March 1965 the USA, attempting to save the South Vietnamese regime from disintegration and to retain its position in Indochina, began direct armed intervention in South Vietnam, assuming direct conduct of the war against the patriotic forces. The American Air Force began systematic bombing of the territory of the DRV and Laos. The USA exerted pressure on its allies in aggressive military blocs so that they, too, would send troops to South Vietnam; however, only South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand agreed to this (1965). The USA used its military bases in Thailand for the war in Indochina. As intervention expanded, the number of the American armed forces in South Vietnam increased to almost 400,000 in 1966; in April 1968, the expeditionary corps of the USA reached 549,000 men, and the troops of the coun-tries allied with the USA numbered 70,000. The armed forces of the Saigon regime (land forces, air force, and navy) amounted to a total of about 350,000 men in 1968. The USA began to use instruments of mass destruction prohibited by international law (toxic substances and poisonous gases) both against the People’s Liberation Army of South Vietnam (PLA—the name of the Liberation Army of South Vietnam and the partisan detachments as of February 1968) and against the civilian population of South Vietnam.
In connection with the expansion of the aggressive actions of the USA in Vietnam, on Mar. 22, 1965, the Central Committee of the NLF published a five-point declaration that demanded the recognition of the lawful rights of the Vietnamese people to peace, independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity as guaranteed by the Geneva agreements of 1954. American intervention in South Vietnam brought about the expansion of the armed struggle of the South Vietnamese people for freedom and independence. By the end of 1966 a substantial area, in which more than 10 million people lived, had been liberated by the patriotic forces. Democratic reforms were carried out in the liberated areas (see below: South Vietnam, Economy). Local authority was exercised by committees of the NLF, which included representatives of all strata of the population. In August 1967 a special congress of the NLF was held in one of the liberated areas of South Vietnam. At this congress a new program was adopted, charting the path for the further expansion of the anti-American front. The goal of the struggle, as noted in the program, was an independent, democratic, peaceful, neutral, and prosperous South Vietnam and the creation of conditions for the gradual unification of all of Vietnam. Beginning in 1967 the PLA significantly intensified offensive operations against the interventionists, and in early 1968 it moved to the counteroffensive along a broad front, liberating more than 700 inhabited areas (over 1.5 million people). In February 1968, in the context of popular uprisings in areas occupied by the interventionists, new patriotic organizations were established in Saigon, Da Nang, Hue, and a number of other cities. On April 20-21, a constituent conference of the UNDPF, in which representatives of all strata of the urban population of South Vietnam participated, was held in a suburb of Saigon. In the summer of 1968, the NLF and the UNDPF established close military collaboration in the struggle against American aggression.
Socioeconomic reforms were carried out in newly liberated areas. In 1968-69 democratic elections to the popular revolutionary councils, the bodies of the people’s power, were carried out for the first time (from the bottom to the top—from the communes to the provinces).
Since the proclamation of the Republic of South Vietnam in the liberated areas (1969), the PRG of the RSV has been actively fighting for the political settlement of the Vietnamese problem. Since June 1969 it has participated in the four-party negotiations on the Vietnamese problem in Paris (representatives of the NLF participated from January to June). The PRG of the RSV supports a political settlement in Vietnam on the basis of the ten-point program proposed by the NLF in May 1969. Its basic proposals are the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the troops of the USA and its allies from South Vietnam, the creation of a temporary coalition government in South Vietnam, and the resolution of internal problems without outside intervention. During 1969-71 the PLA continued active military actions against the American aggressors and their satellites on the main fronts of South Vietnam. By the beginning of 1971, according to official American data, the USA alone had lost over 54,000 men killed and about 300,000 wounded in Vietnam. In 1969 the number of punitive operations of American-Saigon forces doubled in comparison with the preceding year. A total of 905,000 ha of crops in South Vietnam had been “treated” with toxic chemicals from the air, poisoning 285,000 people; there were over 500 fatalities. Simultaneously with the negotiations in Paris, the USA continued its policy of a military solution to the Vietnamese problem by means of the implementation of the so-called policy of Vietnamization, which aimed at “making Asians fight Asians.” On the basis of the policy of Vietnamization, which succeeded in increasing Saigon’s forces and the so-called self-defense detachments to 1.1 million men in 1970, the USA was able to reduce its land forces to some extent. By May 1971 more than 280,000 American troops remained in South Vietnam. At the same time, the USA sharply expanded the use of its air force, naval forces, artillery, and other technical troops. According to official American data, the USA’s yearly expenditure for the war in Vietnam amounted to $25-30 billion by 1970.
In 1970 the USA expanded the front of aggression on the Indochinese Peninsula. Along with the constant armed provocations against the DRV and the intensification of military intervention in Laos, on the night of April 30-May 1, 1970, the armed forces of the USA invaded the territory of Cambodia and began advancing inland; the air force of the USA carried out massive air raids on the DRV. The American militarists’ actions aimed at isolating and weakening the national liberation movement in South Vietnam by means of blows to the flanks were decisively repulsed by all the peoples of Indochina, who chose the path of unifying their efforts in the struggle against the American aggressors and forming a single anti-imperialist front. This question was discussed at the conference of representatives of the DRV, the RSV, Laos, and Cambodia that was held on Apr. 24-25, 1970. After American troops were withdrawn from the territory of Cambodia (in late June 1970), troops of the Saigon regime were left there: supported by the air force of the USA, they continued to conduct military actions against the patriotic forces.
At the beginning of February 1971, troops of the Saigon regime (20,000 men) invaded Laos, with the military support of the USA. At the same time, the American Air Force sharply increased its air raids on the southern parts of the DRV. By the end of March 1971, the Saigon aggressors had been hurled back toward the borders of South Vietnam by the patriotic forces of Indochina.
In 1970 the PRG of the RSV presented a new initiative aimed at breaking the impasse in the discussion of the problems of a settlement in Vietnam, which had been created in the negotiations in Paris through the fault of the USA. On Sept. 17 and Dec. 10, 1970, the delegation of the PRG introduced a number of clarifications and additions to the program for the settlement of the Vietnamese problem that had been proposed earlier, including the proposal on the withdrawal of the troops of the USA and its allies from South Vietnam, with safe passage guaranteed, by June 30, 1971. On July 1, 1971, the delegation of the PRG introduced important new peace proposals, which were supported by the government of the DRV. The solidarity of all the peoples of Indochina in the struggle against the common enemy for freedom and independence increased significantly.
World democratic opinion took the side of the fighting Vietnamese people. A massive campaign of solidarity with the Vietnamese people took place in March 1969 in accordance with the resolution of the Stockholm World Consultative Conference in Support of Vietnam. The World Peace Council declared Mar. 19-Apr. 2 a period of solidarity with battling Vietnam. The Stockholm Conference for Emergency Action in Defense of Vietnam, which included delegations from more than 50 countries and 20 international organizations, was convened in May 1969. The World Peace Assembly in Berlin (June 1969), in which 56 international and 320 national organizations and figures from 101 countries participated, adopted a resolution on Vietnam condemning American aggression and expressing support for the demands of the representatives of the Vietnamese people at the four-party meetings in Paris. At the July 1969 session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, at the 24th and 25th sessions of the UN General Assembly, and in various negotiations, Soviet state and public figures declared firm support for the demands of the patriots of South Vietnam. The action pro-gram of the PRG was approved. On June 12, 1969, the inter-national Conference of Communists and Workers’ Parties in Moscow sent the PRG a telegram assuring the entire Vietnamese people of its support in their struggle for complete victory. The congratulatory telegram of Soviet leaders on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the NLF (Dec. 20, 1970) spoke of the ardent solidarity of the Soviet people with the patriots of South Vietnam and expressed support for the just position of the PRG, demanding an immediate cessation of American aggression and the concession to the population of South Vietnam of the right to resolve their domestic problems independently, without external intervention. The Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU (1971) declared its decisive support for the struggling Vietnamese people in its resolutions: the congress adopted the appeal “Freedom and Peace to the Peoples of Indochina!”
An agreement to end the war and restore peace in Vietnam was signed in Paris on Jan. 27, 1973.


Istoriia V’etnama v noveishee vremia (1917-1965). Moscow, 1970.
Shchedrov, I. M. luzhnyi V’etnam segodnia. Moscow, 1962.
Shchedrov, I. M. V piatnadtsati kilometrakh ot Saigona. Moscow, 1967.
V’etnam: (Spravochnik). Moscow, 1969.
“Sud Vietnam: Donnees et perspectives.” Etudes vietnamiennes: Periodique No. 18/19, 1968. Hanoi, 1968.
(Also see above: references under Historical survey in the sections Vietnam to 1945 and Democratic Republic of Vietnam.)
I. M. SHCHEDROV [updated]
National Liberation Front of South Vietnam; political parties. The National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF) was established in December 1960. As of 1969 it included more than 40 political parties and social and religious organizations, among them the Democratic Party (founded in 1944), the Radical Socialist Party (founded in 1961), the Federation of Trade Unions for the Liberation of South Vietnam (founded in 1961), and the Association of Youth for the Liberation of South Vietnam. The Union of National, Democratic, and Peace-loving Forces of South Vietnam (UNDPF), a patriotic organization of South Vietnam, cooperates with the NLF. It includes representatives of the intelligentsia, indus-trial and business circles, officials of state institutions, and representatives of a number of patriotic, political, social, and religious organizations active in the cities of South Vietnam. It was founded in April 1968.
There are more than 80 different parties and organizations in the zone controlled by the Saigon regime; however, they play no substantial political role.
Among the reactionary parties of South Vietnam, the most influential are the parties that include representatives of the major Catholic bourgeoisie, the landlords, and officials of South Vietnam—Greater Vietnam (founded in 1939) and the National Party of Vietnam.
Economy. The economy is agrarian in nature: 85 percent of the economically active population is employed in agriculture. The share of industry in the gross national product is approximately 10 percent. More than 16 percent of the land (2,800,000 ha in 1968) is cultivated; meadows and pasture occupy 16.7 percent of the land, and over 32 percent is forested. Thanks to repeated harvests, the harvesting area is over 3.5 million ha (a substantial area lies fallow because of military actions), of which about 80 percent is under rice (a harvest of 4,400,000 tons in 1968). Part of the land is irrigated. The main rice-producing area is the Mekong River delta. Other food crops that are grown include sweet potato (235,000 tons) and cassava (260,000 tons); rubber plants are the main industrial crop (between 1963 and 1969 the area under heveas decreased from 143,000 ha to 105,000 ha; the production of rubber in 1968 was about 34,000 tons, as compared to 78,000 tons in 1961). Jute, ramie, peanuts, sugar-cane, cotton, tobacco, coffee trees, tea plants, the coconut palm, citrus fruits, and bananas are grown. There is sericulture. Livestock raising is of minor importance. Cattle are used as draft animals (in 1967-68 there were 1.6 million head of cattle, including 600,000 buffalo); there are 3.2 million pigs. Fishing is important in supplying the population with food: there is fish breeding (in interior reservoirs) and sea fishing (the catch is more than 400,000 tons a year). In the area of forestry, there is logging of valuable lumber.
Industry is based .primarily on the processing of local agricultural and forestry raw materials. Branches associated with metal working operate primarily with imported raw materials, semifinished goods, and prefabricated components. The country’s mineral and raw-material resources are virtually undeveloped. Coal mining at the Nong Son mine near Da Nang has ceased; only limestone and quartz sands are extracted. Salt is evaporated from seawater (up to 120,000 tons). The major industries are food (primarily rice polishing, sugar refining, butter production, tea processing, and dis-tilling), textiles (cotton, silk, and jute), paper and pulp, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, cement, and many individual metalworking and machine-building enterprises (repair and machine shops, shipbuilding and ship-repair yards, auto and aircraft repair plants, and enterprises for the assembly of sewing machines, watches, bicycles, motor scooters, and electrical appliances and for the production of spare parts for diesel engines, pumps, and other equipment). Smelting of iron and steel is negligible. The total production of electric power is 800 million kilowatt-hours (1968), primarily in steam power plants; the only hydroelectric power plant, Da Nim, is inactive. Domestic and semidomestic enterprises account for a substantial portion of industrial production. Industry is basically concentrated in the Saigon-Solon region.
The railroad system is about 1,000 km long; many sections are unused. There are over 20,000 km of automobile roads. About 5,000 km of the country’s internal waterways are used for navigation. The main airports are Tan Son Nhut (Saigon) and Bien Hoa. The main seaports are Saigon and Da Nang.
In the regions controlled by the Saigon authorities, large landholding has in effect been restored and the prosperous peasant hierarchy strengthened as a result of a reactionary agrarian policy; as before, the bulk of the peasantry is land-hungry and landless and works rented land on one-sided terms. Foreign capital occupies a significant position in the economy; French (most rubber-processing, rubber, chemical, tobacco, distilling, and brewing enterprises belong to French capital) is the most important, but American (primarily in mixed oil, paper and pulp, textile, and a number of food enterprises) and Japanese (primarily in mixed food, textile, paper, and woodworking enterprises and in power-plant construction) are also present. In addition, the USA exerts influence through various forms of “aid” (up to $400 million a year during 1966-69), most of which is used for military purposes. The militarist policies of the Saigon regime have brought about a decline in agriculture and industry. Despite the demagogic declarations of the Saigon authorities concerning the implementation of a program of industrial construction for 1957-67. the structure of the economy as a whole and of industry in particular has not undergone substantial change. Not one branch of the economy meets domestic needs. Production in a number of branches has declined (for example, the output of cotton fabric fell from 132 million m in 1966 to 32 million m in 1968); construction of the industrial complexes in An Hoa and Bien Hoa has been halted, and the creation of planned industrial zones in Can Tho, Da Nang, Cam Ranh, and Pleiku is not being carried out.
Exports consist essentially of rubber (80 percent of ex-ports). Consumer goods amount to 80 percent of the imports, of which one-half is food and agricultural produce (rice, sugar, and so on). Regions that exported rice prior to World War II (about 1.5 million tons annually) have turned into rice-importing regions (since 1966, an average of 300,000 tons of rice a year are imported). The main importers (1967) are France (up to 40 percent of the value of the exports of South Vietnam), Japan, West Germany, and Great Britain; others include the USA (1 percent). The main exporters to South Vietnam are the USA (40 percent of the country’s imports) and Japan; others include France (about 3 percent; over 50 percent in 1954-56).
The liberated regions cover primarily the countryside. Here socioeconomic reforms are being carried out. The NLF devotes special attention to the agrarian question—the key problem of South Vietnam. In particular, the program of the NLF provides for the confiscation of lands belonging to American capitalists and traitorous landlords, the distribution of these lands among landless and land-hungry peasants, and the confirmation and protection of the peasants’ property right to the land given them by the popular regime during the War of Resistance of 1945-54 and subsequently taken away by the Saigon authorities. Plantation owners, as well as those landlords who do not collaborate with the American imperialists and Saigon authorities, are allowed to retain their land property rights; in these cases, rentals are set 40-80 percent lower than the level prior to liberation (8-25 percent of the main harvest). Taxes have been replaced by voluntary payments in rice or cash to the liberation fund; the enslaving debts of peasants have been abolished.
Agriculture in the liberated regions has suffered serious harm from the bombing, punitive operations, and use of toxic substances. The construction of irrigation works has been successfully resumed and expanded under these complex conditions, and sowing of the main food crops has been expanded. Peasants have been granted credits for the purchase of cattle; breeding of small domestic livestock and poultry is encouraged. Traditional craft and domestic production has been restored. Enterprises for the repair of equipment and war materiel, the production of arms and ammunition, agricultural tools and implements, paper, and many household articles are being established.
The attempt of the Saigon authorities to introduce an economic blockade of the liberated regions has not succeeded.


Truong Chung Thu and Nguyen Manh De. Ekonomicheskaia politika amerikanskikh neokolonizatorov v luzhnom V’etname. Moscow, 1965. [Translated from Vietnamese.]
V’etnam: Spravochnik, Moscow, 1969.
Health and social welfare. According to the data of the World Health Organization, the birth rate was 27.7 per 1,000 population in 1965, the death rate 6.4, and infant mortality 36.7 per 1,000 live births. Infectious pathology predominates. In the plains regions tuberculosis, trachoma, venereal disease, intestinal infections, and nematode helminthiases are prevalent; there is malaria in the mountains. Outbreaks of particularly dangerous infections are recorded each year (8,921 cases of cholera and 5,574 cases of plague in 1967).
Under the direction of the NLF, an extensive public health system has been established in liberated regions. The prevention of disease is the basic principle for the organization of military and civilian public health. Public health committees have been established in most communes, and groups of hygiene propagandists have been organized everywhere. The production of the vaccines necessary for the prevention of epidemics has been started—for example, in 1964, 53,500 doses of cholera vaccine, 92,000 doses of smallpox vaccine, and 10,000 ampules of vaccines to counteract various intestinal infections were produced. The civilian health service has many bases for the production of drugs for malaria, hepatitis, poisonous snake bites, and so on. The prescriptions of traditional Eastern medicine are being studied for the purpose of substituting them for modern drugs that are in short supply. By the end of 1963, 300 medical and sanitary workers had been trained in the mountain regions. In 1962 there were 11 medical stations (with 35-50 beds each), a large hospital, and 58 schools for nurses and practitioners of folk medicine in the liberated areas. Three medical schools were opened in 1966. There is a feldsher in every district and up to four doctors in every province. Medical assistance is provided free.
In the areas controlled by the Saigon authorities, public health has changed little in comparison with the colonial period. Most hospitals are located in provincial centers and are virtually inaccessible to the rural population. In 1967, 68 hospitals were operating (63 in 1937); most do not have modern equipment. In 1965 there were 1,200 working Vietnamese doctors (one for every 15,000 people), of whom 700 were serving in the armed forces; there were also 123 doctors from the USA and 87 from the Netherlands, Spain, West Germany, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Of the 1,500 nurses, about 500 were in military service. Doctors are trained by the medical department of the University of Saigon; intermediate medical personnel are trained at schools for nurses and mid-wives in Saigon and Hué.
Education. In the liberated areas of South Vietnam, a broad campaign to eliminate illiteracy among the adult population was begun under the direction of the NLF in 1962. By 1964, 350 public education groups, in which over 100,000 perople were being taught to read and write, had been opened in the provinces of Trung Bo. Much has been done for the development of education among the national minorities. Written languages have been created for various nationalities; by 1966 illiteracy had been eliminated among many national minorities in the province of Lam Dong and elsewhere. Public education is developing in the liberated regions of Nam Bo; for example, about 600 courses to eliminate illiteracy were operating in Bien Che Province in 1963. The number of general-education schools for children is growing. In 1963 the system of elementary and secondary education extended to 400,000 children, and in 1965 (according to incomplete data), 629,000. Teaching is conducted by means of new school programs and textbooks. The first congress on educational issues was held in 1964; over 100 delegates from various liberated areas participated.
In the areas controlled by the Saigon authorities, the military-police nature of the regime has its effect on the condition of public education. Twelve to 15 times as much money is allocated to the system of military schools as to general-education schools. There is a considerable number of private schools. In the cities, elementary school lasts five years; in the countryside, three years. The seven-year secondary school has two levels (four and three years); tuition is charged, and therefore only 10-20 percent of elementary school graduates go on to study in secondary school. Various American missions greatly influence the content of instruction. During the 1967-68 academic year there were 1.6 mil-lion students in state elementary schools, 359,400 students in private elementary schools, 162,800 students in state secondary schools, and 308,100 students in private secondary schools. The system of specialized secondary schools is not highly developed. During the 1967-68 academic year there were a total of 10,800 students in vocational schools. Higher educational institutions include four universities (the state universities in Saigon, Can Tho, and Hue and the private university controlled by the Catholic Church in Da Lat), the center for technical education in Phut Ho, and the agricultural center and institute of administration in Saigon. Tuition is charged in higher educational institutions. The universities train mainly humanities specialists. In the 1967-68 academic year there were over 31,000 students in higher educational institutions; some of the students loyal to the regime are sent to study in France and the USA.
There are a number of scientific research institutions: the National Center for Scientific Research, the National Institute of Animal Bacteriology and Pathology, the Institute for Archaeological Research, and others in Saigon; the Pasteur Institute and Center for Nuclear Research in Da Lat; and the Oceanographic Institute in Nha Trang.
The National Library (121,000 volumes) and the National Museum (founded in 1929) are located in Saigon.
Press, radio, and television. More than 80 newspapers and journals are published in the liberated regions of South Vietnam (1968); a number of newspapers in the languages of the national minorities are published in the mountain regions. The main newspapers are Dai Phong (Liberation), the organ of the Central Committee of the NLF, and Quan Dai Phong (Liberation Army), the organ of the command of the People’s Liberation Army of South Vietnam (PLA), which has been published since 1964. The Liberation Press Agency, the in-formation agency of the PRG, founded in 1961 as the information agency of the CC of the NLF, is in operation; it supplies the press of the liberated areas with information about life within the country and abroad. The Liberation radio station (founded in 1962) broadcasts daily in several languages, including Vietnamese, Khmer, and French, as well as languages of the national minorities inhabiting South Vietnam.
In 1968 about 60 daily and weekly newspapers and journals were being published in Vietnamese, English, French, and Chinese in the territory ruled by the Saigon authorities. The main newspapers are Chinh Luan (Politics), Tu Do (Freedom), and Journal d’Extreme Orient (Far East News-paper). There is a news agency, Vietnam Presse, founded in 1951; it supplies the press of the Saigon regime with news about domestic and international life. The state radio company, Radio Vietnam, broadcasts in Vietnamese, French, English, Khmer, Thai, and the Chinese dialects. The first television station, which serves the Saigon region, was opened in October 1966.
Literature and art. In the regions of South Vietnam controlled by the American-Saigon regime, literature suffers from the domination of censorship. During the Diem administration, a large number of pseudo-documentary and memoir-autobiographical works containing slanders of the popular regime and WPV were written. The officer of the Saigon Army was presented as an ideal in a number of books. After the fall of the Diem government, there was a noticeable tendency to avoid excessively obvious commendation of the regime: even the works of writers supported by the authorities are permeated by war-weariness (the novel The Soldier’s Sweetheart by Van Quang, 1965) and rejection of fraudulent attempts to blame the patriotic forces for the catastrophic consequences of the war.
There are a considerable number of works containing imitations of the modernist currents of the West, especially in the area of poetry, where formalist tendencies and the apolitical mood are strong. The existentialist novel has appeared: in her novel In the Arms of Her Pupil (1968), the writer Nguyen Thi Hoang portrays the sexual “rebellion” of the heroine who, as it were, challenges Saigon society.
Progressive writers, some of whom have abandoned the occupied areas, are striving for the faithful reproduction of life. They are creating works of a realist design, which denounce the mercenary regime and the corrupting influence of the American occupation: the short stories by Le Vinh Hoa, the collection of short stories The Night for Dollars (1967) by Vu Duy, and the creative reportage The Power of the Dollar (1967) by Dung Tarn.
The Liberation association of literature and art workers was established in the liberated areas of South Vietnam in 1961: it publishes the journal Van Nge Dai Phaung. The attention of the literature of the RSV is focused on the patriot, fighting for the freedom of the homeland. Small topical genres predominate, and there is great interest in documentary genres—the memoirs of Phan Thi Cuen, widow of the national hero Nguyen Van Choi, To Live As He Did (1965); the reminiscences of Nguyen Thi Dinh, winner of the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace Among Nations, There Is No Other Way (1968); and the autobiographical novella of the revolutionary Nguyen Due Thuan, Inexorability (1967). The stories and essays of Nguyen Trung Thanh (the collection//! the Homeland of the Heroes ofDien Ngauc, 1969), Tran Hieu Minh (the collection There It Is, Our Saigon!, 1970), Nguyen Sang (the collection Earrings of Colored Stone, 1969), and others are devoted to the heroic spirit of the liberation struggle. National heroic characters are re-created in the novels The Sacred Cave (1965) by Anh Due and The Family of Mother Bay (1968) by Phan Tu. Poetry is represented by the civic lyricism of Dang Nam, Thanh Hai, Le Anh Xuan, Tim Trang, and Thu Bon. The epic canvas is finding an ever more notable role in poetry: the narrative poems Song of the Cho-Rao Bird and On the Peak of Mount Tin Pong (1968) by Thu Bon, Nguyen Van Choi (1969) by Le Anh Xuan, and Hero of Cane Valley (1969) by Dang Nam. In the area of drama, one-act plays have become very widespread—for example, the stage lampoons Ministerial Chair and Blade at the Throat (1970) by Nguyen Vu, and his plays about the patriots, The Flame and The Streets Under Fire (1969).
The patriotic struggle of the people is reflected by artists connected with the liberation movement: Tai Ha (At the Meeting on the Results of the Political Struggle, india ink, 1964), Quang Son (The Appearance of the Ensemble Before the Soldiers, watercolor, 1967), Nguyen Vinh Nguyen (Care for a Wounded Man, watercolor, 1968), and Huynh Phuong Dong (Pursuit of the Saboteurs, watercolor, 1968).
The cai luong theater (see above: Vietnam to 1945, Theater), which makes use of southern folk melodies, is popular in the liberated areas of South Vietnam. Since 1945, cai luong has gravitated to plots drawn from contemporary life; many characters have acquired heroic stature. The range of images is broad—from the mythical to the historical. Many subjects of works are based on military events. The contemporary composers Lai Quinh and Huynh Minh Xieng created the opera Lotus on the basis of material from the musical folklore of South Vietnam.
The most popular theater groups of the liberated regions of South Vietnam include the Liberation artistic group, the ensemble of the Liberation Army, and the Thai Nguyen ensemble. In addition to cai luong theater, modern dramatic presentations are performed in the liberated regions. In 1966 the South Vietnamese playwright Nguyen Vu was awarded the Nguyen Dinh Tieu Prize, which was established by the CC of the NLF, for his plays The Flame, Ministerial Chair, The Bride, and Everywhere Ready to Strike the Enemy. In the regions controlled by the Saigon authorities, the theater is developing under conditions of the strictest censorship for the most part; plays merely for entertainment are performed. Between 1958 and 1960 alone, about 40 professional troupes were eliminated; hundreds of actors were left without work.
The cameramen of the NLF work in cooperation with the cinematographers of the DRV; some of the material they photographed was used in the film The Seventeenth Parallel by the Dutch director J. Ivens. Two film studios have been established on liberated territory under the auspices of the NLF and the Liberation Army. They produce documentary films, such as Heroic South Vietnam, We Had to Take Up Arms, and The Partisans of Ku Ti. Films are shown on portable film projectors.


Ngoc Cung. “Neskol’ko slov o zhanre kai lyong.” V’etnam, 1963, no. 4.
Vostochnyi teatr: Sb., no. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1929.
Song Ban. Le theatre vietnamien. Hanoi, 1960.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Official name: Socialist Republic of Vietnam Capital city: Hanoi Internet country code: .vn

Flag description: Red with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center

National anthem: “Tiˆe´n quân ca” (The Song of the March­ing Troops) by V˘an Cao

Geographical description: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, alongside China, Laos, and Cambodia

Total area: 127,243 sq. mi. (331,114 sq. km.)

Climate: Tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (May to September) and warm, dry season (October to March)

Nationality: noun: Vietnamese (singular and plural); adjective: Vietnamese

Population: 85,262,356 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Kinh (Viet) 86.2%, Tay 1.9%, Thai 1.7%, Muong 1.5%, Khome 1.4%, Hoa 1.1%, Nun 1.1%, Hmong 1%, others 4.1%

Languages spoken: Vietnamese (official), English (increas­ingly favored as a second language), some French, Chi­nese, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)

Religions: Buddhist 9.3%, Roman Catholic 6.7%, Hoa Hao 1.5%, Cao Dai 1.1%, Protestant 0.5%, Muslim 0.1%, none 80.8%

Legal Holidays:

Gio to Hung Vuong DayApr 15
International Labor DayMay 1
National DaySep 2
New Year's DayJan 1
Saigon Liberation DayApr 30
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


, Viet Nam
a republic in SE Asia: an ancient empire, conquered by France in the 19th century; occupied by Japan (1940--45) when the Communist-led Vietminh began resistance operations that were continued against restored French rule after 1945. In 1954 the country was divided along the 17th parallel, establishing North Vietnam (under the Vietminh) and South Vietnam (under French control), the latter becoming the independent Republic of Vietnam in 1955. From 1959 the country was dominated by war between the Communist Vietcong, supported by North Vietnam, and the South Vietnamese government; increasing numbers of US forces were brought to the aid of the South Vietnamese army until a peace agreement (1973) led to the withdrawal of US troops; further fighting led to the eventual defeat of the South Vietnamese government in March 1975 and in 1976 an elected National Assembly proclaimed the reunification of the country. Official language: Vietnamese. Religion: Buddhist majority. Currency: dong. Capital: Hanoi. Pop.: 82 481 000 (2004 est.). Area: 331 041 sq. km (127 816 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
(72) "Guanyu zhidao jiejue Zhongguo yu yuenan haishang wenti jiben yuanze xieyi [Agreement on Basic Principles Guiding the Resolution of Maritime Issues between China and Vietnam)".
(53) Yuenan lishi (Beijing: Renmin Chubanshe, 1977), p.
On the Chinese instructors and interpreters see Qian Jiang, Zai shenmidi zhanzheng zhong--Zhongguo junshi guwentuan fu Yuenan zhengzhanji (Zhengzhou: Hunan Renmin Chubanshe, 1992), p.
(32.) Anonymous, Nam quoc giai su [CHINESE CHARACTERS REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Great matters from the Southern Kingdom/Country] (20th century), in Yuenan Hanwen xiaoshuo congkan/Collection romans & contes du Viet Nam ecrits en Han (sic), ed.
Chuanqi Xinpu) in Yuenan Hanwen xiaoshuo congkan/Collection romans et contes du VietNam ecrits en Han, ed.