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“Hanoi and the American War: Two International Histories” review by Geoffrey C. Stewart

[ndlr] Signalé par VSG, un compte-rendu de lecture par Geoffrey C. Stewart des ouvrages de Pierre Asselin (2013) et de Lien Hang T. Nguyen (2012) consacrés au déroulement de la guerre du Viêt-Nam (période 1954-1975).


Hanoi and the AmericanWar: Two International Histories

Geoffrey C. Stewart, Western University

On November 22, 1963, an emergency session of the Central Committee of the Vietnam Workers’ Party (VWP) opened in Hanoi. The session, known as the Ninth Plenum, was held, in part, to determine the best route forward for the party following the coup that had toppled Ngo Dinh Diem’s South Vietnamese government three weeks before. Over the ensuing weeks, the committee members addressed domestic and international concerns of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV), particularly the evolving political situation in the South and the status of the world revolutionary struggle. At the heart of the matter were divisions within the party over the best means to achieve the reunification of Vietnam and the ramifications that the widening Sino-Soviet split might have on this goal. From what can be gleaned from the spotty historical record, the debates were quite contentious.

Ever since Vietnam was divided at the seventeenth parallel following the Geneva Accords of 1954, the VWP had been split over how best to reunify Vietnam. Some advocated a “North-first” strategy, in which efforts would be focused on building a viable socialist base above the demarcation line before embarking on a quest to reunify the nation, by violent means if necessary. Others believed in a “South-first” strategy. They felt that the socialist revolution in the North could be advanced only by eliminating the anticommunist government below the seventeenth parallel. By the Ninth Plenum, this domestic split was threatening the unity of the party. Militant advocates of the “South-first” strategy viewed the moderate position as bankrupt, believing it had done nothing to further the goal of national reunification. Just as problematically, it threatened to cede the direction of the southern revolution to local revolutionaries, who, after eight and a half years of oppression from the southern government without much relief from the North, were becoming less inclined to pursue the party line as dictated by Hanoi.

Lire la suite en ligne (PDF) : Cross-Currents

From: Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review
Volume 3, Number 1, May 2014
pp. 275-285 | 10.1353/ach.2014.0006