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Thursday, November 29, 2018, 06:53 (GMT+7)
The continued revolutionary violence after the 1973 Paris Agreement – from our Party’s guideline to reality

In each phase of the war against America for national salvation, our Party laid down sound, creative guidelines and strategies to combat the enemy and open up new complexion of the war. The continuation of revolutionary violence after the 1973 Paris Agreement represents our Party’s sound guideline proved by revolutionary reality.

According to the Paris Agreement on ending the war and restoring peace in Vietnam, America had to withdraw all its forces from and pledge to refrain from any intervention in the internal affairs of South Vietnam. However, with its hostility and aggressiveness, the U.S. brazenly broke the Agreement, assisting the army of Saigon puppet regime in launching a series of military operations across the South in a bid to regain the liberated areas and the people. In 1973 only, Saigon army committed 301,097 acts of violation of the Agreement, including 34,266 military operations encroaching on the liberated areas and 216,550 military operations to take control of the areas. More than that, America kept maintaining its air force and navy in the region adjacent to Vietnam as a deterrent while enhancing malicious diplomatic activities to contain the development of our revolution. Against that backdrop, correctly assessing the situation, the 21st Plenum of the 3rd Party Central Committee (in 1973) continued to affirm that “the South’s revolutionary road is revolutionary violence”. Following that sound direction, with the efforts made by the whole country in combination with the strength of the times, our military and people continuously attacked the enemy and attained great victories both militarily and politically, completely destroyed the army of Saigon regime, liberated the South, and reunified the country.

It could be said that the guideline on the continued revolutionary violence after the Paris Agreement to liberate the South and reunify the country is not only an objective requirement and a matter of principle, but also expresses the Party’s strategic vision and creative application of Marxist-Leninist theories on revolutionary violence to Vietnam’s condition as follows.

Concerning the guideline, our Party developed a proper revolutionary strategy to achieve decisive victories in the war against America for national salvation. This is a matter of utmost importance to the victory of all revolutions. It is believed that in fact, the guidelines and goals of a revolution could be only realized by proper revolutionary strategies.

As for our revolution in the South, after the Paris Agreement had been signed in 1973, due to the incomplete assessment of the situation, particularly the enemy’s wickedness, our strategy was not really proper. In many areas, a section of our military staff and people showed the signs of self-satisfaction and awaited peace, thereby leading to the stagnation of the South’s revolutionary movement, even falling into passivity, losing the people and the area. Meanwhile, on most battlefields, with the US endorsement, the puppet regime of Saigon intensely mounted military operations which violated the Agreement systematically in a bid to encroach on our territory, occupy our lands and gain the control of our people. That situation would cause the South’s revolution heavy losses if it lasted longer.

Against that backdrop, it was necessary that we proactively launch counter-attacks against the enemy to force them to conform to the signed Agreement. With that sound assessment, the Politburo’s meeting (May 1973) and then the Party Central Committee’s 21st Plenum opportunely laid down the strategy for the new phase of the revolution. Our Party determined that “while the enemy launch military operations against us, we need to actively attack them, combine military attacks with political and legal combat”, adding that “we are definitely proactive in mounting counter-attacks, and only by counter-attacks could we prevent the enemy’s violations of the Agreement”. This is a sound, creative guideline which strictly grasps the Party’s thought on revolutionary offense in order to make a timely shift in the strategy against rapid changes in the revolution for the sake of the final victory of our revolution in the South. That strategy like a “new wind” to the battlefields completely removed the rightist thought and was warmly supported by our military and people all over the country, particularly the South’s military and people, thereby creating a robust incentive for the entire Party, military and people to advance towards great victories on most battlefields.

To bring that guideline to reality, in addition to performing the tasks, the Standing Board of the Central Military Commission and the Ministry of National Defence focused on directing and instructing offices, units, and battlefields, particularly the Ministry’s strategic offices to carry out a series of tasks of importance and urgency. First and foremost was to quickly organize and train main corps and technical corps for the battlefields, to develop and complete the logistics and technical support plans for large-scale operations so as to create the strength and favourable conditions to obtain the complete victory in the war against America for national salvation.

As far as force organization is concerned, we quickly supplemented the military strength with tens of thousands of military staff as well as infantry and technical units to deploy to the battlefields. In the North, the Army Corps 1 (also known as the Determined to Win Corps) was established, which commenced the process of organizing the Military’s strategic mobile corps. Meanwhile, in the South, grasping the guideline on the continued revolutionary violence, the Command of the Southern Region and the Commands of the Military Regions opportunely drew lessons, built and developed the three-category armed forces across the South. Units of the main forces of the Southern Region and the Military Regions were consolidated and trained to become powerful mobile forces which were capable of launching counter-attacks and offensives as well as defeating the enemy’s military operations aimed at encroaching on our land and gathering the people.

Local armed forces were organized into company and battalion-level units with quite modern equipment which were capable of destroying several key positions to facilitate the people’s struggle against the enemy’s control. The militia and guerrilla forces developed extensively and became the core in the political struggle across the areas. The system of revolutionary bases in the areas controlled by the enemy was consolidated while the number of new revolutionary bases was increased with diverse forms of operation. In the entire South, we continuously defeated the enemy’s military operations, proactively attacked to destroy fortresses and liberate hundreds of hamlets and tens of thousands of the people from the enemy’s oppression. It should be noted that strategic main corps were founded right on the South’s battlefields, which gradually changed the balance of power in our favour, especially in the strategically important directions of the South.

A part from the force organization, preparations for the battlefields were quickly made. We concentrated on adjusting the disposition of campaign and strategic-level forces, accelerated the building and consolidation of strategic rear bases, and constructed tens of thousands of kilometers of roads. Notably, after the victory of the Bu Bong- Kien Duc Campaign (November 1973), the Ho Chi Minh trail was cleared from the North to the Military Region 5 and the Central Highlands, thereby consolidating the corridor connecting the Headquarters of the Southern Region with the Military Regions and among these Military Regions. The system of oil pipelines was developed up to thousands of kilometers long and even reached the Southeast to satisfy the demand for energy in large-scale joint operations on the battlefields.

Furthermore, the Central Military Commission and the Ministry of National Defence directed the General Staff to formulate the plans for strategic-level operations in each direction and key area, including the Plan to completely liberate the South and reunify the country. At the same time, the General Staff was required to actively study the art of conducting large-scale joint operations and the art of closely combining local people’s warfare with main corps’ operations as well as military attack with the masses’ uprising in each key area and battlefield. On such a basis, the Party opportunely set up the determination to liberate the South via the combined offensives. The determination was sound, revolutionary and scientific as the people’s armed forces were developed comprehensively with the superiority over the enemy, and we created strong and stable posture on all battlefields. That was an opportunity for our military and people to advance towards the decisive victory. The developments of our revolution in the South revealed that since we combined the armed violence with the masses’ uprising, we managed to fight the enemy extensively and organize offensive campaigns on all scales across the South, which helped us annihilate a large number of the enemy’s troops, destroy every section of their strategic defensive posture, liberate key areas, and finally attack the enemy’s headquarters in Saigon in the historic Ho Chi Minh campaign to liberate the South and reunify the country.

To conclude, the decision on the continued revolutionary violence in the South to “overthrow the Saigon puppet regime” and complete the cause of national liberation was sound and in accordance with reality. That guideline should continue to be studied, developed and flexibly applied to the new situation, particularly in the context of wide and deep international integration with the interweaving of partners and adversaries in order to safeguard the Homeland in all situations.

Lt. Col. Vu Binh Tuyen, MA, The Military History Institute of Vietnam

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