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Wednesday, August 12, 2020, 16:03 (GMT+7)
The Party’s leadership in the August Revolution

1. The historical significance of the 1945 August Revolution

The 1945 August Revolution of Vietnam is amongst the most typical ones in the world modern history in the 20th century, being ranked second only to the Russian October Revolution of 1917. The victory of the Russian October Revolution ushered in a new page in the human history as the era of transition from capitalism to socialism on a global scale. That revolution proved that socialism as a scientific theoretical doctrine and revolutionary ideal and goal had really become a new-style social system.

The August Revolution of Vietnam was led and organised by Nguyen Ai Quoc - Ho Chi Minh - an ideological and organisational genius and by a true revolutionary Party which he himself had founded and trained, bringing independence and freedom to the Vietnamese people, opening up a new era of national independence and socialism in our country’s development history. National independence associated with socialism became Vietnam’s principle of development by which the country would align national liberation with national development and gradually move straight to socialism without a preceding capitalist stage. The August Revolution was persuasive evidence of Marxism-Leninism developed and flexibly applied to Vietnam’s practical conditions. At the same time, it strongly encouraged other oppressed peoples, stimulated the revolutionary movement for national liberation in independent and colonised countries, and marked a turning point in the struggle against the shackles of colonialism for the sake of national self-determination.

The August Revolution changed our people’s life and destiny, abolished the yoke of combined colonialism and feudalism which had existed in 80 years, enabled our people to escape slavery and master the country, and opened up the best outlook for the Vietnamese people in the modern age. That was a miraculous revival of our population of 20 million and confirmed the perfect accuracy of Ho Chi Minh’s forecasts. Since then, over the past 75 years, the Vietnamese people have surmounted numerous difficulties and challenges, defeated colonialism of both old and new styles, firmly protected national sovereignty and unification, and step by step constructed socialism. Besides, Vietnam has remained steadfastness in its renewal policy towards socialism and actively, proactively integrated into the world so as to create new advantages and strengths for the present-day Vietnamese revolution. Over the past 75 consecutive years under the Party’s leadership, with nearly 5 million party members among nearly 100 million people, Vietnam is well on track to reach the goal of wealthy people, strong nation, democracy, equality and civilisation. The spirit and vitality of the August Revolution as an everlasting flame will shed light on our nation’s journey to future under the motto: “Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom,” with a burning desire for “independence, freedom and happiness,” thus making significant contributions to the world revolution.

2. The Party’s leadership in the General Uprising - the August Revolution - its vision, strategy and action

To correctly evaluate the Party’s leadership in the August Revolution, we should take its entire process into consideration. The Revolution broke out and became victorious within a fortnight. However, in fact, it had taken our Party 15 years to make necessary preparations since its inception. The Brief Political Platform and Brief Policy designed by Nguyen Ai Quoc and ratified by the Conference to establish the Communist Party of Vietnam on February 3rd, 1930 as its first Political Platform advocated “conducting a bourgeois revolution of civil rights and a land revolution towards communism.” Politically, those documents determined to fight to “overthrow colonialism and feudalism, completely liberate Vietnam, establish a worker-peasant-soldier government, and organise a worker-peasant army.” Those documents also identified the Vietnamese Revolution’s strategies and guidelines, stressing that revolution in a colony would be a type of proletarian revolution, we would conduct a people’s democratic national revolution to move straight to socialism, and we align national liberation with class, social and human liberation. Since its inception, our Party has fully understood that communism would be the long-term goal and future of our revolution, while correctly setting the initial, specific, main revolutionary goal of “toppling the French colonialism and Vietnamese feudalism and completely liberating our country.”

According to the Brief Political Platform and Brief Policy, revolutionary forces must gather all Vietnamese workers and peasants and the working class must be the leadership. To carry out a national liberation revolution, those documents confirmed revolutionary violence, emphasising that we “would not make any concession on workers and peasants’ benefits or enter into any negotiation”; “we must bring into play self-reliance and take advantage of solidarity and support from other oppressed peoples and the world proletariat, particularly the French proletariat.” Regarding the Party’s leadership role, “the Party is the vanguard of the proletarian army including a large number of members of the working class who are capable of leadership over the masses.” From the Party’s inception to the General Uprising to seize power for the people in the August Revolution of 1945, the Party exercised its leadership over our people’s extensive, vehement revolutionary movements against the French colonialists’ suppression and attacks of terror in order to develop revolutionary forces amongst the masses and keep consolidating its leadership role. Based on changes in the situation, the Party opportunely adjusted its guidelines and revolutionary task but always remained steadfastness in its revolutionary goal and method and its strategy for great national unity as well, which were consistent in the Brief Political Platform and Brief Policy designed by Nguyen Ai Quoc and also mentioned in the Party’s Political Platform (October 1930). It launched and led the revolutionary movement of 1936-1939 as a general exercise for the 1945 August Revolution. Meanwhile, the revolutionary movement of 1939-1945 under the Party’s leadership acted as a turning point and a determinant to the victory of our national liberation revolution whose peak was the General Uprising and the August Revolution in 1945.

The Directive entitled “Shooting between Japan and France and our actions” by the Party Central Committee Standing Board on March 12th, 1945

Between 1940 and 1945, the global and domestic situation changed quickly together with opportunities and challenges for our country’s revolution. At that time, Nguyen Ai Quoc with his special vision correctly analysed, assessed and anticipated the situation and our revolution’s prospect to quickly make sound, timely decisions. In that period, our revolution was placed under the Party’s sound, acute leadership and direction closely associated with the great vision, knowledge and creativity of Nguyen Ai Quoc - Ho Chi Minh as an ideological and organisational genius of the Party and the soul of the national great unity block. Notably, after his 30-year journey to find the way to save his nation and liberate his people, Nguyen Ai Quoc came back to his country and took charge of leading the Vietnamese revolution together with the Party’s Strategic Staff. It should be noted that at the Party Central Committee’s 8th Meeting (May 1941) in Pac Bo, Ha Quang, Cao Bang chaired by leader Nguyen Ai Quoc, the Party completed new guidelines, opportunely changed its strategy, put the task of national liberation first, and established the Vietnam Independence League Front (aka the Viet Minh Front). According to the 8th Meeting, our government would be “a union of all people” and we would form a “democratic republic government,” conduct an armed general uprising and placed emphasis on the Party building, particularly the personnel work. Besides, all activities of the Party would be centred on national salvation. After the Meeting, a series of directives and resolutions by Ho Chi Minh and the Party Central Committee were issued and quickly executed at the revolutionary base. The Directive on founding the Vietnam Propaganda Liberation Army Team as the Party’s Military Platform stressed that “politics is more important than military; personnel first, guns later; winning the people’s hearts and minds first, we would have guns later.” Our revolutionary Army was from the people and would serve them. The people would serve as the foundation for the Army. Ho Chi Minh and the Party Central Committee opportunely decided to postpone launching a guerrilla war by the inter-provincial party committee of Cao - Bac - Lang as the time was not ripe. Immediately after the Japanese coup against the French on March 9th, 1945, the Party Central Committee Standing Board released the Directive entitled “Shooting between Japan and France and our actions”. On March 15th, 1945, the Viet Minh Front issued the Proclamation against the Japanese for National Salvation. From the 15th to the 20th of April, 1945, the Northern Military Conference decided to merge the National Salvation Army with the Vietnam Propaganda Liberation Army Team into the Vietnam National Liberation Army and directed the establishment of local uprising committees.

The greatest events in the revolutionary movement between 1939 and 1945 were the Party’s National Convention and the National People’s Congress in Tan Trao. The Party’s National Convention (August, 13th, 14th, and 15th, 1945) decided to opportunely launch a National General Uprising, seize power before the Allies would enter our country, form the National Uprising Committee headed by General Secretary of the Party Central Committee Truong Chinh, and issue the Military Order No.1. Knowing Japan’s surrender to the Allies, Ho Chi Minh shortened the Party’s National Convention and immediately summoned the National People’s Congress (on the 16th and 17th of August, 1945) which ratified 10 policies of the Viet Minh, established the National Liberation Committee as a Provisional Government, and adopted National Flag and National Anthem. After the Congress, he sent a letter to call for a national general uprising: “This hour is a decisive one for our nation's destiny. Let us all stand up and fight tenaciously for our own liberation.” With those historic decisions, across the country, local uprisings broke out: the 19th of August in Hanoi, August 23rd in Hue, and 25th August in Saigon. The General Uprising was successful in the whole country. On September 2nd, 1945, in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam ending more than 80 years of colonialism and thousands of years of feudalism in our country, bringing power to our people.

Important resolutions and directives by our Party and sound, timely decisions by Nguyen Ai Quoc - Ho Chi Minh at the crucial moments demonstrated their clever leadership in the August Revolution’s process so that the General Uprising and the August Revolution would end in success. The Party’s clear-sighted leadership associated with Ho Chi Minh’s ideological and organisational genius in the General Uprising - the August Revolution provides the country’s revolution and development with valuable lessons, while proving the sustainable value of our Party and Ho Chi Minh’s ideology on national independence and socialism.

3. Theoretical overview of the August Revolution

The August Revolution resulted from our Party’s flexible application of Marxism-Leninism to Vietnam’s practical conditions via its proper guidelines, scientific revolutionary method, and flexible strategies. The Party’s political direction was maintained and opportunely made relevant to the situation, particularly to major turning points and revolutionary opportunities. Our Party successfully managed the relationships between nation and class as well as between opportunity, advantage and strength. The Party and leader Ho Chi Minh excellently realised Marxist ideologies on revolutionary science and art in the country’s armed revolution to seize power, particularly Lenin’s instructions: “careful analysis of a specific situation - that is the nature and soul of Marxism,” “as the truth is specific, a revolution must be creative,” “take the unchangeable against the changeable.” Those are significant lessons for the Vietnamese revolution drawn by our Party and President Ho Chi Minh.

Our Party and Uncle Ho comprehended and flexibly applied the art of winning victories step by step, prepared the force, developed the revolutionary movements of 1930-1931, 1936-1939, and 1939-1945, taken advantage of the opportunity, and overcome challenges to achieve the decisive and complete victory. They thoroughly grasped the revolutionary goal and direction, knew how to properly adjust the task in each period, and made best use of internal and external revolutionary forces. At the ripe moment of historic starts for the country’s destiny, our revolution broke out and took place extremely rapidly; hence, we had to seize the opportunity.

Our Party combined politics with military, creatively applied the ideology of revolutionary violence, and brought into play the national spirit and the people’s aspirations for independence and freedom. The strategies for fostering great national unity block and organising the fronts in the revolutionary movements, particularly between 1941 and 1945 added a massive incentive to the revolution. Moreover, the August Revolution was successful, thanks to the courage, sacrifice and loyalty of cadres, party members, soldiers and all citizens.

Our Party and Ho Chi Minh attached special importance to building the Party, the fronts and the armed forces, educating and encouraging the people to opportunely satisfy the requirements set by the revolutionary situation. That is also a lesson for our Party and revolution.

Historic decisions by the Party’s National Convention and the National People’s Congress as well as the establishment of a provisional government prior to the declaration of independence in the August Revolution helped diversify Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theories and practices. Our Party and Ho Chi Minh demonstrated their abilities and political zeal when they determinedly gained national independence and formed a government prior to the Allies’ infiltration into our country. It is worth noting that after two months in power, our Party had to dissolve itself and operate in secret (November 1945) so that the national interests would be put first.

Those lessons learnt from the August Revolution on seizing and maintaining power, liberating and developing the country, and associating national independence with socialism will be forever valuable to our country’s development, renewal and international integration process.

Prof. HOANG CHI BAO, PhD

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Editorial: A great event in the nation’s history
The success of the August Revolution in 1945 was the first great victory of our people since the Party was established, marking a great turning point in the history of the nation. Government brought to the hands of the people, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was born - the first peasant state in Southeast Asia, ending the feudal monarchy in Vietnam and more than 80 years of colonialism and fascism.
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