Monday, May 06, 2019, 07:45 (GMT+7)
The Southeast in the 1953-1954 Winter Spring Offensive

The 1953-1954 Winter Spring Offensive with the Victory of Dien Bien Phu as its peak marked a turning point in the national history and took on international significance. That great victory derived from the Party’s creative guidelines on the people’s warfare and represented the peak of the art of leading and directing combat coordination between the battlefields, including the Southeastern battlefield.

In early 1951, under the higher echelons’ direction, the Central Office for the South reorganized and rearranged forces to create new advantages on the battlefield. The South was divided into three subregions, namely Eastern subregion, Western subregion, and Saigon - Cho Lon special zone. The Eastern subregion included 5 provinces, namely Thu Bien, Gia Ninh, Ba Cho, My Tan Go, and Long Chau Sa. In the 1953-1954 Winter Spring Offensive, while Dien Bien Phu was the center, the South in general, the Southeast in particular was the farthest battlefield. The French Colonialists saw the Southeast as an area of special importance and strategic significance and the nearest bridge between Vietnam and France by sea to provide human and material resources for the war. The region was also of importance to the US long-term and short-term benefits which the French Colonialists had to trade for military aid.

Correctly assessing the situation, in the 1953-1954 Winter Spring Offensive, the Politburo and the Party Central Committee regarded the Southeast as an important direction for cooperation tasked with dispersing and annihilating a large number of enemies, destabilizing the situation in their big rear, stepping up mass mobilization and enemy agitprop, fighting against their conscription by force, and expanding our bases. Grasping that spirit, in October 1953, the Eastern subregion held the military-civilian-political-party conference to assess the situation and propose the specific measures. The armed forces’ offices and units readjusted Party organizations and military units. The subregion opened many refresher courses for cadres at district, commune, and armed company levels. The contents of refresher courses were the Party and Government’s guidelines and policies, the working class ideology, etc. Readjustment in Party organizations and military units contributed to enhancing the Party’s leadership and the armed forces’ combat strength, and building the faith of all people in the certain victory of the resistance war.

In addition, party organizations at all levels focused on comprehensively developing the movement of guerilla warfare, stepping up operations, countering the enemy’s raids, and destroying their posts. In Thu Bien, Gia Ninh, Chau Long Sa, and the special zone of Saigon - Cho Lon, military units and militia force organized many ambushes to destroy the enemy’s vehicles and vessels in the rivers. They also attacked a series of the enemy’s important traffic systems, such as national routes 1, 13 and 14, railways of Saigon-Phan Thiet and Saigon-Loc Ninh as well as their military depot of Phu Tho Hoa. Only in the 1953-1954 dry season, we launched over 2,000 attacks, annihilated over 10,000 enemies, destroyed nearly 20,000 tons of ammo, and seized over 3,000 guns of various types.

Moreover, all-level party organizations consolidated and developed resistance bases and expanded revolutionary bases. They took the revolutionary bases as the core in encouraging the people to rise up and cooperate with the active and guerilla forces in besieging the enemy’s posts, annihilating the enemy’s lackeys, and liberating hundreds of thousands of people. In mid-1954, the war zone D was expanded to the river of Dong Nai and adjacent to the national route 14. The war zone of Duong Minh Chau was connected with the base of Dinh Thanh and expanded to the East of the river of Saigon and the Cambodian border, thereby creating an inter-connected network of bases on the whole battlefield.

Besides, localities stepped up the work of enemy agitprop, encouraged the people not to cooperate with the enemy’s governments, and persuaded the youth not to join the enemy’s army. In the special zone of Saigon - Cho Lon, the political movement for democracy and peace developed rapidly. Revolutionary newspapers and the Vietnamese Journalists’ Union in Saigon - Cho Lon strongly condemned the French Colonialists and the French-backed governments for forcing Vietnamese youth to join their army while demanding the end of the war and the withdrawal of the French troops. The political movement against the French conscription acted as an attack in tune with others by the country’s military and people across all battlefields. In the 1953-1954 dry season, in the area, over 4,000 Vietnamese soldiers of the French army deserted while 6 companies and 5 platoons dissolved.

An exercise by the Military Region 7’s armed forces

The victory of the 1953-1954 Winter Spring Offensive with the Dien Bien Phu Campaign as its peak will be a milestone in the Vietnamese history of fighting against foreign invaders forever. That great victory leaves us many valuable lessons on the Party’s sound direction and the creative application of the Central Office for the South on the Southeastern battlefield. That is the victory of the guidelines on the all-people national defence and the people’s warfare as well as Vietnam’s military art. To continue apply those guidelines to today’s Homeland protection and defence, the Military Region 7’s armed forces should focus on the basic points as follows.

First, building a firm “posture of people’s hearts and minds”. In the 1953-1954 Winter Spring Offensive, the Southeast promoted the mass revolutionary movement to the utmost. In addition to the armed forces’ military operations, the people rose up and destroyed the enemy’s posts and lackeys with the high morale. To continue to bring into play that spirit, all-level military party committees and offices should actively advise local party committees and authorities on disseminating the Party’s military-defence guidelines, building up the people’s love for the country and socialism, and consolidating their faith in the regime and the Party. Doing so will help raise each person’s awareness and give a huge politico-spiritual impetus to the cause of Homeland construction and protection. All-level military offices should closely cooperate with local authorities in helping the people with hunger eradication, poverty reduction, new-style rural area construction, natural disaster prevention and mitigation, and search and rescue, thereby cementing the close-knit bond between the military and the people, strengthening the people’s faith in the Military, Party, State, and socialist regime, building a firm “posture of people’s hearts and minds”.

Second, promoting the core role in building solid provincial, municipal defensive zones. Grasping the Party’s military-defence guidelines and higher echelons’ resolutions and directives on building the defensive zones, the Military Region’s Party Committee and Command direct all-level military party committees and offices in the area to advise local party committees and authorities on building strong defensive zones within the general defensive posture of the Military Region and the whole country. To do so, focuses should be placed on building the potential and posture of defensive zones and combining socio-economic development with defence-security consolidation, particularly in the border, sea, island, isolated, remote areas. All-level military offices should closely cooperate with relevant competent offices in combating and foiling all plots and acts of sabotage by the hostile forces to avoid passivity in all situations, maintain political stability, social safety, and border security, and facilitate sustainable economic development.

Third, concentrating on making the Military Region’s armed forces strong comprehensively with the high synergy and great combat strength. On the Southeastern battlefield and in the 1953-1954 Winter Spring Offensive, to achieve the strategic objective, there must be decisive battles by the armed forces. Learning from that lesson, the Military Region’s Party Committee and Command regularly focus on building comprehensively strong armed forces, particularly making them politically, ideologically, and organizationally strong. Party committees and organizations attach importance to enhancing their leadership and combativeness and effectively implementing the Resolution of the 12th Party Central Committee’s 4th Plenum on the Party building and rectification, and the 12th Politburo’s Directive 05-CT/TW on studying and following Ho Chi Minh’s ideology and moral example. At the same time,  due regard is paid to consolidating offices and units’ organizational structure, making them “compact and strong”, maintaining the balance between components and forces, building the reserve force, and making the militia and self-defence force “powerful and extensive”. Great value is attached to actively improving the training quality and combining training and exercises with implementation of combat projects in the area, particularly those for riot, terrorism prevention and control as well as civilian defence within the defensive zones. At the same time, due attention is paid to strictly maintaining the order for combat readiness, discipline management, and logistics-technical support, and enhancing the combat readiness capacity and combat strength of the Military Region’s armed forces.

Fourth, stepping up the work of defence diplomacy, contributing to localities’ comprehensive development in the area. Realities shown that the victory of 1953-1954 Winter Spring Offensive with the Dien Bien Phu Campaign as its peak had been multiplied due to the great support from the socialist countries and the progressive people on a global scale. That was also the victory of our Party’s foreign policy. Thus, the Military Region’s Party Committee and Command always clearly understand the importance of defence diplomacy. The Military Region’s area has rapid economic growth rate, international seaports and airports, and a 600-km-long border with Cambodia. Accordingly, the Military Region continues to grasp the Party and State’s foreign policies and guidelines on international integration, promote creativity, have a correct, flexible outlook on partners and objects of struggle in the new situation, align defence diplomacy with all-level party committees and authorities’ foreign affairs, thereby creating the synergy, contributing to consolidating defence-security posture, boosting the socio-economic development in the Military Region’s area.

Bringing into play the virtues of “Uncle Ho’s Soldiers” and the glorious tradition of “Undivided Loyalty - Proactiveness and Creativity - Self-reliance - Determination to Win” in the new period, the Military Region 7’s armed forces will strive to achieve new victories of “Dien Bien Phu” in the cause of national construction and defence.

Lt. Gen. Tran Hoai Trung, Political Commissar of the Military Region 7

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Promoting the role of the Military in protecting the Party, State, people and socialist regime
For the past nearly 75 years of establishment, combat and growth, under the leadership, education and training of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh, the VPA has become increasingly strong; achieved various feats of arms and outstanding achievements, making significant contribution to glorious victories of the whole nation in the cause of national liberation, construction and defense.