Socialist Republic of Vietnam

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Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Cộng hòa Xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam
Flag of Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Coat of arms of Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Coat of arms
Location of Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Largest cityHo Chi Minh City
Dominant mode of productionSocialism
GovernmentMarxist–Leninist socialist state
• General Secretary
Nguyễn Phú Trọng
• President
Võ Văn Thưởng
• Vice President
Võ Thị Ánh Xuân
• Prime Minister
Phạm Minh Chính
• Deputy Prime Minister
Lê Văn Thành
• Declaration of independence
2 September 1945
• Liberation of Saigon
30 April 1975
• Reunification and end of US occupation
2 July 1976
• 2021 estimate

Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is a country on the Indochinese Peninsula in Southeast Asia. The 2020 census counted a population of 98.51 million people.[1] The country borders China to the north and Cambodia and Laos to the west. The capital city is Hanoi while the most populous city is Ho Chi Minh City (also known by its previous name of Saigon). The Vietnamese constitution states that Vietnam "is a socialist rule of law state of the People, by the People, for the People".[2]

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is one of only five Marxist–Leninist states in the world today (alongside China, Laos, People's Korea and Cuba). Since 1986, it has adopted the Đổi Mới economic reforms, becoming a socialist-oriented market economy.

History[edit | edit source]

Ancient history[edit | edit source]

Vietnam was ruled by China for 900 years and often had peasant rebellions against the Chinese. During the Han dynasty, the Trung sisters led a rebellion but were defeated in 43 CE.[3]

French colonization[edit | edit source]

Hàm Nghi became emperor of Vietnam in 1884 at 12 years of age. His officials condemned French colonization, leading to the royal palace being raided by the French in 1885. Hàm Nghi fled to the forest with his regent, Tôn Thất Thuyết. After Hàm Nghi's deposition, France signed the Treaty of Tientsin with the Qing dynasty, relinquishing all Chinese claims on Vietnam, and the French installed his brother Đồng Khánh as emperor. Thuyết and his supporters formed the nationalist resistance movement Cần Vương, which fought against the French with guerrilla warfare. They also attacked Vietnamese Christians. In 1888, Hàm Nghi was captured and exiled to North Africa.

Phan Đình Phùng, a former royal official under Hàm Nghi, introduced military discipline with uniforms and ranks to resistance. In an attempt to intimidate him, French soldiers raided his home village and kidnapped his brother. In 1895, Phùng was defeated and his supporters were executed by the French.

In 1903, Vietnamese nationalist Phan Bội Châu joined forces with former prince Cường Để, who had been deposed by the French. They unsuccessfully sought financial assistance from Japan and China. While in Japan, Châu attempted to smuggle weapons to Vietnamese rebels but was exiled to Hong Kong. After the 1911 Xinhai Revolution in China, he decided that republicanism was better than a restoration of the imperial monarchy.[3]

In 1940, after Nazi Germany conquered France, the Vichy government continued to rule Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh, Vo Nguyen Giap, and others began a guerrilla struggle against the French and Japanese colonizers. In 1945, Japan took over direct control from the Vichy regime and continued to export rice during a famine that killed over 1.5 million Vietnamese people.[4]

Anti-French Resistance War[edit | edit source]

Ho Chi Minh declared independence from France on 2 September 1945.[4] Nationalist China occupied northern Vietnam and the UK occupied the south, and they soon returned both regions to French control. In October 1946, France bombed the port of Haiphong, beginning an eight-year independence war. The U.S. provided 80% of French supplies, including 300,000 small arms and machine guns.[5] In 1946, U.S. ships sent French troops back to Vietnam in an attempt to recolonize the region. In 1954, General Vo Nguyen Giap led Vietnamese forces at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, in which the Vietnamese carried 200 heavy artillery guns through 80 km of jungle and finally defeated the French colonizers.[4]

Resistance War against the United States[edit | edit source]

See main article: Vietnam War

After the Anti-French Resistance War, Vietnam was divided across the 17th parallel and the United States replaced France as the colonial power. By the end of 1956, the country was supposed to hold a national election and reunify, but the United States did not allow this because they knew communist leader Hồ Chí Minh would win by at least 80%.[6] While the north was led by Hồ Chí Minh, the south was under a US puppet dictatorship led by pro-Japanese collaborators Ngô Đình Diệm and Bảo Đại, the latter of which had lived in the USA for several years.[4] The division of the country led to the Vietnam war, in which the north fought against the south and the US. From 1960, the north was also aided by communist guerrillas in the south, called the National Liberation Front, but often known by the pejorative nickname of "Viet Cong." The CIA targeted and killed tens of thousands of suspected guerrillas through the Phoenix Program. The southern military had high rates of desertion and frequently killed civilians, unlike the heroic communist forces.[4] By 1963, the NLF had liberated most of the south,[6] and U.S. president John F. Kennedy ordered Diệm to be assassinated for his incompetence.[4]

Kennedy himself was soon assassinated and succeeded by Lyndon B. Johnson, who began bombing Vietnam and authorized a full-scale invasion.[4] In 1965, the United States invaded Vietnam with over half a million soldiers. They were supported by 75,000 troops from South Korea, and over 800,000 from South Vietnam serving the puppet government. Half of the US troops were tied down defending their military bases in the south from guerrillas.[6] In March of 1968, American forces killed hundreds of civilians in the My Lai Massacre. The soldiers that tried to prevent the massacre were considered traitors by other soldiers and US congressmen. The United States dropped more bombs on Vietnam than all of the bombs that were used in World War II and sprayed 21 million gallons of Agent Orange, a chemical weapon, on Vietnam.[6] They also destroyed two-thirds of villages in the south. U.S. troops destroyed 9,000 of the 15,000 villages in the south and badly damaged all six of the northern industrialized cities.[4]

The US began withdrawing in 1969, and the south was liberated on 30 April 1975.

Politics[edit | edit source]

Vietnam is a Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist republic. The ruling party is the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Economy[edit | edit source]

After reunification in 1975 Vietnam became a centrally planned economy. In the late 1980s the economy was suffering from a decline in Soviet aid, the decomposition of the Eastern Bloc and the effects of the post-war embargo by the USA. In 1986, the CPV adopted a series of market reforms known as Đổi Mới which would transition the country to a socialist-oriented market economy.

According to a forecast by PwC in February 2017, Vietnam may be the fastest-growing of the world's economies, with a potential annual GDP growth rate of about 5.1%, which would make its economy the 20th-largest in the world by 2050.[7]

External resources[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  3. 3.0 3.1 "Vietnamese Resistance to French Colonialism" (2018-01-09). Alpha History. Retrieved 2022-05-07.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Richard Becker (2005-05-01). "Vietnam’s national liberation struggle in perspective" Liberation News. Archived from the original on 2019-07-14. Retrieved 2022-12-17.
  5. Howard Zinn (1980). A People's History of the United States: 'The Impossible Victory: Vietnam' (p. 439). [PDF] HarperCollins. ISBN 0060194480
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Richard Becker (2015-03-08). "How Vietnam defeated U.S. imperialism" Liberation School. Archived from the original on 2022-02-03. Retrieved 2022-05-07.
  7. "How will the global economic order change by 2050?" (2017-02).