Fight for the pacific

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Fight for the Pacific


6. Anti-imperialist liberation war of the Vietnamese people

The decisive role in the political life of Vietnam for several years was played by the Viet Minh people's democratic organization (full name: "People's Union of the Struggle for the Independence of Vietnam"), which was formed in 1941 as a result of the merger of the Communist Party of Indo-China with the socialist, democratic, and nationalist parties and with a number of other democratic organizations. The leading role in this organization belonged to the working class. 

Beginning in 1944, when the first armed detachment was created, the Việt Minh led a guerrilla struggle against the Japanese occupiers and their lackey, the Vichy administration. Most of the partisans were then armed only with bamboo sticks. The Viet Minh was headed by the experienced fighter for the interests of the Indochinese workers, Ho Chi Minh, secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Indo-China. By the middle of 1945 The Viet Minh already had up to five million members. In 1945, the people nominated Ho Chi Minh as head of the government of Vietnam. The Provisional People's Government, set up in Tonkin on 19 August, proclaimed the independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2.

Not being able to strangle the Republic of Vietnam with armed force, the French colonialists began to maneuver. They officially recognized Vietnam, but began to curtail its territory, organizing not only in Cambodia and Laos, but also in Cochin China "autonomous" puppet governments that carried out the will of the French colonial authorities. The "Co-Chin Hin Republic" was formed in June 1946 and declared an "autonomous republic" on February 4, 1947. The population of Vietnam, even after the formation of these puppet republics, was over twenty million people. The French imperialists insisted on the creation of an "Indo-Chinese federation" in which Vietnam would be included as an integral part. According to the French colonizers, the "Indo-Chinese Federation" was to remain in economic and political dependence on France, and the colonial regime would actually remain untouched.

The French imperialists, however, failed in getting the Vietnamese government to agree to the conditions they put forward.

The first agreement between the government of Ho Chi Minh and France was signed on March 6, 1946 in Hanoi. This agreement began with the words: "The French government recognized the Republic of Vietnam as a free state, having its own government, parliament, army, finances, part of the Indo-Chinese Federation and the French Union."

After the signing of this agreement, the French imperialists nevertheless continued military operations against Vietnam, at the same time conducting negotiations and carrying out various political maneuvers. On September 14, 1946, the representatives of Vietnam and France signed a second agreement in Fontainebleau, according to which the French authorities pledged to end the war and a temporary "modus vivendi" was defined between France and Vietnam. For several months, relative calm reigned in Indo-China. It was violated by French troops on December 19 of the same year. The leaders of the French administration in Indo-China, headed by Admiral d'Argenlier, who until March 1947 served as high commissioner of Indo-China, sought to prevent the implementation of the Franco-Vietnamese agreement and again started the war against Vietnam.

Undoubtedly, hostilities resumed and were carried out using the most brutal methods with the knowledge of the government of Ramadhier. The French authorities threw in Indo-China - especially after the removal of the Communists from the French government - increasingly more military units, trying to liquidate the republic by armed force. The well-armed French army, numbering more than 200 thousand soldiers and officers, tried to defeat the poorly armed, but strong support of the entire people, national army of Vietnam and detachments of popular partisans in Indo-China. The French foreign legion operating in Indo-China included about 50,000 Nazi soldiers and officers.

The Việt Minh Union and the government of Vietnam, waging a hard struggle against the cruel enemies of their people, pursued the noble goals set out in the program and constitution approved by the National Assembly of Vietnam in November 1945. These goals are as follows: the independence and territorial integrity of the country, the national unity of the country, the development of democratic freedom, enlightenment and raising the economic well-being of the people, cooperation with the French people, based on the principle of freedom and equality, friendship with all peoples.

The government of Vietnam in the very first months of its activity abolished unfair taxes, banned usury, which was the scourge of peasants in Indo-China. It redistributed communal lands, reduced rents. A massive campaign was launched to eradicate illiteracy. As a result, the number of illiterates in Vietnam by the autumn of 1948 was reduced from 80 (under French rule) to 20% (1) . The cost of living in the country is much lower than in occupied Saigon and Haiphong.

The colonialists tried to liquidate the republic by organizing attacks on its territory one after another. In the autumn of 1947 and the winter of 1947/48, French troops launched two major offensives against the armed forces of Vietnam. After many months of operations, they were repulsed by the Vietnamese army with heavy losses. According to data published by the Vietnamese government, from the beginning of the liberation war to June 19, 1948, the French imperialist troops have already lost more than 53,000 soldiers and officers killed and 45,000 wounded in Indo-China (2) .

A report from the Vietnamese General Staff, published in September 1949, indicated that in eight months French troops lost in battle 10,200 soldiers and officers killed, 3,250 wounded and 1,600 captured. During these months, 21 French aircraft were shot down, 21 river steamers were sunk, and significant trophies were captured. From the Algerian, Tunisian and Moroccan soldiers who went over to the side of Vietnam, a special "Free North African Brigade" was created, which fought against the French troops.

In the summer of 1948, and then in 1949-1950 the expeditionary army of the colonialists repeatedly launched major offensives against Vietnam, but each time failed. Due to heavy losses, large reinforcements were constantly sent from France.

The expenses of the French government for the colonial war against Vietnam in 1947 amounted to about four billion francs per month, in 1948 - more than five billion, and in 1949 - 9 billion francs per month. More than one third of France's entire military budget - 107 billion francs - was earmarked in 1949 for the Vietnam War. In 1950 this figure rose to 137 billion francs, which also amounted to a third of the total amount of 420 billion francs allocated for military needs. The actual cost of the war against Vietnam was even greater.

The French occupation troops hold only ports, the most important cities, strategic points and railways in their hands.

The recognition of the government of Vietnam by the Soviet Union (January 30, 1950), the People's Republic of China, and other countries in the democratic camp caused a wave of enthusiasm among the Vietnamese masses and strengthened their determination to achieve an early victory.

In the last months of 1950, the People's Army of Vietnam launched a major counteroffensive, which was crowned with significant success. A number of cities and fortified points were liberated in North Vietnam. Most of their garrisons were destroyed or taken prisoner; only a few garrisons managed to partially retreat and join the main occupying forces in the Hanoi area. Military operations unfolded in the vicinity of Hanoi.

In December 1950, alarmed French imperialists sent the well-known reactionary General de Lattre de Tassigny to Indo-China as high commissar and commander-in-chief of an expeditionary army. Having received large reinforcements, the French troops temporarily held their positions in the Hanoi region, but more and more gloomy prospects were opening up for them ahead. Awakened to political life, former colonial slaves are fighting increasingly more resolutely for their human rights and for democratic ideals.

By the sixth anniversary of the republic (1951), the losses of the expeditionary troops of the invaders exceeded 150 thousand people. The liberated territory makes up about 90% of the entire area of ​​Vietnam, and up to 20 million people live on it. The Vietnamese government is carrying out various democratic reforms and is concerned about increasing the well-being of the people. In early 1950, a decision was made to nationalize the country's mineral resources. The lands of national traitors and communal lands, which were previously in the hands of rich peasants, are distributed among needy peasants. In the republic despite the extremely difficult military conditions, the factory and handicraft industry are developing. Thus, the supply of fabrics to the population has improved significantly due to the development of cotton production.

In 1950, the liberation guerrilla struggle in Cambodia and Laos intensified significantly. By the end of 1951, a third of Cambodia and a third of Laos, with a population of 1.5 million, were in the hands of popular guerrillas. In early 1952, the People's Army of Vietnam, after the siege, took the important fortress of Hoa Binh and liberated new areas of the country.

The colonial war in Indo-China is being waged with the help of funds received by the French government in the form of "military aid", with loans and arms received from the United StatesWithout these funds, neither the French nor the other governments of the European colonial countries after the Second World War would have been able to keep huge expeditionary armies in the colonies and spend colossal sums on suppressing the liberation movement of the colonial peoples.

Seeking to intimidate the Vietnamese and tearing their bestial malice, French administrators and officers, directed at the head of the expeditionary troops in Indo China, create incredible atrocities. The civilian population of the villages is being fired from aircraft, tanks and armored cars are destroying rice fields, in the areas occupied by the invaders, poles with the severed heads of local residents planted on them are placed along the roads, and the corpses of men and women hang on roadside trees.

But the time has passed when it was possible to frighten the oppressed people with terror. The atrocities and violence of imperialist enslavers caused only the greatest hatred of imperialists among the progressive democratic forces of the whole world, including France itself.

Armed with arms in the struggle for national independence and peace, the people of Viet Nam vigorously support the international peace movement. By January 1, 1952, more than 7.5 million Vietnamese signed the Appeal of the World Peace Council on the conclusion of a Peace Pact between the five great powers.

The working people of France, led by their Communist Party, resolutely condemned the imperialist policy of the French bourgeoisie in Indo-China and vigorously fight against this policy, demanding recognition of the independence of Vietnam and the conclusion of a treaty with it on the basis of equality and friendship.

With the aim of strengthening the leadership of the working class and still more closely uniting all the fighters for the independence of Vietnam, the revolutionary groups undertook in 1951 a number of very important organizational measures. In February, a congress of representatives of the advanced fighters against imperialism and feudalism was held, which decided to establish the Labor Party (Lao-dong). This party, recognizing Marxism-Leninism as its ideology, put forward a political program following the principles of people's democracy. The Labor Party is now the leading political force in Vietnam.

In March of the same year, a congress of two mass political organizations, the Viet Minh and Lien Viet, was held. The congress decided to unite these organizations into the Lien Viet United National Front, which was carried out. These measures meant further serious strengthening and consolidation of the liberation forces of Vietnam.

The leader of the Labor Party and the Vietnamese people, a proven fighter for the interests of the working masses, Ho Chi Minh enjoyes great prestige in Vietnam. Under his leadership, the revolutionary people are gaining more and more victories.

The People's Democratic Republic of Vietnam, its 150,000 regular army and 300,000 guerrillas are successfully waging a hard struggle against the imperialist oppressors. The people of Vietnam are confident that they will emerge victorious from this struggle.

(1) See "For a lasting peace, for people's democracy!", November 1, 1948

(2) See Izvestia, July 20, 1948