In this Book

summary

Immediately after its founding by Hồ Chí Minh in September 1945, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) faced challenges from rival Vietnamese political organizations and from a France determined to rebuild her empire after the humiliations of WWII. Hồ, with strategic genius, courageous maneuver, and good fortune, was able to delay full-scale war with France for sixteen months in the northern half of the country. This was enough time for his Communist Party, under the cover of its Vietminh front organization, to neutralize domestic rivals and install the rough framework of an independent state.

That fledgling state became a weapon of war when the DRV and France finally came to blows in Hanoi during December of 1946, marking the official beginning of the First Indochina War. With few economic resources at their disposal, Hồ and his comrades needed to mobilize an enormous and free contribution in manpower and rice from DRV-controlled regions. Extracting that contribution during the war’s early days was primarily a matter of patriotic exhortation. By the early 1950s, however, the infusion of weapons from the United States, the Soviet Union, and China had turned the Indochina conflict into a "total war." Hunger, exhaustion, and violence, along with the conflict’s growing political complexity, challenged the DRV leaders’ mobilization efforts, forcing patriotic appeals to be supplemented with coercion and terror.

This trend reached its revolutionary climax in late 1952 when Hồ, under strong pressure from Stalin and Mao, agreed to carry out radical land reform in DRV-controlled areas of northern Vietnam. The regime’s 1954 victory over the French at Điện Biên Phủ, the return of peace, and the division of the country into North and South did not slow this process of socialist transformation. Over the next six years (1954–1960), the DRV’s Communist leaders raced through land reform and agricultural collectivization with a relentless sense of urgency. Mass Mobilization in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, 1945–1960 explores the way the exigencies of war, the dreams of Marxist-Leninist ideology, and the pressures of the Cold War environment combined with pride and patriotism to drive totalitarian state formation in northern Vietnam.

Open-access publication of this book was made possible by the Sustainable History Monograph Pilot, an initiative sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. 00_Holcombe_FM
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  1. Introduction
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  1. Chapter 1 The Vietnamese Revolution, August 1945 to March 1946
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  1. Chapter 2 Coexistence with the French, March to December 1946
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  1. Chapter 3 The Shift to the Countryside, 1947–1948
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  1. Chapter 4 The Turning Point, 1949–1950
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  1.  Chapter 5 Military Stalemate and Rice-Field Decline: 1951–1952
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  1. Chapter 6 The Move to Land Reform: 1952–1953
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  1. Chapter 7 The Basic Structure of the Mass Mobilization
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  1. Chapter 8 Propagandizing the Land Reform
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  1. Chapter 9 Hunger, 1953
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  1. Chapter 10 Điện Biên Phủ and Geneva, 1954
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  1. Chapter 11 The Period of the 300 Days: 1954–1955
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  1. Chapter 12 Reinvigorating the Land Reform, 1955–1956
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  1. Chapter 13 Fallout, 1956
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  1. Chapter 14 Re-Stalinization and Collectivization: 1957–1960
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  1. Conclusion
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  1. Notes
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  1. Bibliography
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780824884468
Related ISBN
9780824882914
MARC Record
OCLC
1151050766
Launched on MUSE
2020-04-27
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
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