Victory in Vietnam: The Official History of the People's Army of Vietnam, 1954-1975

By Whitcomb, Darrel | Air & Space Power Journal, Summer 2003 | Go to article overview

Victory in Vietnam: The Official History of the People's Army of Vietnam, 1954-1975


Whitcomb, Darrel, Air & Space Power Journal


Victory in Vietnam: The Official History of the People's Army of Vietnam, 1954-1975 by the Military History Institute of Vietnam, translated by Merle L. Pribbenow. University Press of Kansas (http://www.kansaspress.ku.edu), 2501 West 15th Street, Lawrence, Kansas 66049-3905, 2002, 512 pages, $49.95 (hardcover).

Victory in Vietnam is a translated and updated version of the official history published by the Military History Institute of Vietnam, Ministry of Defense, Hanoi, Vietnam, 1988, and revised in 1994. Merle Pribbenow is well qualified for this task, having served as a Central Intelligence Agency officer and interpreter in Vietnam for five years during the war. Up front, I highly recommend this book to any serious student of the war. At times it is tedious and dry, full of political bombast and outright bragging. But it contains some very revealing information, especially for airmen, and offers a view of American airpower through the eyes of an enemy.

This "official" history of the war assumes the perspective of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), a term used by the North Vietnamese for their army and, by extension, the Vietcong. They claim that, in toto, the two made up the larger army of the Vietnamese people. To buttress this fiction, they declare that the PAVN consisted of three components: the main force, local force, and militia and guerillas. The North Vietnamese revile those who fought against them, referring to all South Vietnamese troops as lackeys or puppet troops of the French and then the United States. The book reveals the skillful use of all three components to carry out the strategy of liberating Vietnam from all "foreign intrusions," unifying it under the control of the Communist Party, and ultimately establishing hegemony over Southeast Asia. The PAVN served as the main tool for achieving these objectives.

Victory in Vietnam describes the various stages of the war as seen from Hanoi, discussing in detail several particularly difficult times during the struggle:

* 1955-59, when South Vietnam almost destroyed the Communist movement in the South.

* 1961-62, when American-supported helicopter assaults and M-113 armored personnel carriers inflicted serious losses on North Vietnamese forces.

* 1966, when US troop strength and airpower increased dramatically, and sustained air strikes against the North began to seriously damage North Vietnam's economy.

* 1969, when Gen Creighton Abrams, the US commander, directly attacked the PAVN and almost destroyed it.

* 1971, when South Vietnamese forces attacked the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos.

* 1972, when South Vietnamese ground forces and US airpower killed over 100,000 PAVN troops.

This book, the definitive statement of the Vietnamese Communist point of view, reveals that many of the accepted truths in our own histories of the war are simply wrong. For example, we saw the conflict as the Vietnam War-a self-imposed limitation-and considered the fighting in Laos and Cambodia separate struggles. To the North Vietnamese, though, it was a regional conflict that raged across Cambodia and Laos, involving all of the nations in the area. They did not hesitate to send "volunteers" to Laos or Cambodia to do their "international duty." Such a perspective gave them great flexibility and strategic advantage.

From 1959 on, the North Vietnamese built a great network of roads through the interior of Laos to tie all of the fronts together with the "rear area" (i.e., North Vietnam). They called this complex the Trung Son Road, named for the range of mountains that ran down the western spine of North Vietnam into Laos and the south. We called it the Ho Chi Minh Trail. This book clearly reveals in some detail the tremendous effort the PAVN put into building and defending the trail.

Recognizing the value of this artery, we expended a vast number of men and amount of materiel to shut it down. For almost 10 years, we attacked the trail with endless air strikes, using B-52s, AC-130 gunships, and a host of other weapons systems in the effort. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Victory in Vietnam: The Official History of the People's Army of Vietnam, 1954-1975
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.