The Vietnam War from the Other Side: The Vietnamese Communists' Perspective

The Vietnam War from the Other Side: The Vietnamese Communists' Perspective

The Vietnam War from the Other Side: The Vietnamese Communists' Perspective

The Vietnam War from the Other Side: The Vietnamese Communists' Perspective

Synopsis

Existing studies of the Vietnam War have been written mostly from an American perspective, using western sources, and viewing the conflict through western eyes. This book, based on extensive original research, including Vietnamese, Chinese and former Soviet sources, presents a history of the war from the perspective of the Vietnamese communists. It charts relations with Moscow and Beijing, showing how the involvement of the two major communist powers changed over time, and how the Vietnamese, despite their huge dependence on the Chinese and the Soviets, were most definitely in charge of their own decision making. Overall, it provides an important corrective to the many one-sided studies of the war, and presents a very interesting new perspective.

Excerpt

The literature on the Vietnam War in the English Language is voluminous and continues to grow. The writings have however focused predominantly on the decisions of the United States (US) and its role in the war. Scholarly writings that present the communist perspective(s) of the war are meagre by comparison. There are two explanations for this disproportion. The first is the prevalent assumption in the 1950s and 1960s that the Vietnam War was but a part of the machination of Beijing and/or Moscow to control the non-communist world. As such, except for a few scholars, most do not view Hanoi as an independent entity and do not consider the North Vietnamese communist perspective worthy of serious study on its own terms. The realisation that this assumption was too simplistic, if not altogether mistaken, only came about gradually in the 1970s. The second explanation is the relative difficulty of access to the archives of the communist governments. Despite the end of the Cold War, it is unlikely that scholars were able to fully exploit the complete archives of the former communist governments. Indeed, it is highly improbable that they would ever be able to tap the archives of the few remaining communist ones, and in this case Vietnam, for some time to come. Furthermore, because of the years of deprivation during and after the war, the Vietnamese communists had not preserved their documents as well as they could have. Given that non-communist official documents and materials are much more easily obtainable, it is only to be expected that researchers will continue to write about the war . . .

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