In 50 years, Vietnamese Communists succeeded in overthrowing colonial rule, then in keeping the American army at bay and conquering the South in 1975.
Although they persistently drew their inspiration from Soviet and Chinese models of power conquest and organization of social and political life, Vietnamese communists managed nevertheless to forge an autonomous path – founded first upon anti-colonialism, then on warfare –, and developed a strategy of regional influence.
Based on extensive fieldwork and uncovered sources in five languages, this book adds nuance to French historiography of international communism and breaks with Vietnamese historiography. It explores the intermittent crises in relations between Hanoi, Beijing and Moscow. It sheds new light on the inner workings of the Comintern, the history of three Indochinese wars, the relations between communist countries and the effects of the Sino-Soviet split. Using the perspective of global history, it examines the conditions of imposition, and also appropriation, of foreign modes of government. Finally, to reconstruct the atmosphere and political culture of multiple periods, it brings to life a myriad of actors, either forgotten in time or passed on through generations.
The first exhaustive study on Vietnamese Communism in over 30 years, this exemplary work, written in a clear and lively manner, will captivate both specialists and history lovers.
Céline Marangé is a political historian who received a PhD in political science from Sciences Po Paris in 2010. She is a lecturer at Columbia University in New York. A graduate of the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris, France, she is also a Russian translator.