Assess the importance of the Viet Cong in the Communist victory in the Second Indochina War

Topics: Vietnam War, Vietnam, South Vietnam Pages: 5 (1567 words) Published: October 27, 2007
When assessing the importance of the Viet Cong (VC) in the Communist victory, one cannot look past the unity, discipline and effective organisation in the vanguard of the VC forces. The Viet Cong were made up of volunteer servicemen who traveled to South Vietnam as Autumn Cadres - ready to exploit the coming political harvest. The central purpose of the Viet Cong campaigns was to polarise the population, to divide it irrevocably from the GVN, and to mobilise it for service and sacrifice in support of the Revolution. The importance of the Viet Cong lies in their contribution to the Indochina conflict, and can be assessed through a social, political and military context.

The role of the VC in a sociopolitical context is of a significant importance in the Communist victory in the Second Indochina War. The VC forces were most numerous in rural South Vietnam, especially in Strategic Hamlet-run villages. Once the VC established a strong presence in an area, they attempted to seal off the local population both physically and psychologically from any further contact with the Government of South Vietnam (GVN). They were particularly intent on denying the government all intelligence on Communist troop movements, bivouac sites, supply cachés, and information relating to those who serve in their local military and political infrastructures. To inhibit intelligence penetration and collection in Communist-controlled or contested areas, the VC not only systematically identified and neutralized anyone suspected of being a GVN spy or informant, but they also imposed and enforced very stringent regulations governing travel within the villages and hamlets and proscribing all unauthorized contact with GVN persons.

The indoctrination performed by the VC didnt limit the villagers hatred to just to GVN intelligence personnel; indeed, all repressive activity was cloaked in highly emotional propaganda designed to arouse the people to a deep hatred of, a desire for revenge and to heighten their concept of revenge against the military and civilian officials serving the government. For example, in guidelines for a propaganda campaign in the Ben Tre Province for the period October 1968 to March 1969, the VC directed cadres to "make the people feel a profound hatred of the enemy's savage crimes and incite them to avenge their compatriots and kinfolk by enthusiastically and actively taking part in combat activities to heroically annihilate the enemy and achieve great merits." The indoctrination performed by the VC allowed them to gain mass support from the villagers, taking it away from the controversial GVN. This support allowed the VC to form networks across the province, which, militarily, facilitated the late offensives by the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) during the final stages of the war.

The role of the VC in a military context is of a significant importance in the Communist victory in the Second Indochina War. The Communist Field Commander for China during the Second Indochina War, Lin Piao, stated that, In order to win a peoples war, it is imperative to build the broadest possible united front and formulate a series of policies which will ensure the fullest mobilisation of the basic masses as well as the unity of all the forces that can be unified Although the VC were a persistent and ingenious force, further assessment identifies that a war of attrition was not going to win them the war. General for The NVA, General Vo Nguyen Giap, stated that, the way to win the war is by small defeats, one after the other until the coup de grace.Viet Cong strategy differed from other communist nations in that military activity prepared the way for a political showdown, rather than political activity preparing the way for a military showdown.

Having defined the goal of the struggle in the South as a political rather than a military victory, the Viet VC at first sought to make credible the inability of the Saigon government to administer. In response...

Bibliography: rimary SourcesChalmers, J. The Third Generation of Guerilla Warfare, Asian Survey, Vol. 8, No. 6. (Jun., 1968), pp. 435-447.
de Sola Pool, I. Political Alternatives to the Viet Cong. Asian Survey, Vol. 7, No. 8, Vietnam: A Symposium. (Aug., 1967), pp. 555-566.
Doc. Log No. 11-1020-68 (Confidential), dated January 15, 1969, quoted in Le, Thanh Nam (1996). Control and Polarization of the Populace, 25th Aviation Battalion (online). Available at http://25thaviation.org/history/id926.htm (Accessed 21 July, 2006)Lin Piao, Long Live the Peoples War (Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1965), pp. 44, quoted in Chalmers, J. The Third Generation of Guerilla Warfare, Asian Survey, Vol. 8, No. 6. (Jun., 1968), pp. 435-447.
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