Vì sao chính quyền việt nam e ngại các biểu tượng vnch?


Contrary to lớn some histories, the term “Viet Cong,” like the war itself, was not a byproduct of the American presence in Vietnam.

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“Who won & who lost in the great Tet Offensive against the cities?” Walter Cronkite asked his audience in February 1968. “The Viet Cong did not win by a knockout, but neither did we. The referees of history may make it a draw.”

Today, the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive, a unanimous decision has not yet been reached. Even the very nature of the insurgent “Viet Cong” has eluded the referees of history. Instead, most remain locked in two competing camps of Orthodox and Revisionist scholars. Their opposing interpretations of the term “Viet Cong” are at once a symptom of the larger battle for the meaning of America’s war in Vietnam, but also a means khổng lồ transcend that dead-end debate.

The War for Vietnam’s History

The Orthodox school is familiar to anyone who has taken a college course on the war or read Pulitzer Prize winners like Frances FitzGerald’s Fire in the Lake or Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie. In the years after the Tet Offensive, anti-war scholars believed they could mobilize history to lớn oppose what they saw as s a misguided if not immoral war. General William Westmoreland was not fighting the Viet Cong, so the Orthodox argument went, but rather the march of history: an innate Vietnamese resistance lớn foreign occupation & peasant nationalism embodied in Ho chi Minh. That North Vietnam or its leaders were communist didn’t feature all that prominently in such narratives, nor that their ambitions were opposed by a great many other Vietnamese.

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In time, a Revisionist rebuttal emerged, using its own troublesome reading of Vietnamese history to lớn rehabilitate the U.S. War effort. For many Revisionists, the U.S. War was a noble pursuit and sure of victory, if not for the incompetence of William Westmoreland or the meddling of Saigon’s press corps.

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Like the war at large, the origins of the “Viet Cong” have been distorted by each school. From Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie to lớn Christian Appy’s more recent American Reckoning, the term “Viet Cong” is portrayed as the result of American duplicity và arrogance, defining attributes that they would also diagnose in the Tet Offensive. These authors tell readers that “Viet Cong” — meaning “Vietnamese communist” — was a pejorative term invented by officers of the United States Information Agency. By so branding the broad nationalist insurgent forces in South Vietnam as communists, these Orthodox scholars argue, Washington was guilty of transforming a local colonial conflict into a Cold War battlefield. For Revisionists, Viet Cong is a fitting term that illustrates Russia, China, & North Vietnam’s control of the insurgency.

Viet Cong và the Chinese Origins of Vietnam’s Long Civil War

The origins of “Viet Cong,” like those of the Vietnam War, are not found in America’s Saigon embassy. They lie instead in the 1920s & 30s. Its true origin illustrates how Vietnamese internationalized và initiated their own civil war, long before the arrival of the U.S. Military.


Vietnamese revolutionaries had often fled lớn southern trung quốc to escape the French colonial state. By the late 1920s, both Vietnamese communists & nationalists sought refuge & military training in Sun Yat Sen’s Republic of đài loan trung quốc and the famous Whampoa Military Academy. Ho chi Minh, recently returned from the Soviet Union, was here alongside leaders of the Vietnamese Nationalist tiệc ngọt like Vu Hong Khanh. For a time, each group of Vietnamese cooperated among themselves, and with their respective Chinese ideological allies during this period of cooperation between Mao Zedong’s Communist tiệc ngọt of đài loan trung quốc and Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist Kuomintang.

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Vietnamese accessed Chinese translations of European political theory & adopted new ideas from their neighbors. Imbued with the concept of nationality in the 1920s, Vietnamese revolutionaries also learned the concept of a hanjian to lớn denote a “traitor to the Chinese Han race.” They likewise learned the term zhonggong, used by all as shorthand for the “Chinese communists.”

By the end of the decade, the fragile entente between the Chinese communists & Kuomintang had given way to the Chinese Civil War. Their Vietnamese compatriots took to respective sides, thereby giving rise to a low-scale Vietnamese civil war between members of the Stalinist Vietnamese Communist buổi tiệc ngọt and the Vietnam Nationalist party that would linger through the 1930s.

These rival Vietnamese factions would battle for influence in northern Vietnam and southern China, where each party spied upon the other and on occasion authorized assassinations of suspected infiltrators. Even the aged revolutionary Phan Boi Chau — remembered today in Vietnam as a nhân vật second only lớn Ho bỏ ra Minh — sided with the Vietnamese Nationalist buổi tiệc nhỏ in this civil war. “Those who exploit socialism,” Phan Boi Chau declared in the newspaper Trang An Bao in 1938, “do so to lớn split the ranks of the nation, to lớn destroy our unity, and to annihilate our peoples’ national spirit.” In response, the future General Vo Nguyen Giap và communist General Secretary Truong Chinh denounced Phan Boi Chau in their newspaper, Notre Voix, as a traitor.

The battle between the ICP và Nationalist party was not at its fiercest in newspaper columns, but rather inside the colonial prison system. A copy of the Nationalist Party’s 12-point 1935 platform, discovered in Hanoi’s prison, listed the party’s first two goals as raising awareness of the Vietnamese nation & eliminating communism. On penal island nhỏ Dao, this intense ideological conflict led to lớn deadly fights. “The cool ocean breeze on bé Dao.” the future North Vietnamese leader Tran Huy Lieu recalled, “could not dissipate the smoldering atmosphere that enveloped the island.”

1945: Vietnam’s Civil War Reemerges

When the Vietnamese revolution began in August 1945, those tensions had not dissipated. For a time, Ho bỏ ra Minh’s revolutionary Viet Minh state held together a unity cabinet with Stalinist members of the communist buổi tiệc ngọt and nationalist leaders like Vu Hong Khanh. Within months the entente collapsed. Both sides reprised the Chinese term hanjian khổng lồ target ‘Viet gian’ (traitors to lớn the Vietnamese race) và reverted khổng lồ a bloody civil war, long before the official start of French Indochina War in December 1946. Troops loyal to Vo Nguyen Giap và the communist faction of the Viet Minh attacked units affiliated to the Vietnamese nationalist parties, forcing them to flee to china in defeat.

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When war broke out later that year between Ho chi Minh’s Viet Minh state & France, those exiled nationalists groups pledged to mở cửa their own negotiations with France. United under the former emperor Bao dai — who had served as a counselor khổng lồ the Viet Minh state before also fleeing into exile — they pledged khổng lồ work with France to lớn gradually obtain independence through peace và cooperation.

Their terms of cooperation included a Vietnamese government that was not beholden to the Stalinist leadership that had seized control of the Viet Minh state. As negotiations dragged on with France, these nationalist organizations grew worried about the Chinese Civil War. Mao Zedong’s communist forces were nearing the Vietnam border & would assist the Viet Minh state. Nationalist parties reprised zhonggong, the Chinese term they had learned in 1920s & literally translating to “Trung Cong” in Vietnamese — “Trung” meaning “Chinese,” & “Cong” meaning communist. By the 1940s, the term was already familiar lớn Vietnamese readers.

By 1948, nationalist newspapers like Tieng Goi began lớn speak of a new term: Viet Cong. Tieng Goi warned, “If this Viet-Cong army is able to lớn joins hands with the Trung Cong at the Sino-Vietnamese border, then what more can prevent the communization of Vietnam?” In this way, the nationalist parties linguistically linked the Chinese communist Trung Cong to their Vietnamese counterparts the Viet Cong. If the term was pejorative at its origin, it was only insofar as it linked the Vietnamese khổng lồ China. The nationalists, for their part, became known in the same convention as “Viet Quoc” — literally “Vietnamese nationalists.”


A Rival Non-Communist State

The following year, former emperor Bao Dai và the nationalist parties would agree to size the non-communist, French sponsored State of Vietnam. In the latter part of the French Indochina War, the State of Vietnam controlled roughly half the population và the urban centers from Hanoi south khổng lồ Saigon. More Vietnamese died in service of this state than did Frenchmen for their empire. As Stalinists seized leadership of the Viet Minh & began to lớn remake it into a party-state, implementing Mao Zedong’s prescribed style of land reform, the State of Vietnam increasingly used “Viet Cong” in official communications to lớn denounce the communist leadership of the Viet Minh.

The 1954 Geneva Accords would soon divide Vietnam in two — the south administered by the State of Vietnam, soon renamed the Republic of Vietnam or South Vietnam, and the north by the Viet Minh state now known as North Vietnam. By the end of the 1950s, members of the Viet Minh and communist tiệc nhỏ began an uprising in the south và North Vietnam resolved to support and lead this southern uprising. South Vietnam, under the leadership of President Ngo Dinh Diem, denounced these “Viet Cong” insurgents. American special forces & journalists would soon arrive in Saigon, taking up the same term of reference for the southern insurgent forces in the countryside & their North Vietnamese supporters.

Contrary lớn some histories, the term “Viet Cong,” like the war itself, was not a byproduct of the American presence in Vietnam, even though the American presence greatly shaped events. Instead, it originated in a longer Vietnamese civil war between rival political parties vying over the control và character of Vietnam’s postcolonial state. It was Vietnamese themselves who began the internationalization of their war, by incorporating themselves literally và rhetorically into the Chinese Civil War và the early stages of Asia’s Cold War.

Brett Reilly is a PhD Candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison specializing in Southeast Asian history and the global Cold War. In năm 2016 he was a Fulbright-Hays Fellow in France và in năm ngoái a Boren Fellow in Vietnam.



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