ArticlePDF Available

‘Revisionism’ in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam: New Evidence from the East German Archives

Authors:

Abstract

The paper analyse internal debates in the DRV leadership that culminated during the controversial 9th plenum of the Lao Dong Party. The following campaign against "revisionism" is presented as a decisive step of the Le Duan-faction to marginalize dissident Party members and to prepare for the escalation of the military struggle in South Vietnam. The paper also discusses the way the “anti-revisionist” campaign affected relations with East Germany. The paper relies on so far untapped sources like reports of the former GDR embassy in Hanoi, of East German journalists based in North Vietnam and files from the Archives of the Ministry of State Security (Stasi).
This article was downloaded by: [Smithsonian Institution Libraries]
On: 09 September 2013, At: 13:07
Publisher: Routledge
Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,
37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
Cold War History
Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:
http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/fcwh20
‘Revisionism’ in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam:
New Evidence from the East German Archives
Martin Grossheim
Published online: 18 Aug 2006.
To cite this article: Martin Grossheim (2005) ‘Revisionism’ in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam: New Evidence from the
East German Archives, Cold War History, 5:4, 451-477
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14682740500284804
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE
Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the “Content”) contained
in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no
representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the
Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and
are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and
should be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for
any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever
or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of
the Content.
This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic
reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any
form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://
www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions
‘Revisionism’ in the Democratic
Republic of Vietnam: New Evidence
from the East German Archives
Martin Grossheim
The paper analyse internal debates in the DRV leadership that culminated during the
controversial 9th plenum of the Lao Dong Party. The following campaign against
"revisionism" is presented as a decisive step of the Le Duan-faction to marginalize
dissident Party members and to prepare for the escalation of the military struggle in South
Vietnam. The paper also discusses the way the “anti-revisionist” campaign affected
relations with East Germany. The paper relies on so far untapped sources like reports of the
former GDR embassy in Hanoi, of East German journalists based in North Vietnam and
files from the Archives of the Ministry of State Security (Stasi).
Introduction
At the end of 1961 Klaus Pommerening, correspondent of the East German news
service ADN in the DRV, sent a report back to Berlin in which he analysed the attitude
of the DRV leadership towards the Sino-Soviet dispute.
1
The Lao Dong party he
commented still followed a middle course between Moscow and Beijing and
therefore shied away from condemning the cult of the individual and ‘dogmatism.
According to Pommerening, this was mainly due to the fact that Lao Dong party itself
was heavily influenced by ‘dogmatism’ and the cult of the individual. Duong Bach
Mai, one of his main informants, confirmed his analysis.
2
In a talk with the East
German journalist, Mai, who was a member of the Central Committee, of the
Fatherland Front Presidium, of the National Assembly Standing Committee, and vice-
president of the Vietnamese– Soviet Friendship Association, complained of the lack of
democracy in the VWP. If the party leadership decided on an ‘anti-Soviet’ line he
told Pommerening – he would defend ‘Leninist’ principles regardless of his own
person.
3
ISSN 1468-2745 (print)/ISSN 1743-7962 (online)/05/040451-27
q2005 Taylor & Francis
DOI: 10.1080/14682740500284804
Correspondence to: Martin Grossheim, Department of Southeast Asian History and Society, Institute of Asian
and African Studies, Humboldt University Berlin. Email: martin.grossheim@rz.hu-berlin.de
Cold War History
Vol. 5, No. 4, November 2005, pp. 451–477
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
Duong Bach Mai’s pledge of 1961 sounds rather ominous if one looks at the course
of events in 1963 and 1964. At the 9th Lao Dong Central Committee Plenum in
December 1963 he warned against increasingly taking ‘pro-Chinese’ positions and
clashed with Le Duan and Le Duc Tho and others who wanted to initiate a campaign
against ‘modern revisionism’ in the DRV. A few months later Duong Bach Mai was
dead. He had been in close alliance with other party members like Hoang Minh Chinh
and Bui Cong Trung who later became entangled in the so-called ‘anti-party affair’.
The fact that Mai and other middle-ranking cadres held opposing views was well
known to the East German embassy.
When looking at documents of the former GDR kept in German archives,
4
it is
striking how closely East German diplomats and correspondents in Hanoi and the
Foreign Ministry back in Berlin followed domestic political developments in the DRV.
As a close ally of the Soviet Union one of the main tasks of the GDR embassy in Hanoi
in those years was to observe the VWP’s reaction to the Sino-Soviet dispute and to
support those forces in North Vietnam who leaned toward ‘pro-Kremlin’ positions.
Politicians like Duong Bach Mai frequently met with GDR diplomats and
Pommerening, the East German correspondent in Hanoi, and informed them about
ideological disputes and factional struggles within the Lao Dong party.
The conflict between the Le Duan faction and his critics culminated at the 9th Party
Plenum in 1963 and later led to a purge within the VWP, commonly known as the
‘revisionist/anti-party affair’ (vu an xet lai chong Dang). Previous research on this
affair has mainly relied on autobiographical accounts by Vietnamese involved in the
affair.
5
New evidence from the East German archives can contribute to a better
understanding of the whole affair and stimulate the debate on ‘revisionism’ and
dissent in Vietnam.
This paper will focus on developments in 1963 and 1964. The developments must
be understood in the domestic setting of the DRV in the early 1960s when the Lao
Dong leadership was increasingly prepared for a war in the South and therefore found
Khrushchev’s theory of ‘peaceful coexistence’ less and less attractive.
6
After the 15th Plenum of the VWP Central Committee in January 1959 and the
formation of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam in December 1960 the
war in the South intensified. The decision of the Lao Dong party to return to a policy
of revolutionary war to bring about the reunification of the country led to a growing
estrangement between Hanoi and Moscow. Based on the doctrine of ‘peaceful
coexistence’ the Soviet leadership did not welcome the intensification of the armed
struggle in South Vietnam and urged Hanoi to exercise more restraint.
7
Especially
after the Cuban missile crisis the Soviets tried to avoid any situation that might lead to
open confrontation with the United States. In this context, the Soviet Union followed a
policy of gradual disengagement from North Vietnam while China’s influence was
growing correspondingly.
The paper shows how in 1963 the Lao Dong leadership, among them party chief Le
Duan, gradually moved closer to ‘pro-Chinese’ positions and finally launched a
campaign against ‘modern revisionism’ and the influence of ‘modern revisionism’
452 M. Grossheim
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
within the VWP. The study will illustrate that the aggressive ‘anti-revisionist’ mood of
the Lao Dong leadership not only produced negative personnel repercussions within
the party ranks, but also had a negative impact on relations with the GDR. Striking
examples of this are the increased surveillance of the GDR embassy in Hanoi and the
fate of Vietnamese students studying in East Germany.
Domestic Developments in the DRV in 1963: Ideological Disputes in the Lao Dong
Party and the 9th Central Committee Plenum
In January 1963 President Novotny of Czechoslovakia visited the DRV. The final
communique
´in general reflected Soviet views and praised peaceful coexistence as ‘the
most correct policy’.
8
However, Herold, the Czechoslovak ambassador in Hanoi,
warned the GDR charge
´d’affaires not to be too optimistic about the results of the
visit.
9
Pommerening, ADN correspondent in the DRV, interpreted the communique
´as
a sign that the Lao Dong had openly endorsed the theory of peaceful coexistence. In
the same report, however, he emphasized that the situation among party members in
Hanoi was tense and that they were not allowed to discuss ‘problems within the
international workers’ movement’, i.e. the issues that were behind the Sino-Soviet
dispute. According to his Vietnamese informants, To Huu, head of the Propaganda
and Education Board, held the view that if the Lao Dong party wanted to preserve the
‘purity of Marxism-Leninism’, it had to openly attack ‘revisionist’ tendencies.
10
After the Novotny visit the conflict between ‘pro-Chinese’ and ‘pro-Soviet’ elements
within the VWP intensified:
11
Ung Van Khiem was made responsible for the ‘pro-
Soviet’ communique
´of Novotny’s visit and was replaced by Xuan Thuy.
12
Pommerening reported that many cadres that had taken ‘pro-Soviet’ positions were
replaced as well mainly middle-ranking cadres working for the DRV press and
writing on foreign policy issues.
13
The East German embassy had gathered further
information that all key positions in the press department of the Lao Dong Central
Committee and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Vietnamese News Agency, radio,
etc. were occupied by cadres ‘who closely followed the Chinese course’.
14
Obviously, these were measures preparatory to the visit of Chinese President Liu
Shaoqi that took place in May 1963.
15
His visit moved Hanoi closer to China.
Important points uniting Hanoi and Beijing were their common hostility to the
concept of peaceful coexistence. The joint communique
´denounced ‘revisionism’ and
‘rightist opportunism’ as the main threat to the international communist movement
and emphasized that the DRV should mainly rely on its own strength when building
up socialism and carrying out the revolution in South Vietnam.
16
The model of a self-sufficient North Vietnamese economy was increasingly
propagated by the VWP while simultaneously downplaying the significance of foreign
aid, i.e. aid from the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. This was a highly
contested issue between Le Duan and others who leaned toward China and those
middle-ranking cadres who were later labelled as ‘being influenced by modern
revisionism’. In May 1963, for example, in a speech in the National Assembly, Duong
Cold War History 453
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
Bach Mai had demanded that the DRV should enter COMECON. While some
delegates had supported his idea, Truong Chinh and Ho Chi Minh had criticized him
sharply.
17
In the summer of 1963 the political atmosphere in North Vietnam became more
and more tense. Just after Liu Shaoqi’s visit Le Duc Tho, member of the Politburo
and head of the powerful Party Organizational Committee, denounced Yugoslavia as
‘the concentrated and ugliest but not the only exponent of modern revisionism’, which
constituted a fairly direct attack on the Soviet Union.
18
The pressure on VWP party members to fully adopt ‘pro-Chinese’ positions was
stepped up. In June 1963 a Vietnamese journalist informed the East German embassy
that especially middle-ranking cadres no longer dared to express their own opinion.
19
This is consistent with information provided by the East German charge
´d’affaires and
the Soviet, Hungarian, and Czechoslovak ambassadors in the DRV. Tovmasyan, the
Soviet ambassador, mentioned that the DRV press more and more reflected ‘pro-
Chinese’ views, and that Vietnamese-language propaganda material from China was
sold in Hanoi. ‘Pro-Chinese elements’ in the VWP would exert massive pressure on
those ‘comrades who reject the Chinese positions’.
20
Tovmasyan added that a huge
number of cadres were influenced by ‘anti-Soviet’ rumours and ‘nationalism’ and as a
result would behave in an ‘anti-European’ way.
21
At the same time, Pommerening reported that ‘a group of writers had addressed the
Central Committee to protest against the increasingly anti-Soviet statements’.
22
In July 1963 the DRV took a further step away from the Soviet Union. Like Beijing,
Hanoi newspapers denounced the nuclear test ban treaty signed by the United States,
Great Britain and the Soviet Union as a ‘cunning trick to split the communist world’.
23
Besides criticizing the test ban treaty the North Vietnamese press intensified its attacks
on ‘Yugoslav revisionism’.
24
AHoc Tap article in the July issue demanded that every
communist had to vigorously fight against ‘modern revisionism’. The article
categorically opposed theories of renouncing the use of violence and of achieving
national independence peacefully.
25
In August 1963, ‘pro-Chinese elements’ in the VWP were clearly on the offensive. In
a long report the German embassy concluded that ‘pro-Soviet elements’ within the
Lao Dong had been systematically isolated.
26
This applied in particular to Vo Nguyen
Giap who according to several sources had been put under house arrest in mid-1963.
27
The GDR embassy and ADN correspondent Pommerening further mention a rumour
circulating among VWP cadres that Pham Van Dong’s private secretary had been
arrested because of passing confidential information to the Soviet embassy, and that
former Foreign Minister Ung Van Khiem would soon lose his seat on the Central
Committee. The same sources mention that Le Duan had faced Ho Chi Minh with the
alternative of ‘either following the Politburo or to stand outside’.
28
According to
Bibow, charge
´d’affaires of the GDR embassy, the so-called ‘theory of two mistakes’
was increasingly propagated among VWP members. According to this theory, Ho Chi
Minh had twice committed fatal mistakes. In 1945 he had compromised with the
French and let them return to Indochina. In 1954, at the Geneva conference he had
454 M. Grossheim
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
compromised again which led to the partition of the country and had turned South
Vietnam over to the US.
29
While this theory seemed rather far-fetched, it was a
convenient propaganda tool for Le Duan and other ‘hard-liners’ to denounce any
defensive strategy with the West as the abandonment of revolution and to rule out any
effort to achieve national independence by means of negotiating or by overtaking
South Vietnam economically. Besides undermining Ho Chi Minh’s reputation, this
theory also aimed at his ‘closest comrades-in-arms’ during the anti-French resistance
who now mostly opposed the shift toward Beijing.
‘Veteran party members’ (dang vien lao thanh) like Duong Bach Mai, Bui Cong
Trung or Vu Dinh Huynh, who held the view that there were other ways to achieve
national independence than only to resort to revolutionary violence, were now more
and more on the defensive and in danger of being denounced as defeatist.
30
On 2 September 1963 a programmatic article by Le Duc Tho was published in the
party newspaper Nhan Dan.
31
In this article Le Duc Tho argued that all party members
unanimously had to follow the party line. He wrote that in general cadres and party
members ideologically stood on solid ground, but that some party members were
influenced by ‘rightist thoughts’ and ‘revisionism’ and therefore were sceptical about
the party’s strategy to achieve national reunification. These ‘deviants’ also disagreed
with the pace of the agricultural collectivization campaign and propagated
international economic cooperation instead of a self-sufficient North Vietnamese
economy as favoured by the party leadership. According to Le Duc Tho some party
members lacked discipline and propagated views not in conformity with party
resolutions which would undermine the strength and unity of the party. Tho
emphasized that the Lao Dong party uncompromisingly had to fight against the
influence of non-proletarian tendencies, rightism, liberalism (chu nghia tu do) and
modern revisionism among party members and suggested that those members who
did not follow party resolutions had to be criticized and educated or be ‘disciplined in
an appropriate manner’ (thi hanh ky luat thich dang) depending on how much ‘party
work and the revolutionary cause had been damaged’.
32
These sentences written by the
‘party’s ideological watchdog’ and Le Duan’s close companion sounded rather
ominous.
This was also the interpretation of the GDR embassy, the Foreign Ministry in Berlin
and ADN correspondent Pommerening. They concluded that Le Duc Tho’s article
constituted ‘an open attack against those comrades who share pro-Soviet positions’.
33
It reflected the intensification of the struggle between different factions within the
VWP and was a major step in the ideological preparation for the next plenum of the
Central Committee and a rectification campaign against ‘modern revisionism and
revisionist’ that had already loomed for a long time.
At the same time, the ‘dogmatic pro-Chinese forces’ opened a second front in the
field of literature and launched their first frontal attack against ‘bourgeois influences’
among writers in the DRV.
34
In the August issue of Hoc Tap, the party’s ideological
platform, Hong Chuong targeted the novel Vao doi, written by Ha Minh Tuan. He
accused the author of ‘negativism’, of only describing North Vietnamese society in
Cold War History 455
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
bleak terms, of making fun of the principle of proletarian dictatorship, and advocating
a hedonistic lifestyle. Hong Chuong further argued that Tuan did not follow the
obligatory model of socialist realism, but instead was heavily influenced by ‘the
ideology of the landlord class and the reactionary bourgeoisie’.
35
In contrast to other contributions that were to be published in Hoc Tap in 1964,
Hong Chuong’s article does not yet link Ha Minh Tuan’s shortcomings with
‘revisionism’. His sharp conclusion, however, also reflected the increasingly aggressive
mood in the DRV: not only those elements of the former landowning class that had
not been re-educated yet, but also working-class people and even party members were
influenced by the ‘poison’ of ‘bourgeois thinking.
36
In a meeting with GDR Cultural Attache
´Klaus Matzke in August 1963, high-
ranking cadres of the DRV Ministry of Culture elaborated on the origin of ‘bourgeois
influences’ on writers and artists in North Vietnam. When asked by Matzke whether
this ‘harmful bourgeois thinking’ originated from Thailand or South Vietnam, they
answered in the negative and told their astonished East German guest that the main
culprit was the Soviet Union and that in future the import of Soviet literature and
films would be restricted.
37
In September 1963 East German correspondent Pommerening reported on the new
atmosphere of fear in Hanoi: a cadre working in a state publishing house whom he had
met quoted a member of the DRV state security apparatus who had recently spoken on
the problem of vigilance: ‘With the help of the people we will also find the last comrade
“working” for the Soviet Union.
38
As a further typical example Pommerening cites a
strange conversation with Duong Bach Mai and Ton That Tung, director of the Viet-
Duc hospital in Hanoi: when mentioning the topic of beer Thung suddenly said in a
loud voice: ‘Yes, the beer from the GDR is good, but your policy is bad.
39
Obviously
even a person like Ton That Tung – known as a ‘close friend of East Germany’ – found
himself compelled to display his ‘correct attitude’ in public. Contacts between
Vietnamese and foreigners were restricted as well. Without official permission most
Vietnamese were no longer allowed to visit foreign offices, embassies, etc.
40
While fully acknowledging that the political situation in North Vietnam had
become more tense and that ‘pro-Chinese elements’ were on the advance, East German
diplomats were convinced that those forces who advocated a ‘truly Marxist-Leninist
policy’ within the PWP still occupied important positions. The embassy knew in detail
about the strength of the different factions in the party since it had received
confidential information from Duong Bach Mai on who – besides himself rejected
the new ‘pro-Chinese’ line.
41
The list includes 19 persons. Some persons on the list later became directly or
indirectly involved in the ‘revisionist/anti-party affair’: Ung Van Khiem, minister of
interior, former minister of foreign affairs; Vu Dinh Huynh, former personal secretary
to Ho Chi Minh and head of the Protocol Department in the Foreign Ministry, Bui
Cong Trung, member of the Party Central Committee, vice-chairman of the National
Science and Technological Commission and director of the Institute of Economics, Le
Liem, member of the Party Central Committee, deputy minister of culture, political
456 M. Grossheim
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
commissar at Dien Bien Phu, and Vo Nguyen Giap, minister of defence.
42
What is
striking about the list is the absence of the name of Hoang Minh Chinh, who played a
major role in the whole affair.
While preparing for the upcoming Central Committee plenum the VWP intensified
its ideological campaign. In the October issue of Hoc Tap Politburo member Nguyen
Chi Thanh published an article that directly denounced the influence of ‘modern
revisionism’ within the VWP. He emphasized that most members would follow the
party line, but that a few still endorsed ‘rightist’ ideas. His criticism aimed in particular
at those party members who opposed the model of a self-sufficient North Vietnamese
economy and instead argued for closer economic cooperation with other socialist
countries.
43
He further criticized ‘individualistic’, ‘pessimistic’ and ‘hedonistic’ party
members who lacked a thorough understanding of the necessity of class struggle in the
DRV and feared the sacrifices and hardships that an armed struggle for the
reunification of the country would demand. According to Thanh these bourgeois
thoughts were influenced by ‘revisionism, had a negative impact on North Vietnamese
society in general and undermined the fighting spirit. He concluded that the party had
to vigorously fight against ‘revisionism’ and ‘rightism’ within the Lao Dong. In order
to overcome the ‘wrong ideas’ the ideological struggle (dau tranh tu tuong) within the
party should be stepped up and every party member should commit ‘criticism and
self-criticism’.
44
An occasion for self-criticism and the exposure of ‘revisionist’ tendencies among
party members was soon to come. At the end of 1963 the Central Committee of the
Lao Dong party held its 9th Plenum, which was of crucial significance. Originally, it
was scheduled two months earlier. In the end, the meeting started on 22 November
and finished at the beginning of January 1964 after several interruptions.
45
The
plenum constituted a milestone in the process of moving closer to Beijing and resulted
in heated discussions between the ‘pro-Chinese’ and the ‘pro-Soviet faction. In the end
the group around First Secretary Le Duan prevailed and launched a rectification
campaign to struggle against ‘revisionists’ influences within the party.
46
ADN correspondent Pommerening interpreted the meeting as ‘the most solid
confirmation of disputes within the party’.
47
About 50 middle-ranking cadres had sent
letters to the Central Committee and demanded that the Lao Dong party should
continue following a middle course between Moscow and Beijing and not move
towards positions close to China. According to information gathered by the East
German embassy and Pommerening these demands were made by cadres like Dang
Thai Mai, chairman of the Writers’ and Artists’ Association, Ta Quang Buu, and Bui
Cong Trung, both vice-chairmen of the National Scientific and Technological
Commission, Hoang Minh Chinh, director of the Institute of Philosophy, former
Foreign Minister Ung Van Khiem, and an assistant of Pham Van Dong whose name is
not revealed.
48
In a speech at the plenum economic expert Bui Cong Trung explained that the
economic situation of the DRV was very tense. He proposed a closer economic
cooperation with the Soviet Union and to abandon the unrealistic idea to establish a
Cold War History 457
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
self-sufficient North Vietnamese economy. Ta Quang Buu warned that he would
give up all his positions and work as a normal university teacher if the VWP
leadership decided to switch over to Beijing and cut ties with Moscow. Le Liem
and Ung Van Khiem seemed to have been the most outspoken opponents of the new
‘pro-Chinese’ course at the Central Committee. Ung Van Khiem spoke for three,
Le Liem for four hours.
49
Ho Chi Minh, who usually argued in favour of balancing relations with Beijing and
Moscow, had encouraged Le Liem to speak up against a shift towards a ‘pro-Chinese’
stance, but when it came to heated discussions during the plenum he did not support
Le Liem. Whether ‘Ho Chi Minh had been intimidated by the new leadership
50
can
only be guessed. According to another version, Ho Chi Minh tried several times to
intervene in the debate, but was hindered by Le Duc Tho.
51
In sum, it is quite obvious
that at this stage it was the group around party leader Le Duan and his closest aid Le
Duc Tho who were steering the course.
Unfortunately, there is no record available of the Plenum debates and discussions.
However, two important documents exist one of them is the Plenum’s resolution
discussing the international situation.
52
This document clearly shows that the Lao
Dong party now mainly followed ‘pro-Chinese’ lines on ideological issues. It argued
that ‘revisionism’ had betrayed Marxism-Leninism and had propagated the principle
of peaceful coexistence instead of supporting the revolutionary struggle against
imperialism and for national independence of the people in colonies and dependent
countries.
53
It asserted that ‘the struggle against imperialism cannot be separated from
the struggle against revisionism and rightist opportunism’.
54
The 9th Plenum formally recognized that armed struggle would play a crucial role
in the revolutionary process. The Central Committee refrained from sending combat
troops from the North to the South, but decided that the level of military assistance
from the DRV and the support for the southern revolution was to be increased.
The resolution adopted at the plenum also reflected the ongoing debate within the
Lao Dong party. The Central Committee criticized some party members for adopting
‘revisionist’ positions.
55
‘It observed that these views had led cadres not to support
either the measures taken for the socialization of North Vietnam or the efforts
required to achieve unification’
56
and recommended them ‘to pursue the systematic
education of cadres and party members in Marxism-Leninism’ so that they could fully
understand the party’s standpoint.
57
The Campaign against ‘Modern Revisionism’ and ‘Revisionist Elements’ within the
Lao Dong Party in 1964
In January 1964 Bergold, the GDR ambassador in North Vietnam, wrote a relatively
positive report about the outcome of the 9th plenum. According to his analysis, the
‘pro-Chinese elements’ had overestimated their influence and had not managed to
oust their opponents.
58
ADN correspondent Pommerening shared this view:
originally, the ‘Le Duan faction’ had planned to carry out a purge and to enforce a
458 M. Grossheim
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
complete shift toward ‘pro-Chinese’ positions, but had failed to so.
59
The Foreign
Ministry in Berlin praised the ‘courageous resistance of positive forces’ during the
plenum that had forced the ‘Le Duan group’ to make concessions.
60
At the same time,
it admitted that the resolutions adopted at the 9th Plenum constituted a platform to
launch a campaign against revisionism within the party and to isolate the ‘Marxist-
Leninist forces’ in the VWP. The report concluded that the GDR should continue to
develop mutual relations ‘in order to support the progressive forces within the Lao
Dong and to curb the harmful influence of the leadership of the Communist Party of
China on the Lao Dong Party’.
61
This, however, became more and more difficult. Right after the 9th Plenum the Lao
Dong leadership started ‘an ideological offensive to intimidate the Marxist-Leninist
forces and to overcome their resistance’.
62
Again it was Le Duc Tho, the head of the party
organization department, who increased the ideological pressure on opponents within
the party. In a series of articles in Nhan Dan he announced a rectification campaign.
63
He argued that while the DRV faced the difficult task of both building up socialism and
fighting for the reunification of the country it was absolutely necessary that all party
members submit themselves to party discipline. Le Duc Tho attacked those party
members who were influenced by ‘modern revisionism’ and ‘bourgeois thinking’. He
criticized them for being ‘pessimistic’, lacking revolutionary vigilance and the right
understanding of the principle of proletarian dictatorship, for being excessively prone to
rely on foreign aid instead of supporting the idea of a self-sufficient economy and for
being indifferent and unaware of their responsibilities with regard to the struggle for
national reunification. While these were arguments that Le Duc Tho and others like
Nguyen Chi Thanh had already used before, the tone of the article was much sharper
and suggested concrete measures to fight ‘revisionist’ and ‘rightist tendencies’ within
the party. Most importantly, however, Le Duc Tho directly admitted that a small faction
existed within the Lao Dong party that did not follow the party line. He did not mention
names, but it is obvious that he targeted party members like Bui Cong Trung, Duong
Bach Mai, Hoang Minh Chinh, Le Liem, Ung Van Khiem and others who at the 9th
Plenum had spoken up against Le Duan and his faction.
According to Le Duc Tho, ‘a number of cadres and party members have separated
themselves from the [party] organization. With regard to party lines and policies, they
do not express their views at meetings, but when the meetings are over they gather in
small groups and speak in terms that counter party resolutions’.
64
Tho added that
‘such factionalist and divisive activities (hanh dong be phai, chia re) had to be stopped
as early as possible’.
65
Le Duc Tho announced that all party members and cadres had to attend
re-education classes to study the resolutions adopted at the 9th Central Committee
plenum (hoc tap va chinh huan) and to employ self-criticism.
66
Both the East
German embassy and ADN correspondent Pommerening were well informed
about the contents of these rectification courses. The embassy even managed to get
hold of a copy of the course syllabus although the Lao Dong party had classified
the document as ‘top secret’ and forbidden all cadres to talk to others about
Cold War History 459
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
the contents of the courses.
67
According to this syllabus all party members had
to ‘absorb’ (tham nhuan) the resolutions adopted by the 9th Plenum to fully
understand the difference between the political line of ‘true Marxism-Leninism’ and of
‘revisionism’ with regard to the international situation and revolutionary strategy.
At the end of the course every cadre had to submit a written personal declaration and
explain what he had learnt.
The GDR embassy observed that the rectification campaign marginalized the
‘dissident’ faction within the Lao Dong party. In May 1964 Bibow, the second
secretary, stated that some ‘comrades who had been outspoken [at the 9th Plenum]
had suddenly disappeared’.
68
He reported that leading politicians like Ung Van Khiem
and Ta Quang Buu who had criticized anti-Soviet positions held by the Le Duan-
faction only rarely appeared in public.
On 4 April 1964 Duong Bach Mai, who had close relations with the GDR embassy and
the East German News Service bureau in the DRV, suddenly died at age 60. Due to the
mysterious circumstances of Mai’s death, but also due to the tense political atmosphere,
rumours were circulating in Hanoi that not everything possible had been done to save
his life.
69
According to embassy and ADN reports, the Lao Dong leadership made great
efforts to undermine speculations that Duong Bach Mai had not died a natural death.
70
The GDR embassy and the Foreign Ministry linked the death of Mai, one of the
most prominent ‘pro-Soviet’ party members in the DRV, to the ongoing rectification
campaign and the struggle against ‘rightist’ and ‘revisionist thoughts’ within the Lao
Dong party.
Bibow argued that there was evidence that ‘with the death of Duong Bach Mai the
centre of a faction that was just in the making had been eliminated’.
71
He added that
this faction continued to exist and mainly consisted of younger and middle-ranking
cadres. This view was not shared by his colleague Kowalski from the Soviet embassy in
Hanoi. He emphasized that those forces in the DRV that opposed a ‘pro-Chinese’
course were not organized in a group.
72
In his analysis of the significance of Mai’s death Schneidewind, director of the First
Department for Non-European Countries in the East German Foreign Ministry, went
even further than the GDR embassy in Hanoi. He interpreted Mai’s sudden death as
‘the deliberate elimination of one of the most energetic opponents within the
Vietnamese Workers’ Party’.
73
In June 1964 Vietnam expert P. J. Honey dwelt at length on Duong Bach Mai’s
death. He argues that if one takes into account that Mai had been ‘among the leaders of
the communist movement in Vietnam from its earliest days’, holding several high-
ranking positions in the National Assembly and the Fatherland Front, ‘it might have
been expected that his death would have been the occasion of eulogies and possibly
even a state funeral, but the reverse happened’.
74
Indeed, it is striking that according to Bibow’s and Pommerening’s accounts of
Duong Bach Mai’s funeral, Politburo member Hoang Quoc Viet only gave a very short
funeral oration and did not even mention that Mai had been a veteran party member.
He just mentioned that Mai had ‘gained merits’ and then enumerated his different
460 M. Grossheim
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
positions. The obituary notice in the Nhan Dan issue of 6 April 1964 was short as well,
giving no details of the circumstances of Mai’s death, and did not elaborate further on
his merits.
75
Party leaders like Truong Chinh attended the funeral, but obviously
mainly to undermine the abovementioned rumours.
Whether the Le Duan faction really mourned for the deceased Duong Bach Mai is
questionable. Even before Mai was buried, police and members of the DRV state
security service searched his house. Right after his death Duong Bach Mai was expelled
from the Lao Dong party.
76
In 1965 Tuan Nguyen, who had written poems mourning
the death of Duong Bach Mai, was imprisoned for eight years. The poems had not even
been published.
77
Without consulting the relevant documents in the party archive in Hanoi it can only
be speculated whether Duong Bach Mai had died a natural death or not. The way the
Lao Dong party leadership reacted to the death of one of its most prominent and
outspoken opponents was a foreboding of what the remaining party critics still
awaited. Meanwhile, the campaign against ‘modern revisionism’ was intensified and
carried out at several fronts at the same time.
An article in the April 1964 issue of Van Hoc by Vu Duc Phuc applied the new
political line adopted at the 9th Plenum of the Central Committee to the field of
literature.
78
The author warned of the influence of ‘modern revisionism’ on writers in
North Vietnam. He argued that before the August revolution older writers had not
thoroughly grasped the party line and therefore written books that were ideologically
mediocre and sometimes even ‘reactionary’. After 1945 writers in the DRV had
followed Marxism-Leninism more closely, only ‘anti-party cliques’ like the Nhan Van
Giai Pham group had refused to do so.
79
Nevertheless, many cadres working in the
field of literature had not yet realized how dangerous ‘modern revisionism’ was
because it usually appeared under the cloak of Marxism-Leninism.
80
Therefore, some
books published in the DRV showed ‘revisionist’ tendencies. Some books were
influenced by ‘pessimism’ and ‘defeatism’, especially with regard to the problem of
national reunification. For example, in their books some writers opposed any kind of
war which contradicted the party’s view that without resorting to revolutionary
violence the South Vietnamese people could not liberate themselves. Other books
celebrated an ‘individualistic’ and ‘hedonistic’ lifestyle and ‘discredited’ (boi nho) the
construction of socialism in the DRV.
81
In this context Vu Duc Phuc considered the resolutions adopted at the
9th Plenum as an opportunity to review (kiem diem) the work in the literary work.
He concluded that ‘as fighters on the literary front’ (chien si tren mat tran van hoc)
writers in the DRV had to track down and denounce ‘revisionist’ influences in
Vietnamese literature.
In a speech held in June 1964 at a conference of the Writers’ and Artists’ Association
To Huu, head of the Lao Dong Propaganda and Education Department, further
elaborated on the negative influence of ‘revisionist’ literature, films, etc. on the DRV.
82
He directly criticized the fact that in the past too many books, films and plays from
socialist countries showing ‘revisionist’ tendencies had been imported to the DRV.
Cold War History 461
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
According to To Huu, these works propagated the dangerous ideas of ‘humanism’ (chu
nghia nhan dao) trying to prove the existence of ‘general humanity’, ‘eternal ethics’ and
‘timeless love’ and totally ignored the crucial significance of the class background and a
correct Marxist-Leninist standpoint.
83
‘Revisionists in some socialist countries’,
however, would never admit that they disseminated ideas of a ‘bourgeois humanism’.
Instead, they would always pretend to be ‘true Marxist-Leninists’.
84
To Huu concluded that ‘modern revisionism’ was the greatest danger for the
international communist movement and revolutionary art. Together with the Lao
Dong party writers and artists should resolutely and uncompromisingly fight against
the tendencies of ‘modern revisionism’ in North Vietnam. In future, the import of
books, films, etc. from other socialist countries should be restricted.
85
An article by
Hong Chuong in the same Hoc Tap issue repeated To Huu’s arguments, the anti-Soviet
tone of his contribution; however, was even more pronounced.
86
The GDR embassy closely followed how the rectification campaign that had been
initiated after the 9th Plenum was also extended to the field of literature. Klaus
Matzke, cultural attache
´of the East German embassy in Hanoi, submitted a long
report on the cultural policy of the DRV.
87
His analysis relies mainly on a close
reading of the abovementioned articles written by Vu Duc Phuc and To Huu. He
stated that the new course adopted by the Lao Dong party at the 9th Plenum did
have negative influences on the cultural relations of two countries, but that there
were still ‘enough possibilities to develop these relations’.
88
For example, the DRV
restricted the import of literature and films and the invitation of artists from the
European socialist countries.
In general, Matzke concluded, the new course had not been generally accepted in the
DRV. While this conclusion might be correct, other available evidence suggests that the
rectification campaign was also carried out among writers and several Vietnamese
authors like Vu Thu Hien, Phu Thang and Huu Mai were denounced by To Huu and
others for being influenced by ‘modern revisionism’.
89
One of the first to be purged
was Minh Tranh, director of the ‘Truth Publishing House’ (Nha Xuat ban Su That),
who was accused of having supported the translation and publication of too many
‘revisionist’ books, but his main ‘fault’ seems to have been an article in the Hoc Tap
issue of February 1963 that warned against a shift toward Beijing and ‘adventurous
manoeuvres’ in South Vietnam, implicitly arguing against sending North Vietnamese
troops to South Vietnam.
90
In 1964 arguments for a self-sufficient North Vietnamese economy became much
more pronounced. In an article in March 1964, Luu Quy Ky, head of the Propaganda
Department of the Lao Dong party, maintained that the DRV was ‘exploited’ by all
socialist countries except the People’s Republic of China and Albania.
91
He particularly
complained that economic aid supplied by Moscow mainly served the interests of the
Soviet Union. In 1964, the Soviet Union actually reduced its economic aid to the DRV.
Soviet exports to North Vietnam declined as well.
92
However, it is not clear whether this
was due to a decision of the DRV leadership to reduce the dependency on Soviet aid or
rather a Soviet reaction to the estrangement of relations with North Vietnam.
462 M. Grossheim
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
The campaign against ‘revisionism’ not only led to a more restrictive economic and
cultural policy by the DRV, but also to a much more restrictive policy towards
Europeans in general and towards embassies representing socialist countries in the
DRV in particular. In May 1964, in a report to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, the GDR
embassy complained that while the situation for the ‘Marxist-Leninist forces’ had
became worse, the surveillance of the East German embassy had been stepped up, and
it also became more and more difficult for the embassy to present its views.
93
The freedom of movement for the embassy outside Hanoi was restricted. This also
applied to contacts between Vietnamese citizens and representatives of European
socialist countries. The GDR embassy observed that many Vietnamese ‘comrades’ no
longer dared to maintain contacts with Europeans out of fear of criticism and reprisals.
94
Franz Faber, Pommerening’s successor as ADN correspondent in the DRV, had the same
experience. Faber, who in 1954 had visited North Vietnam as the first East German
journalist, noticed many positive changes, but was irritated by the tense atmosphere in
the capital and the lack of contacts with Vietnamese. In October 1964 he reported
that so far, out of fear, no Vietnamese had entered the AND bureau without permission.
In spite of the formal politeness of Vietnamese cadres towards him, Faber concluded
‘that in the eyes of party and government we are at least undesirable foreigners’.
95
In a report of April 1964 Bibow mentioned an incident that he considered to be
‘typical’ of the atmosphere in Hanoi and the domestic development of the DRVat that
time: after GDR Cultural Attache
´Klaus Matzke, who spoke fluent Vietnamese, and a
colleague had engaged in conversation with some Vietnamese at Hanoi main railway
station, the latter were arrested and interrogated by Vietnamese police. One of these
diplomats was also told by his Vietnamese language teacher that in future they could not
talk to each other since Vietnamese were no longer allowed to ‘mix’ with Europeans.
96
Mistrust, however, started to be mutual. On 25 May 1964 Bergold, the GDR
ambassador, ordered all Vietnamese to be replaced with German staff members until
autumn that year and to change all locks on the embassy compound in order to
enhance security.
97
The night before Vietnamese security forces had surrounded the
embassy and wanted to search for a Vietnamese who had entered the embassy
compound, which East German diplomats rejected. The GDR Foreign Ministry in
Berlin considered the behaviour of the Vietnamese security forces as a provocation and
an attempt to violate the territorial integrity of the embassy. Schneidewind, chief of the
First Department for Non-European Countries, commented that the whole affair had
been instigated by ‘pro-Chinese elements’ in the DRV leadership who wanted to
discredit the reputation of the East German embassy in Hanoi and further isolate those
Vietnamese who were still interested in good relations with the embassy.
98
The GDR Foreign Ministry first ordered the East German ambassador to officially
protest, but then refrained from this rather strong reaction
99
when the DRV Ministry
of Foreign Affairs apologized for the incident.
100
The GDR committed itself to
continue improving relations with the DRV, but in fact these relations were now at low
ebb. This was also due to the fact that the campaign against ‘revisionism’ was even
carried out in the GDR.
Cold War History 463
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
Vietnamese Students in the GDR and the Campaign against ‘Modern Revisionism’
Right from the start of the rectification campaign the Lao Dong leadership in
particular To Huu had paid special attention to those Vietnamese cadres and
students who were studying in socialist countries now classified as ‘revisionist’. In
order to make sure that they would follow the new political line of the Lao Dong party,
the students were ordered to return home to attend re-education classes.
This applied especially to the Soviet Union where the largest number of North
Vietnamese was studying. While most of them obeyed the orders of the DRV embassy,
some cadres and students decided to stay in the Soviet Union out of protest against the
new ‘pro-Chinese’ political line in Hanoi. One of the most prominent cases was that
of Van Doan, editor-in-chief of the army newspaper Quan Doi Nhan Dan.
101
In sum
about 50 Vietnamese chose to stay in the Soviet Union and applied for political asylum.
At the same time, similar developments took place in East Germany. Due to the fact
that Vietnamese students studying in the GDR were closely watched by their host
universities and the Ministry of State Security (MfS) many ‘Stasi’ documents shed light
on the specific situation in East Germany and give evidence that the fight against
‘modern revisionism’ led by the DRV ‘also took place on German soil’.
According to a Vietnamese who later applied for GDR citizenship in summer 1963
all Vietnamese students studying in East Germany had to gather in a small town near
Leipzig to attend political summer courses organized by the DRVembassy. The main
aim of these courses was to ‘unmask and condemn modern revisionism and to agree
on how to fight against revisionist influences’.
102
The DRV embassy told the students
not to have close relations with Germans and not to read (East) German newspapers
and journals. Instead, they should study political propaganda brochures in Vietnamese
that were published by the People’s Republic of China and distributed by the DRV
embassy in Berlin.
At the end of 1963, the North Vietnamese embassy intensified its control over
Vietnamese students in the GDR to make sure that they did not show political
attitudes that were in conflict with the official party line. Correspondingly, East
German authorities complained that many Vietnamese students increasingly shared
the ‘well-known sectarian attitudes’ of the Chinese Communist Party.
103
While the
Vietnamese embassy was mostly successful in its effort to keep watch over the students,
political disputes and conflicts among Vietnamese students became more and more
frequent. In December 1963 and January 1964 several Vietnamese students contacted
the East German authorities and stated that they did not share the new ‘anti-Soviet’
positions propagated by their embassy, therefore would not comply with orders to
return home and wished to stay in the GDR.
104
The DRV embassy increased its political pressure on the Vietnamese students and
in line with the ‘anti-revisionist campaign’ that had started back home – denounced
those with ‘pro-Soviet’ views as ‘revisionists’. As a reaction, at the end of March 1964
three ‘dissident’ students disappeared. The DRV embassy immediately asked the GDR
authorities to help find them.
105
The Vietnam Section in the GDR Foreign Ministry
464 M. Grossheim
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
promised that it would do so. In fact the Vietnam experts in the Foreign Ministry just
agreed pro forma because they were well aware of current domestic developments in
North Vietnam, and convinced that the students had fled out of fear for reprisals taken
by the embassy.
106
The whole conflict reached a new stage, when at the beginning of June 1964 all
Vietnamese cadres living in the GDR were summoned to attend a political meeting in
the DRV embassy. The embassy propagated the view that in the GDR ‘revisionism’
dominated all political and social activities and that therefore all Vietnamese had to
take care not be ‘infected’ by ‘revisionism’.
107
At the same time, the DRV embassy
informed the East German Ministry of Foreign Affairs that all Vietnamese students
studying in the GDR should return home in summer instead of attending political
courses in Germany.
In internal reports the East German side commented that this decision had obviously
been taken for political reasons, and that it was not in the interest of the GDR if
Vietnamese students returned home to take part in ‘political indoctrination courses’.
108
To speed up the whole procedure, a few weeks later the DRV sent its vice-minister of
education to the GDR. Obviously, his departure was rather hasty since the East German
Foreign Ministry complained of not having been informed of his visit in due time as it
was the diplomatic custom. In talks with his East German counterparts the DRV vice-
minister of education made additional demands that reflected a clear political
background. He requested that in future Vietnamese students should be excluded from
the obligatory introductory courses in Marxism-Leninism. He argued that it would be
much easier for them to attend these courses in Vietnamese than in German. The GDR
State Secretariat for Higher Education, however, insisted that courses in Marxism-
Leninism were integral part of the syllabus for foreign students studying in East
Germany.
109
The DRV vice-minister also denounced rumours circulating among
Vietnamese students that they would not be allowed to return to East Germany after
taking part in political courses in the DRV.
110
In spite of these official declarations, these
rumours proved to be true: 53 out of more than 100 studentswho had returned home to
attend political courses
111
were not sent back to East Germany.
112
In sum, about 20 Vietnamese students disobeyed their embassy’s orders and stayed in
the GDR. In June 1964 the Vietnamese embassy informed the GDR Secretariat of Higher
Education that ten additional students had fled. According to the embassy’s version,
these students were ‘bad and depraved elements’ that did not want to return home and
were ‘too lazy to work’.
113
In July 1964, the Vietnamese embassy also contacted
Department X of the Ministry of State Security (MfS) that was in charge of foreign
students studying in the GDR and asked for its support in finding the fugitive
students.
114
In the second half of 1964, the Vietnamese embassy on several occasions asked the
GDR Foreign Ministry and other East German authorities about the fate of the
Vietnamese students who had decided not to return home. The embassy emphasized
that the students had not stayed in East Germany out of political reasons and
continued to dwell on their ‘depraved’ character. In one meeting, however, a DRV
Cold War History 465
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
diplomat indirectly admitted the political background of the whole affair: ‘They [the
fugitive students] are ideologically degenerated and don’t want to study.
115
As mentioned before, from the very beginning the East German side had realized
that the decision of the DRV to send the students back home was politically motivated
and had to be understood in the context of the campaign against ‘modern revisionism
in North Vietnam. Initial doubts that some of the Vietnamese students had submitted
applications to stay in the GDR because they did not share the political views of
the embassy and were afraid of reprisals after their return home soon evaporated.
When screening the applications it even turned out that a member of the MfS had
recommended some students to ask for permission to stay in East Germany.
116
In July 1964, the GDR Foreign Ministry realized that the whole affair would have a
negative impact on relations with the DRV. It suggested dealing with the embassy’s
requests to send the fugitive students back to Vietnam using delaying tactics.
117
Consequently, in July and September a high-ranking representative of the East
German Foreign Ministry in charge of Vietnam told the Vietnamese embassy that the
Vietnamese students had been found, but that the authorities of the GDR had no
means to force them to return home. The GDR authorities ignored the embassy’s
assertions that the Vietnamese students were ‘not worthy’ to continue studying and
allowed them to stay in East Germany.
118
The uncompromising attitude of the GDR Foreign Ministry to the requests of the
DRV embassy stiffened when in August 1964 it received a report from the DRV
embassy in Hanoi that confirmed its worst fears. The embassy had managed to
gather information about the indoctrination courses that students returning from
the GDR (and other socialist countries) had to attend. In these courses the students
had to be convinced of the correctness of the new policy of the Lao Dong party.
They specifically had to report ‘concrete facts’ about the ‘revisionist policy of the
SED and the government of the GDR’. As requested, the students denounced the
GDR ‘as being completely dependent on the Soviet Union’ and ‘restoring the
capitalist system’ accusations that Matzke, GDR cultural attache
´, qualified as
‘slanderous’.
119
The GDR embassy further reported that the DRV wanted to restrict the number of
students studying in East Germany. Likewise, the DRV Ministry of Education had
declared that it did not need a GDR lecturer in German anymore. The East German
embassy concluded that obviously the DRV wanted to avoid the risk that a lecturer
from East Germany would spread the ideas of the ‘modern revisionists’ among
students in Hanoi.
120
After the Tonkin incident in 1964 and the escalation of the Vietnam War relations
between the GDR and the DRV improved again. However, the case of those dissident
students that had stayed in East Germany in 1964 continued to trouble GDR
authorities. In 1966 they complained that the Vietnamese student community at the
universities of Leipzig and Dresden was still split into different political factions that
were fighting each other. Six Vietnamese students had declared they would not return
home as long as the Lao Dong party followed the ‘Chinese’ line.
121
466 M. Grossheim
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
In the late 1960s, when in the DRVattacks against ‘revisionist tendencies in socialist
countries in Eastern Europe’ had almost completely disappeared from the mass media,
the DRV embassy in the GDR still upheld this campaign. In summer courses in 1966,
the Vietnamese embassy denounced the political line of the SED as ‘revisionist’ and the
6th Party Congress in the GDR as the ‘climax of revisionism’.
122
Life in the GDR,
the students were warned, was ‘bourgeois, like in capitalism’.
123
In contrast,
Vietnamese were ‘real revolutionaries’. If they adopted the way of life of the East
Germans, they would ‘betray the revolution’.
124
To prevent Vietnamese students from
being influenced by this ‘bourgeois’ lifestyle, they were given detailed instructions on
how to behave during their stay in the GDR, to avoid personal contacts with Germans,
not to accept private invitations, not to talk about politics, not to watch ‘indecent
movies from capitalist and socialist countries, to regularly perform self-criticism, not
to attend courses on Marxism-Leninism at East German universities, avoid any
contact with the ‘group of revisionist students’.
125
These instructions, reflecting a
deep-seated fear of ‘western culture’ were upheld at least until the end of the 1960s.
According to a Stasi file, in 1969 Vietnamese trainees were told by the Vietnamese
embassy in Berlin not to listen to German radio or to watch TV, to read German
newspapers or listen to western music.
126
In a similar vein, the Vietnamese embassy continued to denounce the dissident
students as ‘traitors’ and ‘group of revisionists’ and on several occasions asked the East
German authorities to help send them back to the DRV. It argued that in spite of all
efforts made by the DRV embassy for many years the students stuck to their ‘incorrect
political views’ and that therefore there was no other way but to continue their
‘educational process’ in the DRV.
127
In 1967, during his first meeting with Erich
Mielke, minister for state security, the new DRV ambassador insisted to such a degree
on ‘solving the problem’ of the Vietnamese students that in the end Mielke, who
pretended not to know about the whole issue seemed to be rather irritated and
abruptly closed the conversation.
128
The GDR did not follow the demands brought forward by North Vietnamese
diplomats: in 1969 the East German minister of foreign affairs suggested officially
extending the residence permits of several ‘Vietnamese citizens’ who had applied for
political asylum.
129
Conclusion
The events of 1963 and 1964 in the DRV were of crucial significance. By launching a
campaign against ‘revisionism’ and ‘modern revisionism’ the party leadership around
Le Duan and Le Duc Tho managed to isolate those party cadres who held views not in
line with the official strategy on a further escalation of the war. ‘Revisionist’ became a
synonym for any kind of ‘dissent’ and was combined with further attributes like
‘pessimistic’, ‘hedonistic’ and ‘bourgeois’.
The rectification campaign, however, not only dealt with dissenting views within the
party, but also served as a propaganda tool to mentally prepare the North Vietnamese
Cold War History 467
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
society for the escalation of war and the sacrifices that a violent struggle for the
reunification of the country would demand. It was not by coincidence that high-ranking
party cadres like To Huu and Nguyen Chi Thanh especially targeted ‘revisionist’
influences in the field of culture. After having crushed open dissent among writers and
artists during the ‘Nhan Van-Giai Pham affair’ in the 1950s, the ‘anti-revisionist’
campaign in 1963 and 1964 was a further step to establish the hegemony of the party
over cultural activities and to isolate those writers who propagated views of ‘humanism’
and ‘peaceful coexistence’ that according to party analysts were not in line with the new
militant mood and could undermine the fighting spirit of the North Vietnamese people.
The fight against dissent within the Communist Party continued during the war and
was stepped up in 1967 at the wake of the Tet offensive when dissident party members
like Bui Cong Trung, Hoang Minh Chinh, Le Liem or Ung Van Khiem were arrested or
put under house arrest. These drastic measures must be analysed in the domestic and
international context at this time, but it is obvious that they originated from
ideological disputes that had taken place in 1963 and 1964.
130
Strikingly, this wave of
arrests took place when the campaign against ‘modern revisionism’ had been officially
stepped down in the North Vietnamese media and the Soviet Union had become a
close ally of the DRV. Under the cloak of official declarations of ‘friendship’ with East
Germany the DRV upheld its distrust of East German society and in secret continued
to denounce the GDR as ‘revisionist’.
The ideological dispute among DRV students studying in East Germany continued
until the late 1960s. ‘Normal’ Vietnamese students were advised by their embassy not
to have contacts with their dissident compatriots. The DRV embassy still tried to force
the ‘revisionist’ students to go home, but had to give up. Then it seemed to have lost
interest in the whole issue. Later events, however, show that the DRV embassy had not
forgotten and certainly not ‘forgiven’ those 20 students who had applied for political
asylum in East Germany in the 1960s.
In 1983, the Stasi realized that several of those Vietnamese who had been granted a
permanent residence permit and GDR citizenship were now looking after Vietnamese
contract workers. The DRVembassy considered this to be a strain on the otherwise good
relations with the GDR and therefore asked the East German side to find a ‘solution’.
This time the GDR authorities tried their best to please the Vietnamese embassy. The
MfS in the meantime had developed close relations with the Vietnamese Ministry of
Interior and was assigned the task to gradually ‘isolate the GDR citizens from Vietnam’
from the Vietnamese contract workers. It managed to do so to the satisfaction of their
Vietnamese colleagues. The Vietnamese with GDR passports lost their jobs.
131
Abbreviations
ADN Allgemeiner Deutscher Nachrichtendienst (General German News Service,
GDR)
1. AEA 1. Außereuropa
¨ische Abteilung (First Department for Non-European
Countries in the GDR Foreign Ministry)
468 M. Grossheim
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
MfAA Ministerium fu
¨r Auswa
¨rtige Angelegenheiten (GDR Ministry of Foreign
Affairs)
MfS Ministerium fu
¨r Staatssicherheit (Ministry of State Security, commonly
known as ‘Stasi’)
SED Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (Unified Socialist Party of
Germany
VWP Vietnamese Workers’ Party
Archival Sources
BStU ¼Die Bundesbeauftragte fu
¨r die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes
der Ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik (Federal Commissioner
for the Records of the State Security Service of the Former German Democratic
Republic).
MfAA ¼Politisches Archiv des Auswa
¨rtigen Amtes, Ministerium fu
¨r Auswa
¨rtige
Angelegenheiten (Political Archives of the Foreign Ministry, GDR Ministry of
Foreign Affairs).
SAPMO-BArch ¼Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der
DDR im Bundesarchiv (Foundation for Archives of the Parties and Mass
Organisation of the GDR in the Federal Archives).
VVA ¼The Vietnam Virtual Archive, Texas Tech University.
Notes
[1] This paper is part of a larger research project on ‘Domestic Developments in the Democratic
Republic of Vietnam on the Background of Relations to the German Democratic Republic:
Dissidence in North Vietnam’. I would like to thank my colleague Heinz Schu
¨tte, Paris, for
sharing some of his archival sources with me.
[2] SAPMO, BArch, DC 900/54, ADN-Auslandsstelle Hanoi, Betrifft: Information u
¨ber die
vietnamesische Haltung zu Albanien, Hanoi, 11 December 1961.
[3] Ibid., 2.
[4] The relevant documents are kept in the Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv: http://www.
bundesarchiv.de/index.html?lang ¼en) and the Political Archives of the Foreign Ministry
(Politisches Archiv: http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/www/en/infoservice/politik/
index_html) both in Berlin.
[5] The best available study is Stowe, ‘Re
´visionnisme au Vietnam’. Heng, ‘Of the State, for the
State, Yet Against the State’, also gives a good account of the affair and its impact on the DRV
media. I thank the author for making available his unpublished thesis. Two of the memoirs
most often cited are Tran Thu, Tu tu xu ly noi bo (hoi ky), and Vu Thu Hien, Dem giua ban
ngay. See also Bui Tin, Following Ho Chi Minh; Duiker, Ho Chi Minh.A Life, 534– 539,
Brocheux, Ho Chi Minh, 245246, and Boudarel and Nguyen Van Ky, Hanoi 1936 1996,
144148.
Cold War History 469
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
[6] For the ideological domestic setting see Heng, ‘Of the State, for the State, Yet Against the
State’, 117 120.
[7] For the development of Soviet Vietnamese relations in the early 1960s see Gaiduk,
Confronting Vietnam, 181– 204.
[8] Smyser, The Independent Vietnamese, 61.
[9] MfAA/A 8705, 179 180, 1. AEA, 23 February 1963, Schneidewind, Information u
¨ber die
Haltung der PWV anla
¨ßlich der Besuche einer Delegation des Obersten Sowjets der UdSSR
und des Pra
¨sidenten der CSSR, Genossen A. Novotny in der DRV.
[10] SAPMO, BArch, DC 900/54, 2, ADN Hanoi, Zum VI. Parteitag der SED, 21 February 1963,
Pommerening.
[11] SAPMO, BArch, DC 900/54, Situation nach Politbu
¨roerkla
¨rung, March 1963, Pommerening.
See also Smyser, The Independent Vietnamese, 61– 63.
[12] Duong Bach Mai’s proposal in a National Assembly session to postpone Ung Van Khiem’s
replacement until September 1963 was rejected. See SAPMO, BArch, DC 900/54, 1, ADN
Hanoi, Zum Besuch von Liou Chao chi, Pommerening, 28 May 1963.
[13] SAPMO, BArch, DC 900/54, 1, Informationsbericht des ADN-Korrespondenten in Hanoi, 24
April 1963.
[14] MfAA/A 8705, 68, 1. AEA, 3 May 1963, Information u
¨ber die Auswertung des VI. Parteitages
der SED in der DRV, Schneidewind.
[15] MfAA/G-A 324, 2, Botschaft der DDR Hanoi, 28 May 1963, Bibow, Einscha
¨tzung des
Besuches der chinesischen Partei- und Regierungsdelegation unter der Leitung des
Pra
¨sidenten der VR China Liu Schao Tschi und des stellv. Ministerpra
¨sidenten Tschen-Yu,
vom 10. bis 15.05.1963 in der DRV.
[16] See Ibid., 8 –9, SAPMO, BArch, DY 30/IVA2/20/441, ADN Hanoi, Gemeinsame Erkla
¨rung des
Pra
¨sidenten HCM und des Pra
¨sidenten Liou Chao Chi, 16 May 1963, MfAA/A 8749, 8 9, 1.
AEA, Entwurf, Einflußnahme der KP Chinas auf die Partei der Wertkta
¨tigen Vietnams,
Berlin, 4 June 1963. For an analysis of Liu Shaoqi’s visit see Smyser, The Independent
Vietnamese, 63– 65, and Qiang Zhai, China and the Vietnam Wars 1950– 1975, 124.
[17] See SAPMO, BArch, DC 900/54, 1, ADN Hanoi, Zum Besuch von Liou Chao chi,
Pommerening, 28 May 1963, 4.
[18] Tien Phong, 19 June 1963, cited in Smyser, The Independent Vietnamese, 65.
[19] MfAA/A 8749, 10.
[20] MfAA/G-A 324, 20, Botschaft der DDR Hanoi, Mehlig, 17 June 1963, Aktenvermerk u
¨ber ein
Gespra
¨ch mit den Botschaftern der Sowjetunion, der CSSR und Ungarn anla
¨ßlich eines
Filmabends der Botschaft am 14.6.1963 von 21.30 02.00 Uhr.
[21] Ibid., 20.
[22] SAPMO, BArch, DC 900/296, 3, ADN Auslandsstelle Hanoi/Vietnam, Pommerening, 24 June
1963.
[23] Smyser, The Independent Vietnamese, 66. For an analysis of the DRV position see SAPMO,
BArch, DC 900/54, 1, Zur politischen Situation in der DRV, 31 August 1963, Pommerening,
and SAPMO, BArch, DY 30/IV A2/20/441, 1. AEA, Sektion Vietnam, 21 August 1963,
Strauss, Die Haltung der DRV zum Abkommen u
¨ber teilweisen Kernteststopp.
[24] See MfAA/A 8705, 198 –206, Botschaft der DDR, Guhl, Bericht u
¨ber die Berichterstattung der
Presse der DRV zu den Meinungsverschiedenheiten zwischen der internationalen
kommunistischen Arbeiterbewegung und der KP Chinas sowie den damit zusammenha
¨n-
genden Problemen, 7 August 1963.
[25] ‘Ten phan boi Ti-To lai phun ra noc doc cua nghia xet lai’ (The Traitor Tito again Spreads the
Poison of Revisionism), Hoc Tap, no. 7 (July 1963): 9 17. For an analysis see MfAA/G-A
324, 31, Botschaft der DDR Hanoi, Bibow, 19 August 1963. Einscha
¨tzung der derzeitigen
470 M. Grossheim
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
Haltung der Partei der Werkta
¨tigen Vietnams in den ideologisch-politischen Meinungs-
verschiedenheiten.
[26] See Ibid., MfAA/G-A 324, 28 44.
[27] That Giap had been put under house arrest was first mentioned by the Soviet ambassador in
June 1963. MfAA/G-A 324, 19. For further sources see MfAA/G-A 324, 32, SAPMO, BArch,
DC 900/54, 2, Zur politischen Situation in der DRV, 31 August 1963, Pommerening.
[28] See MfAA/G-A 324, 32-33, and SAPMO, BArch, DC 900/54, 2, Zur politischen Situation in
der DRV, 31 August 1963, Pommerening.
[29] MfAA/G-A 324, 3738, and MfAA/A G-A 331, 6162, 1. AEA, Information u
¨ber die
derzeitige Haltung der Partei der Werkta
¨tigen Vietnams (PWV) zu den ideologisch-
politischen Meinungsverschiedenheiten, 11 October 1963, Lo
¨bel, Sektionsleiter.
[30] See MfAA/A G-A 331, 61. For the conflict between older ‘pro-Soviet’ VWP party members like
the above-mentioned and the ‘new generation’ of Le Duan and Le Duc Tho see Vu Thu Hien,
Dem giua ban ngay, 225– 226.
[31] Le Duc Tho, ‘Phat huy truyen thong cach mang’, 2, 4.
[32] Ibid., 2.
[33] SAPMO, BArch, DC 900/54, 1 2, ADN Außenstelle Hanoi/Vietnam, Zur politischen
Situation in der DRV, Pommerening, 18 September 1963. See also MfAA/A G-A 331, 5657,
and MfAA/G-A 326, 45, 71 72, Botschaft der DDR Hanoi, Einscha
¨tzung der Haltung der
Fu
¨hrung der PWV und der Regierung der DRV zu den ideologischen Meinungsverschie-
denheiten in der internationalen kommunistischen Arbeiterbewegung sowie zu innen- und
außenpolitischen Problemen, 14 November 1963, Bibow, 2. Sekr.
[34] See Heng, ‘Of the State, for the State, Yet Against the State’, 126 135.
[35] Hong Chuong, ‘Do la van de tu tuong hoac la van de nghe thuat?’, 50. For more details on the
‘Ha Minh Tuan affair’ see Tran Thu, Tu tu xu ly noi bo (hoi ky), 120 124, and Heng, ‘Of the
State, for the State, Yet Against the State’, 131 – 132. For a revealing account of the campaign
against Ha Minh Tuan and other ‘revisionist’ writers that was published at the outset of the
‘doi moi era’ see Mai Ngu, ‘Ve mot thoi ky da qua, 106 107. See also the report of the East
German cultural attache in MfAA/A 8701, Botschaft DDR Hanoi, 3 August 1963, Mehlig,
115123. Bericht u
¨ber den 3. Schriftstellerkongreß der DRV (10.– 12.1.1963) und einige
Fragen der Entwicklung der vietnamesischen Literatur.
[36] Hong Chuong, ‘Do la van de tu tuong hoac la van de nghe thuat?’, 50.
[37] SAPMO, BArch, DY 30/ IV 2/907/100, 1, Botschaft der DDR, 7 September 1963, Matzke
Aktenvermerk Nr. 117/63, Vermerk u
¨ber eine gegenseitige Information im Min. fu
¨r Kultur
der DRV, 23 August 1963.
[38] SAPMO, BArch, DC 900/54, 2, ADN Außenstelle Hanoi/Vietnam, Zur politischen Situation in
der DRV, Pommerening, 18 September 1963.
[39] See Ibid. According to Vu Thu Hien, Dem giua ban ngay, 260– 261, before the 9th Party
Plenum Ton That Tung had written a letter to the Central Committee and warned the VWP
of too closely following a ‘pro-Chinese’ course. Ton That Tung was one of the driving forces
in the field of medical cooperation with the GDR.
[40] SAPMO, BArch, DC 900/54, 2, ADN Außenstelle Hanoi/Vietnam, Zur politischen Situation in
der DRV, Pommerening, 18 September 1963. For further examples see the report of Hans
Israel, German lecturer in Hanoi in 1963 and 1964: SAPMO, BArch, DR 3, 1. Schicht, 2843,
Berichte u
¨ber die Lektorenta
¨tigkeit in der VR China und in der DRV, Hans Israel,
Hanoi/Vietnam an das Staatssekretariat fu
¨r das Hoch- und Fachschulwesen, Sektor
Sozialistisches Ausland, Hanoi, 15 October 1963, 3; and Hans Israel, Leipzig, an das
Staatssekretariat fu
¨r das Hoch- und Fachschulwesen, Bericht u
¨ber meine Ta
¨tigkeit in
Vietnam im Studienjahr 1962/63, 6.
[41] MfAA/G-A 326, 15.
Cold War History 471
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
[42] For biographical details about some of these persons see the biographical appendix in Quinn-
Judge, Ho Chi Minh, 308– 345. Interestingly, a Dictionary of Historical Vietnamese Persons
published in Vietnam also includes short biographies of Bui Cong Trung, Duong Bach Mai
and Ung Van Khiem, albeit mostly leaving out the ‘sensitive’ period after 1954. See Nguyen
Q. Thang and Nguyen Ba The, Tu dien nhan vat lich su Viet Nam, 9596, 11011102, and
13581359.
[43] Nguyen Chi Thanh, ‘Nang cao lap truong, tu tuong vo san’, 6– 7.
[44] Ibid., 12.
[45] MfAA/G-A 324, 060, Botschaft der DDR Hanoi, Bergold, Information Nr. 2 u
¨ber das
Novemberplenum der PWVund die Entwicklung innerhalb der Partei (Nach Informationen
aus Gespra
¨chen mit Botschaftern und vietnamesischen Genossen), 15 January 1964.
[46] For an analysis of the 9th Plenum see, for example, Smyser, The Independent Vietnamese,
pp.67-70, Duiker, Ho Chi Minh.A Life, 534 538, Boudarel and Nguyen Van Ky, Hanoi
19361996, 144 –146, Boudarel, Cent Fleurs Ecloses dans la Nui du Vietnam, 256 –259. For an
autobiographical account see Vu Thu Hien, Dem giua ban ngay, 273 275.
[47] MfAA/A 8749, 065, Informationsbericht des ADN-Korrespondenten in Hanoi, Information
u
¨ber das 9. Plenum des ZK der PWV, Eingang 1. AEA, January (?) 1964.
[48] See MfAA/A 8749, 065, MfAA/G-A 324, 060-61, MfAA/G-A 324, 0126, Botschaft der DDR
Hanoi, 10 December 1963, Vermerk vom 10.12.1963 u
¨ber das Novemberplenum der PWV
und die Entwicklung innerhalb der Partei. Duong Bach Mai was the main informant.
[49] MfAA/G-A 324, 126.
[50] See Duiker, Ho Chi Minh. A Life, 537, who relies on Vu Thu Hien, Dem giua ban ngay, 359
360.
[51] See Nguyen Van Tran, Viet cho me va quoc hoi, 326 328, and Brocheux, Ho Chi Minh, 246.
[52] The document was seized by US forces in South Vietnam in 1967. See The Central Committee
9th Plenum Resolution Discussing the International Situation, December 1963, VVA,
Record 104141 (Item Number: 2320109006).
[53] See Ibid., 36. For an analysis of the resolution see Smyser, The Independent Vietnamese, 68– 69.
[54] See Resolution, 39.
[55] See Resolution, 47 49.
[56] Smyser, The Independent Vietnamese, 69.
[57] See Resolution, 51.
[58] MfAA/G-A 324, 061 064. In a meeting at the Soviet embassy in January 1964, the Soviet
ambassador agreed with the analysis of his East German colleague. See MfAA/G-A 324, 070,
Botschaft der DDR Hanoi, Bergold, 15 January 1964, Aktenvermerk u
¨ber Aussprachen des
Genossen Bergold mit dem sowjetischen Botschafter in der DRV, Gen. Tovmassian
[Tovmasyan], am 11 January 1964 in der sowjetischen Botschaft.
[59] MfAA/A 8749, 065.
[60] SAPMO, BArch, DY 30/IV A2/20/439, 1 2, 1. AEA, Sektion Vietnam, 13 February 1964,
Schneidewind, Jahresplan fu
¨r die Entwicklung der Beziehungen zwischen der DDR und der
DRV im Jahre 1964.
[61] SAPMO, BArch, DY 30/IV A2/20/439, 2.
[62] MfAA/G-A 324, 073, Botschaft der DDR Hanoi, Bibow, Einscha
¨tzung der Entwicklung der
politischen Situation in der DRV nach dem 9. Plenum des ZK der PWV im Dez. 1963/Januar
1964, 27 May 1964.
[63] Le Duc Tho, ‘Tang Cuong mat tran tu tuong de cung co Dang’, 2. Bibow, second secretary of
the GDR embassy in Hanoi, emphasizes the crucial significance of these articles. See his
analysis in MfAA/G-A 324, 073 074. See further Latimer, Hanoi’s Leaders and the Policies of
War, 20, VVA, Record 69694 (Item Number: 0720118002), and Smyser, The Independent
472 M. Grossheim
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
Vietnamese, 72, who quotes a similar article by Le Duc Tho that was published in the March
issue of Tuyen Huan.
[64] Le Duc Tho. ‘Tang Cuong’, 5 February 1964, 2.
[65] Ibid., 2.
[66] For details about these rectification courses see MfAA/G-A 324, 073, and especially MfAA/A
8749, 089 –090, Abschrift, Informationsbericht des ADN-Korrespondenten. in HN u
¨ber eine
ideologische Kampagne der Partei der Werkta
¨tigen Vietnams, Pommerening, Eingang Abt.
Information, 23 April 1964.
[67] MfAA/A 8725, 074 076, Botschaft Hanoi, Studium der Resolution des IX. Plenums des
Zentralkomitees der Partei der Werkta
¨tigen Vietnams u
¨ber die internationalen Probleme, 27
April 1964, Bibow. See also MfAA/A 8749, 089– 090, Abschrift, Informationsbericht des
ADN-K. in HN u
¨ber eine ideologische Kampagne der Partei der Werkta
¨tigen Vietnams,
Eingang Abt. Information, 23 April 1964, and MfAA/G-A 324, 073 075. For
autobiographical accounts of the rectification campaign and the tense atmosphere in
Hanoi see Vu Thu Hien, Dem giua ban ngay, 129– 132, and Le Xuan Ta, ‘Hoi uc ve cuoc
khung bo chu nghia xet lai o Viet Nam’, 288.
[68] MfAA/G-A 324, 074.
[69] SAPMO, BArch, DY 30/IVA2/20/441, ADN, Informationsbericht des ADN-Korrespondenten
in Hanoi, 27 April 1964. Vu Thu Hien, Dem giua ban ngay, 275– 276, provides most details
about Duong Bach Mai’s death.
[70] SAPMO, BArch, DY 30/IVA2/20/441, MfAA/A 8725, 062– 065, Botschaft der DDR, An MfAA,
Bibow, 9 April 1964.
[71] MfAA/G-A 324, 079.
[72] MfAA/A 8725, 0128, Botschaft der DDR, Jarck, Aktenvermerk u
¨ber eine Besprechung mit
dem 1. Sekr. der sowjetischen Botschaft, Genossen Kowalski, am 6.8.1964 in der Zeit von
8.00 10.00 Uhr in der sowjetischen Botschaft.
[73] MfAA/A 8725, 66, 1. AEA, Sektion Vietnam, Mehlig, 29 April 1964, Betr.: Haltung der PWV
zu den Meinungsverschiedenheiten in der internationalen Arbeiterbewegung. For a similar
interpretation see MfAA/A 8749, 084, 1. AEA, Schneidewind, An den Außerordentlichen
und Bevollma
¨chtigten Botschafter der DRV in der DRV, Genossen Wolfgang Bergold, Berlin,
22 April 1964.
[74] Honey, ‘North Vietnam, 5.
[75] The obituary notice was authored by the Fatherland Front, not by the Central Committee. See
Nhan Dan, 6 April 1964, 1. Bibow seems to suggest that no obituary notice at all appeared in
North Vietnamese newspapers which is definitely not true. See MfAA/A 8725, 065.
[76] See Vu Thu Hien, Dem giua ban ngay, 276.
[77] See Ibid., 189 190, and Tran Thu, Tu tu xu ly noi bo (hoi ky), 177.
[78] Vu Duc Phuc. ‘Nghi quyet’, 1 5.
[79] Ibid., 2.
[80] Ibid., 2 3.
[81] Ibid., 4 5. As an example Vu Duc Phuc mentions the novel Vao Doi by Ha Minh Tuan that
had already been criticized in 1963.
[82] The speech was published in Hoc Tap. To Huu, ‘Dung vung tren lap truong giai cap vo san.
[83] For his criticism of ‘humanism’ see Ibid., 14 17.
[84] Ibid., 17.
[85] Ibid., 22.
[86] Hong Chuong, ‘Hai quan niem ve chu nghia nhan dao’.
[87] SAPMO, BArch, DY 30/IV A2/20/437, Botschaft der DDR, Einscha
¨tzung u
¨ber die
Kulturpolitik und kulturelle Entwicklung in der DRV, unter besonderer Beru
¨cksichtigung
Cold War History 473
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
der Verwirklichung der Beschlu
¨sse des 9. Plenums des ZK der Partei der Werkta
¨tigen
Vietnams auf dem Gebiete der Kunst und Literatur, 24 November 1964, Matzke.
[88] Ibid., 22.
[89] See To Huu, ‘Dung vung tren lap truong giai cap vo san’, 1518, and Hong Chuong, ‘Hai quan
niem ve chu nghia nhan dao’, 3435. For an autobiographical account see Vu Thu Hien,
Dem giua ban ngay, 131– 132, 186 – 189, and Tran Thu, Tu tu xu ly noi bo (hoi ky), 122– 124.
[90] Unfortunately, the original Hoc Tap article is not available. However, see the analysis in
Latimer, Hanoi’s Leaders and the Policies of War, 12 –13, VVA, Record 69694 (Item Number:
0720118002), See Vu Thu Hien, Dem giua ban ngay, 182 183, Tran Thu, Tu tu xu ly noi bo
(hoi ky), 287288. Minh Tranh lost his job and had to live in Nam Dinh province for 12
years. See Nguyen Van Tran, Viet cho me va quoc hoi, 326.
[91] See the German translation of the article that was published in Thong Nhat: MfAA A 8725,
‘Konkrete Fakten’, Bericht von Luu Quy Ky, Vizepra
¨sident des Komitees fu
¨r kulturelle
Beziehungen mit dem Ausland, Leiter der Propagandaabteilung beim ZK der Partei,
Direktor der Zeitschrift Thong Nhat, 81 89. See also the analysis in MfAA A 8725, DRV,
Betreff: Ministerium fu
¨r Außenhandel und Innerdeutschen Handel, Information,
Vertraulicher Bericht des Leiters der Abt. Propaganda des ZK der Partei der Werkta
¨tigen
Vietnams u
¨ber die Wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit mit sozialistischen La
¨ndern, 20 May
1964, 7780.
[92] See Pike, Vietnam and the Soviet Union, 74.
[93] MfAA/G-A 324, 082, Botschaft der DDR Hanoi, Bibow, Einscha
¨tzung der Entwicklung der
politischen Situation in der DRV nach dem 9. Plenum des ZK der PWV im Dez. 1963/Januar
1964, 27 May 1964. See also PA AA A 8746, 40, Botschaft an 1. AEA, Schneidewind, 16
September 1964, Bergold. In this report the GDR ambassador mentioned that these
instructions were officially explained with reference to the tense situation in the region
(Tonkin gulf incident).
[94] MfAA/A 8725, 100, Botschaft der DDR, Bibow, 11 June 1964.
[95] SAPMO, BArch, DC 900/296a, ADN, Faber, 14 October 1964.
[96] MfAA/A 8725, 064, Botschaft, Bibow, 9 April 1964. For another example see MfAA/A8754,
1314, 1. AEA, Erga
¨nzung zu Blitz VVS 140/64, 26 May 1964.
[97] MfAA/A 8754, 005 008, Botschaft, Bescha
¨ftigung von ausla
¨ndischen Angestellten in unseren
Auslandsvertretungen, 25 May 1964, Bergold.
[98] MfAA/A 8754, 013, 1. AEA, Erga
¨nzung zu Blitz VVS 140/64, 26 May 1964, Schneidewind. See
also MfAA/A 8725, 091 092, 1. AEA, Sickert, an Botschaft Hanoi, 17 June 1964.
[99] For the text of the notice see MfAA/A 8754, 13 14, see also Ibid., 17.
[100] See MfAA/A 8754, 020 022, Botschaft der DDR, Aktenvermerk Nr.47/64 u
¨ber ein Gespra
¨ch
zwischen dem Abteilungsleiter im MfAA Genossen Pham Van Su und dem Genossen Bibow
am 3.6.1964 von 15.00 – 16.00 Uhr, 4 June 1964, Bibow; and SAPMO, BArch, DY 30/IV
A2/20/439, 1. AEA/Sektion Vietnam, Quartalsu
¨bersicht zu den Beziehungen zwischen der
DDR und der DRV im II. Quartal 1964, Lo
¨bel, 24 July 1964.
[101] Van Doan later committed suicide. See Heng, ‘Of the State, for the State, Yet Against
the State’, 115, Tran Thu, Tu tu xu ly noi bo (hoi ky), 3839, 96, and Stowe, ‘Re
´visionnisme au
Vietnam’, 238.
[102] BStU MfS Abt. X SA 339, Bl. 9 15. See also Feige, Vietnamesische Studenten, 35 40.
[103] MfAA/A 8738, 133 136, Lange, Studienrat, Staatssekretariat fu
¨r das Hoch- und
Fachschulwesen, 13 December 1963.
[104] MfAA/A 8738, 142 143, 1. AEA/Sektion Vietnam, 10 January 1964, Aktenvermerk u
¨ber
Angelegenheiten vietnamesischer Studenten, Lo
¨bel; MfAA/A 8738, 138 139, 1. AEA/Sek-
tion Vietnam, 10 January 1964, Aktenvermerk u
¨ber ein Gespra
¨ch mit dem vn. Studenten
Nguyen Phung Hoang am 6.1.1964 im MfAA der DDR, Sektion Vietnam, Mehlig.
474 M. Grossheim
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
[105] MfAA/A 8738, 111 114, Aktenvermerk u
¨ber eine Besprechung mit einem Sekreta
¨r der
Botschaft der DRV am 6.4.1964 im Staatssekretariat fu
¨r das Hoch- und Fachschulwesen,
111114, Ka
¨bel.
[106] MfAA/A 8738, 106 108, 1. AEA, Sektion VN, Aktenvermerk u
¨ber ein Gespra
¨ch mit dem 2.
Sekr. der Botschaft der DRV, Genossen Thao, am 9.4.1964, von 10.00 bis 11.00 Uhr, 10 April
1964, Mehlig.
[107] BStU MfS, BV Potsdam, Abt. XX/1, 934/68, Bl.18 19.
[108] MfAA/A 8738, 91 93, Kulturabteilung Ministerbu
¨ro Krolikowski (MfAA), Ferienheimreise
der in der DDR studierenden vietnamesischen Studenten, 18 June 1964, Grunert.
[109] MfAA/A 8738, 87 89, Staatssekretariat fu
¨r das Hoch- und Fachschulwesen StfHF, Abt. I,
Aktenvermerk, 25 June 1964, Helbing.
[110] MfAA/A 8725, 100, 1. AEA, Sickert an Min. Kiesewetter, 24 June 1964, Aussprache des stellv.
Ministers fu
¨r Volksbildung der DRV, Giam, mit Professor Dr. Gießmann, 23 June 1964.
[111] MfAA/A 8738, 25 29, 1. AEA, Sektion Vietnam, 21 August 1964, Aktenvermerk u
¨ber ein
Gespra
¨ch des Gen. Schneidewind mit dem Rat der Botschaft der DRV in der DDR, Gen.
Nguyen Duc Thien, im MfAA am 20.08.1964 in der Zeit von 15.00 – 16.10 Uhr, Lo
¨bel.
[112] MfAA/C 865/72, 29 31, DRV Studenten in DDR: DRV schra
¨nkt die Ausbildung ihrer
Studenten in der DDR ein (Information der Kulturabteilung vom 9.12.64). See also BStU
MfS Abt. X SA 339, Bl. 17 19. For a reprint of the report see Feige, Vietnamesische
Studenten, 2628.
[113] MfAA/A 8738, 71 74, 1. AEA Sektion Vietnam, Aktenvermerk u
¨ber ein Gespra
¨ch mit dem
Botschaftsrat der DDR, Genossen Nguyen Duc Thien, am 1.7.1964, 10.00 Uhr bis 11.00 Uhr,
3 July 1964, Mehlig.
[114] BStU MfS Abt. X SA 339, Bl. 38 39, Abteilung X, 2. July 1964, Aktenvermerk, Damm. See
Feige, Vietnamesische Studenten, 33– 34.
[115] MfAA/A 8738, 52, 1. AEA, Sektion Vietnam, 28 July 1964, Schneidewind, Aktenvermerk u
¨ber
eine Unterredung zwischen Gen. Schneidewind und dem Botschaftsrat der Botschaft der DRV,
Gesandten Nguyen Duc Thien, am 27.7.1964, im MfAA in der Zeit von 15.00 – 15.45 Uhr.
[116] MfAA/ A 8738, 076, Staatssekretariat fu
¨r das Hochschul- und Fachschulwesen, Betr.:
Vietnamesische Studierende, 3 July 1964.
[117] MfAA/A 8738, 62 70, 1. AEA, an Bergold, 14 July 1964, Sickert.
[118] MfAA/A 8738, 1. AEA, Betr.: Maßnahmen zur Regelung des Studiums und des weiteren
Aufenthaltes vn. Studenten in der DDR, 24 July 1964, 60; MfAA/A 8738, 51 53.
[119] MfAA/A 8738, 35 –37, Botschaft Hanoi, Vermerk des Genossen Matzke u
¨ber verleumderische
a
¨ußerungen der in der DDR studierenden vietnamesischen Bu
¨rgern, die sich z.Z. zur
Schulung in der DRV aufhalten, 13 August 1964, Matzke.
[120] MfAA/C 865/72, 29 31.
[121] MfAA/C 865/72, 27 28, Information u
¨ber das Verhalten vietnamesischer Studierender der
Karl-Marx-Universita
¨t Leipzig und der Technischen Universita
¨t Dresden, and BStU MfS
Abt. X SA 339, Bl. 22– 32, and BStU MfS Abt. X, 562, Hauptabteilung XX/3/III, Information
u
¨ber die Situation unter den vietnamesischen Studenten und Aspiranten in der DDR, 17
December 1966, Leutnant Schwanz, Bl. 570.
[122] MfAA, PA AA, C 865/72, Information u
¨ber das Verhalten vietnamesischer Studierender der
Karl-Marx-Universita
¨t Leipzig und der Technischen Universita
¨t Dresden, 17 September
1966, 2728. See also BStU MfS Abt. X SA 339, Bl. 17 19, and Feige, Vietnamesische
Studenten, 28.
[123] BStU MfS Abt. X, 562, Abschrift. Bericht u
¨ber ein Zusammentreffen mit dem vietnamesischen
Studenten [Name geschwa
¨rzt] (Germanistik) am 18.1.1967, gez. ‘Hermann’, 19 January
1967, Bl. 579.
[124] Ibid.
Cold War History 475
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
[125] See Ibid., BStU MfS Abt. X, 562, Hauptabteilung XX/3/III, Information u
¨ber die Situation
unter den vietnamesischen Studenten und Aspiranten in der DDR, 17 December 1966,
Leutnant Schwanz, Bl. 570, and especially BStU MfS Abt. X, 562, Abschrift, Bericht:
Situation unter den vn. Studenten, ohne Datum, ‘Adler’, Bl. 580– 587. This Stasi file contains
a detailed summary of the instructions, Bl. 584 587.
[126] BStU MfS Abt. X, 562, Abschrift Kreisdienststelle Freital, 30 April 1969, Bl. 566 67.
[127] MfAA/C 865/72, 32 –33, Information u
¨ber eine Aussprache mit dem II. Sekr. der Botschaft der
DRV, Gen. Pham Hao, im Staatssekretariat fu
¨r das Hochschul- und Fachschulwesen am
24.10.1966, Dr. Joachimi; MfAA/C 865/72, 91– 93, Ministerium fu
¨r Hoch- und
Fachschulwesen. HA Internationale Beziehungen, 25 April 1969, Aktennotiz u
¨ber den
vietnamesischen Studenten ... betreffende Vorkommnisse, Garz.
[128] BStU MfS Abt. X, 562, Notiz u
¨ber den Empfang des neuen Botschafters der Demokratischen
Republik Vietnam in Berlin Nguyen Viet Dung am 31. Januar 1967 von 14.00 bis 15.00 Uhr
im MfS durch Genossen Minister Mielke, 7 February 1967, Bl. 167 180.
[129] MfAA/C 865/72, 94– 95, MfAA an den Minister des Inneren und Chef der Deutschen
Volkspolizei Dickel, 28 April 1969, Winzer.
[130] See Sophie Quinn-Judge’s contribution to this collection.
[131] For the whole affair see Feige, Vietnamesische Studenten, 22 –25. See BStU MfS Abt. X SA 339,
Bl.3, Bl.6, and BStU MfS, BVfS Leipzig, Leitung 1037, Bl. 4749, 5152.
References
Boudarel, Georges. Cent Fleurs Ecloses dans la Nui du Vietnam. Communisme et Dissidence 1954
1956. Paris: Jacques Bertoin, 1991.
Boudarel, Georges and Nguyen Van Ky. Hanoi 1936 1996. Du Drapeau Rouge au Billet Vert. Paris:
Editions Autrement. Collection Me
´moires, 1997.
Brocheux, Pierre. Ho Chi Minh. Du Re
´volutionnaire a
`l’ico
ˆne. Paris: Biographie Payot, 2003.
Bui Tin. Following Ho Chi Minh. Memoirs of a North Vietnamese Colonel. London: Hurst & Company,
1995.
Duiker, William J. Ho Chi Minh. A Life. New York: Hyperion, 2000.
Feige, Michael. Vietnamesische Studenten und Arbeiter in der DDR und ihre Beobachtung durch das
MfS [Vietnamese Students and Workers in the GDR and their Surveillance by the Ministry of
State Security]. Magdeburg: Sachbeitra
¨ge, Landesbeauftragte fu
¨r die Unterlagen des
Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen DDR Sachsen-Anhalt, 1999.
Gaiduk, Ilya V. Confronting Vietnam. Soviet Policy toward the Indochina Conflict 1954 1963.
Washington, DC and Stanford, CA: Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Stanford University
Press, 2003.
Heng, Russell Hiang-Khng. “Of the State, for the State, Yet Against the State: The Struggle Paradigm
in Vietnam’s Media Politics,” Ph.D. diss., Australian National University, 1999.
Hong Chuong. ‘Do la van de tu tuong hoac la van de nghe thuat?’ (Is this a Problem of Ideology or of
Art?), Hoc Tap (August 1963): 4650.
———.‘Hai quan niem ve chu nghia nhan dao’, (Two Views about Humanism) Hoc Tap (October
1964): 2435.
Honey, P. J. “North Vietnam.China News Analysis 520 (12 June 1964).
Latimer, Thomas K., Hanoi’s Leaders and the Policies of War, VVA, Record 69694 (Item Number:
0720118002).
Le Duc Tho. ‘Phat huy truyen thong cach mang, tang cuong suc manh chien dau cua Dang’. [Develop
the Revolutionary Tradition and Strengthen the Party’s Will to Fight], Nhan Dan, 2 September
1963.
476 M. Grossheim
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
Le Xuan Ta. ‘Hoi uc ve cuoc khung bo chu nghia xet lai o Viet Nam’. [Recollection of the Repression
of Revisionism in Vietnam]. In Tu tu xu ly noi bo (hoi ky), edited by Tran Thu. Stanton, CA:
Van Nghe, 1996.
Mai Ngu. ‘Ve mot thoi ky da qua’. [About a period that has passed] Van Nghe Quan Doi. 7 (1988).
10611.
Nguyen Chi Thanh. ‘Nang cao lap truong, tu tuong vo san, doan ket, phan dau gianh thang loi’.
[Enhance our Standpoint, Proletarian Ideology, Unity, and Strive to Achieve Victory] Hoc Tap
(October 1963): 115.
Nguyen Q. Thang, and Nguyen Ba The. Tu dien nhan vat lich su Viet Nam. [Dictionary of Characters
from Vietnamese History Hanoi: NXB Van Hoa, 1997.
Nguyen Van Tran. Viet cho me va quoc hoi [To Mother and the National Assembly]. Westminster, CA:
Van Nghe, 1995.
Pike, Douglas. Vietnam and the Soviet Union. Anatomy of an Alliance. Boulder, CO: Westview Press,
1987.
Qiang Zhai. China and the Vietnam Wars 1950– 1975. Chapel Hill, NC and London: University of
North Carolina Press, 2000.
Quinn-Judge. Sophie. Ho Chi Minh: The Missing Years, 1919 1941. Berkeley and Los Angeles:
University of California Press, 2002.
Smyser, W. R. The Independent Vietnamese: Vietnamese Communism between Russia and China,
19561969. Athens, OH: Center for International Studies, Papers in International Studies,
Southeast Asia, No. 55, 1980.
Stowe, Judy. ‘Re
´visionnisme au Vietnam’. Communisme nos. 6566 (2001): 233 49.
To Huu. ‘Dung vung tren lap truong giai cap vo san, nang cao nhiet tinh cach mang va tinh chien dau
trong van nghe’ [Hold Firmly the Proletarian Class Standpoint, Enhance the Revolutionary
Enthusiasm and the Fighting Spirit in Literature and Arts]. Hoc Tap (October 1964): 1– 23.
Tran Thu. Tu tu xu ly noi bo (hoi ky) [Sentenced to Death, Internal Settlement]. Westminster, CA:
Van Nghe, 1996.
Vu Duc Phuc. ‘Nghi quyet hoi nghi lan thu 9 cua Trung Uong Dang va cong tac van hoc’. [The
Resolution of the 9th Plenum of the Party Central Committee and Literature], Tap Chi Van
Hoc [Journal of Literature] 4 (1964): 1 5.
Vu Thu Hien. Dem giua ban ngay: Hoi ky chinh tri cua mot nguoi khong lam chinh tri [Night at
Midday: Political Memoirs of a Non-Politician]. Westminster, CA: Van Nghe, 1997.
Cold War History 477
Downloaded by [Smithsonian Institution Libraries] at 13:07 09 September 2013
... L'immagine e i miti che circondavano la guerra del Vietnam potrebbero racchiudersi nella formula secondo cui Ho Chi Minh aveva ispirato la resistenza dei vietcong, il generale Giap l'aveva guidata, Pham Van Dong, come primo ministro, l'aveva coordinata. Convinzioni che alla luce delle fonti pur lacunose e incomplete oggi disponibili appaiono, come ha opportunamente sottolineato Pierre Asselin, in larga parte semplicistiche se non errate (Asselin 2001(Asselin e 2013Stowe 2001;Grossheim 2005;Shore 2015). ...
... 110 This was also pretty much the opinion of East German diplomats and journalists in North Vietnam. 111 Discussing China's role in the Vietnam War requires one also to acknowledge how Mao Zedong saw the PRC's role as a revolutionary state. The early and mid-1960s were a period of major efforts by China to promote its brand of revolution around the globe. ...
Article
Full-text available
This work examines how the American role in the Vietnam War has been portrayed in standard college- and university-level textbooks dealing with American foreign policy. It argues that this topic has been presented in a manner that leaves an incomplete understanding. This conclusion is based on scholarship that has been available for decades as well as much Cold War historiography that has appeared since 1975. I conclude that the distortions need to be addressed for several reasons. Their propagation produces bad scholarship, gratuitously alienates Americans from their institutions of government, and justifies anti-Americanism and authoritarianism elsewhere.
Article
Full-text available
The rich body of literature on the cultural legacies of East Germany has privileged white German perspectives on material culture at the expense of non-white and non-European encounters with socialist things. In shifting the spatial lens to the global South, and to the foreign students and workers who lived for extended periods in East Germany, I trouble the implicit whiteness in the study of GDR cultural memory. Popular identification with GDR goods extended beyond the borders of Germany to newly decolonized countries that were the beneficiaries of the GDR’s solidarity policies. Using the example of Vietnam, I challenge formulations of Ostalgie as a site of white German memory production only, highlighting consumption of East German products by racialized foreign Others. In examining the objects that Vietnamese migrants amassed and transported back to Vietnam, and their subsequent use and circulation through today, I offer a different take on the temporal and spatial relationship between people and commodities, one that assigns value and agency to imported socialist things. In contrast to reunified Germany, where socialist-era goods were deemed disposable and obsolete, in Vietnam, East German products did not lose their utility and associations with modernity. The essay argues for a more inclusive exploration of memory and approach to Ostalgie that takes seriously the alternative logics of time, space, and materiality that informed the circuits of consumption, trade, and meaning of GDR things.
Chapter
With the massive demonstrations against the Taiwanese company Formosa in 2016 (alleged to have caused a massive fish die-off along four Central Vietnamese coastal provinces) and the Hanoi tree-hugging campaign in 2015 (to protect 6,700 trees from Hanoi government plans to fell them), environmental issues have become a topical issue for contentious politics in Vietnam.
Chapter
This chapter explores the historiography of the Vietnam War. It focuses on older works that established the broad contours of the “orthodox” and “revisionist” debate, and highlights recent works that have challenged such interpretations, raised new questions, or provided new insights into the origins, conduct, impact, and outcomes of the war. The chapter reveals that the historiography has moved from questions of why the United States lost (or won) the war to new approaches exploring the role of the United States' and North Vietnam's allies, examining how social movements not only shaped but were shaped by the war, and explaining Vietnam and Vietnamese actors within the global story of decolonization.
Chapter
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) was the instigator and victor in the Vietnamese civil war (1959–1975). It was led by a communist party (the Vietnamese Workers’ Party, or VWP) that had displayed a particularly sharp binary worldview since at least the 1940s.1 To communist leaders, the world was divided into two opposing camps. The socialist camp was imagined as a paradise in which peace, happiness, and goodwill ruled. In contrast, the capitalist or imperialist camp symbolized everything that was bad, including war, suffering, and exploitation. The interests of the two camps were fundamentally opposed and a war of mutual destruction between them was inevitable. Yet, because history was viewed as following a linear progressive path and the socialist camp represented progress, this camp was expected to triumph in such a war.
Chapter
Introduction Theorists of parties and party systems disagree about how to conceptualize communist parties and communist single-party systems. Some do not accept communist parties’ claims to be “parties.” Most treat communist single-party systems as a special category separate from other party systems. Not only do communist regimes allow no competitive elections, but critical differences also exist between totalitarian communist systems on the one hand and single-party authoritarian regimes on the other. In this chapter, I argue that there is merit in calling communist systems either single-party systems or single-party dictatorships. Neither concept is perfect; the appropriate use depends on context. It is also useful to separate the communist party from the state dominated by such a party, despite the high degree of overlap between the two in communist countries. The conceptual discussion clears the ground for an analysis of the Vietnamese case, which has never been accorded in-depth treatment in the literature. Vietnam has one of the longest standing and most stable political regimes in Asia. It also has one of the few remaining communist systems in the world. I use concepts developed by Samuel Huntington to examine separately the historical evolution of the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) and the party systems in which it has operated. Essentially the VCP as a party has undergone four phases: expansion (1945–1948), institutionalization (1948–1960), deinstitutionalization (1963–1986), and limited reinstitutionalization (1986–present). By contrast, Vietnam’s party system has experienced three periods: factionalism (1945–1946), institutionalization of the single-party system (1948–1956), and deinstitutionalization (1975–present). During the war from 1959 to 1975, the single-party system experienced certain problems but remained well institutionalized.
Article
This paper explores Hanoi's diplomatic strategy during the early stage of the so-called Vietnam War. It draws from Vietnamese, Western, and other materials to elucidate the meanings and usages Hanoi attached to diplomacy in those years, to describe the related maneuverings of North Vietnamese leaders, and to identify the forces shaping those maneuvers. Following the onset of war Hanoi rejected negotiations with Washington, but that did not mean that the so-called “diplomatic struggle” was non-existent, or unimportant. State and party organs used diplomacy to manipulate and mobilize world opinion, to mitigate the effects of the Sino-Soviet dispute, and to secure necessary material assistance from socialist allies to sustain the war until “final victory” over the United States. Diplomacy thus served as a veritable instrument of war for Hanoi. Admittedly, diplomatic priorities changed over time, but diplomatic struggle itself remained at the heart of its “Anti-American Resistance.”
Article
Full-text available
The article tries to make a contribution to the reassessment of the Second Indochina War and of the significance of culture in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam before and during the conflict. By making use of as-yet untapped sources from the German Democratic Republic archives, DRV periodicals and interviews with Vietnamese informants, I highlight the cultural dimension of the campaign against modern revisionism in 1964, and thus present the Lao Động leadership as an actor on the cultural front of the Vietnam conflict. Moreover, I show that even after the beginning of the war an anti-revisionist undercurrent in cultural policy persisted and that the anti-revisionist campaign in 1964 was closely related to the Anti-Party Revisionist Affair in 1967. The article also sheds light on the impact of the Sino-Soviet conflict on North Vietnam.
Thesis
The media in Vietnam is state-owned and regulated by state agencies with extensive power and prerogatives. The overall impression the media gives is that it is primarily a propaganda organ of the state. Therefore, the media is "of' and "for" the state. However, press activism, not always friendly to the state, has had opportunities to emerge from within the system, rendering the activism, in some sense, "against" the state. This amphibious characteristic is facilitated by a "struggle paradigm" whereby media practitioners make use of their connections with the state and appropriate its agendas to facilitate their criticism of official shortcomings. The empirical data is presented through five case studies from 1956 to 1990. Each of these involves controversies between newspapers and the state. The narrative details shed light on the censorship process but the thesis moves beyond the singular approach of charting the bureaucracy of censorship to depict state-media dynamics within the context of how the political system functions as a whole. Ideological climate, intra-elite contention and systemic connections of media practitioners are part of the total dynamics. The findings on state-media dynamics offer an alternative to the theoretical perspective that stresses civil society's autonomous relationship with the state.
For an analysis of the DRV position see SAPMO, BArch, DC 900/54, 1, Zur politischen Situation in der DRV
  • Smyser
Smyser, The Independent Vietnamese, 66. For an analysis of the DRV position see SAPMO, BArch, DC 900/54, 1, Zur politischen Situation in der DRV, 31 August 1963, Pommerening, and SAPMO, BArch, DY 30/IV A2/20/441, 1. AEA, Sektion Vietnam, 21 August 1963, Strauss, Die Haltung der DRV zum Abkommen über teilweisen Kernteststopp.
Vizepräsident des Komitees für kulturelle Beziehungen mit dem Ausland, Leiter der Propagandaabteilung beim ZK der Partei, Direktor der Zeitschrift Thong Nhat
  • German See
See the German translation of the article that was published in Thong Nhat: MfAA A 8725, 'Konkrete Fakten', Bericht von Luu Quy Ky, Vizepräsident des Komitees für kulturelle Beziehungen mit dem Ausland, Leiter der Propagandaabteilung beim ZK der Partei, Direktor der Zeitschrift Thong Nhat, 81– 89. See also the analysis in MfAA A 8725, DRV, Betreff: Ministerium für Außenhandel und Innerdeutschen Handel, Information, Vertraulicher Bericht des Leiters der Abt. Propaganda des ZK der Partei der Werktätigen Vietnams u ¨ber die Wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit mit sozialistischen Ländern, 20 May 1964, 77– 80.
Cent Fleurs Ecloses dans la Nui du Vietnam
  • Georges Boudarel
Boudarel, Georges. Cent Fleurs Ecloses dans la Nui du Vietnam. Communisme et Dissidence 1954 – 1956. Paris: Jacques Bertoin, 1991.
X SA 339, Bl. 9– 15. See also Feige, Vietnamesische Studenten
  • Abt Bstu Mfs
BStU MfS Abt. X SA 339, Bl. 9– 15. See also Feige, Vietnamesische Studenten, 35 –40.
Confronting Vietnam. Soviet Policy toward the Indochina Conflict
  • Gaiduk
  • V Ilya
Gaiduk, Ilya V. Confronting Vietnam. Soviet Policy toward the Indochina Conflict 1954 – 1963. Washington, DC and Stanford, CA: Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Stanford University Press, 2003.
s proposal in a National Assembly session to postpone Ung Van Khiem's replacement until
  • Mai Duong Bach
Duong Bach Mai's proposal in a National Assembly session to postpone Ung Van Khiem's replacement until September 1963 was rejected. See SAPMO, BArch, DC 900/54, 1, ADN Hanoi, Zum Besuch von Liou Chao chi, Pommerening, 28 May 1963.