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Mass mobilization work in the South - a contributing factor to generate synergy in the resistance war against the US for national salvation (1954-1975)

Academy of Politics, Region IV

(PTOJ) - The resistance war against the US for national salvation is known as the great epic of the Vietnamese people’s war in the 20th century. It was the triumph of the all-people, comprehensive, long-term resistance war, which was the combination of the highly promoted synergy with the strength of the times. The success of mass mobilization work, indeed, made a great contribution to promoting the synergy. This paper clarifies some basic viewpoints on mass mobilization work on the southern battlefield (1954-1975) and valuable lessons for mass mobilization work, boosting the strength of the entire people in the process of national construction and defense nowadays.

On April 7, 1961, more than 5,000 people in X commune, Ben Tre province held a rally against the second presidential election of the US puppet government - Photo: VNA

After the Geneva Agreement (July, 1954), the US imperialists and their henchmen fragrantly sabotaged it, realizing their crazy ambition of long-term division of Vietnam, turning the South into a new colony. From the beginning and throughout the war strategies, the US imperialists and its henchmen were determined to govern Southern Vietnam at all costs, using maximum violence to brutally suppress patriots in the hope of sapping the will to struggle, extinguish the aspiration for peace, independence and freedom; gathering the residents to establish neo-birth and strategic hamlets with the intention of controlling rural areas. Simultaneously, their military were resorted to separate, hunt to kill the resistance forces, segregate the inhabitants from the resistance forces and “bail the water out of the pond for fish”. Parallel to military and violent actions, they transformed Southern Vietnam into a market for commodities with artificially economic prosperity. Miscellaneous and depraved ways of life were, therefore, introduced into Vietnam, deforming our national culture. Besides, psychological warfare was also carried out with a huge propaganda machine so as to “enchant the residents’ minds and hearts”. The US colonialists thoroughly utilized ethnic and religious issues for their political and military purposes. They amplified the power of the US troops, fueled fears of the American imperialists, wars, and fatalities and dampened the residents’ willpower to struggle as well. They claimed that the war in Vietnam was aimed at “quelling the communist uprising”(1); propaganda tricks were used to distort the truth and smear the communists, discredit the patriots and resistance forces, and lessen the residents’ trust, particularly the young’s and the gullible’s.  

The US colonialists and its henchmen established party organizations, upheld the slogans of nationalism, independence, pseudo- democracy, made every effort to take advantage of religious issues, seized control of the reactionary leaders in sects, decentralized autonomy for each region, gained political support, unified the reactionary political forces, gathered parties and particularly made use of Dai Viet or Vietnamese Nationalist Party; either enticed or bribed the Cao Dai, Hoa Hao and Catholic sects. In the Central Highlands, the enemy strained every nerve to propagate, persuade residents of ethnic groups and separate the Kinh from local inhabitants. In the Southwest, the enemy concentrated on propaganda to separate the Kinh from the Khmer, incite extreme nationalist ideology, disrupt national unity, advocate the spirit of “autonomy” and provoke conflicts between the Khmer and the Revolution(2)

During the stages of the war with implementation of ladders of war strategy, the US imperialists and minions had constantly hatched plots and tricks of psychological warfare, occupied the land and enticed the residents, utilized the mass media in the war, persecuted and annihilated the resistance forces. The situation required that mass mobilization work be intensified so as to achieve victory on this arduous front. 

Steering the arduous resistance war against the enemy with great economic and military potential, a huge war machine, and a professional political propaganda machine, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) always specified that mass mobilization work, maintaining the Party-people relationship and fostering the people’s synergy, constituted the decisive factor for ensuring victory, “Great unity serves as an important determinant for the fruits of the Vietnamese Revolution”(3)

Throughout the resistance war, under any circumstances, Party committees of all levels in the South always attached importance to mass mobilization work, scored victory in the struggle for the land and residents, established revolutionary forces, and encouraged people from all walks of life, people from ethnic groups and religions to struggle. Mass mobilization work made significant contributions to the fruitful implementation of the all-people, comprehensive, long-term resistance line; the success in “three spearhead attacks” in “three strategic regions”, the mobilization of support in the behind-the-line localities, the provision of humans and properties for the battlefields; the reinforcement of the Party-people blood relationship, the maintenance of the great national unity bloc; the obstruction of the enemy plundering human, financial and material resources for the war, contributing to foiling the US imperialists’ strategical plots. 

Prior to the struggle, facing with a variety of hardships and challenges, the Central Party Committee and all-level Party committees throughout the South identified the task of safeguarding revolutionary masses, constructing forces and fostering their capacity as a fundamental issue and political struggle as a spearhead attack. 

The Politburo, in September 1954, advocated gathering of all forces of democracy and peace, struggling to overthrow the henchman government, endorsed armistice and peace, conceded the people’s freedom and democracy and general elections, and improve people’s livelihood as well. In order to carry out mass mobilization work, it was vital to establish a unified organization. Thus, the establishment of the United National Front was discussed at the conference to found the Southern Party Committee in October, 1954.

The 15th Plenum of Central Committee (in 1959) decided to shift the struggle to a new stage which determined the task of gathering the entire people to struggle against the US colonialists’ invasion, realizing national independence, freedom and democracy. The National Front for the Liberation of the South was established in December, 1960, followed by the Alliance of National Democratic and Peaceful Forces of Vietnam  (in April, 1968); other revolutionary mass organizations constantly developed. The Front’s platform and policies reflected and responded to the fundamental aspirations of the masses who were thirsting for independence and freedom. The slogans of independence, freedom and neutrality directly hit the US neo-colonialism - an attack to collapse all the schemes of the US colonialists and its henchmen for splitting the nation and enticing the residents.

The National Liberation Front Committees at all levels were expanded and strengthened in localities. The organizational system of the all-level Youth Mobilization Committees, Ideological Mobilization Sections, the Chinese Campaigning Committees and Religious Campaign Organs were founded. Revolutionary foundations and political forces were established through such public organizations as the Reading Group, the Association of Orphans and Widows, and the Youth against Conscription. 

Campaigning revolutionary classes, people from all walks of life and genders, like the petite bourgeoisie, labourers, pupils, students, intellectuals to struggle was accelerated with practical slogans: against mopping-up operations, indiscriminate shooting and killing, conscription, depraved cultural products and establishing a sense of national cultural identity. 

So as to build up forces for enemy agitation and dissemination, Party Committees at all levels directed mass organizations to be conscious that the enemy’s families were the masses; it was necessary to make them clearly distinguish between friends and enemies, encourage them to proactively engage in revolutionary work in hamlets, organized them into unions and assigned tasks to them actively and persistently mobilizing their relatives to make contributions to the revolution(4).

During the stages of the resistance war, cadres, party members and establishments were raised and sheltered by local residents so as to cling to the land and inhabitants. Cadres in charge of party establishment construction managed to develop political forces right in the enemy’s apparatus; other forces “clung on to the enemy’s belts to fight”, formulating “belts to exterminate the US troops”, which made the enemy insecure even at their bases. 

Thanks to good mass mobilization work, the Vietnamese forces continuously won victories in the struggle for retaining the land and the people. The people keeping up the spirit of political and military struggles, together with enemy agitation and dissemination, created three spearhead attacks in all three strategic regions. Political struggles of all classes of people continued to occur; resistance war bases were constantly expanded and consolidated. The Truong Son strategic transport routes, with the residents’ support, ceaselessly went deep into the Southern localities; the wharves to receive weapons and techniques transported via Ho Chi Minh Path were safely organized. The mobilization of local logistics was constantly enhanced. Thanks to the residents’ contributions, the total amount of commodity exploited and purchased on the spot between 1964 and 1975 was: 613,182 tons of food; 86,197 tons of foodstuff; 23,663 tons of petrol; 31,812 tons of other products(5). The Southern Vietnamese army and people, from 1961 to 1975 exterminated 58,191 US troops, annihilated, captured and wounded 4,251,300 puppet troops(6). Mass mobilization work highly brought into play the synergy leading the all-people, comprehensive resistance war to the final victory.

To recapitulate briefly on the resistance war, General Van Tien Dzung pointed out: “The secret of the victory was that we established synergy which was encouraged and highly developed under the direction of integrated strategy. Can this be regarded as the most quintessential art of steering the resistance war against the US colonialists for national salvation? The synergy originated from an inexhaustible solid foundation - the people, or the people’s hearts and strength to be more specific”(7). Accordingly, “the US troops who made good preparations for a conventional war with an obvious front line in which they were able to take full advantage of weapons and modern technical means were caught in an “extremely uncomfortable” people’s war posture. That was because there was a battlefield everywhere, each resident acted as a soldier; vegetation, rivers, mountains and insects seemed to participate in the struggle under the effective control of the people”(8).

From the practice of mass mobilization work in the South (1954-1975), some lessons were drawn as follows:

Firstly, mass mobilization work should be always attached importance to in every stage of the revolution. 

Mass mobilization work should be always paid attention to based on the revolutionary guideline in each stage and concretized into specific policies. Carrying out the line of people’s war, in which political forces and struggles play a pivotal role, the all-level Party committees always stick to and rely on the people, concentrating on dissemination, mobilization work and the building of strong mass forces. Rallying in large numbers, expanding the great national unity bloc, regardless of ethnicities, religions, genders and age groups. Simultaneously, educating and politically enlightening the masses, maintaining the spirit, persevering in struggles, believing in the national strength, pointing out the enemy’s foibles, preserving the determination to struggle for revolutionary goals and ideals, determining to score victory without losing heart in the face of challenges.

It is compulsory to develop forms and approaches to mobilization in accordance with circumstances, locations, contents and types of residents. Parallel to mobilizing the masses to struggle for the strategic goal - against the US imperialists and its henchmen, unifying the country, the all-level Party committees ought to pay attention to campaign and organize the people to struggle for the protection of practical interests, rally the forces to fight and support each other in life, strengthening the great national unity bloc.

The practice of mass mobilization work, the construction of the revolutionary forces during the resistance war against the US imperialists proves that the implementation of mass mobilization approaches must strictly adhere to the principle: rallying the strength of the entire people to struggle for their pressing needs and vital interests; unfailingly resolving the relationship between the struggle for the national interests and the fight for the protection of freedom, democracy and the people’s life; immediate goals and long-term strategies. 

Mass mobilization work in the Southern battlefields between 1954 and 1975 was carried out on the basis of the revolutionary line, goals and tasks in each stage, in conformity with the contexts, conditions and national, religious and cultural characteristics, ensuring the masses’ interests. The judicious leadership guideline served as the banner assembling all the revolutionary forces. Revolutionary policies and guidelines penetrating deeply into the masses was the root of revolutionary movements, encouraging a large number of masses to engage in the struggles. 

Secondly, proactively and flexibly taking approaches for mass mobilization.

Mass mobilization work aimed at assembling the masses into organizations so as to bring into play their strength. The all-level Party committees led the construction and expansion of the United National Front in localities and developed a system of gender and branch organizations ensuring systematism under the close and opportune leadership.

A network of information and dissemination agencies was established. The Central Bureau published Tien Phong Magazine; The National Front for the Liberation of the South with Giai Phong Newspaper; the Association of the South Liberation Letters and Arts with the Van Nghe Giai Phong; Region party committees and provincial party committees such as Southwest Region Party Committees with The Nhan Dan Mien Tay and Ren Luyen Journal; The National Front for the Liberation of the Southwest with The Giai Phong Mien Tay; Quang Tri province with  The Phan Dau, Cuu Nuoc; Hue with The Giai Phong, Co Giai Phong, etc.  The press played an important role in disseminating, supporting and reflecting upon the local activities, promptly setting good examples in combat.

Steering the mass mobilization work, party committees unfailingly attached importance to sending cadres to stick close on the grassroots and people, firmly grasping mass organizations and proactively mobilizing the masses in the struggles. Cadres and party members shared joys and sufferings with the masses, pioneering in battlefields, setting good examples and encouraging the masses, particularly in tough and fierce battlegrounds.

Through emulation movements, setting good examples from the practice of the resistance war, mass organizations carried out a variety of forms of dissemination which enabled genders, age groups, classes and people’s strata in localities to be conscious of the goal and task of the resistance war. Carrying out mass mobilization work, party organizations, Fronts, liberation unions became more mature and stronger.  

Thirdly, the cadre work was always prioritized in all circumstances, meeting the requirements of the revolutionary tasks; party members unfailingly shared joys, sufferings and hardships with the masses. 

In the process of leading the revolution, party committees always concentrated on building the contingent of cadres so as to meet the requirements of their tasks.  Taking care of the cadre work in general, cadres in charge of mass mobilization work in particular who were ideologically and politically stable, capable, lived in the people’s pockets and respected the people constituted a decisive factor for mass mobilization. In difficult situations, party committees especially paid attention to learning and grasping the policies and guidelines opportunely. Southwest Region Party Committees in 1964 alone ran two training courses with 289 trainees. Cadre-training schools in provincial localities organized 17 training courses in politics for 1,183 cadres of mass organizations from district to grassroots levels. In early 1965, the Region School of Party Principles provided elementary and immediate courses for and trained 774 officials of all departments and branches from the regional to grassroots levels. Party committees and mass mobilization branches also provided expertise training courses for cadres and party members(9).

All-level party committees took notice of disseminating and mobilizing the masses through cadres and party members’ activities, their commitment and exemplary roles. This was the most efficient way of leadership.

Through struggling, the contingent of mass mobilization cadres was trained and challenged with no hesitation in overcoming hardships and sacrifices, stick to the localities and grassroots, disseminated and persuaded the masses to firmly believe in the victory of the revolution. Cadres, party members at the grassroots level upheld the spirit of initiative and creativity. Each cadre, front, socio-political union and organization surmounted the enemy’s persecution, penetrated into the masses in order to disseminate and mobilize them to thoroughly grasp the Party’s policies and guidelines; learnt from the people’s experience and organizations, joined with the people to struggle and provided them with opportune support and encouragement. 

Today, the cause of Renewal has attained tremendous achievements of historical significance; Vietnam has been in the strong integration process in which hardships, challenges and potential risks are intertwined with great opportunities; hostile forces have made use of nationalism, religions, and human rights to distort and incite residents to break the great national unity bloc. The success of the mass mobilization work in the resistance war against the US imperialists for national salvation are of profoundly practical significance, which all-level party committees, authorities and organizations can apply and bring into play in the new context.


Received: March 1, 2022; Revised: March 10, 2022; Accepted for publication: April 22, 2022.



(1) Cited: History of the Southern Region Party Committee and the Central Bureau of the South, Truth National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2015, p.577.

(2) Chau Thanh District Party Committee: Traditional history of revolutionary struggles of Chau Thanh District Party Committee and people (1930-1975), Propaganda and Training Department of Chau Thanh District Party Committee, Tra Vinh, 1999, p.220.

(3) History of the Southern Region Party Committee and the Central Bureau of the South, Truth National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2015, p.576.

(4) Southwest Region Party Committee: Resolution of the Executive Committee Conference of the Party Committee of the Region, Documents filed at the Science, Technology and Environment Department, Military Region 9 High Command, notation: 118a/1970-QK9, Can Tho, 1970, p.31.

(5), (6) War Summary Steering Committee under the Politburo: Vietnam Revolutionary War 1945-1975, Victory and Lessons drawn, Truth National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2000, pp. 564, 565.

(7), (8) Van Tien Dzung: The Resistance War against the US imperialists for national salvation, Truth National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 1996, pp.510, 513.

(9) Southwestern Region Party Committee: Resolution of the First Western Party Building Conference (January 1965), Documents filed at the Science, Technology and Environment Department, Military Region 9 High Command, notation: 04/1965-QK9, Can Tho, 1965, p.3.

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