Vietnam War

From 30-31 January 1968, 70,000 North Vietnamese soldiers, together with guerrilla fighters of the NLF, launched one of the most daring military campaigns in history. The Tet Offensive was the real turning point in the Vietnam War. On its 40th anniversary, Alan Woods analysed the events that led to the Vietnam War and the significance of the Tet Offensive in bringing about the defeat of US imperialism, and drew some parallels with Iraq.

As US imperialism prepares to go to war against Iraq, Jonathan Clyne looks back at the Vietnam War. He shows quite clearly the level of radicalisation that had developed among both the US soldiers fighting in Vietnam and the mass opposition that had developed back home among US workers and youth. As he says, "It was the American working class, those in uniform and those without, that more than anything else put an end to the war."

In 1975 the Vietnamese people gained a historic victory, driving out the US armed forces and liberating the south. After 28 years of war the country was reunited and capitalism and landlordism abolished throughout. With these heroic sacrifices, the Vietnamese workers and peasants paid the price for the defeat of the revolution of 1945,when they had power in their grasp. Why was this opportunity lost in 1945? What are the lessons of this defeat for the workers' struggle today?

In 1972 Ted Grant highlighted the fact that the war in Vietnam was unwinnable by US imperialism. The US army was demoralised and could not fight a people struggling for national and social liberation. While Marxists supported the Vietnamese people, the regime that would come to power would be modelled on Stalinist Russia and China and therefore would require political revolution for the masses to move towards genuine socialism.