The United States Isn’t the Only Country Still Trying to Figure Out the Vietnam War by Tuong Vu
Excerpt: Yet public opinion inside Vietnam about the meaning of the war has quietly shifted in the last two decades as Vietnamese gained the freedom to travel abroad, as scholars gained access to previously classified documents, and as the internet broke the government’s monopoly on access to information. The internet has been the government’s chief adversary more than anything else. Most Vietnamese were born after the war, and without the internet they would not have been able to know what really happened during the war and in its aftermath. No opinion survey on the topic is permitted, but one gets a sense of the public mood by following online discussions and by initiating informal conversations with ordinary Vietnamese. Much to the government’s chagrin, Vietnamese now view the war as a proxy war and civil war rather than one for national liberation and unification. In fact, Mr. Le Duan, the leader of the Communist Party who is now acknowledged by historians as the primary architect of the war effort within North Vietnam’s leadership, said in closed meetings that the ultimate goal of the war was to establish communism all over Vietnam. As recently declassified documents show, Mr. Duan repeatedly insisted that the war was fought not only in Vietnam’s interests but also for the Soviet bloc.