49th anniversary of Vietnam’s victory in its struggle for national independence and unification: a golden page of history

By Pedro Gellert

Vietnam’s history is forever marked by the moment of victory on April 30, 1975, when the revolutionary flag flew over the roof of Independence Palace, the last bastion of the U.S. supported government in Saigon. A day full of joy, as North and South were reunited under one administration.

It was an unconventional war, without front lines, with fighting that took place outside the delimited battle zones, involving the civilian population, villages, and jungles and rain forests.

The strategy of the Vietminh and the National Liberation Front of subjecting the United States to a very costly war of attrition, which sparked international criticism and the rejection of an important part of American society, was successful. This international support and especially the anti-war movement in the United States, which in turn fueled a division in the U.S. ruling class, facilitated the revolutionary victory.

The U.S. military intervention left an enormous toll in casualties: more than 58,000 American dead, 250,000 South Vietnamese and nearly one million North Vietnamese soldiers killed, between the Vietminh and the National Liberation Front. To this must be added nearly two million civilian casualties.

The war had created an apocalyptic scenario that stretched for hundreds of kilometers across Vietnam. However, underneath that same rubble, there was a people who wasted no time in making themselves visible and forever leaving behind the darkness of the tunnels and the rain forest.

The victory of April 30, 1975 demonstrated not only the intelligence and strategic capacity of the Communist Party, led by the national hero, the legendary Ho Chi Minh, to lead the revolutionary war, but also the rebellious spirit of the Vietnamese people in the fight against the invaders. The victory put an end to more than a century of colonialism, opening a new era for the nation, that of peace and national independence on the road to socialism.

At the same time, the Vietnamese victory was a triumph for progressive forces worldwide, including those in the United States, and taught an entire generation the lesson that it is possible to win, that it is possible to overthrow imperialist-imposed regimes with a conscious and mobilized people, a revolutionary leadership and political line, accompanied by international solidarity and support.

The completion of national reunification created the basic political conditions for comprehensively strengthening Vietnam’s development, advancing toward socialism, protecting the homeland, and expanding relations with all countries of the world.

Today, Vietnam is taking on the task of securing a decent life for its people, reconfiguring its priorities, without losing sight of the conditions that made it possible to define its own identity, conscious that the war, far from being a finished conflict, is a deep wound with traumas that are still being relived today. However, the people of Vietnam do not speak or act conditioned by hatred; they have sought non-violent ways to address the tragedy. The rubble did not turn Vietnam into a country with collectivized violence. The country lives in peace, integrated into a world that does not make its task easy.

Despite many ups and downs, Vietnam, with strong will and aspirations and concrete actions, has scored great historical achievements. During more than 35 years of applying the policy of Doi moi (Renewal), under the Party’s leadership, the country has achieved major successes.

In fact, in the eyes of the international community, Vietnam represents a global success story in terms of economic development and international integration.

The domestic economy has experienced strong and steady growth. Vietnam’s GDP growth over the past 30 years is among the highest in the world, with average annual increases of 6-6.5%. In four consecutive years, from 2016 to 2019, Vietnam was among the 10 fastest growing countries in the world and one of the 16 most successful emerging economies. Specifically, GDP increased by 8.02% in 2022, the highest rate since 2011, 5.05% in 2023, and the projection for 2024 is 6-6.5%.

Exports have also enjoyed impressive growth for many years. Specifically, they reached US$372 billion in 2022, a year-on-year rise of 10.6%. Thus, it was the seventh consecutive year that the country posted a trade surplus, valued at nearly $11.2 billion, more than 3.3 times higher than in 2021.

Currently, Vietnam is also one of the most important destinations for foreign investment. In 2023, foreign direct investment in Vietnam reached US$36.6 billion, an increase of 32% compared to 2022.

In terms of internet and smartphone users, Vietnam has become a leading country worldwide with rapid growth in this field.

The material and spiritual life of the population has improved and social welfare is guaranteed. The country has also focused on promoting the role of culture and comprehensive human development. Job creation and poverty reduction have achieved good results. Along with this, socialist democracy has been promoted, and national unity has been strengthened. The construction of the Party, the socialist rule of law, and the political system have all been accelerated.

Foreign relations continue to expand. Vietnam’s position and prestige have mushroomed in the international arena. To date, Vietnam has established diplomatic relations with 193 UN member states and strategic partnerships with more than 30 countries, including the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. At the multilateral level, Vietnam is an active and responsible member of more than 70 major international organizations and forums such as the UN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). In addition, Vietnam has hosted major events and fulfilled many important international responsibilities as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, and chair of ASEAN.

The Resolution of the 13th Party Congress, as well as resolutions of the National Assembly, the Government and Party committees at all levels define specific orientations, tasks, and objectives to move Vietnam forward toward building a country of independence, freedom, and happiness, a powerful Vietnam, a developing country with a socialist orientation.

Forty-nine years have passed, but the great value and significance of the 1975 General Offensive and Spring Uprising, which culminated in the historic victory, still shines brightly and is a source of encouragement to all its people in the cause of national renewal.