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Vietnam protests, 1975–1993

Daniel Hémery

Subject Political History » Diplomacy and International Relations

Place South-Eastern Asia » Vietnam

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics communism, economy, neoliberalism, revolution, war

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01544.x


On May 1, 1975, the day after the North Vietnamese entered Saigon, Khmer Rouge troops launched their first incursions into the Vietnamese islands of the Gulf of Siam. This third Indochinese War, the first between the communist states, posed a new political and military problem throughout Southeast Asia: who would succeed the US and France as the new regional hegemonic power? The reunification of Vietnam under a communist regime had immediately raised the question of the reorganization of the Indochinese peninsula. For the People's Republic of China (PRC), which had always considered Indochina its “natural” sphere of influence, the issue was to prevent Vietnam, which supported the USSR after the Sino-American rapprochement, from succeeding the US as the dominant power in Southeast Asia. For the USSR, on the other hand, maintaining Vietnamese hegemony in the peninsula was a strategic necessity for several reasons, primarily to contain China's growing influence. The four adversaries in the third Indochinese War formed two main alliances between 1975 and 1978: Cambodia and the People's Republic (linked by a secret military accord of February 6, 1976, followed on February 24, 1977 by the non-renewal of Chinese aid to Vietnam) against Vietnam and the USSR (through a treaty of friendship of November 3, 1978), together with the Soviet allies and the countries of the socialist camp. For ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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