Le Duan: A Brief Description of a North Vietnamese Leader

 

Le Duan

Le Duan was one of the top four leaders in the Vietnamese Communist Party during the Vietnam War.  When Ho Chi Minh died in 1968, Le Duan took over as the head of North Vietnam.  He wasn’t a highly educated man like Vo Nguyen Giap, but Le Duan was highly intelligent.  Some facts suggests that he was the man pulling much of the strings inside the Communist Party.  Further evidence even supports Le Duan surpassing Ho Chi Minh in terms of support within the Party.  With his charismatic character and clever political mind, Le Duan was able to marginalize Ho Chi Minh’s influence.  In the years after the civil war, Le Duan also manages to neutralize general Vo Nguyen Giap and consolidate his power.  He may be a smart politicion, but when it comes to running the country, Le Duan fails in a major way.  When the North takes Saigon in 1975, Le Duan orders for the execution of many Southern soldiers, government officials and professional workers.  He could have utilized the Vietnamese talent to build the country but instead took revenge on individuals who were just doing their job.  Not only that, he destroys the strong economic base that South Vietnam had developed over the course of 20 years, weakening the country significantly.  He also established the “New Economic Zone,” where all the landowners and rich individuals were held after they were stripped of all their belongings.  Le Duan’s treacherous government policies and hardline, Stalinist approach created the suffering of millions of Vietnamese people.  He may be clever politically, but as a head of state Le Duan fall’s significantly short.

 

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