General Vo Nguyen Giap passed away on October 4. In memory of the military commander, Nhan Dan Online features excerpts from the Anthology of Le Kha Phieu, published in 2010.

In this article, the former Party Secretary General talks of a great personality who devoted his whole life to the struggle for national independence and post-war national construction.

“… General Vo Nguyen Giap, who is usually called intimately Brother Van by our army, was born in the autumn of 1911.
It is a historical coincidence when Brother Van was at the age of 34, our country witnessed a significant event, the August Revolution in 1945. He is among the first generation of revolutionaries who motivated the people to stand up and oust the colonial and feudal regimes to establish the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the first state of the peasants and farmers in Southeast Asia.

General Vo Nguyen Giap held many posts in the provisional revolutionary Government, especially since he was appointed Minister of Defence cum Commander-in-chief of the Vietnam People’s Army. After the two long and arduous resistance wars, our people scored a great triumph, marking an end to the struggle for national liberation and unification. That resounding victory is the culmination of the power of our army and people, power of the great national unity, sound and creative revolutionary guidelines of the Party and wisdom of a group of elite staff, among whom is General Vo Nguyen Giap.

General Vo Nguyen Giap is one of the most exceptional disciples of Uncle Ho. He was educated and trained by Uncle Ho when he was living and working close to him, before and during the August Revolution and the nine-year war against the French. He considered this a rare chance in his life so he made a great effort to follow the spirit, ideology, morality and lifestyle of the great leader Ho Chi Minh. During his revolutionary life, General Vo Nguyen Giap was very serious about learning and gaining experience from the real life. Through such contemplation, he developed a deeper understanding of President Ho Chi Minh’s ideology and morality. Later, when our Party determined Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh’s ideology as the foundation of its ideology and lodestar for the Vietnamese revolution, General Vo Nguyen Giap paid an increasing attention to studying the Ho Chi Minh Ideology in a systematic and comprehensive approach and produced several valuable works.

Studying and applying the Ho Chi Minh Ideology on all areas, especially in military campaigns, is General Giap’s consistent guideline during his revolutionary life. General Giap always reminds us that what is critical to studying the Ho Chi Minh Ideology is following his ideology closely and properly. As a true patriot who embraced revolutionary ideas at a very young age and educated by Uncle Ho, General Giap has combined his incessant efforts and innate talent to become a general adept in both arts and military tactics.

For Vietnam, a poor and backward farming country, to defeat economically and militarily powerful countries with cutting-edge weaponry, the decisive factor is a sound revolutionary guideline that incorporates the people’s wisdom and spirit of the time. During the two resistance wars, General Vo Nguyen Giap made great contributions to the formation of a unique military tactic, known as the people’s war. That tactic inherits and brings into play our forefathers’ experience accumulated over thousands of years of resistance against foreign aggressors which use humanity to defeat cruelty and small to defeat big. The tactic was born from the unique Vietnamese culture that emphasises independence and boasts intense patriotism and determination to win with intelligence and manoeuvres of the entire nation.

After the “Dien Bien Phu in the air” victory in 1972, a French historian said: “The SAM missiles are used for lofty purposes by the culture of Vietnam and the character of Vietnam.” In November 1995, in response to former US Defence Secretary McNamara’s question why the Americans lost the war in Vietnam, General Vo Nguyen Giap said “The Americans invaded Vietnam but did not understand our country. We have a solid cultural foundation and a unique military tactic that has been tested in history. So we won.” After General Giap’s answer, McNamara exclaimed “You are right.”

General Vo Nguyen Giap is not only a military commander but also a thinker, a scientist and a man of culture who always combines reasoning with reality. He always attaches importance to summarising history, especially important events to draw helpful lessons for senior leaders and himself. He has a broad knowledge and a new way of thinking.

On the country’s economic reforms, with the responsibility and passion of a senior revolutionary for the country’s development, General Vo Nguyen Giap has offered significant advices to the Party and State leaders. He stressed that Vietnam has to determine education and sci-tech as the top priorities for national modernisation and industrialisation. Vietnam needs to bring into full play the internal power of the people from all walks of life and economic sectors to move towards deeper regional and international integration. Only in that way can Vietnam maintain its independence and lift is position on the international arena.

General Vo Nguyen Giap also pays a close attention to Party rectification and building an all-people’s defence strategy. On the Party building, General Vo Nguyen Giap always stresses that in order to make the Party strong and healthy, the weapon of criticism and self-criticism must be used effectively and bureaucracy and corruption must be eliminated. On that basis, the idea of a state of the people, by the people and for the people should be reinforced and each State official a servant of the people as instructed by Uncle Ho.

On national defence, as his whole life is devoted to the struggle for national independence, General Giap always urges the entire Party, army and people to be fully aware of two strategic tasks, namely building and defending the Motherland. National construction must go hand in hand with national defence, economic development must be combined with defence and security. Building the people’s armed forces and an all-people defence strategy is the responsibility of the entire Party, army, people and the political system.
General Vo Nguyen Giap always prompts us to be vigilant to safeguard national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Contempt, conservatism and dogmatism should be avoided. There must be specific and active measures to implement the guidelines of the Party and State successfully.

Our people highly value General Vo Nguyen Giap’s great contributions. General Vo Nguyen Giap is deservedly the “Eldest Brother” of the Vietnam People’s Army. International friends, politicians, scholars and military strategists admire and respect General Vo Nguyen Giap and consider him a talented and adept general…

The General is forever an unfailing source of light for the Vietnamese people, army and communists…”.-VNA