From Anticolonialism to Mobilizing Socialist Transformation in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, 1945-1960


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation examines the Democratic Republic of Vietnam’s (DRV) mass mobilization and land reform policies to explore the rise of communist revolution in Vietnam and the violent transformation of that country from colonialism to communism between 1945 and 1960. Using archival sources along with newspapers, journals, memoirs, and interviews, the project demonstrates that land reform was the DRV’s most important domestic policy to transform North Vietnam’s society and political structure during the 15-year period following the end of World War II. It was orchestrated to mobilize popular support against French colonial rule, to gain control over the population, and to prepare conditions to unify Vietnam under communist rule. The project departs from Western-centric understanding of the wars in Vietnam to emphasize the centrality of Vietnamese actors and to illuminate the significance of domestic politics in shaping the trajectories of national and international affairs, including the First and Second Indochina Wars.