The Elusive Third Way: The Vietnamese Search for a Political Settlement to the War (1954-1975)


ACLS Fellowship Program


History and Vietnamese Philosophy, Culture, and Society


This project examines the search for a neutral or political solution to the Vietnam War though the lens of the Vietnamese actors. Although in the 1990s there was considerable discussion of “missed opportunities” to negotiate peace during the Vietnam War, there has been relatively little attention paid to how the Vietnamese parties would have achieved this. This study records as objectively as possible the dilemmas and failures of the leaders in the middle ground. The effects of a long war on civil society and the erosion of possibilities for dissent in both North and South Vietnam are integral parts of this story. One of the unexamined aspects of this story is the political evolution of the Lao Dong (Workers) Party in North Vietnam.