Country Listing

Vietnam Table of Contents



The Socialist Republic of Vietnam, created from the former Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), was established as a new nation in July 1976. Previous editions in this series discussed the North and South separately under the respective titles Area Handbook for North Vietnam, published in 1967 and reprinted in 1981 as North Vietnam: A Country Study, and Area Handbook for South Vietnam, published in 1967. Written at the height of the Second Indochina War, these books described a divided Vietnam that ceased to exist in 1975 when Saigon fell to communist forces.

The current study focuses on the years between 1975 and the mid-1980s, when a nascent and newly reunified nation struggled to develop a postwar identity. It was a period marked by a change in leadership, as Vietnam's first generation of communist leaders began to retire in favor of younger technocrats; by the introduction of significant economic reforms, including the preservation of private enterprise in the South; and by major foreign policy developments, particularly the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed with the Soviet Union, the invasion and occupation of Cambodia, and the 1979 border war with China.

A multidisciplinary team, assisted by a support staff, researched and wrote this book. Information came from a variety of sources, including scholarly studies, governmental and international organization reports, and foreign and domestic newspapers and periodicals.

For the reader's reference, a brief commentary on source material is provided at the end of each chapter; complete citations appear in the Bibliography. Foreign and technical terms are defined when they first appear in the text, and other terms that require further definition are included in the Glossary. Appendixes provide tabular data (see Appendix A) and information on Vietnam's leaders in the 1980s (see Appendix B). Use of contemporary place names is in accordance with the standards of the United States Board of Geographic Names. When place names vary historically, the name consistent with the historical period under discussion is used. All measurements are metric (see table 1, Appendix A).

Data as of December 1987