Building Ho's Army
Chinese Military Assistance to North Vietnam
As a communist state bordering Vietnam, China actively facilitated the transformation of Ho Chi Minh's army from a small, loosely organized, poorly equipped guerrilla force in the 1940s into a formidable, well-trained professional army capable of defeating first the French (1946–1954) and then the Americans (1963–1973). Even after the signing of the Geneva Peace Agreement, China continued to aggressively support Vietnam. Between 1955 and 1963, Chinese military aid totaled $106 million and these massive contributions enabled Ho Chi Minh to build up a strong conventional force. After 1964, China increased its aid and provided approximately $20 billion more in military and economic aid to Vietnam.
Western strategists and historians have long speculated about the extent of China's involvement in Vietnam, but it was not until recently that newly available archival materials revealed the true extent of China's influence—its level of military assistance training, strategic advising, and monetary means during the war. This illuminating study answers questions about China's intention, objective, strategy, and operations of its involvement in the Vietnam Wars.
About the Author
"A very valuable addition to the historiography of the Indochinese wars, Xiaobing Li's latest book is a thoroughly researched, highly readable account of China's essential contribution to transforming the guerrilla force of the Democratic Republic of (North) Vietnam into a formidable regular army. Drawing on newly available Chinese-language primary and secondary sources, this fascinating military history provides a detailed view of China's strategic, advisory, and logistic assistance to the DRV."—William J. Rust, of Eisenhower and Cambodia: Diplomacy, Covert Action, and the Origins of the Second Indochina War
"Xiaobing Li's detailed account of Chinese military assistance to North Vietnam between 1950 and 1956 is essential reading for anyone interested in the military dimension of Sino-Vietnam relations in the early years of the Indochina War."—Ang Cheng Guan, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
"The interviews he conducted add invaluable colour to a fragmentary official record of Chinese aid that has undoubtedly been inflated as China sought to build a public relations case against what it saw as Vietnamese ingratitude."—Canadian Journal of History
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