Acknowledgments and Preface
The authors are indebted to a number of individuals who contributed their time and specialized knowledge to this volume: Dorothy Avery of the Department of State for her insights into the Vietnamese political process; William Newcomb of the Department of State for his contribution to the discussion on Vietnam's economy; Nguyen Phuong Khanh of the Far Eastern Law Division of the Library of Congress for sharing her knowledge of Vietnamese law; and Bill Herod of the Indochina Project and Douglas Pike of the Indochina Archives, Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California at Berkeley, for making a number of rare photographs available for publication.
The authors also wish to express their appreciation to members of the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, whose high standards and dedication helped shape this volume. These include Sharon Costello, Barbara L. Dash, Marilyn L. Majeska, and Ruth Nieland for editing the manuscript; David P. Cabitto, Sandra K. Cotugno, and Kimberly A. Lord for their numerous contributions to the book's graphics; Susan M. Lender for her assistance in preparing maps; Russell G. Swenson for his review of textual references to Vietnam's geography; and Arvies J. Staton for his contribution to the charts on military rank and insignia. Thanks are also extended to Teresa E. Kamp for her artwork, and Harriett R. Blood for preparing the map on Vietnam's topography.
The following organization and individuals are gratefully acknowledged as well: Shirley Kessel for preparing the index; Carolyn Hinton for performing the prepublication review; Marilyn L. Majeska for managing production; and Diann Johnson of the Library of Congress, Composing Unit for preparing the cameraready copy, under the supervision of Peggy Pixley.
Finally, the editor wishes to acknowledge Ly H. Burnham and Tuyet L. Cosslett for providing an invaluable native Vietnamese perspective and language capability; Elizabeth E. Green-Revier for her insights into Chinese foreign policy; Elizabeth A. Park and Kim E. Colson for their knowledge of telecommunications; Barbara Edgerton, Izella Watson, Tracy M. Henry, and Meridel M. Jackson for untold hours of word processing; and Russell R. Ross, Robert L. Worden, Richard F. Nyrop, and Martha E. Hopkins for reviewing all parts of the book.
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.
Foreign and technical terms are defined when they first appear in the text. 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.
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