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Urbanization in War: Hanoi, 1946-1973

Author(s): William S. Turley

Source: Pacific Affairs, Vol. 48, No. 3 (Autumn, 1975), pp. 370-397
Published by: Pacific Affairs, University of British Columbia
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Urbanizationin War: Hanoi,
I946- I973

William S. Turley

H AANOI HAS BEEN the focal point of two fundamentally

kinds of war, and a comparison of the impact of these on its
development should illuminate the relationshipbetween war and ur-
banization.' These two wars were the Resistance against France,
I946-54, and the period of direct American involvementin the Second
Indochina War, i965-73. Although both wars temporarilyencouraged
economic fragmentation,they had quite differenteffectson popula-
tion movement, the distribution of inequalities between city and
country, among segments of the urban population, and on the
"urban-rural gap."
The War of Resistance
The firstwar affected Hanoi deeply at the outset, because the
opening battle was a contest for control of the city, or, more ac-
curately, a heroic if doomed attempt by ill-armed and poorly coor-
dinated regional forces to buy time for the fledgling Democratic
Republic of Vietnam (DRV) to regroup. In two months of fighting
betweeni9 December I946 and I7 FebruaryI947, all ofthe city'ses-
sential services and most of its industrywere destroyed.In addition to
insecurityand hardships caused by the fighting,urban lifewas made
almost unbearable by an absence of grain reserves (due to an earlier
famine throughoutthe North) and severance of access to agricultural
areas by French encirclement.The civilian population not only had a
strong motivation to leave the city but also burdened the forces
selected to remain; in consequence, virtually all citizens but the
defenders (I,200 men, 200 women, and ioo children or "little guar-
dians" (veuit)and a few"traitors,thieves,foreigners"and persons not
1 This articleis a revisedand expanded versionof a paper originallypresentedto a sym-
posium on "Cities under Siege" at the annual meetingof the AssociationforAsian Studies,
Boston,3 April 1974.The adviceand encouragement ofProfessor Allan E. Goodman,and com-
mentson an earlierdraftfromProfessor JohnathanOcko, bothofClarkUniversity, are grateful-
ly acknowledged.


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Urbanization in War: Hanoi, 1946-1973
physicallyable to leave eitherfled or were evacuated.2When the
fightingended, people were reluctantto returnbecause of delayed
restorationof services,destructionof homes,lack of commerceand
capital,exorbitantcostsof livingand patrioticdistasteat the idea of
returning to a zone ofFrenchcontrol.In 1948-49, Hanoi's population
may stillhave been as low as io,ooo3 (as comparedto 120,000 in the
greatermetropolitan area in I943.4) The cityrecovereditspopulation
only aftermore than two yearsof stagnation,and when it did, the
drivingforceof recoverywas the occupation by the French\Ex-
Before delineatingthe effectsof that occupation, it must be
emphasizedthatthe revolutionary forcesattemptedunremittingly to
penetratethe city with political and even militaryorganization.
Ratherthan recedeintothemountainsand abandon thecityentirely
to the French, the revolutionariesassassinated collaboratorsin
colonial government, establishedguerrillaunitsin suburbanvillages,
recruitedguerrillasinside the city,and maintainedcovertorganiza-
tions to fomentmass politicalexpression.(In this respectthe Viet-
namese attachedgreaterimportanceto the citiesthan the Chinese
Communistsdid duringMao's rise to power.) Only in JanuaryI952
did the PoliticalBureau of the Lao Dong (Workers')Partyconcede
failureto maintainan aggressiveorganizationin Hanoi and suspend
violenceexceptas necessaryto protectpoliticalwork.5IfthePartydid
notsucceedin maintaining the footholdit desired,it at leastretarded
the restorationof French controlthroughoutthe capital area and
forcedthe Frenchto divertvaluable resourcesto urban securityand
staticdefense.Whiletheseeffects reducedpressureson revolutionary
forcesin thecountryside, theyalso intensified theoccupation'simpact
on the city.
The French were able to "clear and hold" Hanoi between
FebruaryI 947 and May I 954 because in thecompactDelta theycould
makeeffective use ofsuperiorconventional forcesand coercivetechni-
ques and easily supply the city fromthe South or abroad. This
2 Tran Huy Lieu (ed.), Lichsu ThudoHa-noi[HistoryofHanoi] (Hanoi: Vien su hoc, 1960),

229-35.This is, so far as I am able to determine,the sole comprehensivesource on the

RevolutionaryMovementinsideHanoi duringthe Resistance.The filesoftheSurete, whichun-
doubtedlycontainmuchvaluableinformation, have notbeen openedforresearchon thisperiod,
and otherDRV sourcesare mainlyanecdotal.
3 Ibid.,242.
4 Bo Quoc gia Kinh-te,Thongkenmen
(Annuaire du Vietnam),
Statisque Vol.I, i949-
1g5o (Vien thong-keva khao-chukinh-teViet-nam,1951), 25.
5 Tran Huy Lieu, op. Cit., 248-54.


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military fact had profound economic, social and political conse-
quences. When the French established the headquarters of the Zone
du Tonkin,the city became a garrison and staging area.
Although it always had been an administrative center much less
devoted to trade than Saigon, the failure to rebuild the small in-
dustrial base destroyed in I946-47 and the gross enlargement of com-
mercial, administrative and service functions consequent to the
militarybuild-up created serious distortions.These were artificialin
the sense that they depended on military occupation, but fromthe
French perspectivetheywere not altogetherundesirable because they
created a political base which they did not enjoy initiallyupon their
return to Vietnam.
In I949-50, attractedby Hanoi's expandingserviceand supply
economy, people began migratinginto the city.A substantial propor-
tion of these were formerresidents,especially small businessmen, who
stood most to gain by resuming urban trade. By I95I, the estimated
population of the greater metropolitan area was 2I7,000 of which
8oooo livedin the "citadel" or innercity;6thus the cityregained its pop-
ulation in a short period of time. By 1952 the population had grown
to more than twice its pre-war size. Although former residents
evidentlymade up the bulk of in-migrationin I948-49, persons who
had not formerlyresided in the city thereaftercomprised most of the
movement. The significance of rural instability in motivating this
migration is not known, although the "pacification" of the Delta in
I948-50 undoubtedly had some effect. Population estimates in I953
showed a decline in the absolute number of females in the suburban
population while total suburban population increased; at the same
time, females replaced males as the majority sex in the secure inner
city, suggesting that families fromoutlying areas were sending their
women and children into Hanoi forsafety.7But the attractionsof the
new economy also were undeniable. As it became increasinglydiffi-
cult to supply Hanoi with food and forestproducts fromlocal sources
(although the insurgentsalways were able to obtain what they needed
fromHanoi), the city grew more dependent upon external supply. In
I954, seventyto eightyper cent of Hanoi's rice came fromSaigon.8 As
the number and salaries of militaryand administrativepersonnel rose,
so did demand forforeignluxuries and basic household goods which

6 Thongke mengiam Viet-nam, op. cit.,p. 29.

'Ibid., Vol.II, I950-I95I, p. 27; Vol.III, I95I-I952, p. 26.
8 Tran Huy Lieu, Op. Clt., 268.


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in War: Hanoi,1946-1973
the damaged production-base no longer could supply.9 The distribu-
tion of such items depended on small retailerswho did not need much
capital to start business, and so small trade and peddling flourished.
By mid-i954, about 40,000marketstallkeepers,shop-owners,peddlers
and sidewalk-hawkers served the metropolitan area of 400,000, and
one familyin everytwo made its living fromtrade.'0 Certainly,petty
trade stimulated by the occupation allowed many otherwiseindigent
persons to subsist in the city.Although it is impossible to estimate the
proportion of the migrantsthat would have entered Hanoi had there
been no war or to discriminate between migrants in terms of their
motivationsto move, it can be surmised that the combination ofpush-
pull factors exacerbated by the war were primary causes of the
average annual wartime growth-rateof twentyper cent." At war's
end, many people followedthe French to Saigon, but Hanoi's popula-
tion remained fairly stable in the immediate post-war years, in-
dicating that most ofthe people who moved to the citydid so to stay or
had developed permanent ties. If any appreciable proportionof rural-
to-urban migrants during the war were "refugees" (in the narrow
classical sense) when they left home, they were not regarded, nor
evidentlydid they regard themselves, as such as by late I954.12
The structure of wartime growth, however, created an artificial
division of labor which was a sensitive issue forthe Marxist DRV: a
disproportionately large class of petty capitalists. In the view of
ideological purists, the city must have appeared to be irredeemably
petit bourgeois. But this merchant group was not homogeneous, nor
were all of its members materiallywell-off,foras the war created new
wealth it also distributedit verybadly. The rapid expansion ofthe im-
port trade enriched those who controlled it at the port of entryand
made modest fortunesfor middle-traders,while the proliferationof

'Indochina as a whole at this time was the third largest market,afterAlgeria and
Switzerland,forFrenchproducts,the mostimportant ofwhichweretextiles,automobiles,bicy-
cles, paper, clocks,watches,pharmaceuticals,flour,tinnedfoodand wine. Donald Lancaster,
The Emancipation ofFrenchIndochina (London: OxfordUniversityPress, 1961),416.
10 Tran Huy Lieu, Op. CILt.,251.An estimateafterthe transferofpowershowedroughly7,600
stall-keepers,io,oooshop-owners,io,ooopeddlersand io,ooosidewalk-hawkers. Ibid.,290.
" This estimateis crude because ofthe difficultyofestablishinga reliable,meaningful base-
figure(thelastofficialestimatebeforethewar,in 1943,was renderedmeaninglessbythefluctua-
tionsof 1946-47) and because theDRV made onlya roughestimateofHanoi's populationat the
transferof power.
12 The clearestexampleofrefugees in Hanoi was at theend ofWorldWar II, whenthecity
was filledwithrefugeesfromfamine,manyofwhomdied in thestreets.These persons,at least
thosewho stillhad thestrength and otherswhoheldFranceresponsible,swelledthecrowdsthat
participatedin theAugustRevolutionof 1945whentheDRV and theindependenceofVietnam
were proclaimed.


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small peddlers was largely a symptomofthe population pressures and
commercial policies which forcedso many to compete fora marginal
subsistence in the distributionand service sectors. Inequalities also
were marked among othermajor groups. The pay-scale of Vietnamese
civil servants in the colonial administration,which was not noted for
its generosityto the indigenes, was roughlyten times as high as that of
manual laborers.'3 Furthermore,the war leftHanoi with an estimated
I5,000 prostitutes,
i9,000 abandonedchildrenand orphansand 77,000
unemployed.'4 These conditions emphasized that, while the war ac-
celerated urban growth and commercialization and made prosperity
possible for some people, it also increased inequalities and caused
serious social and economic dislocations for many, as was true in
Saigon later. In historical perspective,the protractedcharacter of the
war and the methods chosen by France to wage it deepened cleavages
within an urban population which in I945 had demonstrated a rare
degree of unity. By enlarging those urban classes whose standard of
living depended on the French and the war economy, the war nur-
tured a social basis (and justification) forits own prolongation, but it
also exacerbated conditions which could have been exploited to resur-
rect revolutionary organization in the city had the war continued.
When the I954 Geneva Agreements made an uprising in Hanoi un-
necessary, the DRV returned to the city it once had ruled forover a
year but which had grown divided in its loyalties, part of the popula-
tion eagerly awaiting the return of Ho Chi Minh, and another part,
depleted by the exodus to the south, facingthe transferof power with
apprehension or resignation.'5

Hanoiin Peace
The transition from colonial to national rule also introduced
socialist transformation,which proved to be an effectivepreparation
for the second, much differenttype of conflict. When the DRV re-
entered Hanoi on io October 1954, this "fortressof colonialism" was
objectively "backward." It had not experienced the reforms nor
shared the hardships which had nourished the Resistance ethos. The
industrial proletariat was negligible, all but overwhelmed by the

13 Tran Huy Lieu, op. cit.,242-43.

'4 Ibid.,253, 270.
'5 Most foreign observersat thetimeremarkedon theapparentindifference or anxietyofthe
population,but a moresympathetic reporterassertedthatthiswas theprevailingmoodonlyin
the European and foreignquartersin the centerofthe city; see WilfredBurchett,Northofthe
SeventeenthParallel(Hanoi: Red River PublishingHouse, 2nd edition,1957), 98-99.


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in War: Hanoi,1946-1973
forcesofpettycommerce.'6Yet it was realizedthata largeproportion
ofthecity's40,000 pettycapitalistsand servicepersonnelhad takenup
theirtradesrecentlyand did not constitutea closely-knit class, and
thatthesheertechnicaldifficulties oftakingoverthecity'sadministra-
tionwouldrequirethecooperationofpersonswho had workedunder
the French. Moreover,the Party's doctrineprescribedan urban
proletariat as the foundationof a socialist society. "Building
socialism"therefore assigneda highpriority to urbanreconstruction
and industrialdevelopment' and favoredthe urban population
UnliketheregimesofNgo Dinh Diem and his successors
in Saigon,the DRV unhesitatingly undertooktheplannedexpansion
of Hanoi as the nation's cultural,politicaland industrialcapital.
Amongthemanyproblemsconfronted ofpower,not
at thetransfer
least werethe shortcomings of Partyand government cadres,whose
guerrillahabits conflicted withthe peacetimeneedsofcentralization
and predictablebureaucraticroutine.Many cadres displayedexces-
failureto consultand coordinate,failureto obtainap-
sive initiative,
provalof higherauthorities(all attributesof "mountain-topism"in
Chinese idiom), weak discipline,refusalto utilize skilled persons
previouslyassociated with the French, disregard of democratic
centralism,and excessive individualismand liberalism.'9 These
problemswere much like those which Ezra Vogel has identifiedin
Canton in I949-52.2OHowever,in Vietnam,unencumbered byChina's
size and diversity,therewere no sharp regionalconflictsto subvert
centralauthority(whichin China had required"SouthboundWork
Teams" of northerners to counteractCantoneselocalism),and large
numbersof cadres who had leftHanoi as youthsin I946-47 were
available to facilitateintegration."2These circumstancesand the
DRV's previousexperienceof governingthe city,as much as the
16 Virtually the only"productiveforces"in late 1954were 5,000 personsemployedby 1,500
handicraft shops,and eventhesepersonsdid notmeetrigidcriteriaofan industrialproletariat.
By 1957,Hanoi had 45 state-runenterprises employing9,ogg "workers"(cbngn/zn); Tran Huy
Lieu, op. cit., 271-272. In all ofthe DRV in I955, the workingclass was estimatedto be fourper
cent of total population, the "urban petit bourgeoisie" fiveper cent, and the "national
bourgeoisie"one per cent. By 1968,workershad risento sixteenper cent,the petitbourgeoisie
had declinedto fourper centorganizedin small handicrafts, and the nationalbourgeoisiehad
disappeared.Van Tao, "Ve chat Luong cua giai cap congnhan" (On theQualityofthe Work-
ing Class), ANghien
cuu Lich su, No. I44 (May-June 1972), 36.
17 Editorial,N/hanDan (i9 November1954), I.

18 The 1960 Constitution allottedone delegateto the National Assemblyforeveryio,ooo-

30,000 personsin major cities,in contrastto one forevery5o,oooin ruralareas.
19 N/hanDan (5 November 1954), 3.
20 CantonunderCommunism: Programsand Politics in a ProvincialCapital, 1949-1968 (Cambridge:
Harvard University Press, 1969), 41-90.
21 E.g., Nguyan Xuan
Sanh, N/hanDan (3I October 1954), 3.


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transferprovisionsnegotiatedat Geneva,permitteda smoothtransi-
tionin spiteofcadre shortcomings; theyalso werepartlyresponsible
forthe relativerestraintwith which subsequentreformswere im-
The firstrequirement was to restoreinterdependence betweenthe
twelve-square-kilometer "inner city" (nQitha/n/)and the I40 square
kilometersof suburbs (ngoqitha/n/), which in normal times were
Hanoi's main sourceof vegetablesand otherstaples. Parallel to the
creationof small freeholdersduringland reformin 1955-56, private
capitalistproductionin Hanoi was allowedto increaseby 272 percent
in orderto reduceunemployment.22 Gradually,however,as thecity's
marketstemptedfarmersto avoid sales to theState and undercutthe
cooperativization movement,the urban economywas socializedand
the 40,000 merchantsof 1954 were absorbed intocooperatives,made
agents of the State-OwnedTrading Corporation,or compelled to
share ownership of their enterprises(if they employed several
workers)withtheState.By i960, capitalismwas said to havebeenvir-
tuallyeliminatedand coordinationofthe urbanand ruraleconomies
Administrativereorganizationenlargedthe size and reducedthe
ticipationwere createdon a wideningrangeof levels.At liberation,
thecitywas placed undera joint civilian-military
administrative com-
mittee.Each oftheinnercity'sthirty-six wards (k/upho')was headed
by an administrative unitdirectlyresponsibleto thejoint command,
and suburbanboundarieswereenlargedand dividedintofourprefec-
tures. When militaryparticipationin citygovernment ended a year
later, four prefectureswere created in the inner city to mediate
betweenthe Municipal Administrative Committeeand thewards.In
I957, thefirst
electionswereheldfortheMunicipalPeople's Council.23
Nextyeartheinner-city prefectures wereabolishedand thethirty-six
wardsreducedto twelve,each nowresponsibleforadministering three
timesas large a constituency. The Law on Local Government and
Organizationof 31 May 1958 establishedelected People's Councils,
whichchose Administrative Committeesfromtheirmembers,in the
wards.The numberofwardswas further reducedto eighta yearlater.
Each ward in turnwas subdividedintosixteento twenty-five blocks
22 Tran Huy Lieu, Op.Cit., 273.
23 aspect,as 207 candidatesran forioo seats. In thenextelec-
This electionhad a competitive
tion (1961),only 135candidatesran,and thisnarrowingofthefieldhas been theruleeversince.
See summaryof electionsforthe Municipal People's Council, Hanoi Mot (5 May 1974),I.


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Urbanizationin War: Hanoi, 1946-1973
(kho&i)averaging2,500 to 5,ooopeople,and each blockintofiveor six
cells, or "teams," ofthirtyto fortyhouseholdswithan electedhead
and bearingcollectiveresponsibility forcertaincivicdutiesand mass
campaigns.Since the ward became the lowestlevelofadministrative
authority whiletheblocksand teamstookovermanyoftherepresen-
tative,securityand mobilizationfunctions, theeffectwas to makecity
government morecentralizedand distant,but also to place popular
participation in intimate settings. This institutionalstructure
facilitatedplanningand managementand helped secure the active
contributionof the populace to political campaigns, development
programsand enforcement of laws.
Seekingto transform Hanoi froma "colonialconsumption cityinto
a producingcity,"the Three Year Plan (1958-60) createdindustrial
sitesthroughout thecitybut especiallyin theoutskirts.
Such outlying
quartersas Bay Mau and Van Ho lost populationto industry, while
new residentialdistrictsappeared adjacent to factorysites in Phuc
Xa, Dai La and An Duong. Total populationgrew,industry sprawled
intothe suburbs,and suburbanagriculturalareas shrankas the out-
skirtsacquired an increasinglyurban character. The Municipal
Administrative Committeefoundthat itsjurisdictionwas no longer
adequate to manage the city'sfood supplyor to servicefurther de-
velopment,and that further reorganizationwas necessary.
The censusofI 960 revealedthatHanoi (includingdependentsub-
urbs) had grownto 643,576,makingit the DRV's eighthlargestad-
ministrative subdivisionwithfourper centofthe totaland forty-two
percentoftheurbanpopulation.24 Averageannual increasesinceI 954
had been about six per cent,much lowerthan duringthe war years
but doublethenationalrate.Most ofthisgrowthwas in theinnercity,
which contained458,ooopeople and was said to have reached the
limitsof its absorptivecapacity. Suburban populationgrowthhad
beenslower,in spiteofa higherfertility rate,butitseconomyand set-
tlementpatternshad changed substantiallyand would experience
further changeas industrialdevelopmentcontinued.To providethe
Hanoi Administrative Committeewithadequate authority to control
and servicethisgrowth,thecityboundaries weregreatly expanded in
i96i. Beforeannexation,theinnercityor "citadel" area covered2,795
hectaresand thesuburbsI2,475 fora totalofI5,270; afterannexation,
the "inner city" coveredan area roughlycorrespondingto the old
municipality, and the suburbswereenlargedby 30,898 hectares,ab-
Dan (2 Novemberi96o), i; 9.6 per centoftheDRV totalpopulationwas classifiedas


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villages,twotownshipsand 256,85I peoplefortotals
of 900,247 inhabitants and 46, ii8 hectares.2"
Territorialexpansion was followedby still more administrative
streamlining. Urbanwardswerereducedfromeightto fourfBa Dinh,
Hoan Kiem,Dong Da and Hai Ba Trung),and thefoursuburbandis-
tricts(Tu Liem, Thanh Tri, Gia Lam and Dong Anh) weregreatly
enlarged.Undera new Law on OrganizationofPeople's Councilsand
AdministrativeCommittees promulgated 27 October I 962, the
authorityof People's Councils was somewhatstrengthened, and the
blockswere confirmed as the primarylevelofpopularparticipation.
Heads ofhouseholdsin each blockelected,subjectto theapprovalof
the ward administrative committee,a CommitteeofRepresentatives
(seven to nine members) mobilizepeopleto complywiththelaws,
programs,policiesand decisionsofthe government" and "to expose
backwardcustoms;" itselecteda chairmanand twodeputychairmen,
one to serveas chairmanoftheNeighborhoodBlockProtectionCom-
mitteeresponsibleforpublic order.Actually,much of the "masses'
political activities"(e.g., politicaleducation,campaignsto achieve
Partygoals,criticism ofcadresand officials)alreadywas organizedby
the agencies,schoolsand economicunitsin whichpeople workedor
studied; so in effectthe block committeesextendedthese functions
intotheremainingspheresoflife.Workingthroughthecellor "team"
leaders,wardand blockofficials couldreach,and be reachedby,every
familyin theblock.The wardremainedthelowestlevelofadministra-
tion,whiletheblocks,deniedadministrative providedsup-
portto thewardsand linkagebetweenthemunicipalgovernment and
citizenswithina small yet previouslyoftenanomic and refractory
social unit. Althoughthe blockswere intendedto be instruments of
the wards, it was not uncommonforthemto arrogatesome of the
authorityand duties of the wards in response to pressurefrom
below. 26
These reformsin i96i-62 were intendedto give Hanoi the ad-
ministrativescope neededto fulfill its obligationsunderthe firstFive
Year Plan (I96I-65).27 In conjunctionwithfoodrationing, population
registrationand popular participationin the maintenanceof order
and security,thereforms enabled the DRV to influencethebehavior
and obtainthe supportofan expandedurban populationto a much
greaterextentthan the Frenchhad everattempted.
25 Thudo Ha-noi(I4 April i96i), I, 4.
26 Hanoi Moz (3, 4, 6, July I973), 3.
27 Thudo Ha-noz
(14 April I96I), I.


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of Population;

Hanoi and tne DRV, 1943-19714

19143* 1951 1952 1953 1954 1960*

Hanoi Total 119,737 21b,900 273,732 292,575 100,000 643,>76

irner-city d0,821 127,262 129,361 458,090
suburbs 136,079 1LL6,470 162e,7141 185,486
men (%) 0.4 19.4
women ug) 49.6 50.6
Chinese 1.,796 10,900 11,859 13,350

French 4,642 4,666 5,000 1,h494

irncrease 912 5*** 56,832 18,813 88,000 h3,930***
DMVTotal 12,789,193 15,916,955
% urban 9.6
Hanoi 4.1

*Year of census. All otner figures based on estimates.

**Year o?' enlargement o? Hanoi's boundaries.
**Average over intervening years. Note that in 1961 growthby natural increase
to be 24,030 per year. Thu do Ha-noi (14 April 1961), 1.

Sources: Bo Quoc gia Kinh te, Thongke Nien (iam Viet-narn (Annuaire sta
I-III (1919-1952) (Vien Thongke va ao cuu Min te Viet-nam
1, L1; Thu do Ha-noi (14 April 1961), 1; Douglas Pike "Briefin
(saigo;;75T'eruaryT97.1, 2); Nhan (30 August 1974j, 1; Han
Hanoi Moi (5 September 1974), 1.

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Warin theNorth,I965-68
The secondwarin Vietnamdid notbeginseriously to affect
DRV untilI965, whenits regularforcesbeganmovingsouthand
UnitedStatesairand navalforces first
bombarded itsterritory.
war was different fromthatwithFrancebecause,parallelto the
revolutionary strugglein the South,it was an attackby one state
againstanother launchedfromdistantterritorial
thathad notbeenavailableto France.Whereasin internal warcities
usuallyare islandsofsafety,in warwitha foreignpowerarmedwith
the world'smostsophisticated weaponscitiesare vulnerable and
tempting targets.Hanoi's rapidpopulationgrowthand industrial
development in theinter-warperiodonlyincreaseditsimportance to
to attackers.28
the defendersand vulnerability
The firstAmericanair-strikes,on 7 and i i FebruaryI965, did not
threaten Hanoi but werefollowed anywayon 28 February by DRV
orderto evacuatechildrenand old people.It couldnothavebeen
knownwhether theAmericans wouldtargetpopulationcentersfor
psychological effect
or industrialsitesand transportation
logisticaleffect,but in eithereventHanoi's congestedpopulation
(I5,000 per square kilometerin some quarters)would suffer
grievously. It may also have been believedthatevacuationwould
reducethevalueofthecityas a targetto thoseAmerican planners
whoadvocated"knocking theDRV backtothestoneage." Whatever
the regime'sobjectives,the firstevacuationorderremovedapprox-
imately50,000 peopleby thefalland provedtherewereseriousim-
pediments evacuation.The requirement
to large-scale thatchildren
undersixbe accompanied byan olderrelativeoften
on families;villageschoolsand economieswereunprepared to ac-
commodate newstudentsand evacueesencountered financial
culties.Furthermore, PresidentJohnson'sprohibition throughout
I965 againstattackswithina thirty nautical-mile
radiusof Hanoi
made the cityseem saferthan the country, and manyevacuees
returned to theirhomes.29 In theabsenceofsuchimmediate riskor
collapseofessentialservicesas in December 1946,pressuresto comply
withdispersalorderswere weak. Incentives
had to be
createdby thegovernment.
A secondevacuationorderin AprilI966, following
ing Thunder,directedthat everyonenot "trulyindispensable"-
28 In
1945,Hanoi containedonly 1.2 per centoftheDRV's totalpopulation;by 1965thisex-
ceeded fourper cent.
29JonM. Van Dyke,NorthVietnam's forSurvival(Palo Alto: PacificBooks), 127-32.


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in War: Hanoi,I946-I973
artisans, teachers, small shop-keepers, children, day-laborers-leave
the city.This order was enforcedby more frequentblock censuses and
markingofration-cards (cards marked "non-essential" lost validityin
the city). Many governmentalagencies were relocated twenty-five to
fortymiles outside the city limits and factorieswere dismantled and
relocated, so people literallyhad to followtheirjobs and meal tickets
to the countryside. The order also was accompanied by a more
energetic program to expand services in rural areas to absorb the
evacuees. Late in I966 a Hungarian journalist reported that three-
fourthsofHanoi's population (then about 750,000, excluding suburbs)
had been evacuated.30 It is more likely that between one-third and
one-half of the population left during this time. Many evacuees
returned for the same reasons as in the firstevacuation or for short
visits,and frequentpublication of evacuation decrees throughout1967
indicated that compliance was less than satisfactory.In November
i967, when 200 people were killed in raids on Hanoi, a Swedish corre-
spondent reported plans to evacuate an additional i50,000 in order to
reduce the city's population to 250,000.3'
It may be surmised that in the beginning people complied mostly
because of government-createdincentivesto evacuate and not because
of an immediate threat to their physical safety,but that the progres-
sive shorteningof the proscribed radius contributedto compliance in
later stages. Certainly, the graduated intensificationof the raids gave
the government time to experiment with and improve evacuation
procedures while it contributedto the credibilityof warnings that the
Americans eventually would remove all restrictions on bombing
Hanoi. American bombing strategy helped the DRV develop its
urban defenses. In any event, by early i968 the maximum feasible
degree of evacuation had been reached. The limitsof evacuation were
determinedby the competing needs of securityand welfare,on the one
hand, and of centralized economic activityforthe war effort,on the
other. In practice, the two needs were not so neatly separable, because
some capital goods simply could not be moved and others had to be
dispersed in order to supply basic consumer goods when intensified
attacks on transportation and communications made distribution
difficult.Economic decentralizationrelieved pressure on hard-pressed
transportationresources and at the same time maintained conditions
in the countryside that would keep evacuees from returningto the
Review,LIV, 9 (i December
Ferenc Fabian, "Hope AmidstRuins," Far EasternEconomic
31 Van Dyke, op. cit.,132.


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city.By such means,the DRV was able to maintainHanoi's popula-
tion at a veryreducedlevel forlong periodsof time.
Although evacuation hindered industrial production,it con-
tributedto rural development.The constructionof wells, latrines,
schools,markets,hospitalsand housingto accommodateevacuees,
and the relocationof skilled persons, amounted to a transferof
resourcesfromthecityto ruralareas. Alongwiththeintermingling of
rural and urban populations,accelerated rural developmentand
economic"regionalization"(dispersalofindustry to provideregional
economic self-sufficiency) helped narrowthe materialand culture
gaps betweencityand country.In the beginning,frictionwas com-
mon because of mutual prejudices (especiallyin areas settledby
ethnicminorities)or ruralresentment ofthe impositionofurbanites,
but thetechnicaland educationalbenefitsand evenlabor broughtby
evacuees helped reduce it.32
The stateofsiegeendedinAprilI 968whenbombingwas restricted
to the areas south of the 20th parallel. The populationgradually
returned,especiallyon weekends,but the government continuedto
discouragethismovement.Schools and government officesremained
in the countrysideand damage to urban areas was leftunrepaired.
When the urban populationsurpassedthe levelwhichcould be sup-
plied (or whichthe government was willingto supply),black market
pricesrose.33Only afterthe "bombinghalt" of I Novemberi968did
the government The continueddispersalofgovern-
ease restrictions.
mentofficesand factories,however,slowedthe returnofHanoi resi-
dentsto theirhomes.Late in i970, one estimateofHanoi's population
placed it at 200,000 less thanthelevelof i96i3 butby I972 Hanoi had
exceeded that level by 300,000, a gain of a little over three per cent a
year,whichbarelyexceeded the nationalaverage. For much of this
period, it was political fortunethat protectedthe city fromun-
restricteddirectattacks,but it did responddynamicallyto the war's
encroachment and acquiredexperiencewhichprovedinvaluablelater.

32 Fabian, op. cit.; and Charles N. Spinks et al., TheNorthVietnamese

Problems (Washington,D.C.: AmericanUniversity, CenterforResearchin Social Systems,April
I969), 7I-2. Althoughruralareas benefitted lastinglyin respectofinfrastructure
and educational
standards,the durabilityofchangesin urbanattitudesand valuesmaybe questioned,forin the
evacuationof 1972 youngHanoi residentsagain exhibitedboredomwithvillage routineand
presumptions ofurbanrefinement, althoughexamplesofsuccessfulintegration also werecited.
Le Hong, ThieuNienTienPhong(30June 1972), 4; NguyenthiMan, Phunu Viet-nam (i July1972),
26. Thanh Lam, Hanoi Mot (23 November1972), 2.
3 Van Dyke, op. cit., 134.
Douglas Pike, "BriefingNotes" (statisticalpamphlet),Saigon, February1971, 2.


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Urbanizationin War: Hanoi, I946-I973
Blitz" of1972
The SecondAir Warand the"December
When the United States resumedbombingin and around Hanoi
on i7 April I972, the city'spopulationwas about I,200,000, including
540,000 children underfifteen.3" The DRV once again issuedan
evacuationorderand all old people and childrenwere said to have
compliedpromptly;36 some blocksevacuatedvirtuallyeveryresident
withinone day.37This evacuationwas quick and thoroughbecause
the experienceof i965-68 had taughtboth government and citizens
howto proceed.Whereas thefirstevacuation i965 of no transporta-
tionhad been speciallyprovidedforevacuees,in I972 thestate-owned
Thong Nhat Bus Corporationmobilizedits administrative cadres as
driversto maintaintwenty-four hourserviceto evacuationpoints,and
taxis and motorcycleswere contractedto operate outside their
customaryterritories.38 Food storesremainedopen untilelevenp.m.
to sell grain to people leaving the city,extra retail outletswere
restoredat formerevaucationpoints,and the volumeofsales in food
and consumer items nearly quadrupled during the firstweek.39
Evacuationoffamiliesofworkersin stateenterprises was organizedby
the trade union of each enterpriseaccordingto earlier plans, and
workersand cadres tookturnsusingvehiclesto move,visitand take
supplies to relatives. A textile mill was described as having ". . . re-
created the feverishatmosphereof productionand combat which
existedbetweeni965 and I968."4O And above all, everyprimarylevel
Party unit, mass organizationand block committeewas assigned
to assist in executionof relocationorders;
mass organizationsand block committeesin particularwere used to
"maintainclose contactwithand assistdifficultcases," thatis, to ca-
jole and offermaterialassistanceto personswho had "no legitimate
reason" not to evacuate.41
ofthisorganizationaldetail,aside fromitsability
The significance
to preventHanoi's beingheld hostageto any bombingor negotiating
strategy,was its demonstration of abilityto respondin an effective
mannerto crisis.Certainly,therapidityand thoroughness withwhich
the operationwas conducted attestedto popular familiarity with
fromCommunist Sources,no. 6 (Saigon: U.S. Mission, X June 1972), 2.
36 hanDan (29 April 1972), 2.
3 Hanoi Moi (5 May 1972), 2.
38 HanoiMoz(26 April 1972), 3.
3 Hanoi Moz (29 April 1972); NhanDan (28 April 1972), 2.
40 HanoiMoz(26 April 1972), 3.
4' Tran Thi Minh, Hanoi Moi (5 July 1972), 2.


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and the over-all effectiveness of the political and administrative
systemwhichdevisedand implementedthem.However,the DRV's
institutionscertainlywerenotimperviousto stress,norwereall even-
tualitiesforeseen.For example, many of the sheltersconstructed
throughout thecityin 1965-68 werefoundin I972 to be useless.People
had used the widelypublicizedone-mansheltersas toiletsor trash
receptacles,and many communalsheltershad caved in, had their
entrancesblockedor had been occupied by businessmen.42
As the evacuation continued throughspring into summer,it
depressedproductivity. It was estimatedthatup to thirtyper cent of
urbanindustrialworkerswereoffworkat anyone timetendingto the
securityoftheirfamiliesor runningerrandsforthem.43 Perhapsmost
tellingwas thatsomemembersofblockcommittees evidently wereun-
able to interpretor executecomplexevacuationorderssatisfactorily
and werepoorlytrainedin thetechniquesofsecuringcompliancewith
a minimumof"bureaucraticcommandism."These shortcomings and
the dispersalof blockcommitteemembersat a timewhenincreased
responsibilitiesfellupon the blocksheighteneddemand forcapable
leadershipat thislevel.The demand had been met since i967 by as-
signingState and Partycadresto blockcommittees as an "exemplary
vanguard"to "reinforcethe primarylevel." These cadrescomprised
71.6per centofall membersofblockcommittees ofdelegatesand 67.6
per cent of the protectioncommitteesduringthe i969-71 term,per-
formingtheirextra duties mainlyafternormalworkinghours but
oftenon a full-timebasis duringtheair war. By I972, "virtuallyall key
members"ofblockcommitteeswereState cadres.44Thus war placed
heavydemandson thealreadyovertaxedsupplyofskilledcadresand
led to theexpansionoftheStatein an arena normallyleftto thewidest
possiblepopular participation;the eclipse of non-cadresin primary
levelmunicipalgovernment was onlypartiallyoffset, and formainly
instrumentalpurposes, by increasingthe responsibilitiesof such
organizationsas women's and youth leagues. But performance
throughout the restofthewar suggeststhattheseadaptivemeasures
were adequate to meetthe challenge.
Whensustainedpressureon transportation networks finallybegan
to cause unbearabledisruption, itbecamenecessaryonceagain to dis-
perseproductionfacilitieson a largescale. As in i965-68,manysmall
enterprisesand handicraftindustrieswere dispersedalong withthe
evacuees in orderto continuesupplyofbasic consumeritems.These
HanoiMoz (I9 April 1972), 2.
43 HanoiMoz (4 May 1972), 3
44 NguyenTruong Can, Hanoi Moi (14, 15July 1972), 2.


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Urbanizationin War: Hanoi, 1946-1973
measuresfreedthe transportation sectorof its civiliandistribution
functionso thatit could concentrateon movingthe largeamountsof
Sovietand Chinesewar materialswhichbegan arrivingin thesecond
quarter of the year at a daily average level "exceedingthe levels
achievedon thegreatestdays duringi 965-68."" Bombardment ofrail
linesand bridgesimpededthiseffort, but means werefoundto com-
pensate,mainlywithtrucks,sampans and otherconveyancesusually
importantto internaldistributionof civiliangoods. In conjunction
withpopulationdispersal,economicdispersalwas the city'smajor
mode of contribution to the "nation-at-arms."The acid testofthese
measurescame withthe finalAmericanbombinglate in December
1972, whichpaved theway to thetermination ofthedirectcombatrole
of United States forcesin Vietnam.
The city'sstateofreadinesspriorto theblitzwas describedbythe
Secretaryofthe Hanoi PartyCommitteein a retrospective viewofthe
Whentheenemyrenewedattacksagainstthecity,in a shortperiodover
300,000peoplelefttheinnercity,withdetermination tofightandtodefeatthe
UnitedStatesregardless of the hardshipsand difficulties.
productionfacilities-the nationaltreasure-wereevacuatedanddispersed.
Manykeyareassubstantially reducedpopulation densities.Whenthewar
reacheditshighest level,550,000personshadbeenevacuated[from theinner
Anothersourceclaimedthata totalof720,000had been evacuated
fromthe greatermetropolitan area.47Thus, the evacuationremoved
sixtyper cent of the total population(includingsuburbs) and over
per centofthe innercity'spopulation.Concertedefforts
obviouslywere made to removeeverypersonand enterprisenot ab-
solutelyessentialto the city's defenseand the minimumrequired
economicconcentration.Afterthe initialevacuationof over 300,000
childrenand old people in the firstweek of the attacks,therewas a
slowerbut steadyexodusofpersonsassociatedwithproductioninstal-
lationswhichcould not be removedso quickly.Two monthslater,
theseinstallationsstillwerebeingevacuated.48 One blockwhichhad
4 Minh Hoang, "Nhung van de chu yeu cua nhiemvu kinhte trongtinhhinhmoi" (Prin-
cipal Problemsofthe EconomicTask in theNew Situation),Nghiencuukin/te,No. 7 (February
aid ofthe USSR and PRC combinedin 1972 was estimatedby the U. S.
2. The military
DefenseIntelligence Agencyto havehad a valueofUS $605 million,whichwas morethandouble
thefigurefor197i and aboutequal to thatof i966. PressRelease, Rep. Les Aspin (Washington,3
June 1974)-
46 NguyenVan Tran, HanoiMoi (9 April 1974),i. Reportofthe FirstSecretary to the Sixth
Congressof the Municipal PartyCommittee,8 April 1974.
4 Heinrich Jaenecke,InterviewwithTran Duy Hung, ChairmanofHanoi's MunicipalAd-
ministrative Stern
Committee, (Hamburg, 30 May 1973). inJPRS 59,412.
48 MinhHoang,Hanoi Moi (13 July1972), 3.


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evacuated i,300 ofits I,400 residentsby mid-July was admonishedto
findways to removemore."The problem,"notedone commentator,
''was to make everyindividualand familyfullyaware ofthedefeatof
thereckless,insaneplan ofthepiratesand fullyawareofthenecessity
and benefitofevacuatingin orderto build theirdetermination to en-
dure a longperiod."49Such statementswerepartlyexhortation but it
also was clearthattheregimeexpectedtheraidsto continuefora long
timeand to growin intensity, that it believedthe evacuationwould
help convincethe U. S. of the seriousnessof the DRV's bargaining
position,and thatit was willingto accept any consequencesofcling-
ing tenaciouslyto thatposition.
Afterthe DRV's disclosureof 25 Octoberof Kissingerand Tho's
tentativeagreementfailedto evokea satisfactory responsefromthe
U. S., ward administrative and Partycommitteesmetto preparedi-
rectiveson intensification ofevacuationand air defensework.50 And a
special campaignof "practicalexercisesin combatsupportand dis-
aster relief"and relocationof "anyone not essentialto combatand
production"was begun on 3 December in order to cope with"the
cruelthreatsand war-prolonging plotsoftheAmericanimperialists. "
"Thousands" thenweresaid to haveleftthecity.5'The DRV fullyex-
pectedrenewedbombing,and Hanoi was braced forthedirect,mas-
siveattackswhichbegan on i8 Decemberand endedon the29th,with
a day offforChristmas.
The bombingwaIsintendedto destroyall targetsof any possible
militaryconsequencein the Hanoi-Haiphongarea, regardlesshow
centralto thecityor near to civilianresidentialzones. Targetshitin-
sidethecityincludedtherailroadstationand yards,theportcomplex,
Army Depot No. i, radio communicationsfacilitiesand various
storageareas. Laser-guided"smartbombs" enabled theseattacksto
be moreaccuratethan any of the war, but civilianresidentialareas
weredamagedby whatwas euphemistically called "bomb spillover."
In addition to the well-reported cases of the Cuban Chanceryand
Bach Mai Hospital,An Duong and Nghia Dung residentialdistricts
in Ba Dinh ward were "accidentallystruck"and large sectionsof
themtotallydestroyed.The largestcivilianarea to be hitwas Kham
Thien (a high densityresidentialand commercialarea near the
railroad yards), allegedlybecause "strikesintendedto attack the
Hanoi railyardsby aircraft carryingstandardgravity-drop bombsfell
4 Pham Quang Thanh, Hanoi Moi (13 July 1972), 2.
50 HanoiMoz(30 November
1972), I.
5' HanoiMot (5 December 1972), I.


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Urbanizationin War: Hanoi, I946-1973
short.52Althoughaccusationsof"carpet-bombing"and "extermina-
tion raids" have been vehemently and forthe most partjustifiably
denied,AirForcereconnaisancephotographsofKham Thienconfirm
the DRV's contentionthata wide stripof housingand small shops
about one kilometerin length was completelyflattened.53Some
civilian areas adjacent to militarytargetsalso sustained damage,
thoughlessextensively. WhatevertheprecisionofAmericanbombing,
it was a sufficientterrorto the civilianpopulationto cause a spurtof
evacuation, clogging reception points in the last two weeks of
December,54and to kill many who remained.The firstreportof
civiliancasualtiescountedI, 3I 8 dead and I,26I wounded;55a latertal-
lycounted2,i96 dead and I,577wounded.56 Thoughthiswas a fright-
fulloss,in relationto theintensity oftheattacksand theincidenceof
"bomb spillover" and "accidents," the civilian casualties were
moderate,whichAmericanofficialshave claimedto be the resultof
accuratebombingand judicious choiceoftargets.However,consider-
ing that An Duong normallyhas 6,oooinhabitantsin high-density
structures compressedamong factoriesand Kham Thien's 30,000in-
habitantsoccupy 5,680householdsin one square kilometer(not to
mentionthe smaller areas of destructionscatteredthroughoutthe
city),thesecasualtyfiguresattestmoreto theefficiency oftheDRV's
evacuationprogramthan to thediscriminating intelligenceof"smart
The generalrationaleforevacuatingthe city was to reduce its
value as a target,in respectofbothpopulationand economy.Yet the
intensityof the strikesinside the cityand the unprecedenteduse of
B-52'ssuggestthatin thisinstancethe U. S. may have chosenHanoi
as a targetpartlybecause it was evacuatedand therefore destruction
humanlifecould be keptbelow levelswhichwould invitecomparison
with other bombing incidentsin living memory.If so, then in
retrospect theevacuationcan be said to haveprotectedthepopulation

52 "Photos Detail Heavy Damage to NorthVietnamese Targetsby USAF Bombing,"Aviation

Weekand SpaceTechnology, 98, No. 7 (23 April 1973), 17.
54Nhan Dan (3 January1973).
5 DRVN CommissionforInvestigationofthe U. S. Imperialists'War Crimesin Viet-Nam,
Special Communiqueof30 December 1972, TheLateDecember I972 U. S. BlztzonNorthVietNam
(Hanoi, 1973),51.
56HeinrichJaenecke,op.cit.Accordingto a Polishjournalist,theactual numberofcasualties
in Kham Thien was higherthan publiclyreported,but, he claimed,injuriesstillwerenot as
greatas suchraidsshouldhave inflicted because ofeffectiveair defenseand theshock-absorbing
qualitiesofthe clay soil on whichHanoi is built.AndrezejBrzozowski,Polityka (3 March 1973),
1, 10-14. JPRS 58, 521.


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but also to have removed a major American disincentive to include
Hanoi in one last attempt to weaken the DRV. On balance, the
evacuation and related measures appear to have been successful
responses to American strategybecause they rendered bombing in-
effectiveas a way to extract major concessions from the DRV in
negotiations.57 Hanoi's defense measures directly supported the
DRV's strategyto compel the Americans to withdraw, inasmuch as
intensive bombing of cities was the only plausible American option
leftin late I973, other options having been exhausted or found to be
politically inexpedient. Hanoi's role in this victory-by-survival
stated dramatically by an editorialist of the army newspaper:
AmericabelievedthatHanoi wouldbe frightened, butnowitis Americathat
has been frightened by the steel-likewill of our nationand the extremely
strongresistanceofour people.The resulthas been thattheyhavehad to ad-
mitthat'theterrorbombingshavehad theeffect moreofstrengthening their
confidencein theirleaders' (AgenceFrancePresse25 December). Vietnamese
revolutionaryheroism,and theVietnamesespirithave,duringthe courseof
thisbattle,developedto new peaks.58

and Reconstruction

However heroic Hanoi's defense fromthe military or diplomatic

point of view, its culmination leftthe cityin devastation and disarray.
The most serious obstacle to immediate reoccupation of the city was
the shortage of housing. One of the firstdamage assessments es-
timated that I7,ooo housing units had been totally destroyed or
heavilydamaged, leaving "tens of thousands" homeless.59A later sur-
vey found 2I 3,ooo square meters of housing in the three inner-city
wards of Hai Ba Trung, and Ba Dinh to have been destroyed or
damaged,60 and a Soviet correspondent reported that almost one-

"The preciserelationshipbetween"Operation Linebackeri i " (the December bombing)

and the Agreementon Endingthe War (27 January1973)is stillobscure.However,therelative
insignificanceofmodificationsin the finalagreement,as comparedto the draftreleasedby the
DRV in October,suggeststhatthe bombingwas at best an extraordinarily high priceto pay.
The primaryobjectiveseemsto have been to persuadeThieu to accepttheagreement.See Tad
Szulc, "Behind the VietnameseCease-FireAgreement,"Forezgn Polzcy,15 (Summer1974),6i-
3,67; and Allan E. Goodman, "Fighting-While-Negotiating: the View fromHanoi," paper
presentedto a seminarof SEADAG/The Asia Society,New York (2 October 1974), i6-i8.
58 QuandoiNhandan (3 December 1972), 1.

to wereindividualfamilyliv-
HanoiMci ( I7 January1973), 1. Ifthe"housingunits" referred
ing quarters,thenbased on the averageof5.3 personsper household(whichnormallyobtained
in Kham Thien) up to go,ooopersonsmay have been lefthomeless.
60HanozMo (20 April 1973),3.


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in War: Hanoi,1946-i973
quarterof all livingspace in Hanoi (includingsuburbs) had been
destroyed.61 Yet the evacueesbegan returning in drovesimmediately
afterthebombing,in spiteofexplicitinstructions to remainin evacua-
tionpointsuntilpermitted to leave.62People obviouslyweremuchless
willingto stayaway fromtheirhomesin peace-time,regardlessofcon-
ditions,thantheywerein war-time.The strength ofthisurgewas at-
tested by the fact that rural cooperativescould providefood and
shelter,and were instructedto do so, much more cheaplythan the
money-basedurban economy,in which the cost of supportinga
refugeewas fifty per cent higherthan in the countryside.63
In additionto former residents,manypeoplefromotherareas con-
gregatedin Hanoi simplybecause, as the main node oftransporta-
tion and distribution, it was a logicalplace to seekservicesor to pass
throughen routeto homeselsewhere.It generallywas assumedthat
manynonresidents enteredHanoi because ofloss offamilyor health
and othermeans of supportdue to the war, but the permanenceof
such wartimemoves,as revealedby the census in springI 974 which
foundmanypeople stilllivingoutsidetheadministrative jurisdictions
in whichtheymaintainedfamilyregisters,64 suggeststhatsome per-
sons eitherwere unable to resolvethesedifficulties or movedforthe
classical reasonsof rural-urbanmigrationirrespective ofthe war. In
any event,Hanoi was beset forthe firsttimewitha refugeeproblem
and a spurtin real populationgrowth."Four monthsafterthe end
ofthe war," observedtheChairmanofthe Municipal Administrative
Committee,"the city is overcrowded.Not only did the evacuees
return,but with them came tens of thousandsof people fromthe
surroundingareas who had been bombed out of theirhomes, al-
thoughmovinghas been prohibited."65
Because the evacuationscaused the populationto fluctuatewildly
duringthewar,onlypopulationestimateswithouteffort to determine
causes,origins,scope or permanenceofmovementweremade, so it is
difficultto ascertain the impact of the war on Hanoi's growth.
However,shortlyafterthe bombingended the populationwas es-
timatedto be i,300,000 (ioo,ooomorethanestimatedjust priorto the
bombingin I972), with 700,000 in the innercity,66and a national

61 M. Stoyanov,Moskovskaya Pravda(i May 1973), 3. JPRS 59, 268.

62Circularof I3 January1973, Cuu Quoc(14 January1973), 2. JPRS 58, 440.
63 NhanDan (8 JanuaryI973), 2.
64Hanoi Moz(3I March I974),2; P.V., HanoiMoi(3 April I974),I,2; HanoiMo (3 April1974),
65 HeinrichJaenecke,op. cit.
66 HanoiMoz(20 FebruaryI973), I.


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censusconductedin April I974 confirmed the accuracy(and conser-
vative nature) of this estimate. The population of the entire
municipalitywas I,378,335, and thatof the innercity736,2 I I .67 The
city'spopulationhad increasedby 53.I per centsince i96i (the year
boundarieswere enlarged) as compared with the 49.4 per cent in-
crease in the total populationof the DRV since the census of i960.
Thus the rateofHanoi's populationgrowthduringthewar yearsex-
ceeded the nationalaverage,thoughnot remarkably.Since Hanoi's
birthratehad fallento 2.3 per cent and itsdeathrateto 0.7 per cent,68
in-migration musthave accountedforapproximately one-halfofthe
average annual increase.Unfortunately, it is impossibleto tell how
muchofthisin-migration tookplace beforeor duringtheairwar or to
determinethe reasons why individuals changed residence. But
evidentlythe war had littlequantitativeeffecton movementto the
city,and in factthe growthrate was a littlelowerin i96I-74 thanin
I 954-6I, indicatingthatthewar and the DRV 's methodsofwagingit
helped depress the rate of urbanization.Estimatesin I970-72 SUg-
gestedthat populationwould growrapidlyif therewere peace and
reconstruction.Only after the December bombing, when rural
refugeesaccompanied evacuees returningto the city,was therea
directlywar-relatedinflux,furtherstimulatedby expectationsof
peace, whichseriouslyover-burdened thecity'sabsorptivecapability.
This conditionwas moreseverethan in periodsfollowingearlier
cessationsor "pauses," probablybecause of the sudden,irrevocable
natureofthebombing'send and thescale ofdestruction in bothrural
and urban areas. The abrupt and finalrelease fromthe bombing
threatevidentlyreducedpeople's willingnessto complywithgovern-
mentordersat a momentwhenphysicalresourceshad suffered the
greatestdamage ofthewar. Moreover,thedispersalofproductionin-
stallationsand decentralizationof administrationhad leftthe city
withoutadequate means of supplyor centralcoordinationwhenthe
war suddenlyended and people floodedintothe city.As a resolution
oftheMunicipal PartyCommitteein May I974 noted,thecity'smost
seriousproblemaside fromthe physicaleffectsofwar was too rapid
populationgrowthwhilematerial,technicaland economicbases were
inadequateto cope withall oftheseeffectsat once. And morethana
year aftercease-fire,administrationwas inefficient because cadres
werepoorlycoordinatedor werefrequently shiftedamongofficeson

Vzetnam No. 29 (October I974), 7.
Hanoi Moz (3I March I973), 2.


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in War: Hanoi,1946-i973
an emergencybasis, a conditionwhichsome exploitedforpersonal
gain at the expenseof socialismand mass participation.69
Some citizensand officials foundit expedientto solveproblemson
private initiativeor to take advantage of passing opportunitites,
resultingin self-indulgence,privateaggrandizement and circumven-
tionofsocialistinstitutions.The extremely highdemandforhousing,
for example, led to slapdash constructionof row-housesin areas
scheduledforfuturedevelopmentprojects,sometimesby unlicensed
entrepreneurs but also by authorizedagenciesthatchoseto disregard
regulations.70And a resulutionof the Municipal People's Council
complainedofabnormallevelsofcorruption, misuseofStateproperty,
cadres' lazinessand resortto illegalprocedures,generaldisrespectfor
law and administrative regulation,"sometimescausing significant
loss oforder."71Even a yearafterthecease-fire agreementwas signed,
Le Dinh Thao, DirectoroftheMunicipalAdministrative Committee's
Public SecurityOffice,demanded broadeningmass mobilization,
educationand securityworkto counterpostwardisorder,citingthe
spontaneousappearance of unauthorizedmarketsand the use of es-
tablishedmarket-places forillegalprivatecommerce.72 Some ofthese
problemswere merelyhold-oversfromthe war-period,such as the
tendencyof privatespeculationand pettycommerceto springup in
the gaps of the supplyand distribution system(as theyhad in the
Resistance),73but theywereaggravatedby postwar"passivity"and
by acute shortagesof labor74and foreignconstructionmaterials
createdby the reconstruction program.75 Thus the war broughtnot
only physical destructionbut also backsliding on the road to
These problemswere serious,and disappointment withresultsof
the firstyearof reconstruction were openlyadmitted.76 However,in
evaluating evidence which might appear to emphasize that the
legitimacyofinstitutions had dependedin somemeasureon thestate
ofwar and thattheywould be substantially less able to securevolun-
taryand consciouscompliancein peace, it is well to rememberthat

69 Hanoi Moz (15 May 1974), i, 2.

H. Trung, Hanoi Moi (23 February 1973), 2.
Hanoi Moz (25 June 1974), I, 4.
72 Hanoi Moi (i i January 1974), I
73 Editorial,Hanoi Moi (12 July 1972), I.
7' Editorial, Hanoi Moi (6 June 1973), I.
76 Editorial,Hanoi Moz (ii June 1974), I.
76 E.g., Reportof the Planningand BudgetCommitteeto the Municipal People's Council,
Hanoi Moz (io January 1974), i, 2.


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self-criticismassumed high norms of performanceand that the objec-
tives against which performancewas measured were quite (perhaps
unrealistically) ambitious. There also were notable successes, mainly
in restoration of small-scale industry and provision of shelter and
basic services.77Moreover, some phenomena judged retrogradefrom
an ideological point ofview were tolerated or even encouraged ifthey
helped the city recover from the war's physical effects.The city's
50,ooo-60,ooo for example, were ex-
pected to triple in number. In future,however, the handicrafts in-
dustrywas to be reorganized-asa "collective economic sector."78 Thus
reconstructionsought temporarilyto utilize all productive resources,
at some cost to ideological purity(followingthe precedent of I954-57),
but was to culminate in renewed effortsto achieve socialist ideals.
The mixed effectsof temporarydeviation fromlong-termgoals in
order to adapt to war's exigencies were illustratedmost forciblyby the
performance of the city's economy, which was reviewed in an il-
luminating reportto the Sixth Congress of the Municipal Party Com-
in theregions[i.e., enterprisesunder the jurisdictionof
nationalgovernment,normallylocatedin Hanoi] experienceda dropin value
oftotaloutputand laborproductivity
[inI965-68].... After
a phaseoftests
to improveindustrialadministrationin 1971, many enterprisesrecovered
theireconomicand technicalnorms,broadenedthe applicationof pay by
piecework,and emphasizeddevelopment ofproductivity. In theearlypartof
1972, the atmosphere ofproduction... continuedto develop.Whenthewar
of destructionresumed,many enterprisesquickly dispersedto maintain
productionand protectproductiveforces.Beforethe productionsituation
was disturbedand therecentlyrestoredadministrative orderwas destroyed,
compellinga change of direction.. . in orderto be compatiblewithwar-
time,manyenterprises had made greatefforts to overcomedifficulties . . .A
fewenterprises thatwereheavilydamagedbytheenemynonetheless restored
productionquicklywhen the war was over.
Regzonalindustries(including small and handicraftenterprises) [i.e.,
enterprises underthejurisdictionof municipalgovernment], althoughthey
sufferedtheeffects ofwar and floods,raisedthevalueoftotaloutputfrom338
milliond'8ngin 1970 to 476 million '8Ong
in 1973, an increaseof 22.7%. Com-
pared with I965, thefirstyearofthewar,thiswas nearlyI.5 timesas much.
The averageyearlyrate of increasein thisperiod also increasedby com-
parisonwiththe earlierperiod.The productivity of a workerin regionalin-
dustryin 1973 reachednearlyiiooo bong,
d or 5.2 percentmorethanin 1970 ...
Consumergoods industriesand foodsuppliesdeveloped,addingmanynew

" Hanoi Moz (15 May I974), i, 2.

78 NguyenVan Tran, Hanoi Moz (27 March I973), I, 2.


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Urbanizationin War: Hanoi, 1946-i973

z metropolitan _ __
_ /~~~~~~~~~~~suburban districts

balsed on sa1ps by Nguyn nhin Ax~IHuy Litu lch s& me-caA=~ (HanoI 196).

itemssuch as plastics,whichsubstituted
forsomewood itemsso thatthecity
could surmount difficulties concerning wood. Construction materials in-
dustriesincreasedfifty percent. ..Machine industriesmaintainedproduc-
tin..... and wereable to operatecontinuously
industryand handicrafts developed,in morevariouswaysthan before,and
theforcesofsmall industryand handicrafts absorbedmanymoreworkers.79
Aside fromconfirmingthe repressiveeffectthat the air war had on
large enterprisesand labor productivityand thus testifyingto the in-
7 NguyenVan Tran, HanoiMoz (9 April 1974),I.


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Hanoi Administrative Boundaries

After Annexation, 1961

,_ _ __-, 5 ooom



ThEudlr Hea-roii (l April 19bl)

Enlarged metropolitan boundaries ~ .....

Old metropolitan boundaries ___
Inner-city boundaries ..

ofdispersal,thesepassages are notablefortheiremphasis

on thecontradictoryeffectsofwar on large-scaleas opposedto handi-
craftsindustries.The latterincreasedproductionand workerpro-
ductivityin spite of the war and compensatedfor some of the
declinesin the former.Not onlywas it feasibleto expand handicrafts
and cottageindustriesduringthewar,whereaslargeenterprises were


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in War: Hanoi,1946-1973
vulnerableto bombardmentand, when dispersed,suffered declining
economiesofscale, but it was necessaryto do so in orderto keepthe
evacuated population supplied and employed. In reconstruction,
these small enterprisescontinuedto be the major producersof con-
sumergoods and employment, as theywerein theyearsimmediately
followingthe Resistance.
However,the air war leftthe DRV extremely dependenton exter-
nal sources for heavy equipment and manufacturedsupplies, a
dependencewhichcan be reducedonlyby reconcentrating industry
and allowingurbanizationto continue.A largeindustrialcenteralso
is a significantresource of power relativeto competitorsin this
agrarianregion,nowthatthecityis no longerhostageto theU. S. Air
Force.For thesereasonsand,ofcourse,because ofitsdesireto imple-
mentlong-postponed plans, Hanoi has resumeddevelopmentas the
DRV's industrial,culturaland politicalcapital,thougheffortsto limit
its size in futureand develop alternativeurban sitesare planned.80
The absence of precise,discriminating data makes it difficult
comparethe Resistanceand theair warin termsoftheirdemographic
especiallyin respectofmigrants'(or refugees')motivation
effects, and
origin. Nevertheless,some broad comparisonscan be made. Ex-
cluding the fightingof I946-47, Hanoi in the Resistance afforded
greatersecurityand materialattractionsthanmostofthecountryside
whilepoliticalupheavaland economichardshipsweremoreacute in
contestedruralareas thanin thecity.These factorscombinedto push
and pull manypeople intothecapital,wheretheystayedat war's end
(iftheydid not fleesouth). In the secondwar,thecitygenerallywas
saferthan significantpartsofthecountryside(such as thepanhandle
of riskwas not
south of the twentiethparallel) but the distribution
perfectlyclear, governmentpolicies motivatedevacuationfor long
periods,and absence of significantmaterialor political disparities
betweencityand country(especiallyafterrural construction to ac-
commodate evacuees was accelerated) reduced incentivesto seek
urban residence.These factorsundoubtedlywereresponsibleforthe
lowerrateofpopulationgrowthin Hanoi betweeni965 and 1973 than

80 A descriptionoftheseplans is in NguyenVinh Vien, "Hanoi, One Year After,"Vietnam

Courier,No. 20 (JanuaryI974), 4-7.The scope oftheseplans-and a plaintthat"uniform,stan-
dardizedmethodsofconstruction do notnecessarilymeanmonotony"-presagea decisivestage
in the physicalas well as social transformation
ofHanoi froma mementoofcolonialismto the
capital of a modern,socialiststate. See Tran Huu Tiem, N/hanDan (25 FebruaryI973), 3.


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duringthe Resistanceor even the inter-warperiod.Yet estimatesof
Hanoi's populationbetweenevacuationsand the I974 census reveal
thatits growth-rate stillwas higherthanthe nationalaverage;while
therateacceleratedin internalwar and deceleratedin inter-state war,
in neithercase was growthhaltedor reversed;rather,the wars were
aberrationsin a seeminglyinexorabletrend.
Althoughbothwars caused some people to seek safetyin thecity
(muchmoreso in thefirstwar thanthesecond,exceptafter December
1972 and thenin searchofservices, notsafety),refugees(in thenarrow
sense of personstemporarily fleeingcombat zones) do not seem to
have been the dominantcomponentof thismovement,the mostob-
vious case offlightfromviolencein facthavingbeen theexodusfrom
thecityin I946-47 (to whichthe evacuationsof i965-68 and I972 may
be consideredanalogous.) Whateverthe dimensionsof the refugee
phenomenonand however"refugee"is defined,itis clearthatpersons
who fled the city almost always have returnedhome, whereas
migrantsand refugeesfromthe countryside to the city,who usually
are motivatedby morecomplexfactorsindirectly relatedto war,have
become permanenturban residents.
The wars had both similar and dissimilareffectson urban
economic,social and politicallife.In each case, the urban economy
experienceddestructionor dismantlingof its major industriesand
compensatory profusionofverysmallunitsofproduction, handicrafts
industriesand individualentrepreneurship. Privateand pettycom-
merceexpanded,even underthe DRV. The difference is thatin the
firstwar this patternevolved in responseto exigencieswhich the
Frenchinadvertently createdbut did littleto controlor use, whereas
in thesecondwaritwas an unavoidablebutintegrated, controlledele-
mentof a strategyto manage the city.Moreover,in the DRV the
government's role in equalizingthe burdenofsupportingpopulation
movementsand economic hardships,among urbanitesas well as
between city and country,helped minimize socio-economicdis-
paritieswhich the war otherwisewould have exacerbatedand at-
testedto the fundamentaleffectiveness oftheDRV's politicalinstitu-
tions.The experienceofthe DRV, in contrastto thatofFranceand of
South Vietnam,is thatifa government has the will,legitimacyand
conceptualcapability, it can be the decisiveintervening variablein
determining theimpactofwar on thecitiesit governsand therebythe
outcomesof the wars it wages.
May I975


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in War: Hanoi,i946-I973

The collapse ofthe Republicof Vietnam(RVN) in March and Aprilofthisyear

heralded a re-enactmentof the transitionwhich Hanoi experiencedtwentyyears
earlier.The policiesof the ProvisionalRevolutionaryGovernment(PRG) are strik-
inglysimilarto thoseofthe DRV in I954.81 For example,the main organsof urban
administration ofpowerwereMilitaryManagementCommittees,
upon the transfer
but the compositionof the Saigon-Gia Dinh MilitaryManagement Committee,
onlyfourof whose elevenmemberswerelistedas holdingmilitaryrank,82 indicates
thatthesecommitteesare similarto thejoint Civilian-MilitaryAdministrativeCom-
mitteethatran Hanoi forabout one year.However,southerncitieson theeve oflib-
erationalso were in some ways significantlydifferentfromcolonialHanoi. On the
one hand,thecitieshad burgeonedduringwar and foreignoccupation,withfamiliar
economic,social and culturalconsequences;on the otherhand,Saigon in thespring
of I975 had almosttentimes,and Danang double,the populationofHanoi in Octo-
ber I954. Refugeeproblemscreatedby the springpanic also were radicallyunlike
those which faced the DRV earlier.The PRG can draw testedpolicies fromthe
DRV's experience,but it mustapplythemin a morecomplexenvironment and on a
much largerscale. For these reasons, it can be expectedthat the revolutioniza-
tion of southerncities will proceed throughthe same steps as Hanoi's, but more
to observethisprocess,83
slowlyand methodically.It will be instructive
variationsfromthe Hanoi model, in orderto determinemoreaccuratelythe char-
acterof the new regime,to studythe after-effectsofwar (and ofdifferentmodes of
victory)on urbanization,and to highlightthe changeswhichoccurredin southern
yearsof the Second IndochinaWar.
citiesin the fifteen

81 See thePRG's ten-point policyon newlyliberatedareas,broadcastoverLiberationRadio

(3 April I975), ForeignBroadcast Information Series (FBIS), Daily Report:Asia andPacific(3
April I975).
82 Saigon Radio (3 May I975), FBIS
(5 May I975).
83 An articleon this subjectis planned fora later issue (probablySummer I976) of


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