Although invaded and occupied through the major part of its recent history, the Vietnamese managed to retain an identity that is uniquely theirs. The common threads that made this possible were the internal and foreign wars, coping with hostile natural elements, etc. During the onset of the 20th century, the country was much exploited and war-ravaged. However, it was united and resolute. This proved the perfect climate for the Communist revolution that was to follow. And the conception by many historians that Vietnamese people did not possess a uniform social structure in order to form a national consciousness does not hold up.
After being subject to foreign invaders from time immemorial, the peasant assumed the role of the defender of his land. This elevated him to a warrior. If we look at precedents for Communist revolutions – Russia and China, we can see the undeniable part the populous peasantry played. They, in short, act as the backbone of such revolutions.
“The revolutionary tradition, finding its expression through the continual resurgence of agrarian revolts, has taken root deeply in the very structure of Vietnamese society, as the hardships of the peasants became increasingly acute while they were increasingly deprived of their rice fields. During their fights, the peasants have acquired the knowledge of revolutionary methods, of what should be done in a revolutionary situation, and they have handed down this knowledge from generation to generation. The same process of peasant revolts has repeated itself throughout the centuries, under different forms and different historical circumstances.”(Nguyen 127)
Adding to such a political climate was China’s never-ending hostility towards Vietnam. It is in the policy of every traditional ruler to resist the invaders indefatigably.