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Building Ho’s Army

Building Ho's Army

Chinese Military Assistance to North Vietnam

by Xiaobing Li

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

296 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 8 maps

  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9780813177946
  • Published: September 2019

$50.00

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Built upon a solid foundation of sources, memoirs, and interviews, this study sheds new light on China's efforts in the Vietnam War. Utilizing secondary works in Chinese, Vietnamese, and Western languages, and the author's own familiarity as a former member of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, this examination expands the knowledge of China's relations with the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) during the 1950s and 1960s.

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.