|“||Those who lead the revolutionary movement are determined to mingle with the masses, to protect and serve the interest of the masses and to pursue correctly the mass line. Between the masses and communists there is no distinction any more.||„|
|~ Lê Duẩn|
Le Duan, also called Le Dung, (born April 7, 1907, Quang Tri province [now Binh Tri Thien province], Vietnam—died July 10, 1986, Hanoi), Vietnamese communist politician.
He was twice imprisoned by the French, he joined the Viet Minh, Hồ Chí Minh’s anti-French communist-led front, and attained an influential position on the Central Committee of Ho’s new Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi in 1945. After Vietnam’s division in 1954, Le Duan was put in charge of establishing an underground Communist Party organization in South Vietnam. He thus oversaw the creation in 1962 of the People’s Revolutionary Party, a crucial component of the Việt Cộng.
Upon Ho’s death in 1969, He became the first secretary to the Vietnam Worker’s Party, assumed party leadership—a position that he retained after the party’s reorganization as the Vietnamese Communist Party in 1976. At that time, his official title became secretary-general. After the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, He led the party through a difficult period that witnessed the formal reunification of Vietnam, the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, and the country’s break with China and the expulsion of much of its ethnic Chinese community. Vietnam under Le Duan entered into a close alliance with the Soviet Union and became a member of Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance). Though adept at party organizing and at mobilizing human resources in pursuit of victory during the Vietnam War, He proved less pragmatic afterward as a maker of peacetime economic and foreign policy.
He was born into a lower-class family in Quảng Trị Province, in the southern part of French Indochina as Lê Văn Nhuận. Little is known about his family and childhood. He first came in contact with revolutionary thoughts in the 1920s through his work as a railway clerk.
Lê Duẩn was a founding member of the Indochina Communist Party (the future Communist Party of Vietnam) in 1930. He was imprisoned in 1931 and released in 1937. From 1937 to 1939, he climbed the party ladder. He was rearrested in 1939, this time for fomenting an uprising in the South. Lê Duẩn was released from jail following the successful Communist-led August Revolution of August 1945.
During the First Indochina War (1946-1954), Lê Duẩn was an active revolutionary leader in South Vietnam. He headed the Central Office of South Vietnam, a Party organ, from 1951 until 1954. During the 1950s Lê Duẩn became increasingly aggressive towards South Vietnam and called for reunification through war. By the mid-to-late 1950s Lê Duẩn had become the second-most powerful policy-maker within the Party, eclipsing former party First Secretary Trường Chinh.
By 1960 he was officially the second-most powerful Party member, after Party chairman Hồ. Throughout the 1960s Hồ's health declined and Lê Duẩn assumed more of his responsibilities. On 2 September 1969 Hồ died and Lê Duẩn became the most powerful figure in the North.
He became the General Secretary in 1960, officially becoming the main personality in the party after Hồ Chí Minh. After Hồ's death, Lê Duẩn took over the leadership of North Vietnam. Throughout the Vietnam War of 1955 to 1975, Lê Duẩn took an aggressive posture, seeing attack as the key to victory.
When South Vietnam was reunited with North Vietnam in 1976 and the party was restructured, Lê Duẩn became General Secretary of the Party. Lê Duẩn and his associates were overly optimistic about the future. The Second Five-Year Plan (1976–1980) failed and left the Vietnamese economy in crisis. He endorsed the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia of December 1978, aiming to overthrow Pol Pot's Chinese-backed Khmer Rouge terror regime, which had been propagating a campaign of genocide for the past four years. This heavily impacted relations between Vietnam and the Communist Party of China, with Vietnam responding with the deportation of ethnic Chinese and China carrying out a heavy-loss punitive expedition against Vietnam in 1979. From then on, Vietnam maintained a closer alliance with the Soviet Union and joined Comecon in 1978. Vietnam became internationally isolated during Lê Duẩn's rule.
Lê remained General Secretary until his death in 1986. He died in Hanoi; his successor was initially Trường Chinh. Lê Duản was also known as Lê Dung, and was known in public as "anh Ba" (third brother).