Land reform in South Vietnam succeeds


In 1954, South Vietnam's ally, the United States, advised the new government of South Vietnam, headed by Ngo Dinh Diem, to undertake "indispensable reforms" including land reform. In response on 8 January 1955, Diem adopted Ordinance No. 2, which capped rental of land at 25 percent of production. In 1956, Diem adopted Ordinance No. 57 which forbade ownership by an individual of more than 100 hectares (250 acres) of rice land and prescribed the conditions and terms under which the excess land expropriated from the rich could be transferred to less-wealthy farmers.
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The land reform program implemented under Ordinance 57 was unpopular in the countryside. The Viet Minh had already divided up the land -- "fairly," in the words of one official.[7] The government's program was less generous to the majority of farmers than had been the Viet Minh redistribution of land in areas which it controlled. The amount of land that individuals were permitted to retain was large, farmers were required to pay for land they acquired under the program, and the program was riddled with corruption and inefficiency.[8] Many rural people believed that the United States army and the government of South Vietnam were on the side of the landlords. Military operations by the U.S. and South Vietnamese armies to clear communist insurgents from an area would often result in landlords reclaiming land previously abandoned or confiscated and redistributed by the Viet Minh or Viet Cong.

Ordinance 57 resulted in the reverse of what was the objective of land reform advocates: large landowners and landlords increased their influence, especially in the important rice-growing area of the Mekong Delta.
The Land to the Tiller project carried out in Vietnam from 1970 to 1973 was based on a proposal by Roy Prosterman, a prominent American "land-rights-activist", who the US government of the time recruited within its efforts against Viet Cong in South Vietnam.[11] Drawing on experiences in other countries (particularly in Latin America), Prosterman proposed a "land-to-the-tiller" program to compete with the Viet Cong for the allegiance of the peasants. The plan mimicked the communists' land expropriation strategy, coupled with monetary compensation to the former landowners.[12]

On 26 March 1970, with the war still underway, the government of South Vietnam began implementation of the Land-to-the-Tiller program following Prosterman's model. In total, the United States financed 339 million US dollars of the reform's 441 million dollars of expenses.
Bernard B. Fall a prominent war correspondent, historian, political scientist, and expert on Indochina during the 1950s and 1960s, claimed that delayed land reform in South Vietnam had played such a fundamental role in the Vietnam War that it was as important as "ammunition for howitzers."
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In the words of an American official, Robert Samson "The Americans (lost the war because) they offered the peasant a constitution; the Viet Cong offered him his land and with it the right to survive".
So what if the Land to the Tiller program, which was successful in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan decades before it was attempted in earnest in South Vietnam, had in fact been tried in Vietnam during the Diem presidency?
 
So what if the Land to the Tiller program, which was successful in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan decades before it was attempted in earnest in South Vietnam, had in fact been tried in Vietnam during the Diem presidency?
Well, how to you make it more successful? The Viet Minh have already done basic land reform. More land reform would be seen by large landowners and landlords as unfriendly actions from Diem's government, of which they were the largest supporter of Diem. Ngo Dinh Diem was already unpopular with ordinary people with mass arrest and execution of people suspected of communist activities, which many people who are not aligned with the communist movement were imprisoned and executed, without trial. Losing a major supporter base to the regime is just suicidal.
 
Was land reform really done in South Korea? The rightist governing parties permitted it?
If they were well paid, I could see them going for it.

Still a far better deal than the 'Land Reform' as Uncle Ho did it, by torturing Landowners in Prison, or just summarily executing them, with over 170,000 killed.

He set ratios on how many were to be guilty in each province( one Landlord for every 160 Peasants had to be punished, along with his relatives), and no good Communist ever wanted to be under quota for Political Struggles.

Later on, they admitted that 71% of the punished hadn't been Landlords at all. Whoops!
 
Well, how to you make it more successful? The Viet Minh have already done basic land reform. More land reform would be seen by large landowners and landlords as unfriendly actions from Diem's government, of which they were the largest supporter of Diem.
Simple. Keep the land reform allotments that the Viet Minh had already done (as opposed to the more landowner-friendly Ordinance No. 57), and unlike them, compensate the landowners for losing their land with money or government bonds (as done in other countries). Cheaper than fighting a bloody war over it, though of course that's retrospect.
 
Simple. Keep the land reform allotments that the Viet Minh had already done (as opposed to the more landowner-friendly Ordinance No. 57), and unlike them, compensate the landowners for losing their land with money or government bonds (as done in other countries). Cheaper than fighting a bloody war over it, though of course that's retrospect.
Well, in the article when land in Viet Cong control turned over to American/ARVN forces, large landowners reclaimed abandoned land which was originally owned by now refugees escaping the conflict. The effect of land reform would eventually be reversed in areas with a lot of active conflict.
 
If they were well paid, I could see them going for it.

Still a far better deal than the 'Land Reform' as Uncle Ho did it, by torturing Landowners in Prison, or just summarily executing them, with over 170,000 killed.

He set ratios on how many were to be guilty in each province( one Landlord for every 160 Peasants had to be punished, along with his relatives), and no good Communist ever wanted to be under quota for Political Struggles.

Later on, they admitted that 71% of the punished hadn't been Landlords at all. Whoops!
If you read the article, the goverment said one landlord out of 1000 people. 1 out of 160 was the actually number through witness account, which means there were excessive killings. Most of the damage was caused by independent villages, which in many areas Viet Minh control was weak but support was large. Peasant, sometimes with the help of Viet Minh members executed landlord, Confucian intellectuals,... . But what happened that they just executed anyone with wealth, and in hostile relations with them. Heck, even Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap was put on trial in absentia because their parents used to be part of the Confucian intellectuals!
 
I doubt the United States has the capacity to deal with the catholic and buddhist compradors with the efficiency and effectiveness of the NFL. Getting the Viet elite of RVN to realise long term survival in modernity outside of sucking an imperialist teat is a very large difficulty.
 
Was land reform easier to do so in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, because those were countries formerly colonized by an enemy power (as opposed to an ally), as well as the enemy power itself?
 
Diem would not have been Diem if he had actually put through a program of land reform. It was just
something he could not have cared less about.
 
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What if Marshall Ky took power after Diem's death, stopping the nine coups in three years mess? He did partial reform make it bigger.
 
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