A close examination of archival documents and other materials from the state-controlled press reveals there to have been at least five competing modes for organizing labor on public works projects in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam during the mid to late 1950s. Each of these modes is examined to illustrate how ideological concerns and bureaucratic struggles shaped not only the postwar reconstruction of infrastructure but also efforts to "build socialism" following the land reforms. The materials discussed indicate that disruptions, false starts, and counterproductive policy modifications, including fierce competition between different state agencies, were the norm rather than the exception.

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