Mott 1969 writes:
Land reform would have been a great idea. But, I don’t think the South’s dictatorship would’ve done it, ever. Have the U.S. leave and just encourage land reform? That would have lasted only a few minutes before another military coup.
Most of these 3rd World “Communist” revolutions are just wars over land. Peasant revolts have happened all down through human history all over the world, and they tend to be bloody as Hell. There were very bloody peasant revolts in the Incan Empire.
If the revolt succeeds, and it has many times, typically the peasants simply simply kill every single one of the landlords. These are pretty much genocidal wars, and they always have been. Study history. Feudalism doesn’t work. Humans will simply not put up with it. Sooner or later it ends up in a bloodbath.
In Vietnam, a land reform was never done. That was Third Rail, the Rubicon over which the South Vietnamese regime would never cross. It was basically a government of rich landlords, feudal latifundistas. The state would have sooner commit mass suicide than give up the privileges of the landlords.
In revolutionary situations, this is typical. These wars are usually just a fights over land, but the state never does a land reform because that is the last thing on Earth that they will do.
The South Vietnamese did do a couple of fake land reforms pretty much because the US forced them to, but those were not even real. Fake land reforms are very common during these revolutionary situations and are usually done because the US is forcing the regime being rebelled against to end the revolt by distributing land. These fake land reforms never end the revolution; it just keeps on going.
In South Vietnam, 2% of the landowners in the countryside owned 98% of the land. Everyone one else was an abused landless peasant working for a feudal landlord. Class relations in the countryside were essentially feudal ans in China pre-1949. Feudal land relations in the countryside are unsustainable in our era and almost always lead to Communist or Leftist revolutions.
And to be honest, that was much of the reason for the whole damned war right there. It was a war over land in the rural areas.