North Vietnam
Overview
 
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) , was a communist state
Communist state
A communist state is a state with a form of government characterized by single-party rule or dominant-party rule of a communist party and a professed allegiance to a Leninist or Marxist-Leninist communist ideology as the guiding principle of the state...

 that ruled the northern half of Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference
Geneva Conference (1954)
The Geneva Conference was a conference which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, whose purpose was to attempt to find a way to unify Korea and discuss the possibility of restoring peace in Indochina...

 and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...

, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout the country. It is also known as North Vietnam from 1954 to 1976.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Vietnam was a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 colony under Japanese occupation.
Timeline

1945    Vietnam declares its independence, forming the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

1946    Ho Chi Minh is elected the President of North Vietnam.

1954    First Indochina War: The Geneva Conference partitions Vietnam into North Vietnam and South Vietnam.

1954    First Indochina War: The Viet Minh take control of North Vietnam.

1955    Operation Passage to Freedom, the evacuation of 310,000 Vietnamese civilians, soldiers and non-Vietnamese members of the French Army from communist North Vietnam to South Vietnam following the end of the First Indochina War, ends.

1964    Vietnam War: at a rally in Saigon, South Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Khanh calls for expanding the war into North Vietnam.

1964    Vietnam War: the U.S. Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution giving US President Lyndon B. Johnson broad war powers to deal with North Vietnamese attacks on American forces.

1964    Vietnam War: U.S. officials deny any involvement in bombing North Vietnam.

1964    Vietnam War: National Security Council members agree to recommend that U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson adopt a plan for a two-stage escalation of bombing in North Vietnam.

1964    Vietnam War: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his top-ranking advisers meet to discuss plans to bomb North Vietnam.

Encyclopedia
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) , was a communist state
Communist state
A communist state is a state with a form of government characterized by single-party rule or dominant-party rule of a communist party and a professed allegiance to a Leninist or Marxist-Leninist communist ideology as the guiding principle of the state...

 that ruled the northern half of Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference
Geneva Conference (1954)
The Geneva Conference was a conference which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, whose purpose was to attempt to find a way to unify Korea and discuss the possibility of restoring peace in Indochina...

 and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...

, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout the country. It is also known as North Vietnam from 1954 to 1976.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Vietnam was a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 colony under Japanese occupation. Soon after Japan surrendered in 1945
Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent...

, the DRV was proclaimed in Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi , is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam...

. Viet Minh
Viet Minh
Việt Minh was a national independence coalition formed at Pac Bo on May 19, 1941. The Việt Minh initially formed to seek independence for Vietnam from the French Empire. When the Japanese occupation began, the Việt Minh opposed Japan with support from the United States and the Republic of China...

 leader Hồ Chí Minh
Ho Chi Minh
Hồ Chí Minh , born Nguyễn Sinh Cung and also known as Nguyễn Ái Quốc, was a Vietnamese Marxist-Leninist revolutionary leader who was prime minister and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam...

 became head of the government while former emperor Bảo Đại
Bảo Đài
Bảo Đài is a commune and village in Lục Nam District, Bac Giang Province, in northeastern Vietnam.-References:...

 became "supreme advisor." France accepted Hồ's government in March 1946, but at the same time set up a puppet government for the South in Saigon. Non-communist figures were ousted from the DRV on October 30th and fled to the South. In November, the French reoccupied Hanoi and the French Indochina War followed. Bảo Đại became head of the Saigon government in 1949, which was then renamed the State of Vietnam
State of Vietnam
The State of Vietnam was a state that claimed authority over all of Vietnam during the First Indochina War, and replaced the Provisional Central Government of Vietnam . The provisional government was a brief transitional administration between colonial Cochinchina and an independent state...

. Following the Geneva Accords
Geneva Conference (1954)
The Geneva Conference was a conference which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, whose purpose was to attempt to find a way to unify Korea and discuss the possibility of restoring peace in Indochina...

 of 1954, Vietnam was partitioned at the 17th parallel. The DRV became the government of North Vietnam while the State of Vietnam retained control in the South.

The Geneva Accords provided that nationwide elections would be held in 1956. Although France and the Vietminh had agreed to this provision, it was rejected by the State of Vietnam
State of Vietnam
The State of Vietnam was a state that claimed authority over all of Vietnam during the First Indochina War, and replaced the Provisional Central Government of Vietnam . The provisional government was a brief transitional administration between colonial Cochinchina and an independent state...

 government. During the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 (1955–75), North Vietnam fought against the military of the Republic of Vietnam government and its anti-communist allies. At one point, the U.S. had 600,000 troops in the South. The war ended with the total victory of the communist forces. The two halves of Vietnam (the North and the South) were united into the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1976.

Independence proclaimed

Vietnam became part of French Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

 in 1887 and was administered by the pro-German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 Vichy government during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. In 1940-1945, French Indochina was occupied by Japan, which used the colony as a base from which to conduct military operations further south. Soon after the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II, the Vietminh entered Hanoi and Hồ proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, 1945. U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 had spoken against French rule in Indochina and America was supportive of the Viet Minh at this time.

In January 1946, the Viet Minh held an election to establish a National Assembly. Public enthusiasm for this event suggests that the Viet Minh enjoyed a great deal of popularity at this time, although there were few competitive races and the party makeup of the Assembly was determined in advance of the vote.Although former emperor Bao Dai was also popular at this time and won a seat in the Assembly, the election did not allow voters to express a preference between Bao Dai and Ho. It was held publicly in northern and central Vietnam, but secretly in Cochinchina
Cochinchina
Cochinchina is a region encompassing the southern third of Vietnam whose principal city is Saigon. It was a French colony from 1862 to 1954. The later state of South Vietnam was created in 1954 by combining Cochinchina with southern Annam. In Vietnamese, the region is called Nam Bộ...

, the southern third of Vietnam. There was minimal campaigning and most voters had no idea who the candidates were. (Fall, Bernard, The Viet-Minh Regime (1956), p. 9.) In many districts, a single candidate ran unopposed. (Fall, p. 10.) Party representation in the Assembly was publicly announced before the election was held. (Springhal, John, Decolonization since 1945 (1955), p. 44.)


When France declared Cochinchina, the southern third of Vietnam, a separate state as the "Autonomous Republic of Cochinchina" in June 1946, Vietnamese nationalists reacted with fury. In November, the National Assembly adopted the first Constitution of the Republic. The French reoccupied Hanoi and the Franco-Viet Minh War (1946–54) followed. Chinese communist forces arrived on the border in 1949. Chinese aid revived the fortunes of the Viet Minh and transformed it from a guerrilla force into a regular army. The outbreak of the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 in June 1950 transformed what had been an anti-colonial struggle into a Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 battleground, with the U.S. providing financial support to the French.

Partition of Indochina

Following the partition of Vietnam in 1954 at the end of the First Indochina War
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...

, around a million Vietnamese migrated to either the North or to the South. For example, an estimated 800,000 Catholics moved south. The Catholic migration is attributed to an expectation of persecution of Catholics
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 by the North Vietnamese government, as well as publicity employed by the Saigon government of the President Ngô Đình Diệm
Ngo Dinh Diem
Ngô Đình Diệm was the first president of South Vietnam . In the wake of the French withdrawal from Indochina as a result of the 1954 Geneva Accords, Diệm led the effort to create the Republic of Vietnam. Accruing considerable U.S. support due to his staunch anti-Communism, he achieved victory in a...

. Concurrently, an estimated 130,000 people from South Việtnam who supported the Viet Minh headed for the North with the aid of Polish
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 ships.

Between 1953 and 1956, the North Vietnamese government instituted various agrarian
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 reforms, including land redistribution. Large landowners and rich peasants were publicly denounced as landlord
Landlord
A landlord is the owner of a house, apartment, condominium, or real estate which is rented or leased to an individual or business, who is called a tenant . When a juristic person is in this position, the term landlord is used. Other terms include lessor and owner...

s (địa chủ), and their land distributed to poor and middle peasants. In some cases there were mass slaughters of landlords.

A literary movement called Nhân văn-Giai phẩm (from the names of the two magazines which started the movement) attempted to encourage the democratization of the country and the free expression of thought. Intellectuals were thus lured into criticizing the leadership so they could be arrested later, following the model of Mao Tse-tung
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

's Hundred Flowers campaign in China.

International relations

North Vietnam's capital was Hanoi and it was a one party state led by the Vietnam Workers' Party (Vietnamese
Vietnamese language
Vietnamese is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is the mother tongue of 86% of Vietnam's population, and of about three million overseas Vietnamese. It is also spoken as a second language by many ethnic minorities of Vietnam...

: Đảng lao động Việt Nam).

In the late 1950s, Hanoi began sending supplies and soldiers to southern communist forces (the Vietcong) along the Ho Chi Minh Trail
Ho Chi Minh trail
The Ho Chi Minh trail was a logistical system that ran from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to the Republic of Vietnam through the neighboring kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia...

 to fight the Saigon government. In 1965 the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 sent combat troops to South Vietnam. China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 provided aid to North Vietnam in support of North Vietnamese military activities. This was known as the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 (1959–75).

In addition to the Vietcong in South Vietnam, other nationalist insurgencies also operated within neighboring Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

 and Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

, both formerly part of the French colonial territory of Indochina
Indochina
The Indochinese peninsula, is a region in Southeast Asia. It lies roughly southwest of China, and east of India. The name has its origins in the French, Indochine, as a combination of the names of "China" and "India", and was adopted when French colonizers in Vietnam began expanding their territory...

.
North Vietnam was largely isolated from the international community. North Vietnam was not recognized by many Western countries, and many other democratic and anti-communist nations worldwide, as these nations only extended recognition to anti-communist South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

. North Vietnam however, was recognized by Communist countries, like the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and other Soviet Socialist Republics of Eastern Europe
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 and Central Asia
Soviet Central Asia
Soviet Central Asia refers to the section of Central Asia formerly controlled by the Soviet Union, as well as the time period of Soviet administration . In terms of area, it is nearly synonymous with Russian Turkestan, the name for the region during the Russian Empire...

, China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 and Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, and received aid from these nations.

Fall of Saigon

After the fall of Saigon
Fall of Saigon
The Fall of Saigon was the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the People's Army of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front on April 30, 1975...

 on April 30, 1975, the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam, or Vietcong, nominally governed South Vietnam for a time. In practice, the newly conquered territory was administered by the PAVN. North and South Vietnam merged on July 2, 1976, to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

.

External links

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