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
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory....

 for 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 the French Empire
French colonial empire
The French colonial empire was the set of territories outside Europe that were under French rule primarily from the 17th century to the late 1960s. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the colonial empire of France was the second-largest in the world behind the British Empire. The French colonial empire...

. When the Japanese occupation began, the Việt Minh opposed Japan with support from the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

. After 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...

, the Việt Minh opposed the re-occupation of Vietnam by France and later opposed the United States in 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...


World War II

During World War II, Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 occupied 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....

. As well as fighting the French, the Việt Minh started a campaign
Military campaign
In the military sciences, the term military campaign applies to large scale, long duration, significant military strategy plan incorporating a series of inter-related military operations or battles forming a distinct part of a larger conflict often called a war...

 against the Japanese. Due to their opposition to the Japanese, the Việt Minh received funding from 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 the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

. When Japan surrendered in August 1945, the Japanese handed over control of some public buildings and weapons requisitioned from the French army to the Việt Minh, now led by 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...

, after turning in the Vietnamese nationalist leaders of the Việt Minh to the French colonialists. The Việt Minh also recruited more than 600 of the Japanese soldiers, who fought in the war against France until 1954. After the nationalist organizations proclaimed the independence of Việt Nam, Hồ proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, 1945.

First Indochina War

However, within days, the Chinese Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 (Nationalist) Army arrived in Vietnam to supervise the repatriation of the Japanese Imperial Army. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam therefore existed only in theory and effectively controlled no territory. A few months later, the Chinese, Vietnamese and French came to a three-way understanding. The French gave up certain rights in China, the Việt Minh agreed to the return of the French in exchange for promises of independence within the French Union
French Union
The French Union was a political entity created by the French Fourth Republic to replace the old French colonial system, the "French Empire" and to abolish its "indigenous" status.-History:...

, and the Chinese agreed to leave. Negotiations between the French and Việt Minh broke down quickly. What followed was nearly ten years of war against France. This was known as 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...

 or, to the Vietnamese, the French War.

The Việt Minh, who were short on modern military knowledge, created a military school in Tỉnh Quảng Ngãi in June 1946. More than 400 Vietnamese were trained by Japanese soldiers in this school. These soldiers were considered to be students of the Japanese and were feared by the French army in the First Indochina War. Later, some of them fought as generals against the United States in the Vietnam War.

French General Jean-Etienne Valluy
Jean-Étienne Valluy
Jean Etienne Valluy was a French general .He was born in Rive-de-Gier, Loire, on 15 May 1899 to Claude Valluy and Jeanne, Adrienne Cossanges. In 1917 he entered the military academy of Saint-Cyr...

 quickly pushed the Việt Minh out of 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...

. His French infantry with armored units went through Hanoi, fighting small battles against isolated Việt Minh groups. The French encircled the Việt Minh base, Việt Bắc
Viet Bac
Việt Bắc is a region of Vietnam north of Hanoi that served as the Viet Minh's base of support during the First Indochina War ....

, in 1947, but failed to defeat the Việt Minh forces, and had to retreat soon after. The campaign is now widely considered a Việt Minh victory over the well-equipped French force.

The Việt Minh continued fighting against the French until 1949, when the border of China and Vietnam was linked together as the result of the campaign called Chiến dịch Biên giới (Borderland Campaign). The newly communist People's Republic of 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...

 gave the Việt Minh both sheltered bases and heavy weapons with which to fight the French. With the additional weapons, the Việt Minh were able to take control over many rural
Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...

 areas of the country. Soon after that, they began to advance towards the French occupied areas.

North Vietnam and the end of the Việt Minh

Following their defeat at the Battle of Điện Biên Phủ
Battle of Dien Bien Phu
The Battle of Dien Bien Phu was the climactic confrontation of the First Indochina War between the French Union's French Far East Expeditionary Corps and Viet Minh communist revolutionaries. The battle occurred between March and May 1954 and culminated in a comprehensive French defeat that...

, the French began negotiations to leave Vietnam. As a result of peace accords worked out at 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...

 in Geneva, Switzerland, Vietnam was divided into North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

 and 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...

 at the 17th Parallel as a temporary measure until unifying elections could take place in 1956. Transfer of civil administration
Administration (government)
The term administration, as used in the context of government, differs according to jurisdiction.-United States:In United States usage, the term refers to the executive branch under a specific president , for example: the "Barack Obama administration." It can also mean an executive branch agency...

 of North Vietnam to the Việt Minh was given on October 11, 1954. Hồ Chí Minh was appointed Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 of North Vietnam, which would be run as a socialist state
Socialist state
A socialist state generally refers to any state constitutionally dedicated to the construction of a socialist society. It is closely related to the political strategy of "state socialism", a set of ideologies and policies that believe a socialist economy can be established through government...

. 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...

, who was previously appointed Prime Minister of South Vietnam by Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

 Bảo Đại
Bảo Đài
Bảo Đài is a commune and village in Lục Nam District, Bac Giang Province, in northeastern Vietnam.-References:...

, eventually assumed control of South Vietnam. In the words of U.S. President Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...


It was generally conceded that had an election been held, Hồ Chí Minh would have been elected Premier. Unhappily, the situation was exacerbated by the almost total lack of leadership displayed by the Vietnamese Chief of State, Bảo Đại, who, while nominally the head of that nation, chose to spend the bulk of his time in the spas of Europe rather than in his own land leading his armies against those of Communism.

South Vietnam and its chief supporter, the United States, were not signatories to the 1954 agreement but did agree to respect its conditions. However, South Vietnam, with the backing of the United States, refused to hold unifying elections, claiming that Hồ Chí Minh could not be trusted due to his affiliation with Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

. This gave the Viet Minh the opportunity to march south to reunify the country by force. However, the Viet Minh were not in a position to do this, having instituted a party purge of 'disloyal' Communists as well as a highly disruptive land reform program in the two years since the Geneva agreement. Poorly trained cadres were sent into the countryside accusing thousands of loyal party members of being counter-revolutionaries. As a result the Viet Minh lost so much popularity as a party and revolutionary movement that it had no time to run an effective government in the North nor a guerrilla campaign in the South. Its reputation in ruins, the Viet Minh gradually faded away as a revolutionary movement and party. In 1960 it was replaced by the National Liberation Front (NLF), more commonly known as the Viet Cong, established by South Vietnamese communists to lead the guerrilla war against Diem.

The Khmer Viet Minh

Khmer Viet Minh were the 3,000 to 5,000 Cambodian communist
Communist Party of Kampuchea
The Communist Party of Kampuchea, also known as Khmer Communist Party , was a communist party in Cambodia. Its followers were generally known as Khmer Rouge .-Foundation of the party; first divisions:...

 cadres, left-wing members of the Khmer Issarak
Khmer Issarak
The Khmer Issarak was an anti-French, Khmer nationalist political movement formed in 1945 with the backing of the government of Thailand. It sought to expel the French colonial authorities from Cambodia, and establish an independent Khmer state....

 movement regrouped in the United Issarak Front
United Issarak Front
The United Issarak Front was a Cambodian anti-colonial movement 1950–1954., organized by the left-wing members of the Khmer Issarak movement. The UIF coordinated the efforts of the movement as of 1950, and waged war against the French Union forces...

 after 1950, most of whom lived in exile in North Vietnam after the 1954 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...

. It was a derogatory term used by Norodom Sihanouk
Norodom Sihanouk
Norodom Sihanouk regular script was the King of Cambodia from 1941 to 1955 and again from 1993 until his semi-retirement and voluntary abdication on 7 October 2004 in favor of his son, the current King Norodom Sihamoni...

, dismissing the Cambodian leftists who had been organizing pro-independence agitations in alliance with the Vietnamese.
Sihanouk's public criticism and mockery of the Khmer Viet Minh had the damaging effect of increasing the power of the hardline, anti-Vietnamese, but also anti-monarchist, members of the CPK, led by Pol Pot
Pol Pot
Saloth Sar , better known as Pol Pot, , was a Cambodian Maoist revolutionary who led the Khmer Rouge from 1963 until his death in 1998. From 1976 to 1979, he served as the Prime Minister of Democratic Kampuchea....


The Khmer Viet Minh were instrumental in the foundation of the Cambodian Salvation Front
Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation
The Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation , often simply referred to as Salvation Front or by its French acronym FUNSK , was the nucleus of a new Cambodian regime, that would later establish the People's Republic of Kampuchea .Its foundation took place in 1978 in Vietnam by...

 (FUNSK) in 1978. The FUNSK invaded Cambodia along with the Vietnamese Army and overthrew the Democratic Kampuchea
Democratic Kampuchea
The Khmer Rouge period refers to the rule of Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen, Khieu Samphan and the Khmer Rouge Communist party over Cambodia, which the Khmer Rouge renamed as Democratic Kampuchea....

 Pol Pot state. Many of the Khmer Viet Minh had married Vietnamese women during their long exile in Vietnam.


The Việt Nam Ðộc Lập Ðồng Minh Hội is not to be confused with the Việt Nam Cách Mạng Ðồng Minh Hội (League for the Vietnamese Revolution, abbreviated as Việt Cách) which was founded by Nguyễn Hai Than
Nguyen Hai Than
Nguyễn Hải Thần , born Nguyễn Văn Thắng in Dai Tu village, Thuong Tin district, Hà Ðông province was a leader of the Việt Nam Cách Mạng Ðồng Minh Hội and a political leader during the Vietnamese Revolution...

 and Hồ Ngoc Lam, and which later joined the Vietnamese National Coalition in 1946.
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