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Democratic Republic of Vietnam

North Vietnam called itself the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and was so called by Communist and other states with whom diplomatic relations were maintained. The state was founded early in September 1945 soon after Japan's defeat in World War II. It was the outgrowth of a Communist-led nationalist resistance movement composed mainly of guerrilla bands organized in 1941 by the self-styled Vietnam Independence League, usually called the Viet Minh. These nationalist anticolonial groups had opposed the presence of Japanese military and French colonial forces in Vietnam.

During the war years, the Communist leaders purposely kept their aims in the background in order to recruit among their partisans many non-Communist nationalists. After World War II they eagerly continued the struggle against foreign domination, this time directed against the French who, with the help of the Allies, had reestablished their control over the country after the Japanese withdrawal. During the prolonged conflict, known as the Indochina War (1946-54), the Communist character of the selfstyled Democratic Republic of Vietnam was revealed as its founder and president, Ho Chi Minh, and its other leaders increasingly consolidated their position in the rural areas. Meanwhile, the National LiberationAnny became the People's Anny of Vietnam, known to the West as the North Vietnamese Army [NVA].

Fighting ceased with the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in Vietnam, signed at Geneva on July 20, 1954, by representatives of the commanders in chief of the People's Anny of Vietnam and of the French Union Forces in Indochina. The agreement, by fixing a "provisional military demarcation line" across the State of Vltenam near the seventeenth parallel, in effect formalized the territorial status of North Vietnam. The territory north of the Une became the self-styled Democratic RepubIlc of Vietnam, under control of the Lao Dong Party (Communist), firmly in the orbit of the major Communist powers; the area to the south became the Republic of Vietnam, an anti-Communist Country aligned with the Western powers of the Free World. Each government retained in its title the word "Vietnam," thereby tacitly claiming to be the sole governing body for the entire country.

Political power was exercised exclusively by some 800,000 Communists (less than 5 percent of the population) through their organization called the Lao Dong (Workers') Party. By means of the usual Communist agencies and methods, the Party firmly controls the country and the government in all its aspects. The hierarchical organization of the Party and the government were similar and parallel.

The principal political aim of the government, as indicated by its leaders late in 1966, appeared to be the defense of North Vietnam, the "liberation of South Vietnam" and the unification of North and South Vietnam (to reconstitute Vietnam - the Fatherland). In pursuit of this objective a large proportion of the national effort has been devoted to supporting the insurgents in South Vietnam (commonly called the Viet Cong), fighting under the leadership of the so-called National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam [the NLF].

In carrying out their plan, the leaders sought to inspire "revolutionary heroism," a term they apply to the militant fighting spirit needed for creating the so-called socialist man and woman. Party tacticians pressed for manifestation of this spirit in each person's daily task, regardless of its nature--whether combat, production, or instruction. Vigorous Party and government activities in furtherance of the "liberation" policy have had a greater impact on the population than any other national undertaking. As a result, continually throughout the life of the nation many of its youths have been engaging in combat, undergoing military training or working to provide logistical support for fighting troops. Meanwhile, the remainder of the population has endured increasing wartime hiardships, and almost all persons under 35 years of age had experienced no other type of existence.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:35:40 ZULU