North Vietnam

North Vietnam
Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa

Flag Coat of arms
Độc lập - Tự do - Hạnh phúc
(Independence - Freedom - Happiness)
Tiến Quân Ca
(Army March)
Location of North Vietnam from 1954
Capital Hanoi
Language(s) Vietnamese
Religion Officially Atheist; Buddhism
Government Socialist state
Communist State
 - 1945–1969 Hồ Chí Minh
First secretary
 - 1960–1986 Lê Duẩn
Historical era Cold War
 - Independence proclaimed September 2, 1945
 - Vietminh reenters Hanoi October 10, 1954
 - PAVN enters Saigon April 30, 1975
 - North merged with South as "Socialist Republic" July 2, 1976
 - 1960 157,880 km2 (60,958 sq mi)
 - 1960 est. 15,916,955 
     Density 100.8 /km2  (261.1 /sq mi)
 - 1974 est. 23,767,300 
     Density 150.5 /km2  (389.9 /sq mi)
Currency đồng

The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) (Vietnamese: Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa), 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 the country. It is also known as North Vietnam from 1954 to 1976.

During World War II, Vietnam was a French colony under Japanese occupation. Soon after Japan surrendered in 1945, the DRV was proclaimed in Hanoi. Viet Minh leader Hồ Chí Minh became head of the government while former emperor Bảo Đại 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. Following the Geneva Accords 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 government. During the Vietnam War (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 in 1887 and was administered by the pro-German Vichy government during World War II. 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.[1] U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt 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.[nb 1]

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.[2] 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 in June 1950 transformed what had been an anti-colonial struggle into a Cold War 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, around a million Vietnamese migrated to either the North or to the South. For example, an estimated 800,000 Catholics moved south.[3] The Catholic migration is attributed to an expectation of persecution of Catholics by the North Vietnamese government, as well as publicity employed by the Saigon government of the President Ngô Đình Diệm.[4] Concurrently, an estimated 130,000 people from South Việtnam who supported the Viet Minh headed for the North with the aid of Polish and Soviet ships.[3]

Between 1953 and 1956, the North Vietnamese government instituted various agrarian reforms, including land redistribution. Large landowners and rich peasants were publicly denounced as landlords (địa chủ), and their land distributed to poor and middle peasants.[5] 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's Hundred Flowers campaign in China.[citation needed]

International relations

North Vietnam's capital was Hanoi and it was a one party state led by the Vietnam Workers' Party (Vietnamese: 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 to fight the Saigon government. In 1965 the United States sent combat troops to South Vietnam. China and the Soviet Union provided aid to North Vietnam in support of North Vietnamese military activities. This was known as the Vietnam War (1959–75).

In addition to the Vietcong in South Vietnam, other nationalist insurgencies also operated within neighboring Laos and Cambodia, both formerly part of the French colonial territory of Indochina.

History of Vietnam Map of Vietnam
Hồng Bàng dynasty prior to 257 BC
Thục dynasty 257–207 BC
Triệu dynasty 207–111 BC
First Chinese domination 111 BC–39 AD
Trưng sisters 40–43
Second Chinese domination 43–544
Early Lý dynasty 544–602
Third Chinese domination 602–905
Autonomy 905–938
Ngô dynasty 939–967
Đinh dynasty 968–980
Early Lê dynasty 980–1009
Lý dynasty 1009–1225
Trần dynasty 1225–1400
Hồ dynasty 1400–1407
Fourth Chinese domination 1407–1427
• Later Trần dynasty 1407–1413
Later Lê dynasty (Early Lê) 1428–1527
Mạc dynasty 1527–1592
Later Lê dynasty (Restored Lê) 1533–1788
Trịnh Lords 1545–1787
Nguyễn Lords 1558–1777
Tây Sơn dynasty 1778–1802
Nguyễn dynasty 1802–1945
French imperialism 1887–1954
Partition 1954–1975
Democratic Republic (North) 1945–1976
State of Vietnam (South) 1949–1955
Republic of Vietnam (South) 1955–1975
Socialist Republic from 1976
Related topics
Champa Dynasties 192–1832
List of Vietnamese monarchs
Economic history of Vietnam
Prehistoric cultures of Vietnam
v · d · e

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. North Vietnam however, was recognized by Communist countries, like the Soviet Union and other Soviet Socialist Republics of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, China, North Korea and Cuba, and received aid from these nations.

Fall of Saigon

After the fall of Saigon 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.


  1. ^ 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, 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.)


  1. ^ The August Revolution and its historic significance
  2. ^ "Political Overview"
  3. ^ a b United Nations High Commission on Refugees. 2000. The State of the World's Refugees 2000: Fifty Years of Humanitarian Action. Oxford University Press.
  4. ^ Truong Nhu Tang. 1986. A Viet Cong Memoir. Vintage.
  5. ^ Qiang Zhai, China and the Vietnam Wars, 1950-1975

External links

Preceded by
French Indochina
North Vietnam
Succeeded by
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Coordinates: 21°02′N 105°51′E / 21.033°N 105.85°E / 21.033; 105.85

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