Organization that led the struggle for Vietnamese independence from French rule. Formed in 1941 by Ho Chi Minh, it was a national organization open to people of all political leanings, though it was led by communists. In 1943 the Viet Minh began guerrilla operations against the occupying Japanese; when the Japanese surrendered to the Allies, the Viet Minh seized Hanoi and proclaimed Vietnam's independence. In the First Indochina War that followed, the Viet Minh (and the Vietnamese Workers' Party [Lao Dong] that succeeded them) defeated the French. Elements of the Viet Minh also joined the Viet Cong to fight the U.S. in the Vietnam War. Seealso Vo Nguyen Giap.
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Guerrilla force that sought to reunify North and South Vietnam under communist leadership from the late 1950s through 1975. Originally a collection of various groups opposed to the government of South Vietnam's Pres. Ngo Dinh Diem, the Viet Cong became the military arm of the National Liberation Front (1960) and later of the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG; 1969). Members were recruited largely from South Vietnam, but they received guidance, weapons, and reinforcements from the north. The Viet Cong's guerrilla war against the South Vietnamese government and its powerful U.S. allies was successful; the U.S. withdrew its troops from Vietnam between 1969 and 1973, and the PRG assumed power in South Vietnam in 1975, following a full-scale invasion. It became part of a National United Front the following year.
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