Democratic Republic of Vietnam

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The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) and commonly called North Vietnam (NVN), before reunification, was the Communist political entity created by the Geneva Accords of 1954 that partitioned former French Indochina, and whose existence ended with the forcible reunification with the south. The name of the unified country is officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnamese: Cong Hoa Xa Hoi Chu Nghia Viet Nam)[1] Especially before partition, there were some neutralists, but by the late fifties, the thoroughly Communist Lao Dong Party was in firm control. The Lao Dong had their own nationalist view of ideology, but were more Stalinist than Maoist. It was emphatically a tightly controlled "national security" or "police" state, although there was considerable attachment to a leader who eventually was more of a symbol, Ho Chi Minh. See Communist Party of Vietnam.

The modern DRV is much more open to international activity and has a thriving capitalist sector, even within an officially Communist state.


The main ground force of the DRV was commonly called the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), or the North Vietnamese Army (NVA). Air Force and Navy branches had relatively minor roles, basically in defense of the north rather than support of indigenous guerrillas in South Vietnam, or as outright invaders of the South.

They were allied with the Viet Cong of the South, and, especially when the numbers of VC were vastly reduced in combat in the late sixties, dominated it. After the 1975 takeover of the south, a number of remaining VC were purged, although some were later "rehabilitated" after "reeducation".


  1. Central Intelligence Agency, Vietnam, The World Factbook