October 11

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Oct 11, 1954:

Viet Minh take control in the north

The Viet Minh formally take over Hanoi and control of North Vietnam.

The Vietnam Doc Lap Dong Minh (Vietnam Independence League), or Viet Minh as it would become known to the world, was a Communist front organization founded by Ho Chi Minh in 1941 to organize resistance against French colonial rule and occupying Japanese forces.

With the end of the Japanese occupation in 1945, the French attempted to reimpose colonial rule. The Viet Minh launched a long and bloody guerrilla war against French colonial forces in what came to be known as the First Indochina War. Ultimately, the Viet Minh, under the leadership of General Vo Nguyen Giap, decisively defeated the French at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in May 1954. On August 1, the armistice ending the war went into effect. The triumphant Viet Minh marched into Hanoi as the French prepared to withdraw their forces.

Under the provisions of the agreement signed at the Geneva Conference in July, Vietnam was to be temporarily split into approximately equal halves. The two halves were to be separated by a Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) running along the 17th parallel. The northern half was to be governed by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, which had been proclaimed by Ho Chi Minh, and the southern half would be governed by the noncommunist State of Vietnam until 1956, at which time the two zones were to be reunified following internationally supervised elections. Ngo Dinh Diem, who had become premier of the State of Vietnam in June, was a Catholic and staunchly anticommunist. Diem disliked the Geneva Accords and set about to consolidate his power in the south. By the middle of 1955, Diem had effectively gained control of most of South Vietnam, and in July of that year, he declared his refusal to permit the elections called for at Geneva. This announcement led to a stepped-up insurgency in the south and ultimately to the Second Indochina War, when North Vietnamese regular units were committed in the south and U.S. forces arrived. Vietnam was not reunited until April 1975, when North Vietnamese troops captured Saigon.

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