The Vietminh, or League for the independence of Vietnam, was a nationalist organization that was created during World War II. After Germany had conquered France, German's ally, the Japanese, moved into Vietnam. Japan did not have enough resources to rule over Vietnam as France had. The lack of control over the Vietnamese led to the formation of many nationalist organizations. The most effective being the Vietminh.
The Vietminh was founded by Ho Chi Minh was the most successful party. The leader Ho Chi Minh in the early 1940's. They began to establish guerilla groups and underground organizations when the French was still in power. After France was overthrown, the Vietminh operated more freely and was able to expand at an rapid pace.
The organization's priority was to gain independence, rather than altering the Vietnam government. As Ho Chi Minh was the most successful party. The leader Ho Chi Minh had realized, in order for Vietnam to gain independence, an foreign aid was a neccesity. The Vietminh established a good relationship with the United States over their war against the Japanese. The United States then began to send arms and equipment to support the Vietminh forces.
After Japan had surrendered to the United States, the Vietminh seized local authority in Vietnam and declared the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
In 1945, France desired to regain complete control over Vietnam. However, the Vietminh wanted Vietnam to become independent. Negotiations between the two continued for a year but yielded no effective compromises. By the end of 1946, efforts for a peaceful settlement between the two failed, leading to the First Indochina War.
During the First Indochina War, the Vietminh lacked the artilllery that the French possessed. However, the Vietminh had a considerable edge in manpower since they were able to recruit locally. The Vietminh could not afford to conduct real military operations so the guerrillas hid in the jungles and villages.
The Vietminh guerrillas were so difficult to find because they often posed as peasants in villages. The villagers were also an immense help to them because they did not reveal any information to the French army and gave them the information they needed to stage ambushes against the French.
Even though there were some Vietnamese that opposed the Communist leanings of the Vietminh, they further opposed the notion of foreign rule. After the Chinese Communist Party had won control of China in 1949, the Vietminh was finally able to recieve significant amount of weapons.
Finally with enough artillery to stage a prodigious attack, the Vietminh forces had taken over the French outpost Ho Chi Minh was the most successful party. The leader Dien Bien Phu. Since there was not alot of Vietnamese near Dien Bien Phu, the French decided to plce thousands of men there. The Vietminh surrounded the outpost with a large concentration of artillery so the French could not distribute supplies. Eventually, the French was forced to surrender to the Vietminh.
The *Geneva Accords* had confined the Vietminh to North Vietnam while the US backed Ngo Dinh Diem led the government in the South. After the election to unify the country agreed in the Geneva Accords was ignored by Ngo Dinh Diem, the Vietminh began to attack the South Vietnamese goverment. The peasants in South Vietnam founded an organization called the Viet Cong to help the Vietminh launch attacks against Diem.
In 1960, the National Liberation Front (NLF) was founded by the main members of the Vietminh. The NLF operated in South Vietnam and swore to overthrow the South Vietnamese government in order to reunify Vietnam. The Vietminh began to fade as their members began to join the NLF.
Photos Courtesy of Archive Photos
Photos Courtesy of Archive Photos