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Encyclopedia > Viet Cong
A Viet Cong soldier, heavily guarded, awaits interrogation following capture in the attacks on Saigon during the festive Tet holiday period of 1968. (Tổng tiến công Tết Mậu Thân)
A Viet Cong soldier, heavily guarded, awaits interrogation following capture in the attacks on Saigon during the festive Tet holiday period of 1968. (Tổng tiến công Tết Mậu Thân)

Viet Cong (Việt Cộng) was the general name used by South Vietnamese and allied soldiers in Vietnam, as well as by much of the English language media to refer to the armed insurgents fighting against the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The name was derived from a contraction for the Vietnamese phrase Việt Nam Cộng Sản, or "Vietnamese Communist." The primary group covered by the term is the guerrilla army formally named the People's Liberation Armed Forces (PLAF), the military of the National Front for the Liberation of Southern Vietnam (Vietnamese Mặt Trận Giải Phóng Miền Nam Việt Nam) or National Liberation Front (NLF). In areas under its control the NLF also included many non-military cadres, including village chiefs, village clerks, and school teachers. Many consider the term Viet Cong fairly derogatory, although its widespread use in the United States and Europe since the Vietnam War has made the term better known than the proper name of the NLF. Youthful hard-core Viet Cong, heavily guarded, awaits interrogation following capture in the attacks on the capital city during the festive Tet holiday period. ... Youthful hard-core Viet Cong, heavily guarded, awaits interrogation following capture in the attacks on the capital city during the festive Tet holiday period. ... A captured British pilot (centre) is interrogated by German intelligence officers in Libya during World War II. The clipboard of the notetaker is visible at the bottom right hand corner Interrogation is the professional police and military technique of interviewing people, often without their consent, in order to obtain information... Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnamese: Thành Chí Minh) is the largest city in Vietnam, located near the delta of the Mekong River. ... Official language Vietnamese Capital Saigon Last President Duong Van Minh Last Prime Minister Vu Van Mau Area  - Total  - % water 173,809km² N/A Population  - Total  - Density 19,370,000 (1973 est. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... National motto: ??? Official language Vietnamese Capital Saigon Last President Duong Van Minh Last Prime Minister Vu Van Mau Area  - Total  - % water 173,809km² N/A population  - Total  - Density 19,370,000 (1973 est. ... The Vietnam War was fought from 1957 to 1975 between Soviet and Chinese-supported Vietnamese nationalist and Communist forces and an array of Western and pro-Western forces, most notably the United States. ... National Liberation Front (NLF) flag The National Front for the Liberation of Southern Vietnam (Vietnamese Mặt Trận Dân Tộc Giải Phóng Miền Nam), also known as the National Liberation Front (NLF) and as Front National de Liberté (FNL), was the primary rebel organization fighting the Colonialist French regime and later... World map showing location of Europe Europe is geologically and geographically a peninsula, forming the westernmost part of Eurasia. ...


This expression originated with and was used by the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) government of South Vietnam under President Ngo Dinh Diem. It was originally a general term used to describe his political opponents, many (but not all) of whom were Communists. Its use became widespread in Vietnam after the 1954 partition of the country between the RVN in the south and the Communist Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRVN) in the north. The NLF and its guerrilla army, the People's Liberation Armed Forces (PLAF), never used the name "Viet Cong" to refer to themselves, and always asserted that they were a national front of all anti-RVN forces, Communist or not. They received support from the North Vietnamese government and military. Official language Vietnamese Capital Saigon Last President Duong Van Minh Last Prime Minister Vu Van Mau Area  - Total  - % water 173,809km² N/A Population  - Total  - Density 19,370,000 (1973 est. ... Ngô Đình Diệm Ngô Đình Diệm (approximately pronounced Ngoh Din Yim   listen?) (January 3, 1901–November 2, 1963) was the first President of the Republic of Vietnam (1955-63). ... This article is about communism as a form of society and as a popular movement. ... 1954 was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRVN) (Vietnamese: Việt Nam Dân Chủ Cá»™ng Hòa), also known as North Vietnam, was founded by Ho Chi Minh and was recognized by China and the USSR in 1950. ... Distinguish from the type of ape called a gorilla. ... National Liberation Front (NLF) flag The National Front for the Liberation of Southern Vietnam (Vietnamese Mặt Trận Dân Tộc Giải Phóng Miền Nam), also known as the National Liberation Front (NLF) and as Front National de Liberté (FNL), was the primary rebel organization fighting the Colonialist French regime and later...


Due to the very close ties between the National Liberation Front and the North Vietnamese government, some have alleged that the NLF was merely a puppet of North Vietnam. Indeed, by the end of the war only 25% of Communist forces were part of the Viet Cong, and 75% were North Vietnamese. The NLF, for its part, never denied its ties to Hanoi, but merely argued that being a puppet was physically impossible, since Viet Cong fighters had no means of fast communication to North Vietnam that would allow them to receive up-to-date orders.


In U.S. military usage Viet Cong was the successor term to Viet Minh, which described the forces led by Ho Chi Minh against the French for the independence of Viet Nam in the First Indochina War, from 1945 to 1954; however, unlike the term Viet Minh, which described all of the forces fighting France, Viet Cong specifically referred only to the insurgent forces in South Vietnam. North Vietnam's regular army forces were described as PAVN (People's Army of Vietnam) or simply North Vietnamese Army (Quân đội Bắc Việt). The Viet Minh (abbreviated from Việt Nam ộc Lập ồng Minh Hội, League for the Independence of Vietnam) was formed by Ho Ngoc Lam and Nguyen Hai Than in 1941 to seek independence for Vietnam from France. ... Hồ Chí Minh Hồ Chí Minh (Chữ nôm: 胡志明)   listen? (May 19, 1890 – September 2, 1969) was a Vietnamese revolutionary and statesman, who later became Prime Minister (1954) and President (1954 - 1969) of North Vietnam. ... The First Indochina War (also called the French Indochina War) was fought in Southeast Asia from 1946 through 1954 between the nation of France and the resistance movement led by Ho Chi Minh, called the Viet Minh. ... 1945 was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1954 was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Official language Vietnamese Capital Saigon Last President Duong Van Minh Last Prime Minister Vu Van Mau Area  - Total  - % water 173,809km² N/A Population  - Total  - Density 19,370,000 (1973 est. ... The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRVN) (Vietnamese: Việt Nam Dân Chủ Cá»™ng Hòa), also known as North Vietnam, was founded by Ho Chi Minh and was recognized by China and the USSR in 1950. ... The Peoples Army of Vietnam (PAVN) is the term used by the Vietnamese for their army, which during the Vietnam War (1961–1975) was known as the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), or Army of North Vietnam. ...


In 1969, the National Front formed a provisional Republic of South Vietnam which took power briefly after the fall of Saigon in 1975 and before the reunification of the country under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1976. 1969 was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1969 calendar). ... National motto: ??? Official language Vietnamese Capital Saigon President Huynh Tan Phat Prime Minister Nguyen Huu Tho Area  - Total 173,809km² population  - Total  - Density 19,370,000 (1973 est. ... Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnamese: Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh) is the largest city in Vietnam and, as Saigon (Vietnamese: Sài Gòn), was the capital of South Vietnam from 1954 to 1976. ... 1975 was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1975 calendar). ... Stamp featuring Ho Chi Minh commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Communist Party The Communist Party of Vietnam (Đảng Cá»™ng Sản Việt Nam) is the only legal party in Vietnam. ... 1976 is a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ...


The U.S. military complained that the Viet Cong often appeared to be part of the civilian population, and thus U.S. troops could not tell the difference between the Viet Cong insurgents and peaceful civilians. During the Vietnam War, U.S. stated policy was to treat captured Viet Cong and North Vietnamese regulars as Enemy Prisoners of War under the Geneva Convention of 1949.


The U.S. military term "Charlie" was slang for Viet Cong. VC (Viet Cong) in the radio alphabet is Victor Charlie, which was then shortened to just Charlie. Charlie has multiple meanings: Charlie is a character played by Dominic Monaghan on the show Lost (2004 television series). ... A different kind of phonetic alphabet is the International Phonetic Alphabet. ...

Contents


See also

The Phoenix Program, known as Kế Hoạch Phụng Hoàng (a word related to fenghuang, the Chinese phoenix) in Vietnamese, was a covert intelligence operation undertaken by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in close collaboration with South Vietnamese intelligence during the Vietnam War. ...

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External links

Further reading

  • Holmes Brown and Don Luce. 1973. Hostages of War: Saigon's Political Prisoners. Washington, DC: Indochina Mobile Education Project. ISBN none.
  • Frances Fitzgerald. 1972. Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0316284238. (See the description in Chapter 4. 'The National Liberation Front'.)
  • Douglas Valentine. 1990. The Phoenix Program. New York: William Morrow and Company. ISBN 068809130X.

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Viet Cong (Việt Cộng) was a name used by American and allied soldiers in Vietnam, as well as by much of the English language media to refer to the armed insurgents fighting against the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
The NLF and its guerrilla army, the People's Liberation Armed Forces (PLAF), never used the name "Viet Cong" to refer to themselves, and always asserted that they were a national front of all anti-RVN forces, communist or not.
The U.S. military complained that the Viet Cong often diguised themselves as civilians, and thus U.S. troops could not tell the difference between the Viet Cong and civilians, as was true of the Taliban and al-Qaeda during the 2001-2002 War in Afghanistan.
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