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Historical Dictionary

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PEOPLE’S ARMY OF VIETNAM (Quân Đội Nhân Dân Việt Nam)

The official founding date of the People’s Army of Vietnam is 22 December 1944, when the Indochinese Communist Party (ICP) leaders founded the Armed Propaganda Brigade for the Liberation of Vietnam (Doi Viet Nam Tuyen Truyen Gia Phong Quan) along the Sino-Vietnamese border in Cao Bang province. Vo Nguyen Giap served as its first commander and led mobilization campaigns among populations in remote areas of northern Vietnam and initiated some small-scale guerrilla operations against Japanese troops. This proto-army consisted of some 30 individuals at the outset. In May 1945, following the Japanese overthrow of the French, the ICP combined the Armed Propaganda Brigade for the Liberation of Vietnam with the Salvation Army (Cuu Quoc Quan) to create the Vietnamese Liberation Army (Viet Nam Giai Phong Quan) in Thai Nguyen province. It helped take power in the wake of the Japanese defeat in August in northern and central Vietnam. Following the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) on 2 September 1945, the government transformed the Vietnamese Liberation Army into the National Defense Force (Ve Quoc Doan) in November 1945. In May 1946, Ho Chi Minh signed a decree changing this entity into the Vietnamese National Army (Quan Doi Quoc Gia) which became the People’s Army of Vietnam in 1950 (Quan Doi Nhan Dan Viet Nam). In 1948, Vo Nguyen Giap was named general (Dai Tuong) and placed officially at the head of all the DRV’s armed forces. See also AID, CHINESE; AID, SOVIET; ARMY OF THE ASSOCIATED STATE OF VIETNAM; NGUYEN BINH; NGUYEN SON; PEOPLE’S ARMY OF CAMBODIA; PEOPLE’S ARMY OF LAOS.