Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnamese: Cộng hòa xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam), is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula. With an estimated 94.6 million inhabitants as of 2016, it is the 15th most populous country in the world. Vietnam is bordered by China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, part of Thailand to the southwest, and the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia across the South China Sea to the east and southeast.[n 3] Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976, while its most populous city is Ho Chi Minh City.
The northern part of Vietnam was part of Imperial China for over a millennium, from 111 BC to AD 939. An independent Vietnamese state was formed in 939, following Vietnamese victory in the battle of Bạch Đằng River. Successive Vietnamese imperial dynasties flourished as the nation expanded geographically and politically into Southeast Asia, until the Indochina Peninsula was colonised by the French in the mid-19th century. Following a Japanese occupation in the 1940s, the Vietnamese fought French rule in the First Indochina War. On 2 September 1945, President Hồ Chí Minh declared Vietnam’s independence from France under the new name of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. In 1954, the Vietnamese declared victory in the battle of Điện Biên Phủ which took place between March and May 1954 and culminated in a major French defeat. Thereafter, Vietnam was divided politically into two rival states, North Vietnam (officially the Democratic Republic of Vietnam) and South Vietnam (officially the Republic of Vietnam). Conflict between the two sides intensified in what is known as the Vietnam War with heavy intervention by the United States on the side of South Vietnam from 1965 to 1973. The war ended with a North Vietnamese victory in 1975. Vietnam was then unified under a communist government but remained impoverished and politically isolated. In 1986, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) initiated a series of economic and political reforms that began Vietnam’s path toward integration into the world economy.
By 2010, it had established diplomatic relations with 178 countries. Since 2000, Vietnam’s economic growth rate has been among the highest in the world, and in 2011, it had the highest Global Growth Generators Index among 11 major economies. Its successful economic reforms resulted in its joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2007. Vietnam is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).
Main articles: Vietnam War and Role of the United States in the Vietnam War
Between 1953 and 1956, the North Vietnamese government instituted various agrarian reforms, including “rent reduction” and “land reform”, which resulted in significant political oppression. During the land reform, testimony from North Vietnamese witnesses suggested a ratio of one execution for every 160 village residents, which extrapolated nationwide would indicate nearly 100,000 executions. Because the campaign was concentrated mainly in the Red River Delta area, a lower estimate of 50,000 executions became widely accepted by scholars at the time. However, declassified documents from the Vietnamese and Hungarian archives indicate that the number of executions was much lower than reported at the time, although likely greater than 13,500. In the South, Diệm countered North Vietnamese subversion (including the assassination of over 450 South Vietnamese officials in 1956) by detaining tens of thousands of suspected communists in “political re-education centres”. This was a ruthless program that incarcerated many non-communists, although it was also successful at curtailing communist activity in the country, if only for a time. The North Vietnamese government claimed that 2,148 individuals were killed in the process by November 1957. The pro-Hanoi Việt Cộng began a guerrilla campaign in the late 1950s to overthrow Diệm’s government. From 1960, the Soviet Union and North Vietnam signed treaties providing for further Soviet military support.
Three US Fairchild UC-123B aircraft spraying Agent Orange during the Operation Ranch Hand as part of the overall herbicidal warfare operation called Trail Dust with the aim to deprive the food and vegetation cover of the Việt Cộng, c. 1962–1971.
In 1963, Buddhist discontent with Diệm’s regime erupted into mass demonstrations, leading to a violent government crackdown. This led to the collapse of Diệm’s relationship with the United States, and ultimately to the 1963 coup in which Diệm and Nhu were assassinated. The Diệm era was followed by more than a dozen successive military governments, before the pairing of Air Marshal Nguyễn Cao Kỳ and General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu took control in mid-1965. Thiệu gradually outmaneuvered Kỳ and cemented his grip on power in fraudulent elections in 1967 and 1971. Under this political instability, the communists began to gain ground. To support South Vietnam’s struggle against the communist insurgency, the United States began increasing its contribution of military advisers, using the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident as a pretext for such intervention. US forces became involved in ground combat operations in 1965, and at their peak they numbered more than 500,000. The US also engaged in a sustained aerial bombing campaign. Meanwhile, China and the Soviet Union provided North Vietnam with significant material aid and 15,000 combat advisers. Communist forces supplying the Việt Cộng carried supplies along the Hồ Chí Minh trail, which passed through the Kingdom of Laos.
Việt Cộng guerrilla crossing a river in the Mekong Delta, 1966.
The communists attacked South Vietnamese targets during the 1968 Tết Offensive. Although the campaign failed militarily, it shocked the American establishment, and turned US public opinion against the war. During the offensive, communist troops massacred over 3,000 civilians at Huế. Facing an increasing casualty count, rising domestic opposition to the war, and growing international condemnation, the US began withdrawing from ground combat roles in the early 1970s. This process also entailed an unsuccessful effort to strengthen and stabilise South Vietnam. Following the Paris Peace Accords of 27 January 1973, all American combat troops were withdrawn by 29 March 1973. In December 1974, North Vietnam captured the province of Phước Long and started a full-scale offensive, culminating in the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. South Vietnam was briefly ruled by a provisional government for almost eight years while under military occupation by North Vietnam.
– The Cham Museum (Museum of Cham Sulpture)
– Hoi An Ancient Town
– Perfume River
– Ba Dinh Square
– Trang An
– Cat Cat Village
Ho Chi Minh
– The Hundred Years Red Cathedral
– Cu Chi Tunnel
– My Tho
– Mui Ne
– Christ Hill
– Long Son Pagoda
– Valley of Love
Phu Quoc Island
– Khu Tuong Pepper Farm