A member of the Vietnamese political and military movement led by Ho Chi Minh that challenged the Japanese and defeated the French between 1941 and 1954.
When the Japanese surrendered to the Allies, the Communist Viet Minh, led by Ho Chi Minh, reasserted independence as a democratic republic. The French moved in militarily to try to reclaim the nation, ultimately supporting the government of Bao Dai along with the United States and Britain. The Chinese began supplying Ho Chi Minh with weapons, and fighting in the country continued through the 1950s.
The Viet Minh, or League for the independence of Vietnam, was a nationalist organization that was created during World War II. It was an underground army established by Ho Chi Minh fighting against foreign occupation by using guerrilla warfare. The Viet Minh de-emphasized the communist social revolution to attract broadest possible coalitions. 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 Viet Minh.
In 1960, the National Liberation Front (NLF) was founded by the main members of the Viet Minh. The NLF operated in South Vietnam and swore to overthrow the South Vietnamese government in order to reunify Vietnam. The Viet Minh began to fade as their members began to join the NLF. During the French Indochina War (1946–1954), the VPA (Vietnam People's Army) was often referred to as the Viet Minh. In the context of the Vietnam War (1959–1975), the army was referred to as the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) or the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN). This allowed the U.S. Military, and the general public, to distinguish northern communists from the southern communists, or Viet Cong. However, northerners and southerners were always under the same command structure.