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The Vietcong, or National Liberation Front, officially the Liberation Army of South Vietnam (Mat tran Dan toc Giai phong mien Nam Viet Nam), and formerly called Cong San Viet Nam, was a Communist army that fought the governments of South Vietnam and the United States during the Vietnam War (1959-1975), and had its origins from the Viet Minh. The Vietcong is best known for the Tet Offensive of 1968, in which they killed thousands of people. The offensive included an attack on the U.S. embassy in Saigon which received extended worldwide media attention.[1] Ngo Dinh Diem allegedly came up with the name after a South Vietnamese sentry was killed trying to alert the camp to the approach of the "Mat tran Dan toc Giai phong mien Nam Viet Nam" and being mistaken for the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam (Chinh Phu Cach Mang Lam Thoi Cong Hoa Mien Nam Viet Nam), where he said "Let's cut the crap. They're Viet Cong."[2]

During the war, Communist propaganda insisted that the Vietcong was an insurgency indigenous to the South. Memoirs written after the war by Tran Van Tra and others reveal that this was a hoax. Nguyen Huu Tho, the group's chairman and token non-Communist, was a figurehead. The military commanders, including Tra himself, were North Vietnamese army officers who ignored Tho and the other civilian leaders. Strategy was determined by the Military Commission in Hanoi.

Between 2,800 and 6,000 South Vietnamese were killed in the Massacre of Hue. In the Dak Son Massacre, the group used flame throwers to massacre a village of Montagnards.

The U.S. Congress, controlled by Democrats eager to get back at President Richard Nixon, cut off funding to South Vietnam in August 1974[3] causing us to lose the war which, according to many South Vietnamese military officers, we were close to winning. The South Vietnamese army ran out of ammunition and fuel soon afterward. The North Vietnamese marched into Saigon in April 1975. The Vietcong was dissolved in 1977.

See also


  2. Robert A. Nisbet, Roosevelt and Stalin: The Failed Courtship (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 1989).