The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a country in Southeast Asia on the Indochina Peninsula and is divided into 58 provinces. It is bounded 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. The capital is Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976. Over 96 million people live in Vietnam. The official language is Vietnamese.

Vietnam is a unitary Marxist-Leninist one-party socialist republic, one of the two communist states in Southeast Asia. The official flag from Vietnam shows a golden star with five points to represent farmers, workers, intellectuals, youth, and soldiers. The red background pays tribute to the bloodshed during the wars.

Vietnam was colonized by the French in the mid-19th century. In the 1940s, the Vietnamese fought in the First Indochina War against the French. After that President Hồ Chí Minh declared Vietnam's independence from France under the new name of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The next battle took place in 1954 and culminated in a major French defeat. Thereafter, Vietnam was divided politically into two rival states, North Vietnam and South Vietnam.

The Vietnam War or the Second War of Indochina was America’s longest war until it was surpassed by the war in Afghanistan. An estimated 2 million civilians and 1.3 million soldiers died during the war. The two countries just recently resumed formal diplomatic relations in 1995.

In MedalBook, Vietnam is divided into the Republic, Democratic Republic and Socialist Republic of Vietnam time periods. For more information, see the time period’s folder.


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