South Vietnam, officially the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), Vietnamese Việt Nam Cộng Ḥa from 1955, was an anti-communist led country that existed from 1954 to 1975 in the territory of Vietnam that lay south of the 17th parallel while North Vietnam was situated to the north of the 17th parallel. The Republic was proclaimed in Saigon by Ngo Dinh Diem on October 22, 1955, after he deposed Emperor Bao Dai. Founding of South Vietnam was based on the support of the United States. But there is debate about how closely South Vietnam was linked to the United States, which was a strong supporter of the country. South Vietnam continued the war with the Viet Cong for a long time following American troop withdrawal. However, finally it surrendered to North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front (NLF) on April 30, 1975. After that, the NLF took power and established the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam until the unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam was inaugurated on July 2, 1976.
There is debate about how closely the South Vietnamese government was linked to the United States, which was a strong supporter of South Vietnam. The country is alleged by many historians to have been nothing more than an American-backed puppet government, but many others claim that it was genuine democracy (or, at the least, a patriotic movement with genuine concern for the Vietnamese people). An individual's views on the matter generally correspond closely to their views on the Vietnam War in general - supporters of the war often believe that South Vietnam was a democracy, and thus worthy of defence, while opponents of the war often believe that South Vietnamese democracy was a sham.
The majority of U.S. forces withdrew from South Vietnam in 1973, in accordance with the Paris Peace Accords signed with North Vietnam in 1973. However, following major victories by the Viet Cong guerrilas in the South, and taking advantage of the Southern government's lack of popular support, North Vietnam broke the treaty in 1975 and invaded South Vietnam, quickly capturing the cities of Hue, Da Nang and Da Lat in central Vietnam, and advancing southwards very fast.
The Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) did mount a significant defense and even a counterattack, but they kept losing ground. South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu requested aid from U.S. President Gerald Ford, but the U.S. Senate would not ratify another involvement in Vietnam.
Nguyen Van Thieu resigned on April 21, 1975, and fled to Taiwan. He nominated his Vice President Tran Van Huong as his successor. In one week, Tran Van Huong handed over the presidency to General Duong Van Minh.
The Army of the Republic of Vietnam was unable to sustain the defense and quickly collapsed due to limited supplies and poor leadership. Acting President Duong Van Minh unconditionally surrendered the capital city of Saigon and the rest of South Vietnam to North Vietnam on April 30, 1975.
South Vietnam was a member of the ACCT, Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (IBRD), International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC), IMF, International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (Intelsat), Interpol, IOC, ITU, League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (LORCS), UNESCO and Universal Postal Union (UPU).
Main article:Army of the Republic of Vietnam
Total Armed Forces were over 1,000,000 in 1971, and U.S. Forces were 525, 000 in 1968.
South Vietnam's capital was Saigon which was renamed Ho Chi Minh City on May 1, 1975.
Besides, the country was divided into forty-four provinces (tỉnh, singular and plural):
The south was divided into coastal lowlands, Dai Truong Son (central mountains) with high plateaus, and the Mekong River Delta.
Vietnam’s economy evolved under the burden of military actions and political issues. In 1954, the nations of North Vietnam and South Vietnam had developed their own economic structure, reflecting different economic systems with different resources and trading partners. The South maintained a free-market economy. The reunification of Vietnam in 1976 led to the introduction of North Vietnam’s centrally planned economy into the South.
About 80% of population was Kinh, and 20% was Chinese, Montagnard, Khmer, Cham, Malay and others. (1970)
Majority religions were Buddhism, Roman Catholic, Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, animists and others. (1970)
Cultural life was strongly flavored by that of China until French domination in the 19th century. At that time, the traditional culture began to acquire an overlay of western characteristics. Many families have three generations living under one roof.
- It is traditional for a married couple to care for the man’s parents. Also, it is very important to have a son. If there is only one son, he and his wife must live with his parents. If there are no sons, one of the daughters may remain unmarried and care for her parents. To make decisions, children must ask their parents.
- Vietnamese males and females are not allowed to date. They grew up in their families until age 18 to 20 and marry according to their parents' arrangements. Dating is believed to undermine traditions encouraging sons and daughters to defy their parents' wishes. Therefore bringing shame to their families. Youths who have affections for one another may carry their relationship in secrecy, but eventually yield to their parents' wills. This may mean marrying a complete stranger or someone they do not like. Pleasing their parents is a social priority and doing otherwise would be a major dishonor.