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State of Vietnam

State of Vietnam
État du Viêt-Nam
Quốc gia Việt Nam
Associated state of the French Union
Until 1954 constituent territory of French Indochina




Flag Coat of Arms
"Thanh niên Hành Khúc"
(English: "The March of Youths")
Although the State of Vietnam claimed authority over all of Vietnam, its rule was never effective in the North. In 1954, the country was partitioned at the 17th parallel.
Capital Hanoi
Languages Vietnamese
Religion Roman Catholicism
Government Monarchy
 •  1949–1955 Bảo Đại
Prime minister
 •  1954–1955 Ngô Đình Diệm
Historical era Cold War
 •  Merger of Cochinchina, Annam, and Tonkin June 14, 1949
 •  Internationally recognized 1950
 •  Monarchy abolished October 26, 1955
 •  1955 173,809 km² (67,108 sq mi)
 •  1955 est. 12,000,000 
     Density 69 /km²  (178.8 /sq mi)
Currency piastre

The State of Vietnam (Vietnamese: Quốc gia Việt Nam) was a state that claimed authority over all of Vietnam during the First Indochina War, and replaced the Provisional Central Government of Vietnam (1948–1949). The provisional government was a brief transitional administration between colonial Cochinchina and an independent state. The state was created in 1949 and was internationally recognized in 1950, although its main power was mainly in the south, whereas the Democratic Republic of Vietnam mainly dominated in the north. Former emperor Bảo Đại was chief of state (Quốc Trưởng). Ngô Đình Diệm was appointed prime minister in 1954, and after ousting Bảo Đại the following year, became president of the Republic of Vietnam.


  • History 1
    • Unification of Vietnam (1947–48) 1.1
    • French Union (1949–54) 1.2
    • Partition (1954–55) 1.3
  • Politics 2
    • Provisional Central Government of Vietnam (1948–49) 2.1
    • State of Vietnam (1949–55) 2.2


Unification of Vietnam (1947–48)

By February 1947, following the pacification of Tonkin (North Vietnam), the Tonkinese capital, Hanoi, and the main traffic axis returned under French control. The derouted Việt Minh partisans were forced to retreat into the jungle and prepared to pursue the war using guerrilla warfare.

In order to reduce Việt Minh leader Hồ Chí Minh's influence over the Vietnamese population, the French authorities in Indochina supported the return to power of the emperor (last ruler of the Nguyễn Dynasty), Bảo Đại. The latter had been forced to abdicate by the Việt Minh back on August 25, 1945, after the fall of the short-lived Empire of Vietnam, puppet state of the Empire of Japan.

On June 5, 1948, the Halong Bay Agreements (Accords de la baie d’Along) allowed the creation of a unified State of Vietnam replacing the Tonkin (North Vietnam), Annam (Middle Vietnam) and the Republic of Cochinchina (South Vietnam) associated to France within the French Union then including the neighboring Kingdom of Laos and Kingdom of Cambodia.

Since the Halong Bay Agreements resulted in many aspects—excluding the referendum—in the enforcement of the March 6, 1946, Indochinese Independence Convention signed by Communist Hồ Chí Minh’s Democratic Republic of Vietnam and High Commissioner of France in Indochina Admiral Thierry d'Argenlieu, representative of Félix Gouin's Provisional French Republic led by the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO), some regarded the State of Vietnam as a puppet state of the French Fourth Republic.

French Union (1949–54)

From 1949 to 1954, following the June 14, 1949, declaration of independence, the State of Vietnam had partial autonomy from France as an associated state within the French Union.

Bảo Đại fought against communist leader Hồ Chí Minh for legitimacy as the legitimate government of the entire Vietnam through the struggle between the Vietnamese National Army and the Việt Minh during the First Indochina War.

The State of Vietnam found support in the French Fourth Republic and the United States (1950–1954) while Hồ Chí Minh was backed by the People's Republic of China (since 1950), and to a lesser extent by the Soviet Union.

Partition (1954–55)

Roman Catholic Vietnamese taking refuge in a French LST in 1954.

After the Geneva Conference of 1954, as well as becoming fully independent with its departure from the French Union, the State of Vietnam became territorially confined to those lands of Vietnam south of the 17th parallel, and as such became commonly known as South Vietnam.

The massive migration of anti-Communist north Vietnamese, essentially Roman Catholic people, proceeded during the French-American Operation Passage to Freedom in summer 1954.


Provisional Central Government of Vietnam (1948–49)

On May 27, 1948, Nguyễn Văn Xuân, then President of the Republic of Cochin China, became President of the Provisional Central Government of Vietnam (Thủ tướng lâm thời) following the merging of the government of Cochin China and Vietnam in what is sometimes referred as "Pre-Vietnam".

State of Vietnam (1949–55)

On June 14, 1949, Bảo Đại was appointed Chief of State (Quoc Truong) of the State of Vietnam; he was concurrently Prime

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