South Vietnam the Republic of Vietnam, was a country that existed from 1955 to 1975, the period when the southern portion of Vietnam was a member of the Western Bloc during part of the Cold War. It received international recognition in 1949 as the "State of Vietnam", a constitutional monarchy; this became the "Republic of Vietnam" in 1955. Its capital was Saigon. South Vietnam was bordered by North Vietnam to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, Thailand across the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia across the South China Sea to the east and southeast; the Republic of Vietnam was proclaimed on 26 October 1955, with Ngô Đình Diệm as its first president, after having served as premier under Emperor Bao Dai, exiled. Its sovereignty was recognized by the United States and 87 other nations, it had membership in several special committees of the United Nations, but its application for full membership was rejected in 1957 because of a Soviet veto.
South Vietnam's origins can be traced to the French colony of Cochinchina, which consisted of the southern third of Vietnam, Cochinchina, a subdivision of French Indochina, the southern half of Central Vietnam or Annam, a French protectorate. After the Second World War, the anti-Japanese Viet Minh guerrilla forces, led by Ho Chi Minh, proclaimed the establishment of a Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi in September 1945, issuing a Declaration of Independence modeled on the U. S. one from 1776. In 1949, anti-communist Vietnamese politicians formed a rival government in Saigon led by former emperor Bảo Đại. Bảo Đại was deposed by Prime Minister Ngô Đình Diệm in 1955, who proclaimed himself president after a referendum. Diệm was killed in a military coup led by general Dương Văn Minh in 1963, a series of short-lived military governments followed. General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu led the country after a U. S.-encouraged civilian presidential election from 1967 until 1975. The beginnings of the Vietnam War occurred in 1959 with an uprising by the newly organized National Liberation Front for South Vietnam and supported by the northern Democratic Republic of Vietnam, with other assistance rendered by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact communist satellites, along with neighboring People's Republic of China and North Korea.
Larger escalation of the insurgency occurred in 1965 with the landing of United States regular forces of Marines, followed by Army units to supplement the cadre of military advisors guiding ARVN southern forces. A regular bombing campaign over North Vietnam was conducted by offshore U. S. Navy airplanes and aircraft carriers joined by Air Force squadrons through 1966 and 1967. Fighting peaked up to that point during the Tet Offensive of February 1968, when there were over a million South Vietnamese soldiers and 500,000 U. S. soldiers in South Vietnam. On the war turned into a more conventional fight as the balance of power became equalized. An larger, armored invasion commenced during the Easter Offensive following US ground-forces withdrawal, had nearly overran some major northern cities until beaten back. Despite a truce agreement under the Paris Peace Accords, concluded in January 1973, after a torturous five years of on and off negotiations, fighting continued immediately afterwards; the North Vietnamese regular army and Viet Cong launched a major second combined-arms invasion in 1975, termed the Spring Offensive.
Communist forces overran Saigon on 30 April 1975. On the day President Duong Van Minh declared RVN cease to exist, five ARVN generals, one Saigon police chief, numbers of ARVN soldiers and officers commit suicide to avoid being humiliated surrender. On July 2, 1976, the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam merged to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; the official name of the South Vietnamese state was Việt Nam Cộng hòa and the French name was referred to as République du Viêt Nam. The North was known as the "Democratic Republic of Vietnam". Việt Nam was the name adopted by Emperor Gia Long in 1804, it is a name used in ancient times. In 1839, Emperor Minh Mạng renamed the country Đại Nam. In 1945, the nation's official name was changed back to "Vietnam"; the name is sometimes rendered as "Viet Nam" in English. The term "South Vietnam" became common usage in 1954, when the Geneva Conference provisionally partitioned Vietnam into communist and non-communist parts.
Other names of this state were used during its existence such as Free Vietnam and the Government of Viet Nam. Before World War II, the southern third of Vietnam was the concession of Cochinchina, administered as part of French Indochina. A French governor-general in Hanoi administered all the five parts of Indochina while Cochinchina was under a French governor, but the difference from the other parts was that most indigenous intellensia and wealthy were naturalized French The northern third of Vietnam (then the colony of Tonkin was under
Air Gallantry Cross
The Vietnam Air Gallantry Cross was a military decoration of South Vietnam, issued during the years of the Vietnam War. The Air Gallantry Cross was awarded for meritorious or heroic conduct while engaged in aerial combat; the decoration was comparable to the United States decoration of the Air Medal. The Air Gallantry Cross was awarded to members of foreign militaries, but only if an air combat action was performed which directly benefitted Vietnamese war efforts. Pilots of the United States Air Force were awarded the Air Gallantry Cross. Separate decorations, known as the Vietnam Gallantry Cross and Vietnam Navy Gallantry Cross, were issued for general service and naval achievement; these were separate awards from the Vietnam Air Gallantry Cross which came in three different grades: with gold wings, silver wings, bronze wings. Military awards and decorations of South VietnamThe Air Gallantry Cross was awarded to Naval Aviators operating off aircraft carriers in the Tonkin Gulf and to United States Marine aviators operating from bases in South Vietnam.
Military Orders and Medals of the Republic of Vietnam
Navy Gallantry Cross
The Vietnam Navy Gallantry Cross was a military decoration of South Vietnam, issued during the years of the Vietnam War. The Navy Gallantry Cross was awarded to any member of the military who displayed meritorious or heroic combat while engaged in naval operations to benefit South Vietnam; the medal was awarded both for combat and non-combat service and was the equivalent of the United States Legion of Merit. The Navy Gallantry Cross was awarded to members of foreign military forces, provided that such service members were engaged in direct operational support of Vietnam and that such naval actions benefitted the Vietnamese military. Officers of the United States Navy were awarded the Navy Gallantry Cross. Similar decorations existed for general service and air service, were known as the Vietnam Gallantry Cross and Vietnam Air Gallantry Cross; these were separate decorations from the Vietnam Navy Gallantry Cross which came in three different grades: with gold anchor, silver anchor, bronze anchor.
Orders and medals of South Vietnam Military Orders and Medals of the Republic of Vietnam
Hazardous Service Medal
The Hazardous Service Medal was a single-grade decoration awarded by South Vietnam. Established in 1964, the medal was awarded to military personnel by the Chief of the Joint General Staff, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces; the medal could be awarded posthumously and to members of allied military forces. The Hazardous Service Medal was awarded to military personnel who met one of the following requirements: Displayed heroism in the protection of government properties or the life of government officials. Endured a long period of danger to accomplish a strategic mission in a remote area under constant enemy threat. Proven enthusiasm and determination in the accomplishment of a dangerous mission not involving direct combat participation. Orders and medals of South Vietnam
State of Vietnam
The State of Vietnam was a state that claimed authority over all of Vietnam during the First Indochina War although part of its territory was controlled by the communist Việt Minh. The state was created in 1949 and was internationally recognised in 1950. Former Emperor Bảo Đại was chief of state. After the 1954 Geneva Agreements, the State of Vietnam had to abandon the northern part of the country to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Ngô Đình Diệm was appointed prime minister that same year and—after having ousted Bảo Đại in 1955—became president of the Republic of Vietnam. Since the August Revolution, the Việt Minh had seized all of the territories of Vietnam; the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was established by the Việt Minh on September 2, 1945. By February 1947, following the pacification of Tonkin, the Tonkinese capital and the main traffic axis returned to French control; the 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 Bảo Đại, the last emperor of the Nguyễn Dynasty), by establishing puppet states, including the State of Vietnam. Bao Dai had voluntarily abdicated on August 25, 1945, after the fall of the short-lived Empire of Vietnam, a puppet state of the Empire of Japan. On June 5, 1948, the Halong Bay Agreements allowed the creation of a unified Vietnamese government replacing the governments of Tonkin and Annam associated to France within the French Union and the Indochinese Federation including the neighboring Kingdom of Laos and Kingdom of Cambodia. Cochinchina, had a different status, both as a colony and as an autonomous republic, its reunification with the rest of Vietnam had to be approved by its local assembly, by the French National Assembly. During the transitional period, a Provisional Central Government of Vietnam was proclaimed: Nguyễn Văn Xuân, until head of the Provisional Government of South Vietnam became its president, while Bảo Đại waited for a complete reunification to take office.
However, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam had declared the independence of Vietnam and had control of all of Vietnam's territory since September 2, 1945. Besides that, the DRV had hosted the 1946 Vietnamese National Assembly election with the participation of 89% of Vietnamese voters; the Democratic Republic of Vietnam had become the constitutional representatives of Vietnam in 1946. 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, some regarded the State of Vietnam as a puppet state of the French Fourth Republic. On May 20, 1949, the French National Assembly approved the reunification of Cochinchina with the rest of Vietnam; the decision took effect on June 14 and the State of Vietnam was proclaimed on July 2.
From 1949 to 1954, after reunification with Cochinchina, 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 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 while Hồ Chí Minh was backed by the People's Republic of China, to a lesser extent by the Soviet Union. Despite French support 60% of Vietnamese territory was under Việt Minh control in 1952. After the Geneva Conference of 1954, as well as becoming 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, as such became known as Republic of Vietnam; the massive voluntary migration of anti-communist north Vietnamese Roman Catholic people, proceeded during the French-American Operation Passage to Freedom in summer 1954.
On May 27, 1948, Nguyễn Văn Xuân President of the Republic of Cochin China, became President of the Provisional Central Government of Vietnam following the merging of the government of Cochin China and Vietnam in what is sometimes referred as "Pre-Vietnam". On June 14, 1949, Bảo Đại was appointed Chief of State of the State of Vietnam. On October 26, 1955, the Republic of Vietnam was established and Ngô Đình Diệm became the first President of the Republic; the State of Vietnam referendum of 1955 determined the future regime of the country. Following the referendum's results the State of Vietnam ceased to exist on October 26, 1955, was replaced by the Republic of Vietnam—widely known as South Vietnam—whose reformed army, under American "protection", pursued the struggle against communism. Following the signing of the 1949 Élysée Accords in Paris, Bảo Đại was able to create a National Army for defense purposes, it fought under the State of Vietnam's banner and leadership and was com
The Loyalty Medal was a single-grade decoration awarded by South Vietnam. Established in 1964, the medal was awarded to South Vietnamese citizens by the Chief of the Joint General Staff, Republic of Vietnam Military Forces; the medal could be awarded posthumously. The Loyalty Medal was awarded to Vietnamese citizens who had shown proven loyalty to the "National Cause" by denouncing or working to counter, what were deemed by the South Vietnamese government to be, subversive activities that were disruptive to security and order. Orders and medals of South Vietnam
Wound Medal (Vietnam)
The Republic of Vietnam Wound Medal was a military decoration of South Vietnam first created in 1953. The medal was the South Vietnamese equivalent of the United States military's Purple Heart, was awarded to any personnel of the South Vietnamese military who, while engaged in armed combat with enemies of the Republic of Vietnam, were either wounded or killed in action. During the Vietnam War, the Wound Medal was issued to Army of the Republic of Vietnam personnel for combat wounds received fighting the forces of North Vietnam or the Vietcong; the medal was bestowed upon members of allied militaries such as the United States military and only if the allied soldier in question was attached and under the direct command of a South Vietnamese unit. For service members of the United States military, the Wound Medal is not authorized for wear on a military uniform. With the fall of South Vietnam in 1975, the Wound Medal became obsolete, it is now only available through private dealers in military insignia.
Military awards and decorations of South Vietnam