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The Vietcong

  • Date Submitted: 10/31/2010 10:21 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 50 
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The Vietcong / NLF
The Vietcong (Vietnamese: Việt cộng), or the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF), was a political organization and army in South Vietnam and Cambodia that fought the United States and South Vietnamese governments during the Vietnam War (1955–1975). It had both guerrilla and regular army units, as well as a network of cadres who organized peasants in the territory it controlled. Many soldiers were recruited in South Vietnam, but others were attached to the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), the regular North Vietnamese army. During the war, communists and anti-war spokesmen insisted the Vietcong was an insurgency indigenous to the South, while the U.S. and South Vietnamese governments disputed this and portrayed the group as a tool of Hanoi.[citation needed] This allowed writers to distinguish northern communists from the southern communists. However, northerners and southerners were always under the same command structure.
The word “Viet Cong” was first used in the late 1950s. It appeared in South Vietnamese newspapers as an abbreviation of cong san Viet Nam, which simply meant “Vietnamese communist.” Many of the original Viet Cong were from the south of the country, they had gone north after 1954 when Vietnam was divided. There they received political and military training before being sent back to the south.
In the 1960s American soldiers began referring to the Viet Cong as the VC and, more colloquially, as ‘Charlie’, which derived from the phonetic alphabet’s rendering of the letter C in VC. The slang term ‘Charlie’ quickly came to include all communist forces.


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