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Rise of the Pathet Lao

In 1948, Prince Souphanouvong went to Hanoi to enlist support from the Viet Minh for a Lao communist movement. Kaysone Phomvihane (who later became Secretary-General of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and Prime Minister of the LPDR), was at the same time making headway among tribal minorities in the mountain districts of Eastern Laos on behalf of Ho Chi Minh's ICP ? the Indochinese Communist Party

In 1948, Prince Souphanouvong went to Hanoi to enlist support from the Viet Minh for a Lao communist movement. Kaysone Phomvihane (who later became Secretary-General of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and Prime Minister of the LPDR), was at the same time making headway among tribal minorities in the mountain districts of Eastern Laos on behalf of Ho Chi Minh's ICP ? the Indochinese Communist Party

In 1950, the Free Lao Front (FLF), supported by the Viet Minh and the Lao Resistance Government under Prince Souphanouvong were founded in Eastern Laos culminating in the 1975 Lao Communist takeover. Those 25 years encompassed a bewildering succession of political changes. First, the ICP reconstituted itself as the Vietnamese Workers Party in 1951. In 1954 an international communiqu? released by the FLF referred specifically to the Pathet Lao (country of the Lao) and tactical forces of the FLF (and later the Patriotic Lao Front). The name was changed to the Lao People's Liberation Army (LPLA) in 1965, but the international media generally applied the term Pathet Lao to the Vietnamese- supported liberation movement in Laos.

The kingdom of Laos was governed along European lines by a constitutional monarchy in 1953-54. A French-educated elite ran the government, but following the defeat of the French by Viet Minh troops at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, Lao resistance in the countryside increased. Anxious to counter the Viet Minh influence in South-East Asia, the US government began pouring aid into Laos to bolster loyalty to the 'democratic cause'. Following the Geneva Conference of 1954, which sanctioned the takeover 'pending political settlement', Viet Minh and PL troops claimed the North-Eastern Lao provinces of Hua Phan and Phongsali during this same period.

In 1955, a clandestine communist party was officially formed in Sam Neua (Hua Phan Province) under the name Lao People's Party (LPP), consisting of 25 former ICP members. The LPP set up a national front in early 1956 called the Lao Patriotic Front (LPF; known in Lao as Neo Lao Hak Sat or NLHS). Like its counterpart in Cambodia, the LPP was a member of the Indochinese United Front, which was led by the Vietnamese Workers Party.

 
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