Flag of Vietnam
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Flag of Vietnam

Vietnam FlagThe flag of Vietnam from 1976, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, also known as the "red flag with yellow star" (c? ?? sao v?ng), was designed in 1940 and used that year during an uprising against French rule in Cochinchina. The flag was used by the Vi?t Minh, a communist-led organization created in 1941 to oppose Japanese occupation. When the Japanese surrendered at the end of World War II, Vi?t Minh leader H? Ch? Minh proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi with himself as president. H? signed a decree on September 5, 1945 adopting the Vi?t Minh flag as the flag of the DRV. The DRV became the government of North Vietnam in 1954 following the Geneva Accords. The flag was modified in 1955 to make the edges of the star sharper. The red background was inspired by the flag of the communist party, which in turn honors the red flag of the Paris Commune of 1871. It symbolizes revolution and blood. The five-pointed yellow star represents the unity of workers, peasants, intellectuals, traders and soldiers in building socialism. Until Saigon was captured in 1975, South Vietnam used a yellow flag with three red stripes. The red flag of North Vietnam became the flag of a united Vietnam when the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was formed on July 2, 1976.


The flag has a red background with a five-pointed yellow star in the center. It was first used in the "Southern Uprising" (Nam K? Kh?i ngh?a) of November 1940 against French rule in Cochinchina. Writer S?n T?ng, whose research was published in the official press in 1981, found that the flag was designed by Nguy?n H?u Ti?n, a leader of the uprising who was born in the northern village of L?ng Xuy?n. H? is said to have reproduced the flag based on sketchy radio reports of the uprising. Ti?n, who was arrested and executed by the French in advance of the failed uprising, was unknown to the Vietnamese public before T?ng's research was published.[1] The red background represents blood while the yellow foreground represents "the color of our mom's skin," according to a poem Ti?n wrote.[1] The five points of the star represent intellectuals, peasants, workers, traders and soldiers.[1] Ti?n's poem reads in part:

... All those of red blood and yellow skin

Together we fight under the nation?s sacred flag

The flag is soaked with our crimson blood, shed for the nation

The yellow star is the colour of our mother's skin

Stand up, quickly! The nation?s soul is calling for us

Intellectuals, peasants, workers, traders and armymen

United as a five-pointed yellow star...

In April 2001, Vietnam's Ministry of Culture reported that there was no documentation to support the claim that Ti?n designed the flag. In 2005, L? Minh ??c, an official of Ti?n Giang province, suggested that that the flag was designed by another cadre, L? Quang S?, a native of M? Tho Province in the Mekong delta. ??c's theory is based on statements by S?'s son as well as S?'s 1968 memoir. According to ??c, yellow was chosen to represent Vietnam while the red background was inspired by the flag of the Communist Party and represents revolution. Such red backgrounds are characteristic of the flags of Communist nations and honor the Red Flag flown by the Paris Commune of 1871. S? experimented with stars in various positions and sizes before choosing a large star in the center for aesthetic reasons. This placement may have been influenced by the flag of the Vi?t Qu?c, a nationalist party allied with the communists at that time. In April 1940, the flag was approved by Phan V?n Kh?e, the Communist party chief of M? Tho. It was approved by the national party in July.[3] The official press has not commented on ??c's version of events, but has published material reiterating the view that Ti?n designed the flag.

The flag was displayed a conference on May 19, 1941 at which the Vi?t Minh was founded. The Vi?t Minh proclaimed its flag a "national flag" on August 18, 1945 at a meeting held in the village of T?n Tr?o in the North. When the Japanese surrendered at the end of World War II, the Vi?t Minh entered Hanoi and proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2. On September 5, DRV President H? signed a decree adopting the Vietminh flag. French troops returned in October and restored colonial rule. Following the Geneva Accord between Vi?t Minh and France in 1954, the DRV became the government of North Vietnam. In November 1955, the flag's design was modified slightly to make the star smaller and its edges straighter. This followed a similar modification of the Flag of the Soviet Union. The flag was adopted in the South in 1975 after the North Vietnamese army overran Saigon, the South Vietnamese capital. North and South were unified as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on July 2, 1976.

Historical flags

The Tr?ng sisters flew a yellow banner during their revolt against China in AD 40, as did Tri?u Th? Trinh in 222-248. A yellow banner with a red circle in the center was adopted as a standard by Emperor Gia Long (1802-1820). This standard was used by supporters of the anti-French C?n V??ng, or "Save the king", movement in 1885, effectively making it Vietnam's first national flag. Emperor Th?nh Th?i's flag, adopted in 1890, had red stripes and a yellow background. The three stripes represented the Qu? C?n, or Qian trigram, one of eight trigrams used in the I-Ching, a Taoist scripture. (Compare to the Flag of South Korea.) Qu? C?n is the divination sign for heaven. Later, the stripes were said to represent the northern, central and southern regions of Vietnam.

The French, who gradually gained control of Vietnam in the late 19th century, flew the Tricolour, the French national flag. As the colony of Cochinchina (1864-1945), the South was under exclusive French authority. In contrast, North and Central Vietnam were protectorates with parallel systems of Vietnamese and French administration. Several flags were flown in these regions: the French flag, the Vietnamese imperial flag, and a "protectorate flag." From 1920 to 1945, the Vietnamese imperial flag had a yellow background with a single, broad red stripe.

Japan occupied Vietnam in 1941-45. In March 1945, the Japanese deposed the French colonial authorities and proclaimed an Empire of Vietnam with B?o ??i as emperor. The Qu? Ly Flag, also a red trigram on a yellow background, was adopted in June. Among other things, Qu? Ly symbolizes the direction south. B?o ??i abdicated in August when Japan surrendered. The French returned in October 1945, but were challenged by the Vietminh, especially in the North. The French proclaimed Cochinchina a republic in June 1946. This puppet state adopted a Qu? C?n flag with blue stripes on a yellow background.

In May 1948, the name of the Cochinchina government was changed to "Provisional Central Government of Vietnam" in preparation for a merger with the North as outlined in the H? Long Bay agreements between France and B?o ??i. On 2 June 1948, Chief of State Nguy?n V?n Xu?n, signed an ordinance to adopt a redesigned Qu? C?n flag: "The national emblem is a flag of yellow background, the height of which is equal to two-thirds of its width. In the middle of the flag and along its entire width, there are three horizontal red bands. Each band has a height equal to one-fifteenth of the width. These three red bands are separated from one another by a space of the band's height." This flag was used in the South under the subsequent State of Vietnam (1949-55) and the Republic of Vietnam (1955-75).


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