North Vietnam was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976. It was officially the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (Vietnamese: Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa), and was proclaimed by Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi in 1945. Vietnam was partitioned following the Geneva Conference at the end of the First Indochina War.
During World War II, Vietnam was a French colony under Japanese occupation. Soon after Japan surrendered in 1945, the DRV was proclaimed in Hanoi, government for the entire country. Viet Minh leader Hồ Chí Minh became head of the government while former emperor Bảo Đại became "supreme advisor." Non-communist figures were ousted from the DRV on October 30 and fled to the South. In November, the French reoccupied Hanoi and the French Indochina War followed. Bảo Đại became head of the Saigon government in 1949, which was then renamed the State of Vietnam. Following the Geneva Accords of 1954, Vietnam was partitioned at the 17th parallel. The DRV became the government of North Vietnam while the State of Vietnam retained control in the South.