The Viet Cong were South Vietnamese guerrillas (rebel fighters) in the Vietnam War (1957-1975). The Viet Cong fought against the South Vietnamese and United States military forces. The Communist government of North Vietnam supported the Viet Cong. The guerrillas wanted to overthrow South Vietnam’s government and unite North and South Vietnam.
The Viet Cong began as a group called the Vietminh. In 1946, the Vietminh began a long war against the French forces in Vietnam. At that time, Vietnam was a colony of French Indochina. The Communist leader Ho Chi Minh led the Vietminh.
In 1957, the South Vietnamese government began to persecute (treat badly) Communists and other political groups in the country. In 1960, antigovernment groups formed the National Liberation Front (NLF). The military division of the NLF was the People’s Liberation Armed Forces. Its opponents called it the Viet Cong. With support from North Vietnam, the Viet Cong fought successfully against South Vietnamese forces. The United States sent troops to South Vietnam to fight the Viet Cong in 1965. North Vietnam also sent troops. The war ended in 1975. The two Vietnams were united under Communist rule.