Vietnam War Dictionary
A shortened version of Viet-Nam Cong-San (Vietnamese Communist), the term was first used by the Saigon press in 1956, to distinguish between the Viet Minh
, who had defeated the French, and the nascent communist insurgents. Though all Viet Minh military forces in the South had be transferred to the North under the Geneva Accords, the political apparatus and organizational framework were inherited by the Viet Cong. Consequently they attempted to appeal to the peasantry not as Marxist revolutionaries but as a traditional nationalists.
Following the formal founding of the National Liberation Front
in December 1960, the NLF and its military wing, the People's Liberation Armed Forces
, were referred to as Viet Cong by both Saigon and Washington.