The People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN), also known as the Vietnamese People’s Army (VPA), is the military force of what is known today as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. First conceived in September 1944 as armed propaganda brigades by the northern Democratic Republic of Vietnam government, it was renamed the Vietnam Liberation Army in May 1945. It officially became the People’s Army of Vietnam in 1950. The PAVN were known as the Việt Minh during the First Indochina War against French colonial rule from 1946 to 1954. During the Second Indochina War against the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and Amercian forces from 1959 to 1975, PAVN units stationed in South Vietnam were termed Việt Cộng in order to distinguish northern communist soldiers and guerillas from their compatriots in the south.