World War II
During World War II, Japan occupied French Indochina. As well as fighting the French, the Việt Minh started a campaign against the Japanese. As of the end of 1944, the Việt Minh claimed a membership of 500,000, of which 200,000 were in Tonkin, 150,000 in Annam, and 150,000 in Cochinchina. Due to their opposition to the Japanese, the Việt Minh received funding from the United States, the Soviet Union and the Republic of China . When Japan surrendered in August 1945, the Japanese handed over control of some public buildings and weapons requisitioned from the French army to the Việt Minh, now led by Hồ Chí Minh, after turning in the Vietnamese nationalist leaders of the Việt Minh to the French colonialists. The Việt Minh also recruited more than 600 of the Japanese soldiers, who fought in the war against France until 1945. After the nationalist organizations proclaimed the independence of Việt Nam, Hồ proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, 1945.