The flag of Vietnam, also known as the "red flag with yellow star", was designed in 1940 and used that year during an uprising against French rule in Cochinchina. The flag was used by the Vietminh, a communist-led organisation created in 1941 to oppose Japanese occupation. When the Japanese surrendered at the end of World War II, Vietminh leader Ho Chí Minh proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi with himself as president. Ho signed a decree on September 5, 1945, adopting the Vietminh flag as the flag of the DRV. The DRV became the government of North Vietnam in 1954 following the Geneva Accords. The flag was modified in 1955 to make the edges of the star sharper. The red background was inspired by the flag of the communist party, which in turn honours the red flag of the Paris Commune of 1871. It symbolises revolution and blood. The five-pointed yellow star represents the unity of workers, peasants, intellectuals, traders and soldiers in building socialism.
Until Saigon was captured in 1975, South Vietnam used a yellow flag with three red stripes. The red flag of North Vietnam became the flag of a united Vietnam when the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was formed on July 2, 1976.