North Vietnam was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976. It was officially the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and was proclaimed by Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi in 1945. Vietnam was partitioned following the Geneva Conference at the end of the First Indochina War. During World War II, Vietnam was a French colony under Japanese occupation. Soon after Japan surrendered in 1945, the DRV was proclaimed in Hanoi, government for the entire country.