When Vietnam gained its independence from France, Vietnam was divided in two due to the 1954 Geneva Accords: North Vietnam (Democratic Republic of Vietnam) which was led by the Vietnamese Communist Party, and South Vietnam (Republic of Vietnam) which was still under the authority of former emperor Bao Dai. After the Vietnam War in 1975, the Communist Party of Vietnam merged North and South Vietnam into Vietnam. South Vietnam existed from 1955 to 1975. Its capital was Saigon (currently Ho Chi Minh City).
After the Geneva Accords, the National Bank of Vietnam assumed all central bank functions for South Vietnam. The first series of banknotes issued by the bank did not follow any logical progression due to the use of several printers. The National Bank issued many notes that had the same denomination but different designs. However, in 1969, Bradbury, Wilkinson & Company became the sole printer of South Vietnamese dong banknotes. These notes featured the National Bank of Vietnam headquarters building in front, different design patterns at the back, and a watermark of Tran Hung Dao, a 13th century Grand Commander who repelled two Mongol invasions. In 1972, a new family of banknotes was announced but the introduction was delayed until the preceding issue’s stocks were depleted. The 1972 family all featured the Independence Palace in Saigon on the obverse side and different native animals on the reverse side. These notes also had the profile of Nguyen Thi Mai Anh, the wife of President Nguyen Van Thieu, as the watermark. On April 30, 1975, President Duong Van Minh surrendered to North Vietnamese forces and the Bank of Vietnam assumed the role of the National Bank of Vietnam. The family of notes issued by the Bank of Vietnam were introduced in 1975. However, these notes were dated 1966 because they were printed in advance of the Tet Offensive and remained in storage. These notes all featured different agricultural vignettes on both sides, and remained in circulation until North and South Vietnam completely merged in 1978.
Thai and Korean troops who fought in the Vietnam War also had their own banknotes printed and circulated. However, they were not used outside of the military camps and stations.