This article examines the administrative takeover of Hà Nội as a Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) state-making project in the immediate postwar period (1954–1960). This administrative takeover happened in two stages. First, the DRV “grafted” onto the existing structure to ensure that public administration continued to function. Later, the system was slowly transformed as Associated State of Vietnam (ASV) state employees were sidelined and replaced by the DRV’s own personnel. This article argues that the establishment of the DRV administration in Hà Nội, like other state-making projects that took place throughout the northern territory during the 1950s, was a complicated process that required deliberation, adjustment, and coercion.

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