Pathet Lao pät´ət lou [key], left-wing nationalist group that was ultimately victorious in the Laotian civil war that began in the mid-1950s. The name was first used in 1950 by Lao forces after the they joined the Viet Minh's revolt against the French, and it became the generic term for the Lao Communists. In 1956 an official party, the Neo Lao Hak Sat (Lao Patriotic Front) was formed. In the 1960s and early 70s, the Pathet Lao fought the U.S.-supported government and finally won control of Laos in 1975.
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