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thumb|Ngo Dinh Diem]]
After the French defeat at the battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, a peace conference was held in Geneva ending the Indonesian War between France and the Viet Minh. In addition to ending hostilities, the country of Vietnam was divided into two separate countries; North Vietnam or the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and South Vietnam or the Republic of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnamese Communist Party were in control of the north and Ngo Dinh Diem in control of the south. In addition, the agreement in Geneva called for reunified elections in 1956, with negotiations between the two countries to begin in 1955. Diem refused to negotiate about the unified elections and the proposed elections of 1956 were never held. The division of Vietnam lasted for twenty years.
===Consolidation by the North===
The communist north consolidated its power in a number of ways. First, the North Vietnamese conducted a purge of counter-revolutionaries. Estimates of those imprisoned or killed range from 800 to 200,000. In addition between 1954 and 1956 over 400,000 Vietnamese civilians left the north for the south. Many of those that evacuated had sided with the French in the Indonesian War. As many as 85% of the refugees were Catholic, which was also the favored religion of Diem. With the state-sponsored purge and the evacuation of former enemies left the north practically a political monolith.
USA Today. Vietnam War Timeline 9/11/2017. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/09/11/vietnam-war-timeline-u-s-involvement-over-decades/653693001/