After the Geneva Conference that temporarily divided Vietnam into two sides in 1954, North Vietnam gained international recognition of its jurisdiction north of the seventeenth parallel (Anderson, 2011). As not all the citizens of Vietnam praised the leadership from Hanoi, the United States government wanted to ensure that the Vietnamese people continue to disapprove of the communist government, US official stating that the free areas of Vietnam must remain against communism (Anderson, 1991). As World War II ended in 1945, the United States was the most powerful nation in the world and shared its victory among the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom.
As France was a country weakened after WWII and Vietnam wanted its independence, the French war in Vietnam began and ended with the country gaining its independence from the imperialist France in 1954 with a major battle at Dienbienphu (Anderson, 2011). So, after the independence was gained and the Geneva Conference decided to temporarily divide de country into North and South, having the north communist side recognised internationally, the United Stated decided to help South Vietnam by spreading the American way of democracy and trying to keep South Vietnam free: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty” – J. F. Kennedy. Even though the division was intended to be temporary, the separation of the two countries lasted until 1975, when the northern troops invaded the southern capital, Saigon.
Also, it was decided that in 1956, elections should be organised in order to see the people’s view on unification. Neither Vietnam, nor the US agreed on the free elections, but the other nations went along. However, no election took place and the US was blamed for blocking a peaceful election in Vietnam (Anderson, 2011). Yet, the truth was that neither the North, nor the South had ever held any type of free election and had not known how to implement them, and none of the major powers that had participated at the Convention had wanted to take responsibility of supervising an election (Anderson, 2011).
Following this event, there was still hope for Washington that the Republic of Vietnam (South) could become a stable country.