Vietnam was split in to North and South Vietnam in July 1954 as a result of the Geneva Agreements. The agreement split the country temporarily along the 17th parallel for a period of two years. Following the two years, the country was to hold elections and then reunite.
The agreement came as a result of the Geneva Conference, which included the United States, the Soviet Union, China, France and Great Britain. This conference attempted to solve problems in Asia, most notably France's colonial control of Vietnam. The agreement included the withdrawal of French troops from northern Vietnam. Although Ho Chi Minh and Communist-controlled North Vietnam signed the agreement, the puppet government in South Vietnam refused to sign, forcing the United States to set up and support a democratic government in the country.