Hoang Anh Tuan:
The Geneva Agreements of 1954 recognized the complete liberation of one half of Vietnam, from the 17th parallel up north, and temporarily placed the southern half under the control of the French. The Agreements stipulated that a general election would be held in two years in order to reunify the country.
In strictly carrying out the Geneva Agreements, all the administrative personnel and all the armed forces of the Vietnamese Revolution moved from the southern half to the northern half of the country. But all the families of these people remained behind. It can be stated that most of the families in the South had one or more members who had followed the revolution and who, after the signing of the Geneva Agreements, went up North.
But in violation of the stipulations of the Agreements, the Diem regime, a puppet regime of the United States, opposed the carrying out of the Agreements. They began to repress the southern population, depriving the latter of all democratic rights and freedom.
They were especially harsh in their treatment against the families whose members or relatives had moved up north. They regarded these families as families which opposed their regime and they used every means at their disposal to repress these families. They forced wives to reject their husbands who had gone to the North. And the parents and other family members were not regarded as ordinary citizens.
The regime was also very repressive against the general population of the South. For many years after the signing of the Geneva Agreements, the southern population, out of their desire for national reunification and independence, struggled to demand that the regime in the South carry out the Agreements and allow the general elections to come about in order reunify the country.
In answering all of this, however, the Diem regime started a unilateral war against the population by using large scale armed units to smash the popular struggles. They also issued their 10/59 Law Code, a really fascistic law code, and used that to legalize the execution by guillotines of patriotic people who demanded peace and national unification.