The Geneva Accords:
After the French had surrendered to the Vietminh in 1954, an international conference was held in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss what should be done with Indochina. By July 21, 1954, agreements were reached to settle the disputes over Indochina.
The Geneva Accords stated that Vietnam would become independent. Elections were arranged to be held in July 1956 for the Vietnamese citizens to chose a government. The accords also stated that the country would be divided into two at the 17th parallel.
The Vietminh soldiers were to go to the North while the soldiers who fought for the French were to go to the South. The civilians were allowed to moved wherever they wished.
Although the Vietminh had occupied far more land in early 1954 then was given to them in the Geneva Accords, they decided to wait until 1956 for the elections in order to take control over all of Vietnam.