Based largely on new documentary evidence from Vietnam, this article examines North Vietnamese policymaking immediately after the signing of the 1954 Geneva accords. The article demonstrates that leaders in Hanoi sought to abide by the accord on Vietnam because they genuinely believed that implementation would produce national reunification peacefully and in accordance with the interests of the “socialist revolution.” To that end, they instructed all operatives and supporters in both halves of Vietnam to undertake no activity that might sabotage and otherwise undermine the Geneva accord or provoke or justify non-compliance by the enemy. This stance disappointed revolutionaries in the South, who considered the French, the Americans, and their indigenous “lackeys” incapable of respecting the Geneva agreement.

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