Were the citizens of South Vietnam popularly opposed to reunification with North Vietnam prior to the start of the war?

Was communism more popular or less popular amongst the people of South Vietnam?

Obviously, many South Vietnamese wanted to be independent from North Vietnam and/or opposed communism and we’re willing to fight for it. But was this the opinion of the majority?

From what I’ve read, North Vietnam and South Vietnam weren’t really two countries, but rather two regions of the same country governed separately after the French vacated their colony there. The Geneva Accords, in which peace was brokered between the French and the Viet Minh, separated the two regions, but the separation was meant to be temporary until general elections could secure reunification under a single government. The War began after the President of South Vietnam refused to allow the planned elections and reunification in 1955 causing North Vietnam to seek reunification through force.

The South Vietnamese government’s stated reason for not allowing the elections was that they did not sign the Geneva Accords therefor they didn’t have to follow the accords. But that sounds to me like spurious reasoning from a government that may not have thought it wouldn’t get the mandate of the people if the vote took place.

I sincerely apologize if my understanding of these events is wrong or incomplete. I am the opposite of an expert. I was raised in Reagan’s America and was taught about the Vietnam War through the prism of a career military family that believes all wars Americans engage in are done so for ‘Freedom.’ Thank you to any clarity you all can provide me to better understand why this war was fought in the first place.

Source: reddit post


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