A nation formed by the 1954 division of Vietnam at the 17th Parallel. The partition was part of a cease fire: Ho Chi Minh's Vietminh (who had defeated the French) ran the North; France controlled the South. There were to be national elections, but the US and France were afraid Ho would win - thus, no elections. Two republics were formed. The South had a series of CIA-sponsored despots - Ngo Dinh Diem and generals Nguyen Cao Ky and Nguyen Van Thieu - during the Vietnam War years.