Term Paper: Ngo Dinh Diem Born

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[. . .] The United States of America supported the actions of the government of Ngo Dinh Diem in an effort to quell any communist backed movement from seizing power in the volatile region. Due to the unconditional support rendered by the United States of America, Diem and his regime had little or no threats to fear from. A rule of oppression and authoritarianism followed often creating widespread anger and disgust among common people. Riots and protests were the order of the day and martial law was imposed from time to time. With support from the United States administration, Ngo Dinh Diem rejected the Geneva Accord and its requirement to conduct elections in 1956 that could result in the unification of the country. Using a referendum in the year 1955, Ngo Dinh Diem succeeded in abolishing the monarchy and declared himself President of South Vietnam. Throughout his misadventures an unfriendly people policies exercised by his regime, Ngo Diem maintained close and cordial ties with the United States administration, which saw change of guard from President Eisenhower to President John F. Kennedy.

Despite several misadventures Diem continued to source support and aid from the United States of America. He maintained close communication between his regime and the members of the United States administration. During his tenure in office he continuously wrote to President Dwight Eisenhower and President John F. Kennedy lamenting on his efforts to maintain peace and a program of development. In his letter to President Kennedy dated December 7, 1961, Diem writes, "Like the United States, The Republic of Vietnam has always been devoted to the preservation of peace. My people know only too well the sorrows of war. We have honored the 1954 Geneva Agreements even though they resulted in the partition of our country and the enslavement of more than half of our people by Communist tyranny. We have never considered the reunification of our nation by force. On the contrary, we have publicly pledged that we will not violate the demarcation line and the demilitarized zone set up by the Agreements. We have always been prepared and have on many occasions stated our willingness to reunify Vietnam on the basis of democratic and truly free elections." (Letter to President John F. Kennedy) This can best be regarded as blatant lies despite gross violations of the Geneva Peace Accord and an utter disregard for human rights.

Citing communist threat and oppression, he attempted to forge a successful partnership with the United States of America. In his letter to President Kennedy he also highlights the growing Communist aggression against his country and his people. He writes, "Like the United States, The Republic of Vietnam has always been devoted to the preservation of peace. My people know only too well the sorrows of war. We have honored the 1954 Geneva Agreements even though they resulted in the partition of our country and the enslavement of more than half of our people by Communist tyranny. We have never considered the reunification of our nation by force. On the contrary, we have publicly pledged that we will not violate the demarcation line and the demilitarized zone set up by the Agreements. We have always been prepared and have on many occasions stated our willingness to reunify Vietnam on the basis of democratic and truly free elections. (Letter to President John F. Kennedy)

The record of the Communist authorities in the northern part of the country is quite otherwise. They not only consented to the division of Vietnam, but also were eager for it. They pledged themselves to observe the Geneva Agreements and during the seven years since have never ceased to violate them. They call for free elections but are ignorant of the very meaning of the words. They talk of "peaceful reunification" and wage war against us." (Letter to President John F. Kennedy) His words can best be regarded, as a barrage of lies aimed at painting a picture quite different from the true aims and ambitions of his corrupt regime. Citing communism as a threat, Diem attempted so forge a successful relationship with the United States. (Letter to President John F. Kennedy)

Chapter-2

The Corrupt and Authoritarian Regime

The regime of Ngo Dinh Diem turned out to be one that was filled with corruption, fueled by hate, nepotism and near dictatorship. His rule marked imprisonment and execution of hundreds of Buddhists. No sooner had he come to power that he filled key government positions with his family members. Ngo Diem believed in a dictatorial rule combined with brute force and tyranny. Added to corruption, the regime also disregarded land reform policies. After Diem became head of state, America had established a massive presence in the hemisphere. During March 1955, United States advisors began training South Vietnamese troops. Later that year, South Vietnam refused to participate in the all-Vietnam elections called for by the Geneva Accord. Not only did Diem reject the Geneva peace accord, he also labeled it as detrimental to the progress of Vietnam. Meanwhile, in the background, the United States signaled support to this outrageous regime in the hope of preventing a communist hegemony in the region.

On 23rd October 1955, Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem ousts Emperor Bao Dai from power in a United States backed referendum, which was grossly rigged. Prime Minister Diem is advised on consolidation of power by U.S. Air force Col. Edward G. Lansdale. In truth, Col. Lansdale worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. Three days later, on 26th October 1955, South Vietnam was declared Republic of Vietnam with Ngo Dinh Diem, as it's first President. More than a hundred countries recognize it across the world. Back in the United States, President Eisenhower expressed his fullest support for the Diem government inclusive of financial and military aid. In the newly formed republic, President Diem appointed family and friends in high government offices, most significant of them being an appointment of his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu as his Chief Advisor. His style of governance and leadership was autocratic and fear inspiring rather than participative and free.

This caused a great deal of trouble for him and the regime alike since support from the population eroded with time. The Americans on their part did their best to popularize him using American style political rallies and countryside tours. His famous quote "Follow me if I advance! Kill me if I retreat! Revenge me if I die!" was far from his ideological beliefs and practices. One of his first acts as President was to reverse the land reform policies. (The Two Nations 1954-1963) & (Ngo Dinh Diem - Encarta: An Encyclopedia Article) He embarked on an audacious and widely despised plan of returning lands to wealthy landlords those lands that were granted to peasants and farmers by the Viet Minh government. This caused relocation of the peasants and rural villagers into far off areas. Violating the Geneva Accord yet another time, Ngo Dinh Diem sought help from the United States in creating the Army of the Republic of Vietnam popularly known as the AVRN. The regime forced young males from villages into joining the AVRN. The population despised all these measures and there was widespread opposition though it had not yet been vented out in the open. This fostered the formation of the National Liberation Front (NLF) whose primary aim remained the ouster of President Ngo Dinh Diem and the reunification of Vietnam. Being Catholic, Diem systematically denied government positions to non-Catholics and people belonging to other communities. (The Two Nations 1954-1963) & (Ngo Dinh Diem - Encarta: An Encyclopedia Article)

This sparked an outrage among a majority of the South Vietnamese population who were Buddhists. With the passage of time, the anger of the Buddhist community was displayed by way of severe protests and rioting that led to a worsening security situation within the newly formed republic. Ngo Dinh Nhu, a brother of the President controlled the much-dreaded secret police often using fear as an instrument to suppress public opinion and sentiment. The secret police, in truth, were not any more than a bunch of thugs who controlled illicit activities such as drug trafficking, gun running, prostitution and so on. Ngo Dinh Nhu personally profited from illegal activities, which were coordinated and managed by the very secret police whose responsibility it was to protect the interests of the nation. Ngo Dinh Can, yet another brother of Diem controlled all commercial and government related activities in Central Vietnam making administration more of a family business. Ngo Dinh Thuc, another of the brothers in power was the archbishop of Saigon. (The Two Nations 1954-1963) & (Ngo Dinh Diem - Encarta: An Encyclopedia Article)

In the year 1955, a year after assuming power as Prime Minister, Ngo Dinh Diem ordered several thousands of Vietnamese civilians into concentration camps. This was a re-enactment of the Second World War Nazi style regime principle. In the year 1959, he passed the controversial law… [END OF PREVIEW]

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