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Account For The Rise And Fall Of The Diem Regime

852 words - 4 pages

Account for the rise and fall of the Diem regime

Cameron Murdoch

When the French left indo-china in 1954, the belief was that general elections would be held to unite all people of Vietnam. However until the elections, ruling bodies had to be created to keep law and order in the Viet Minh controlled north, and French controlled south. As leader of the Viet Minh, Ho Chi Minh was elected president of North Vietnam. The solution for South Vietnam was not so simple. It had no clear, nationalist leaders, the pre-existing government was filled with Francophiles and the general population was split into factions, some people were loyal to street gangs, others to religious sects and so on. The ...view middle of the document...

Together with his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu and Lansdale, Diem ruthlessly cracked down on opium gangs and militia based religious sects such as the Binh Xuyen, Cao Dai and Hoa Hao. Diem used used the secret police (controlled by his brother Nhu) and the army (supplied and trained by American CIA operatives) to destroy and shut down these bases of opposition creating many enemies, mainly within the ranks of the Buddhist monks.

The elections that were meant to have taken place in 1956 never happened. Diem was afraid that the communists, who had a far greater public image, would succeed and unite Vietnam under communism. Therefore Diem cancelled the elections under the pretence that he believed Ho would cheat and rig the election, he was supported by US. He also claimed that because he had not taken part in the Geneva Accords he was not duty bound to obey them. The Geneva Accords were a series of contracts ruled up to ensure that Vietnam would stay outside foreign influence and untie peacefully, this didn’t happen. In October a referendum took place in South Vietnam asking the people to choose between Bao Dai (previous emperor of Vietnam) and Diem for president. Diem was advised to make the election appear fair, in Saigon, a city of 450 000 voters, Diem got 605 000 votes. Early in his reign Diem made a series of public appearances, he was encouraged by Lansdale who insisted that he create a popular public figure instead of reverting to French based...

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