Ngo Dinh Diem

Ngô Đình Diệm
Ngo Dinh Diem - Thumbnail - ARC 542189.png
1st President of the Republic of Vietnam
In office
26 October 1955 – 1 November 1963
Preceded byPosition established
Bảo Đại as Chief of the State of Vietnam
Succeeded byDương Văn Minh (as Chairman of the Military Revolutionary Council)
6th Prime Minister of the State of Vietnam
In office
26 June 1954 – 26 October 1955
Preceded byPrince Bửu Lộc
Succeeded byNguyễn Ngọc Thơ (as Prime Minister in 1963)
Personal details
Born(1901-01-03)3 January 1901
Quảng Bình, French Indochina (present-day Vietnam)
Died2 November 1963(1963-11-02) (aged 62)
Saigon, South Vietnam
Cause of deathAssassination
Political partyCần Lao
RelationsNgô Đình Khả (father)
Ngô Đình Khôi (brother)
Ngô Đình Thục (brother)
Ngô Đình Nhu (brother)
Ngô Đình Cẩn (brother)
Ngô Đình Luyện (brother)
EducationSchool of Public Administration and Law
Ngo Dinh Diem
Vietnamese alphabetNgô Đình Diệm
Chữ Hán吳廷琰

Ngô Đình Diệm (m/;[1] Vietnamese: [ŋō ɗìn jîəmˀ] (About this soundlisten); 3 January 1901 – 2 November 1963) was a Vietnamese politician. He was the final prime minister of the State of Vietnam (1954–55), and then served as President of South Vietnam from 1955 until he was deposed and killed during the 1963 military coup.

Diệm was born into a prominent Catholic family, the son of a high-ranking civil servant, Ngô Đình Khả. He was educated at French-speaking schools and considered following his brother Ngô Đình Thục into the priesthood, but eventually chose to pursue a civil-service career. He progressed rapidly in the court of Emperor Bảo Đại, becoming governor of Bình Thuận Province in 1929 and interior minister in 1933. However, he resigned the latter position after three months and publicly denounced the emperor as a tool of the French. Diệm came to support Vietnamese nationalism, promoting an anti-communist and anti-colonialist "third way" opposed to both Bảo Đại and communist leader Hồ Chí Minh. He established the Can Lao Party to support his political doctrine of Person Dignity Theory.

After several years in exile, Diệm returned home in July 1954 and was appointed prime minister by Bảo Đại, the head of the Western-backed State of Vietnam. The Geneva Accords were signed soon after he took office, formally partitioning Vietnam along the 17th parallel. Diệm soon consolidated power in South Vietnam, aided by his brother Ngô Đình Nhu. After a rigged referendum in 1955, he proclaimed the creation of the Republic of Vietnam, with himself as president. His government was supported by other anti-communist countries, most notably the United States. Diệm pursued a series of nation-building schemes, emphasising industrial and rural development. From 1957, he was faced with a communist insurgency backed by North Vietnam, eventually formally organized under the banner of the Việt Cộng. He was subject to a number of assassination and coup attempts, and in 1962 established the Strategic Hamlet Program as the cornerstone of his counterinsurgency effort.

Diệm's favoritism towards Catholics and persecution of South Vietnam's Buddhist majority led to the "Buddhist crisis" of 1963. The violence damaged relations with the United States and other previously sympathetic countries, and his regime lost favour with the leadership of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. On 1 November 1963, the country's leading generals launched a coup d'état with assistance from the CIA. He and his younger brother Nhu initially escaped, but were recaptured the following day and murdered on the orders of Dương Văn Minh, who succeeded him as president. Diệm has been a controversial historical figure in historiography on the Vietnam War. Some historians have considered him a tool of the United States, while others portrayed him as an avatar of Vietnamese tradition. Some recent studies have portrayed Diệm from a more Vietnamese-centred perspective as a competent leader focused on nation building and the modernisation of South Vietnam.[2][3][page needed]

Family and early life

Ngô Đình Diệm was born in 1901 in Quảng Bình, a province in central Vietnam. His family originated in Phú Cam Village, a Catholic village adjacent to Huế City. His clan had been among Vietnam's earliest Catholic converts in the 17th century.[4] Diệm was given a saint's name at birth, Gioan Baotixita (a Vietnamized form of Jean Baptiste), following the custom of the Catholic Church.[5] The Ngô-Đình family suffered under the anti-Catholic persecutions of Emperors Minh Mạng and Tự Đức. In 1880, while Diệm's father, Ngô Đình Khả (1850–1925), was studying in British Malaya, an anti-Catholic riot led by Buddhist monks almost wiped out the Ngô-Đình clan. Over 100 of the Ngô clan were "burned alive in a church including Khả's parents, brothers, and sisters."[6] Note that while he is usually referred to as Diệm in English, his family name is actually Ngô.

Ngô Đình Khả was educated in a Catholic school in British Malaya, where he learned English and studied the European-style curriculum.[7] He was a devout Catholic and scrapped plans to become a Roman Catholic priest in the late 1870s. He worked for the commander of the French armed forces as an interpreter and took part in campaigns against anti-colonial rebels in the mountains of Tonkin during 1880. He rose to become a high-ranking Mandarin, the first headmaster of the National Academy in Huế (founded in 1896) and a counselor to Emperor Thành Thái under the French colonial regime.[8] He was appointed minister of the rites and chamberlain and keeper of the eunuchs. Despite his collaboration with the French colonizers, Khả was "motivated less by Francophilia than by certain reformist ambitions".[9] Like Phan Châu Trinh, Khả believed that independence from France could be achieved only after changes in Vietnamese politics, society and culture had occurred. In 1907, after the ouster of emperor Thành Thái, Khả resigned his appointments, withdrew from the imperial court, and became a farmer in the countryside.[10]

After the tragedy of his family, Khả decided to abandon preparation for the priesthood and married. After his first wife died childless, Khả remarried and had twelve children with his second wife, Phạm Thị Thân (in a period of twenty-three years) of whom nine survived infancy — six sons and three daughters.[11] These were Ngô Đình Khôi, Ngô Đình Thị Giao, Ngô Đình Thục, Ngô Đình Diệm, Ngô Đình Thị Hiệp, Ngô Đình Thị Hoàng, Ngô Đình Nhu, Ngô Đình Cẩn, Ngô Đình Luyện. As a devout Roman Catholic, Khả took his entire family to Mass each morning and encouraged his sons to study for the priesthood.[12] Having learned both Latin and classical Chinese, Khả strove to make sure his children were well educated in both Christian scriptures and Confucian classics.[13] During his childhood, Diệm laboured in the family's rice fields while studying at a French Catholic primary school (Pellerin School) in Huế, and later entered a private school started by his father, where he studied French, Latin, and classical Chinese. At the age of fifteen he briefly followed his elder brother, Ngô Đình Thục, who would become Vietnam's highest-ranking Catholic bishop, into seminary.[14] Diệm swore himself to celibacy to prove his devotion to his faith, but found monastic life too rigorous and decided not to pursue a clerical career.[15] According to Moyar, Diệm's personality was too independent to adhere to the discipline of the Church, while Jarvis recalls Ngô Đình Thục's ironic observation that the Church was "too worldly" for Diệm.[16] Diệm also inherited his father's antagonism toward the French colonialists who occupied his country.[17]

At the end of his secondary schooling at Lycée Quốc học, the French lycée in Huế, Diem's outstanding examination results elicited the offer of a scholarship to study in Paris. He declined and, in 1918, enrolled at the prestigious School of Public Administration and Law in Hanoi, a French school that prepared young Vietnamese to serve in the colonial administration.[12] It was there that he had the only romantic relationship of his life, when he fell in love with one of his teacher's daughters. After she chose to persist with her vocation, entering a convent, he remained celibate for the rest of his life.[18] Diệm's family background and education, especially Catholicism and Confucianism, had influences on his life and career, on his thinking on politics, society, and history. According to Miller, Diệm "displayed Christian piety in everything from his devotional practices to his habit of inserting references to the Bible into his speeches"; he also enjoyed showing off his knowledge of classical Chinese texts.[19]

Other Languages
العربية: نغو دينه ديم
Bân-lâm-gú: Ngô Đình Diệm
български: Нго Дин Дием
Boarisch: Ngo Dinh Diem
한국어: 응오딘지엠
Bahasa Indonesia: Ngô Đình Diệm
македонски: Нго Дин Дием
മലയാളം: ങോടിൻയിം
مازِرونی: نگو دین دیم
Bahasa Melayu: Ngô Đình Diệm
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Ngô Đình Diệm
Nederlands: Ngô Đình Diệm
occitan: Ngo Dinh Diem
português: Ngo Dinh Diem
русский: Нго Динь Зьем
Simple English: Ngo Dinh Diem
slovenčina: Ngô Đình Diệm
slovenščina: Ngo Dinh Diem
српски / srpski: Нго Дин Зјем
svenska: Ngo Dinh Diem
Tagalog: Ngo Dinh Diem
українська: Нго Дінь З'єм
Tiếng Việt: Ngô Đình Diệm
文言: 吳廷琰
粵語: 吳廷琰
中文: 吳廷琰