Episode 12: The Diem Experiment (Part Three)

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In the 1950s, most Americans viewed the Cold War as a battle between freedom and tyranny. There was just one problem: how to explain alliances with anti-communist authoritarians like Ngo Dinh Diem. In this episode, we’ll explore how American politicians, lobbyists, and one very enterprising Navy doctor imagined the new Republic of Vietnam as a bastion of democracy and freedom led by “a mandarin in a sharkskin suit who’s upsetting the Red timetable.”

Inward Empire music by Stephen Spencer.

Image result for ngo dinh diem tom dooley


Thomas Dooley, Deliver Us From Evil (New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 1956)

Wesley Fishel, “Vietnam’s Democratic One-Man Rule,” New Leader, November 2, 1959 pp 10-13.

Christopher Goscha, Vietnam: A New History (New York: Basic Books, 2016)

Graham Greene, The Quiet American (New York: Viking Press, 1956)

Seth Jacobs, Cold War Mandarin: Ngo Dinh Diem and the Origins of America’s War in Vietnam, 1950-1963 (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006)

Seth Jacobs, “Fighting Words,” Boston College Magazine, summer 2002, http://bcm.bc.edu/issues/summer_2002/ll_fighting.html, accessed August 2019.

Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History (New York: Viking Press, 1983)

Edward Lansdale, In the Midst of WarsAn American’s Mission to Southeast Asia (Fordham University Press, 1972)

Edward Miller, Misalliance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and the Fate of South Vietnam (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013)

John Prados, “The Numbers Game: How Many Vietnamese Fled South in 1954?” The VVA Veteran, January/February 2005, http://archive.vva.org/archive/TheVeteran/2005_01/feature_numbersGame.htm, accessed August 2019.

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