Episode 13: The Diem Experiment (Part Four)

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After destroying his rivals in the Battle of Saigon, President Diem sets out to build a new nation in South Vietnam. On the one hand he offers land reform and a glittering new middle class, built on a tide of American aid. On the other hand is a ruthless anti-communist campaign of denunciations, torture, and re-education camps. A sprawling cast of characters comes together in this complex chapter: Saigon oligarchs, French philosophers, American New Dealers, landlords, peasants, Viet Cong guerillas, communist double agents, and rebellious paratroopers all help to shape the fate of the Diem experiment in its tumultuous early years.

Inward Empire music by Stephen Spencer.

The Lost Mandate in Vietnam - A Distant Mirror of Our Day - Juicy ...


Christian Appy, Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides (New York: Viking Penguin, 2003)

Jessica Chapman, Cauldron of Resistance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2018)

“Constitution of the Republic of Vietnam,” https://www.worldstatesmen.org/South-Vietnam-Constitution1956.pdf

Demery, Monique, Finding the Dragon Lady: The Mystery of Vietnam’s Madame Nhu (New York: Public Affairs, 2013)

Duong Van Mai Elliott, The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999)

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

Max Hastings, Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy (New York: Harper, 2018)

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)

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

Alfred McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York: Harper & Row, 1972)

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

Mark Moyar, Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006)

“Ngo Dinh Diem’s 10/59 Edict (1959),” https://alphahistory.com/vietnamwar/ngo-dinh-diems-1059-edict-1959/

The Pentagon Papers, Volume 1, Chapter 5, “Origins of the Insurgency in South Vietnam, 1954-1960”. Accessed April 5, 2020. https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pentagon/pent13.htm.

Truong Nhu Tang, A Viet Cong Memoir (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985)

Tieng Chuong, “Letter from Tieng Chuong to Wesley Fishel, 14 July, 1956,” http://vietnamproject.archives.msu.edu/fullrecord.php?kid=6-20-9D

“WGBH Openvault.” Vietnam: A Television History; America’s Mandarin (1954 – 1963); Interview with Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu, 1982. Accessed April 5, 2020. http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_4D5600E72791435897E4368A6AAE8F38.

Marilyn Young, The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990 (New York: Harper Collins, 1991)

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