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Books > History > Americas > United States > B00B4QMJ0S
  1. Cauldron of Resistance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam (The United States in the World)
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  2. Cauldron of Resistance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam (The United States in the World)

    [B00B4QMJ0S]
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Additional Information

In 1955, Ngo Dinh Diem organized an election to depose chief-of-state Bao Dai, after which he proclaimed himself the first president of the newly created Republic of Vietnam. The United States sanctioned the results of this election, which was widely condemned as fraudulent, and provided substantial economic aid and advice to the RVN. Because of this, Diem is often viewed as a mere puppet of the United States, in service of its Cold War geopolitical strategy. That narrative, Jessica M. Chapman contends in Cauldron of Resistance, grossly oversimplifies the complexity of South Vietnam's domestic politics and, indeed, Diem's own political savvy.

Based on extensive work in Vietnamese, French, and American archives, Chapman offers a detailed account of three crucial years, 1953-1956, during which a new Vietnamese political order was established in the south. It is, in large part, a history of Diem's political ascent as he managed to subdue the former Emperor Bao Dai, the armed Hoa Hao and Cao Dai religious organizations, and the Binh Xuyen crime organization. It is also an unparalleled account of these same outcast political powers, forces that would reemerge as destabilizing political and military actors in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Chapman shows Diem to be an engaged leader whose personalist ideology influenced his vision for the new South Vietnamese state, but also shaped the policies that would spell his demise. Washington's support for Diem because of his staunch anticommunism encouraged him to employ oppressive measures to suppress dissent, thereby contributing to the alienation of his constituency, and helped inspire the organized opposition to his government that would emerge by the late 1950s and eventually lead to the Vietnam War.

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Specifications

Country
USA
Author
Jessica M. Chapman
Binding
Kindle Edition
Edition
1
EISBN
9780801467400
Format
Kindle eBook
Label
Cornell University Press
Manufacturer
Cornell University Press
NumberOfPages
293
PublicationDate
2013-02-19
Publisher
Cornell University Press
ReleaseDate
2013-02-19
Studio
Cornell University Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Substantive and Provides a perspective on issues facing Ngo Dinh Diem at the time with a more Vietnamese vs. other books on Vietnam that had a more American/French perspective. Writing style could be improved as rather slow and academic (unlike Frances Fitzgerald's Fire in the Lake) which covers part of the same period but is fast paced
This is a fresh look at the dynamics of the complex political, religious, and social life in South Vietnam during the transition years between French occupation and the United States' escalating involvement. Ms. Chapman reveals actions and motivations for many of the characters involved - both Vietnamese and American. She clearly defines the misunderstandings and miscalculations that led to further confusion in an already chaotic situation. Reading Cauldron of Resistance helps one understand why South Vietnam became so vulnerable to Northern invasion and eventual takeover. There is definitely a lesson for the United States to be more aware of local political, religious, and social dynamics when becoming involved in other countries in the future.
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