Diem was a failure his policies were deeply unpopular

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Diem was a failure – his policies were deeply unpopular, his regime was corrupt & based on a system of brutality; nearly every sector of society opposed him by 1963. These circumstances made possible the creation of the NLF & its growing domination of the countryside. Following Diem’s murder, S V slipped ever deeper into chaos & violence to the point that by late 1964 a NLF takeover seemed highly likely. This was only prevented by the US decision to intervene fully against the NLF and its Northern supporters.Diem was clearly successful in establishing & consolidating his authoritarian rule – removedindividuals opposed to his ruleExpulsion of coup potters e.g. General Hinh»November 1954 – coup attempt against Diem led by General Van Hinh – Colonel Lansdale intervened & forced Hinh into exile in ParisDestruction of Binh Xuyen crime syndicate»April 1955 – Diem challenged power of organised crime gang, the Bin Zuyen Battle of Saigon, Diem’s forces prevailed over crime bossesAttack on religious sects like the Hoa Hai & Cai Dai»Religious sects grown since 20s & each had militias numbering in thousands»Combo of brute force, enlistment of militia members into ARVn & simple bribery removed potential oppositionDenunciation Campaigns which limited communist influence in the south»Mid 1955, Diem inaugurated widespread Denunciation campaign – target was anyone who had fought the French of seen as sympathetic to VM
»Up to 90% of VM cells in the south destroyed or forced underground»Over 80 000 people ended up w/ terms of imprisonment»Reduced VM numbers in South from 10 000 (1955) to approx. 2000 (1958)Rigged 1955 referendum saw Diem replace Emperor Bao Dai as head of State & create Republic of Vietnam»Oct 1955, national referendum to decide if S V should keep Emperor Bao Dai or become a republic»98.2% of people voted for a republic (100% in Saigon voted for the Republic)»2000 mote votes were counted than there were voters – obviously rigged»Meant the end of Bao Dai & Diem was now the President of RVNDiem’s decision – w/ full US backing – to refuse nationwide elections in 1956»Geneva agreement called for elections held in mid-1956 to unite Vietnam»Realising defeat was likely, Diem announced elections wouldn’t take place as RVN didn’t sign accords & North couldn’t be trusted to hold fair elections»US gave him total backing in this decision»Diem was now in complete controlEconomically, Diem had mixed successUS aid – boom economy in the cities, thriving middle class»Aid package worth $322 mil granted by US in early 1955»By 1961, US had given $1 bill in aid & 900 US advisors training SV forces»Prosperity was superficial – totally reliant on US largesse»Growing disparity between life in the city & life in the countryside – little US aid reached beyond the city, Diem’s reversal of VM land reforms hurt peasantry (AGROVILLES)Opportunities for corruption abounded Gross inequality between the city and country

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