J C Diem Biography & Facts
Ngô Đình Diệm ( or ; Vietnamese: [ŋō ɗìn jîəmˀ] (listen); 3 January 1901 – 2 November 1963) was a South Vietnamese politician. He was the final prime minister of the State of Vietnam (1954–1955), and then served as the first president of South Vietnam (Republic of Vietnam) from 1955 until he was captured and assassinated during the 1963 South Vietnamese coup.
He was born into a prominent family, a member of the Catholic Church in Vietnam and 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 France. Diệm came to support Vietnamese nationalism, promoting both anti-communism, in opposition to Hồ Chí Minh, and decolonization, in opposition to Bảo Đại. 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 1954 Geneva Conference took place 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 the rigged 1955 State of Vietnam referendum, 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 projects, promoting 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 Viet Cong. He was subject to several assassination and coup attempts, and in 1962 established the Strategic Hamlet Program as the cornerstone of his counterinsurgency effort.
In 1963, Diệm's favoritism towards Catholics and persecution of practitioners of Buddhism in Vietnam led to the Buddhist crisis. 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 Central Intelligence Agency. He and his younger brother, Nhu, initially escaped, but were recaptured the following day and assassinated on the orders of Dương Văn Minh, who succeeded him as president.
Diệm has been a controversial historical figure. Some historians have considered him a tool of the United States, while others portrayed him as an avatar of Vietnamese tradition. At the time of his assassination, he was widely considered to be a corrupt dictator.
Family and early life
Ngô Đình Diệm was born in 1901 in Quảng Bình province, in central Vietnam. His family originated in Phú Cam Village, a Catholic village adjacent to Huế. His ancestors had been among Vietnam's earliest Catholic converts in the 17th century. Diệm was given a saint's name at birth, Gioan Baotixita (a Vietnamized form of John the Baptist), following the custom of the Catholic Church. 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."Ngô Đình Khả was educated in a Catholic school in British Malaya, where he learned English and studied the European-style curriculum. 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 of French Indochina. 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". Like Phan Chu 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.After the tragedy that had befallen his family, Khả decided to abandon study for the priesthood and married. After his first wife died childless, Khả remarried and, in a period of twenty-three years, had twelve children with his second wife, Phạm Thị Thân, of whom nine survived infancy – six sons and three daughters. 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 and Ngô Đình Luyện. As a devout Roman Catholic, Khả took his entire family to daily morning Mass and encouraged his sons to study for the priesthood. Having learned both Latin and classical Chinese, Khả strove to make sure his children were well educated in both Christian scriptures and Confucian classics. 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. 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. According to Moyar, Diệm's personality was too independent to adhere to the disciplines of the Church, while Jarvis recalls Ngô Đình Thục's ironic observation that the Church was "too worldly" for Diệm. Diệm also inherited his father's antagonism toward the French colonialists who occupied his country.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 th.... Discover the J C Diem popular books. Find the top 100 most popular J C Diem books.