Nguyen Van Thieu: The Second President of South Vietnam

It has been quite a while since I’ve talked about about the Vietnam War.  The main focus then was on Ngo Dinh Diem, the first president of South Vietnam.  Now it is time we talked a little about Nguyen Van Thieu, the man who succeeded him.  After the murder of President Ngo Dinh Diem, the Republic of Vietnam fell into a period of governmental disorder.  During this time, many people vied for the position of head of state.  All of these people would fail, rising to the top but quickly collapsing under the pressure of leadership.

The U.S., France, and several other countries tried to re-establish order in the government, propping up many unworthy people to the top position, only to see them crumble.  This chaotic situation would last for three years.  Finally in 1967, Nguyen Van Thieu, who was chief of state at the time, defeated his competitors in the presidential race and became the second president of the Republic of Vietnam.  Under his leadership, South Vietnam would sustain itself until the collapse of the country in 1975.

As with his predecessor, Ngo Dinh Diem, the government of Nguyen Van Thieu was faced with many obstacles.  Besides the Vietcong, the Thieu government also had to deal with the United States.  The Americans assassinated Diem because of his refusal to bend under U.S. pressures, his successor, President Nguyen Van Thieu, would also create obstacles for the United States.  In the early phases of the war, the Diem government was faced with arrogant Americans who would force their way into Vietnam.  Under Thieu’s time, the U.S. had been beaten humbly and were desperately trying to pull out.

Like Ngo Dinh Diem, Nguyen Van Thieu was also a strong leader whose government was afflicted with corrupted officials.  Many of the people around him, including his advisors, were puppets of foreign powers.  Several of the generals of the ARVN were secretly on the payroll of the French, while some of Thieu’s advisors were working for the CIA. For this reason, he was unable to fully exert his political influence.  Even so, he was able to govern the country and lead it though a time of modest prosperity.

During Nguyen Van Thieu’s presidency, Diem’s also, Vietnam was the strongest economy in Southeast Asia, surpassing all others in agriculture, as well as heavy industry.  Vietnamese farmers benefitted greatly from President Thieu’s agricultural reforms.  The laborers also gained immensely, since Vietnam’s industrial base was steadily on the rise.  It may be hard to believe now, but during the democratic era of Ngo Dinh Diem and Nguyen Van Thieu, the Republic of Vietnam had already established its very own car company, called La Dalat.  Surprised?  I sure was.

7 Responses to “Nguyen Van Thieu: The Second President of South Vietnam”

  1. It would be nice if you were to edit the wikipedia entry for Nguyen Van Thieu. It is very biased and negative towards him. He was a great and charismatic leader.

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  3. Derek Benjamin Says:

    It would also be nice if you didn’t show so much bias against a nation that sent 60,000 boys to die in an attempt to keep your nation free. It is unfortunate that the United States overthrew Diem but your ire should be directed at the communist infiltrated Buddhist sects that encouraged their novices to light themselves on fire. If the Buddhist hadnt turned on Diem because of his support for Catholicism and northern Catholic émigrés, then Diem could have stayed.

    That’s leaving aside the fact that South Vietnam couldn’t produce tanks and armoures troop carriers so I’m not sure how you expected the counter Soviet provides armored divisions without America “butting in.”

    • In fact the Buddhists uprising was initiated by CIA to remove Diem, and it started in Hue.

      Free and democratic South Vietnam would have been still existed if the US had supported South Vietnam with morality and material rather than American soldiers. I do not see the author’s bias here; it was just his analysis to draw a history lesson.

      Vietnamese people who love democracy and freedom are grateful of the sacrifice and support of US soldiers and their families for the struggle of freedom and democracy for the short-lived South Vietnam.

  4. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sourcces back to your site?
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    • winstonnguyen Says:

      I work for American Government on civilian to support the US Government fights along side with Republic of Viet Nam arms forces and USAID and military 1/11 BN US 5 TH Division APO 96477 . Viet Nam government is free Democracy Government in South East Asia. American involved in Viet Nam . But did not really want to help Viet Nam to become a strong country to defend the region. Viet Nam do not trust the USA. Because US did not have enough mean to help Viet Nam to defend the freedom in Asia during Viet Nam war 1954-1975.

      • The US had all the means to help VN, but they used it in a wrong way. Washington had no clue about Vietnamese people at that time.

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