Why did the U.S support a military takeover of Diem's regime?

1 Answer
Apr 19, 2017

Diem was a Catholic Christian leader in a Buddhist country. The Buddhist were increasingly hostile to his leadership. There were other reasons.


Diem was a career Civil servant and Politician.
The United States was pretty ambivalent about Diem. He looked like a reasonable leader in 1954 when they were looking for someone to take over. He was a Vietnamese Nationalist and anti Communist. He was also anti French Colonialism. He had his own ideas and values about running the country.

His increasing difficultly with the Buddhists and their protests as well as the heavy handed crackdown on them alienated American and International support. Diem had lots of opposition inside the country and a Military Coup had been simmering for some time. He was killed on the orders of a Military Commander.

This ambivalence and slipping of popular approval made the Americans a bit ho hum about him when they were approached by the Military Leaders about the Coup. The Coup leadership interpreted this as a green light.

Diem's anti-communist campaigns were overall pretty successful at keeping the Communists down. Successor Governments lacked his tenacity and values which were overall fusion of Christian and Confusion ideals. The chaos of successor governments damaged the South Vietnamese Anti-Communist effort.

Upon learning of Diệm's ouster and assassination, Hồ Chí Minh reportedly stated: "I can scarcely believe the Americans would be so stupid."