This book examines South Vietnamese politics during the tenure of Ngo Dinh Diem in the years 1953–1956. It looks at the activities of Ngo Dinh Diem's most prominent political rivals such as the Hoa Hao, Cao Dai, and Binh Xuyen organizations, as well as his government's conduct and the United States' policy of support for it in light of that domestic political context. It also considers the chaotic competition for postcolonial political control that unfolded in southern Vietnam between World War II and the formation of the communist-backed National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF) in 1960. The book argues that American intervention on Cold War grounds intersected with Vietnamese domestic political affairs that had more to do with a mix of often cross-cutting concerns such as nationalism, decolonization, regionalism, and religion that were only peripherally related to the struggle between communism and capitalist democracy.
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