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Cauldron of ResistanceNgo Dinh Diem, the United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam$
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Jessica M. Chapman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450617

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450617.001.0001

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A Different Democracy

A Different Democracy

South Vietnam’s Referendum to Depose Bao Dai

(p.146) Chapter 6 A Different Democracy
Cauldron of Resistance

Jessica M. Chapman

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on Ngo Dinh Diem's attempt to depose the emperor Bao Dai through a referendum. On October 23, 1955, South Vietnam's citizens took to the polls to choose between Bao Dai and the prime minister Ngo Dinh Diem. Government propaganda painted Bao Dai as profoundly immoral and unethical, a fact that contributed to Vietnam's weakness and enslavement and hindered the country's development. Ngo Dinh Diem, on the other hand, promised to usher in a new and glorious era in the nation's history marked by democracy, self-determination, and individual rights. This chapter first provides an overview of South Vietnam's first election before analyzing the impact of the referendum on politics below the seventeenth parallel and on South Vietnam's diplomatic relations with the United States.

Keywords:   election, Ngo Dinh Diem, Bao Dai, referendum, South Vietnam, propaganda, democracy, politics, diplomatic relations, United States

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