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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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(p.196) Conclusion
Cauldron of Resistance

Jessica M. Chapman

Cornell University Press

This book has examined how Ngo Dinh Diem solidified his power and established the basic character and mechanisms of his state with the help of the United States. When the United States replaced France as the predominant Western power in Vietnam in 1954, it got embroiled in a civil struggle over the nature of Vietnam's postcolonial political order, the lines of which had already been contorted by French intervention. Vietnam's route to decolonization was more of a multisided tug-of-war than it was a tide moving steadily in one direction, especially in the “wild” south where the communist organization was weakest, and the Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, and Binh Xuyen politico-religious organizations were firmly entrenched. Ngo Dinh Diem set out to destroy these organizations, to exclude them from his government, and to terrorize them as a part of his anticommunism. This chapter concludes by assessing the lessons that can be drawn from Washington's determination to fit Vietnam's complicated internal struggle for independence into its Cold War paradigm.

Keywords:   anticommunism, Ngo Dinh Diem, United States, political order, decolonization, Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, politico-religious organizations, independence, Cold War

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