Ngô Đình Diệm

Ngô Đình Diệm (3 January 1901 to 2 November 1963) was a politician from South Vietnam. A former mandarin of the Nguyễn dynasty, he was named Prime Minister of the State of Vietnam by then Head of State Bảo Đại in 1954. In October 1955, after winning a heavily rigged referendum, he deposed Bảo Đại and established the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), with himself as president. He was a leader of the Catholic element in South Vietnam and was heavily opposed by Buddhists for his persecution. In November 1963, Diệm was assassinated during a CIA-backed coup d’état, along with his brother, Ngô Đình Nhu, by Nguyễn Văn Nhung, the aide of the leader of the Army of Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), General Dương Văn Minh. As an embattled figure throughout his political career, Diệm was seen both as a brilliant administrator by his American backers as well as a slothful and weak leader incapable of forming meaningful alliances within his own government. He was constantly accused of corruption, graft and nepotism.