The early days - 1000 years of chinese domination- Liberation from china - China bites back - Le lo enters the scene - The coming of the europeans - Lording it over the people - Tay son rebrllion - The last of the nguyens - The french takeover - Independence aspiration - WWII breaks out - A false dawn - War with the french - A separate south vietnam - A new north vietnam - The north south war - Enter the cavalry - The turing point - Nixon his doctrine- Other foreign involvement - The fall of the south - Reunification of vietnam - Opening the door - Vietnam today


After the Geneva Accords were signed and sealed, the South was ruled by a government led by Ngo Dinh Diem, a f iercely anticommunist Catholic. His power base was signif icantly strengthened by 900,000 refugees, many of them Catholics, who had fled the communist North during the 300-day free-passage period. Nationwide elections were never held, as the Americans rightly feared that Ho Chi Minh would win with a massive majority. During the first few years of his rule, Diem consolidated power fairly effectively, defeating the Binh Xuyen crime syndicate and the private armies of the Hoa Hao and Cao Dai religious sects. During Diem's 1957 official visit to the USA, Presid ent E isenhower called him the 'miracle man ' of Asia. As time went on Diem became increasingly tyrannical in dealing with dissent. Running the governĀ­ment became a family affair. In the early 1960s the South was rocked by anti-Diem unrest led by university students and Buddhist clergy, which included several highly publicized self-immolations by monks that shocked the world. The US decided Diem was a liability and threw its support behind a military coup. A group of young generals led the operation in November 1963. Diem was to go into exile, but the generals got over-excited and both Diem and his brother were killed. He was followed by a succession of military rulers who continued his erratic policies.