The Lost Mandate of Heaven: The American Betrayal of Ngo Dinh Diem, President of Vietnam

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Ignatius Press, Oct 18, 2015 - History
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Ngo Dinh Diem, the first president of the Republic of Vietnam, possessed the Confucian "Mandate of Heaven", a moral and political authority that was widely recognized by all Vietnamese. This devout Roman Catholic leader never lost this mandate in the eyes of his people; rather, he was taken down by a military coup sponsored by the U.S. government, which resulted in his brutal murder.

The commonly held view runs contrary to the above assertion by military historian Geoffrey Shaw. According to many American historians, President Diem was a corrupt leader whose tyrannical actions lost him the loyalty of his people and the possibility of a military victory over the North Vietnamese. The Kennedy Administration, they argue, had to withdraw its support of Diem.

Based on his research of original sources, including declassified documents of the U.S. government, Shaw chronicles the Kennedy administration's betrayal of this ally, which proved to be not only a moral failure but also a political disaster that led America into a protracted and costly war. Along the way, Shaw reveals a President Diem very different from the despot portrayed by the press during its coverage of Vietnam. From eyewitness accounts of military, intelligence, and diplomatic sources, Shaw draws the portrait of a man with rare integrity, a patriot who strove to free his country from Western colonialism while protecting it from Communism.

 

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Contents

Foreword by James V Schall S J Preface
Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Ngo Dinh Diem
Diplomacy in SouthVietnam from the Late 1950s to 1960
Enter Ambassador Frederick Nolting
The Continuing Laotian Question
The Counterinsurgency Plan
Noltings Rearguard Action
The Decline of the Nolting Influence
The Buddhist Crisis of 1963
Washington Isolates Diem
Noltings Farewell
Washington Moves for a Coup
Conclusion
Selected Bibliography

Policemen versus Soldiers
The Abrogation of Noltings Rapprochement
Notes
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

Geoffrey Shaw, Ph.D., received his doctorate in history from the University of Manitoba, with a focus on US diplomatic and military history in Southeast Asia. From 1994 to 2008 he was an Assistant Professor of History for the American Military University. He has written and spoken widely about US military involvement in Vietnam and the Middle East. Currently he is the President of the Alexandrian Defense Group, a think tank on counterinsurgency warfare.

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