“Mourning a Loss: Conservative Support for Ngo Dinh Diem”

in Journal of American-East Asian Relations
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.

Help

 

Have Institutional Access?

Login with your institution. Any other coaching guidance?

Connect

The U.S. conservative movement in the mid-20th Century argued that the United States needed to continuously get tougher in the fight against communism worldwide. It remained supportive of U.S. efforts throughout the Vietnam War. However, in the period immediately preceding Americanization of the war in 1965, conservatives were uncertain about the outcome of any fighting in Vietnam. Specifically, they claimed that optimism for the Republic of Vietnam was lost with the assassination of President Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963. Without Diem, conservatives claimed, the Vietnam War was likely lost before it began. This article discusses how Diem went from a barely talked-about anti-Communist ally prior to his death to becoming posthumously the last great hope for Southeast Asia. Conservatives argued that without Diem, the only way the United States would be able to stop Communist expansion in Indochina would be to engage in a massive aerial bombing campaign and find a regional partner to deploy troops. Had he survived, this might not have been necessary. Learning why and how conservatives supported Diem after his death helps us better understand how conservatives reacted to the Vietnam War once Americanization began in 1965.

References
  • Alden Robert . “City Accords Diem a Warm Welcome: Parade Crowds Enthusiastic.” New York Times14 1957 p. 22.

  • Group Research Archives. Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library. New York, NY.

  • Human Events1963–1965.

  • The Issue: Vietnam.” New York Times 8 October 1964 p. 42.

  • Mohr Charles . “Goldwater Calls for Drive to Finish War in Vietnam.” New York Times11 1964 p. 1.

  • Papers of Albert C. Wedemeyer. Hoover Institution Archives. Stanford CA.

  • Papers of Clarence Manion. Chicago Historical Society. Research Center. Chicago History Museum. Chicago IL.

  • Papers of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library. Austin TX.

  • National Review1963–1965.

  • Szulc Tad . “Vietnam: U.S. Dilemma: Washington, With a Deep Commitment in the Area, is Facing Major Decisions on Diem Regime.” New York Times 1 September 1963 p. E4.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilson Victor . “A-Attack on Viet Jungle Proposed by Goldwater.” Washington Post25 1964 p. A1.

  • Boot Max . The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam. New York: Liveright Publishing2018.

  • Brennan Mary C. Turning Right in the Sixties: The Conservative Capture of the gop. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press1995.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Burke Kyle . “Radio Free Enterprise: The Manion Forum and the Making of the Transnational Right in the 1960s.” Diplomatic History 40 No. 1 (2016): 11139.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Burke Kyle . Revolutionaries for the Right: Anticommunist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press2018.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chapman Jessica M. Cauldron of Resistance: Ngo Dinh Diem the United States and 1950s Southern Vietnam. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press2013.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Critchlow Donald T. The Conservative Ascendancy: How the gop Right Made Political History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press2007.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gardener Lloyd C. Pay Any Price: Lyndon Johnson and the Wars for Vietnam. Chicago: Elephant Books1995.

  • Goldberg Robert Alan . Barry Goldwater. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press1995.

  • Goldwater Barry . Why Not Victory? 2nd Ed. New York: MacFadden Books1964.

  • Hemmer Nicole R. Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press2016.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Higgins Marguerite . Our Vietnam Nightmare. New York: Harper & Row1965.

  • Jacobs Seth . America’s Miracle Man in Vietnam: Ngo Dinh Diem Religion Race and U.S. Intervention in Southeast Asia. Durham, NC: Duke University Press2005.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Johns Andrew L. Vietnam’s Second Front: Domestic Politics the Republican Party and the War. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky2010.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kabaservice Geoffrey . Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party From Eisenhower to the Tea Party. New York: Oxford University Press2012.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Klein Christina . Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination 1945–1961. Los Angeles: University of California Press2003.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lokos Lionel . Hysteria 1964: The Fear Campaign Against Barry Goldwater. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House1967.

  • Mao Joyce . Asia First: China and the Making of Modern American Conservatism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press2015.

  • Mattson Kevin . When America Was Great: The Fighting Faith of Postwar Liberalism. New York: Routledge2006.

  • Moyar Mark . Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War 1954–1965 . New York: Cambridge University Press2006.

  • Miller Edward . Misalliance: Ngo Dinh Diem the United States and the Fate of South Vietnam. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press2013.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Miller Edward . “Religious Revival and the Politics of Nation Building: Reinterpreting the 1963 ‘Buddhist Crisis’ in South VietnamModern Asian Studies 49No. 6 (November 2015): 190362.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Morgan Joseph G. The Vietnam Lobby: The American Friends of Vietnam 1955–1975. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press1997.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nash George . The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945. New York: Basic Books1976.

  • Nickerson Michelle M. Mothers of Conservatism: Women and the Postwar Right. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press2012.

  • Offenbach Seth . “Defending Freedom in Vietnam: A Conservative Dilemma.” In The Right Side of the Sixties: Reexamining Conservatism’s Decade of Transformation. Gifford Laura Jane and Williams Daniel K. Eds. 201–20. New York: Palgrave MacMillan2012.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Perlstein Rick . Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus. New York: Hill and Wang2001.

  • Robin Corey . The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin. New York: Oxford University Press2011.

  • Scanlon Sandra . The Pro-War Movement: Domestic Support for the Vietnam War and the Making of Modern American Conservatism. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press2013.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schneider Gregory L. The Conservative Century: From Reaction to Revolution. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield2009.

  • Taranto Stacie . Kitchen Table Politics: Conservative Women and Family Values in the Seventies. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press2017.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
Figures
  • View in gallery

    Cartoon from National Review, 3 December 1963, depicting the frustration with the Democratic Administration for withdrawing its support for the Diem regime.

Index Card
Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 40 40 18
Full Text Views 9 9 6
PDF Downloads 10 10 7
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0