Political Instability in South Viet Nam

Archive Report

Course of Politics and War in Viet Nam

Dissolution of the powerful Armed Forces Council at Saigon on May 6 marked the end of 18 months of direct control or indirect supervision of South Viet Nam's political affairs by the military. The armed forces—despite shifting alliances among contesting generals—had held the real power in the country since the military-led insurrection against President Ngo Dinh Diem in November 1963. During this period Saigon went through nine changes in government, along with several attempted coup d'états and frequent anti-government demonstrations. One military faction fought another, Buddhists fought Catholics, and politicians refused to cooperate in establishing a viable civilian government.

The United States, though by no means displeased by Diem's overthrow, viewed the subsequent political instability with dismay. Persisting ...

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