Nugyen Van Thieu

Phan Rang - Nugyen Van Thieu President of South Vietnam

Historical information ( Wikipedia ) Nugyen Van Thieu
Born; 5th April 1923 Phan Rang
Died; 29th September 2001
Profession; Army Officer
Former Vietnamese National Army
Army of the Republic of Vietnam ( ARVN ) 1949-1967
Rank Lt.General

Nugyen Van Thieu was the president of South Vietnam from 1965 to 1975. He was a General in the Army (ARVN), became head of a military junta, and president after winning a scheduled election. He established rule over South Vietnam until he resigned and left the nation a few days before the fall of Saigon and the ultimate communist victory.

During the lunar new year the communists launched a massive attack on cities of Vietnam in attempt to topple Thieu and reunify the country under their rule. At the time of the attack on Saigon, Thieu was out of town, having travelled to celebrate the new year at his wife's family home at My Tho in the Mekong Delta. Air Marshall Ky his prime minister who was still in the capital stepped into the spotlight and took command, organizing the military forces in Saigon in the battle. The ARVN and the Americans repelled the communist onslaught. Ky's overshadowing of his superior during South Vietnam's deepest crisis further strained relation between the two men.

Although the communists were repelled and suffered heavy losses, South Vietnam suffered heavily as the conflict reached the cities for the first time in a substantial way. As ARVN troops were pulled back to defend the towns, the Vietcong gained in the countryside. The violence and destruction witnessed damaged public confidence in Thieu, who apparently couldn't protect his citizens.

There were massive casualties and destruction of South Vietnam's infrastructure under Thieu's regime but he became more energetic in the wake of the offensive and on February 1st Thieu declared martial law, and in June the National Assembly approved his request for a general mobilization of the population and the induction of 200,000 draftees into the armed forces by the end of the year, the bill had been blocked before the Tet Offensive (Tet = Vietnamese Lunar New Year). This would increase South Vietnam's military to more than 900,000 men.

Mobilization and token anti-corruption campaigns were carried out. Three of the four ARVN Corp commanders were replaced for poor performance during the offensive. Thieu also established a National Recovery Committee to oversee food distribution, resettlement and housing construction for the new refugees. Both the government perceived a new determination among the ordinary citizens, especially among previously apathetic urbanites who were angered by the communist attacks.

Thieu used this period to consolidate his personal power. His own real political rival was Vice President Ky. In the aftermath of the Tet, Ky supporters in the military and the administration were quickly removed from power, arrested, or exiled. A crackdown on the South Vietnamese press followed and there was a return of some of Diem's Can Lao members to position of power. Within six months, the populace began to call him "the little dictator" . Over the next few years, Ky became increasingly sidelined to the point of irrelevance.

The Vietnam government of today are continuously renovating the former Presidential Palace in Saigon to its original layout of the time and it's a must for your list of things to see when visiting Vietnam.

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