Myth: The coup against Diem was one example of the messiness and foolishness of Vietnamese politics, since things were messier for years afterwards than they were when he was in power, and the US really had nothing to do with it

Fact: Not only did the US instigate, encourage and support the coup, but the messiness afterwards was a direct result of the coup

  1. There were several failed coup attempts against Ngo Dinh Diem prior to the successful one
  2. Without the support of the US, the coup never would have happened
  3. Anti-Diem elements within the US government acted without authorization to set the coup in motion
  4. Once Kennedy found out about it, he failed to act decisively to stop it
  5. After the coup, South Vietnam went through several years of turmoil forcing the US to take over the war to prevent a communist takeoever
  6. The North Vietnamese were stunned and delighted that the US had acceded to remove the best leader that South Vietnam had


Confirming Evidence

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

JFK and the Diem Coup

The Pentagon Papers Gravel Edition Volume 2 Chapter 4, "The Overthrow of Ngo Dinh Diem, May-November, 1963," pp.

U.S. Foreign Policy in Perspective, Clients, Enemies and Empire, South Vietnam 1963

JFK’s Memoir Dictation on the Assassination of Diem

Minh / Khanh - 1963-1965

Diem Betrayed - Anti-Diem Propaganda leaflets