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Ngo Dinh Diem and US Involvement in the Vietnam War The relationship between the United States and Vietnam from 1954 to 1963 was through a man named Ngo Dinh Diem United States saw Diem as a perfect candidate to lead the South Vietnam into democracy after the French have been defeated The United States wanted to spread democracy into the eastern world But some outside observer view this as an American imperialism movement Ngo Dinh Diem was born in 1901 near the ancient imperial capital Hue Vietnam then a French protectorate Diem was into an aristocratic Roman Catholic family with close ties to the Emperor Bao Dai Diems father was a prominent government official and adviser to the emperor who had nominal rule under French control The family was Catholic and Diem was educated in French schools including the School of Law and Administration in Hanoi Diem served in the Emperors administration under the French colonial rule until 1933 During and after World War 2 Vietnam was occupied by Japan After the Communist-led Viet Minh seized power from the Japanese in August 1945 Diem was offered a position in the government of Viet Minh leader Ho Chi Minh Diem refused seeing the Communist as a threat to his Catholic values and to his vision of an independent Vietnam In 1950 Diem left Vietnam for self-impose exile Diem spent several years in exile making political contacts and gaining crucial American support in hopes of leading a postwar government Diem eventually took up residence in the United States where he came to attention of President Dwight D Eisenhower The Eisenhower administration feared a Communist takeover Southeast Asia They saw Diem as the sort of Vietnamese nationalist capable of countering the Communist Viet Minh despite the fact that Diem was then largely unknown in his native land While Diem was living in exile the Viet Minh were fighting the French who sought to reclaim their Asian colonies
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