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Vietnam 1959-1964: A Chronology

Jan. 29, 1964 - Following is a chronology of events in Vietnam over the last five years:

1959 — Communist guerrillas called the Viet Cong began to emerge as an organized military foe of the South Vietnamese Government of Ngo Dinh Diem, who had become President in 1955.

1960 — After six years of rule, Diem had contributed much to South Vietnam’s economy but had become increasingly authoritarian and repressive. In November, military forces surrounded the Presidential palace. Diem, under pressure, promised reforms. But as soon as his control was re-established, repressive conditions returned.

1961 — The Kennedy Administration, despite reservations about Diem, firmly committed itself to helping him eradicate the Viet Cong. In three years, Washington established a military force of about 16,500 advisers, aircraft crewmen, technicians, and other personnel in South Vietnam. U.S. military and economic operations supporting Diem reached a cost to American taxpayers of $1.5 million a day.

1962 — A dissident Air Force pilot bombed the Presidential palace. No change in the Government resulted.

May 1963 — A dispute developed between the Diem regime and the Buddhist community. Troops attacked Buddhist demonstrators, who retaliated with protest suicides.

Aug. 21, 1963 — Secret policemen raided major Buddhist pagodas. Mass arrests of Buddhist monks and students followed.

Nov. 1, 1963 — The armed forces staged a successful coup against the Diem regime. The leaders of the coup, headed by Maj. Gen. Duong Van Minh, said they had “no political ambitions” and that the fight against the Communists must be waged successfully. The U.S disavowed any involvement in the coup, but various actions and statements by Washington had clearly encouraged dissident elements in Saigon. President Diem and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, were assassinated in the coup.

Jan. 30, 1964 (Saigon time) — A second military coup occurred. Under Maj. Gen. Nguyen Khanh, it dislodged key members of the military junta.


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