Cold War Manderin

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The book, Cold War Mandarin Ngo Dinh Diem and the Origins of America’s War in Vietnam 1950-1963, by Seth Jacobs is a comprehensive retelling of the rise and fall of Ngo Dinh Diem’s government in South Vietnam. In that retelling Jacob focuses on the major events that took place in Vietnam as well as showed how America backed a leader that did nothing to booster his nation and led America into one of the worst wars in its history. The Diem regime was a corrupt and tyrannical government that used the United States’ fears of communism to push its own goals that ultimately led to its own demise. Jacob viewed the escalation of America’s involvement in Vietnam as the following, “The nine-year “experiment” that ended when Diem died was America’s crossover point from advice and support to active cobelligerency in a Vietnamese civil war” (8). Jacob in his book is very critical of the actions that both the Americans and Diem took in the establishment of South Vietnam. As the title of the book suggests, the author claims that Diem and his actions resulted in America becoming stuck in a war that would last over a decade. Diem, who was not very well known in either the United States as well as his own nation at the time the book starts in the early 1950s, was able to perpetuate himself into a position of power through use of both his faith as well as perpetuating generalized American fears. In the first chapter of his book, Jacobs looks at Diem’s early rise to power. Diem first worked under the French where he stood as a Minister of the Interior in the Bao Dai puppet government. Where Diem hated that the French who had control over Vietnam both economically as well as politically, one thing he hated more where the Viet Minh. The Vi... ... middle of paper ... ... Ngo Dinh Diem and his regime. In Diems attempts to maintain a sense of national independence and ignoring American advisors in regards to how to manage his nation placed both himself and America in a very bad situation. Jacob broke down the reasons why Diem’s policies and decisions as head of state in Vietnam ultimately led to its demise, from his totalitarian policies and misuses of American funding/support. Jacobs does not put all blame on Diem but also points out that despite information gathered from American officials in Vietnam the American government supported a government that was unpopular and full of corruption. In the end Jacob reinforces his claim that the United States and their “Diem experiment” pushed America into a shifting relationship with Vietnam that would ultimately lock the nation into a state involvement that it could not back out of.

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