Journal of Southeast Asian Studies


Vision, Power and Agency: The Ascent of Ngô Dình Diêm, 1945–54

Edward Miller a1
a1 The History Department at Dartmouth College. His e-mail contact is

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This article challenges existing interpretations of Ngô Dình Diêm by examining his activities during the decade before he became leader of South Vietnam in 1954. Diêm actively pursued power in these years, and he achieved it mainly due to his own efforts and to those of his Vietnamese allies. At the same time, he and his brother Ngô Dình Nhu were outlining the distinctive vision of modernisation which would inform South Vietnam's post-1954 nation-building strategies.