Jessica M. Chapman F'11
ACLS Fellowship Program 2011
From Disorder to Dictatorship: A Domestic and International History of Ngo Dinh Diem’s Construction of South Vietnam, 1953-1956
This project focuses on the immediate post-colonial moment in southern Vietnam from 1953-1956 to explore the nature of Ngo Dinh Diem’s government in the south, the strained relationship between Diem and other southern Vietnamese political actors, and the formation of the U.S. government’s relationship with the emergent South Vietnamese government. It examines the contests between Diem and his non-communist rivals and reveals that he built his government largely in reaction to the threats they posed. He did so over French objections and with support from his American patrons. The infrastructural and ideological means by which he justified his leadership in these early years paved the way for broader, more organized opposition to his government by the decade’s end.