Nguyen Van Thieu
Graduated 1948 from Dalat Military Academy
Trained in the US 1957 and 1960.
During the coup against Diem in 1963, Thieu led one of the attacks on the presidential palace. He was promoted to brigadier but Thieu was not happy, as he had expected a higher position within the government. In January 1965, US Government officials told Prime Minister Tran Van Huong to add Thieu, among others, to his cabinet and he was therefore appointed as second deputy Prime Minister. Thieu strongly favored the expansion of the military actions against the communists in the North.
As the US escalated their bombing campaigns in the North, Thieu slowly climbed the ranks as he strongly supported any US actions. Thieu was appointed to be leader of the military and began using its power to further promote his standing within the South Vietnamese government. The military would harass people who opposed Thieu and during the elections in 1965, which Thieu won, they used many unconventional methods in order to obtain votes. The Thieu regime was a puppet state of the US and internal conflicts and competition over leadership quickly led to a split in the government, with corruption and a lack of discipline being widespread amongst all ranks. Thieu held office until April 12th, 1975; the Vietnam War ended the following day.