#OTD20 | October 26, 1955

Ngo Dinh Diem and the Birth of the Republic of Vietnam

October 26, 1955: Ngo Dinh Diem audaciously proclaims the Republic of Vietnam, appointing himself as its inaugural president.

In a period characterized by decolonization and Cold War tensions, Vietnam finds itself at a crossroads, torn between differing visions of its future.

Diem's declaration marks a significant departure from the traditional monarchic rule, as the last emperor, Bao Dai, is ousted from power, and a new republic was ushered in.

"The destiny of our homeland is in our hands, solely in our hands." - Ngo Dinh Diem

With the proclamation of the Republic of Vietnam, Diem's leadership comes to profoundly influence the trajectory of South Vietnam, especially in its relations with the Communist North and its position in the global Cold War theater.

The events of that day in 1955 remain a focal point in Vietnamese history, highlighting the nation's struggle for sovereignty, identity, and its place on the world stage.

Viewing Options

America's long involvement in Southeast Asia is chronicled in our eye-opening video survey, "Vietnam," from AMERICA IN THE 20TH CENTURY.


Preview short excerpts from "Vietnam."


View "Vietnam" in our members-only Streaming Room™.


Explore subscription plans for our premium content portal, the Streaming Room™.

Additional Resources

Access more information from Media Rich Learning and curated off-site sources.

UVA Miller Center

Read "The Diem Coup" at the website of University of Virginia's Miller Center.


Watch a short excerpt — "Ngo Dinh Diem's Rise to Power" — from the Ken Burns film, "The Vietnam War."

UVA Miller Center

Read "America's Vietnam" at the website of University of Virginia's Miller Center.


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