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Cold War Files: All Units: Events: Failed Coup in South Vietnam

November 1960
Failed Coup in South Vietnam

A failed coup against President Diem by disgruntled South Vietnamese Army officers brings a harsh crackdown against all perceived 'enemies of the state. 'Over 50,000 are arrested by police controlled by Diem's brother Nhu with many innocent civilians tortured then executed. This results in further erosion of popular support for Diem.

Thousands who fear arrest flee to North Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh will later send many back to infiltrate South Vietnam as part of his People's Liberation Armed Forces. Called Viet Cong by Diem, meaning Communist Vietnamese, Ho's guerrillas blend into the countryside, indistinguishable from South Vietnamese, while working to undermine Diem's government.

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