- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
- Online publication date: May 2020
- Print publication year: 2020
- Online ISBN: 9781316676752
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316676752
During South Vietnam's brief life as a nation, it exhibited glimmers of democracy through citizen activism and a dynamic press. South Vietnamese activists, intellectuals, students, and professionals had multiple visions for Vietnam's future as an independent nation. Some were anticommunists, while others supported the National Liberation Front and Hanoi. In the midst of war, South Vietnam represented the hope and chaos of decolonization and nation building during the Cold War. U.S. Embassy officers, State Department observers, and military advisers sought to cultivate a base of support for the Saigon government among local intellectuals and youth, but government arrests and imprisonment of political dissidents, along with continued war, made it difficult for some South Vietnamese activists to trust the Saigon regime. Meanwhile, South Vietnamese diplomats, including anticommunist students and young people who defected from North Vietnam, travelled throughout the world in efforts to drum up international support for South Vietnam. Drawing largely on Vietnamese language sources, Heather Stur demonstrates that the conflict in Vietnam was really three wars: the political war in Saigon, the military war, and the war for international public opinion.
Jessica Chapman - Associate Professor of History, Williams College
Edward Miller - Associate Professor of History, Dartmouth College
James H. Willbanks - Professor Emeritus of Military History, US Army Command and General Staff College and author of Abandoning Vietnam and A Raid Too Far
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