Vietnam War: Nguyen Van Thieu

Main

1948-1954

Approx. 1948 - 1954

Thieu served in the French-supported Vietnam National Army; from fighting against the pro-Communist partisans of Viet Minh leader Ho Chi Minh.

1960

1960

Thieu absorbed into the new independent South Vietnamese army, rising to become commander of the 1st Infantry Division.

1963

1963

President Lyndon Johnson took office when President F. Kennedy was assassinated, who was also a proponent of the "Domino Theory". Expanded U.S. troops in Vietnam from about 16,000.

1963

1963

Thieu was a supporter of the autocratic president Ngo Dinh Diem (a Catholic), who was dethroned and slain in a military-led coup.

1964

1964

Thieu became deputy premier and minister of defense.

1965

1965

Thieu was appointed chief of state by Nguyen Cao Ky, who became premier when the South Vietnamese generals decided to form their own government following the regime of Dr. Phan Huy Qu.

1967

1967

Nguyen was elected as president of South Vietnam and led the Saigon government against the Communist enemy during the height of the U.S. escalation of the Vietnam War.

1968

1968

President Johnson's commitment to the war faced high American battle death rates; his popularity starts going downhill. He withdrew from presidential elections.

1968

1968

U.S. president, Lyndon Johnson meets with President Nguyen Van Thieu. Both met to discuss war strategy at a time when American involvement in the expansion of the war.--550,000 combat troops expanded.

1969

1969

Tran Thien Khiem, as premier in a government, had chosen to base his government on military.

1971

1971

Thieu pressed through an election law, which would limit the number of presidential candidates.

1971

1971

Thieu consequently entered the South Vietnamese presidential elections with only one opponent, former general Duong Van Minh, who later withdrew.

1973

1973

The war's unpopularity in the U.S. grew strong, and following the Paris Peace Talks, the U.S. agreed to withdraw its forces.

1974

1974

North Vietnamese military forces attacked Phuoc Long Province in South Vietnam, in violation of the peace treaty.

1975

1975

President Thieu stayed in power when South Vietnam fell to the communists. He then fled into exile first in Taiwan, then in England, and finally in the United States.

1975

1975

Thieu turned the government over to Vice President Tran Van Huong, but Huong resigned, turning the office over to Duong Van Minh; who surrendered from the North Viatnamese.

1989-1990

1989 - 1990

Thieu slowly began to re-emerge, traveling to portions of the world, talking with sympathetic groups.

1990

1990

Thieu had an interview with TIME magazine, stating he kept in contact with expatriates, and organized groups to support change in Vietnam.

1996

1996

Thieu was still living near Boston, holding to a quiet life. He told a reporter, "I read. I discuss. I work in my home."

2001

2001

Nguyen Van Thieu died on September 29, 2001 at his home in Massachusetts at age 78.