Nguyen Van Thieu

President of South Vietnam
Born Apr 5, 1923

Nguyễn Văn Thiệu was president of South Vietnam from 1965-75. He was a general in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, became head of a military junta, and then president after winning a scheduled election. He established rule over South Vietnam until he resigned and left the nation a few days before the fall of Saigon and the ultimate communist victory. Born in Phan Rang-Tháp Chàm, Thiệu was a descendent of the Tran Dinh dynasty of Annamese nobles.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Nguyen Van Thieu.


1923 Birth Born on April 5, 1923.
1924 1 Year Old According to some reports, Thiệu was born in November 1924, but adopted 5 April 1923, as his birthday on grounds that it was a more auspicious day. … Read More


1942 19 Years Old During World War II, Imperial Japan invaded French Indochina and seized control. Ninh Thuận was taken over by the Japanese in 1942, but the reaction from the locals was muted, and Thiệu continued to work the ricelands alongside his father for another three years. … Read More


1946 23 Years Old 1 More Event
He rose to be district chief, but left the movement after just one year, following the return of the French to southern Vietnam in 1946 to contest Việt Minh control.
1949 26 Years Old Thiệu transferred to the National Military Academy in Đà Lạt. In 1949, upon graduation, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant from the first officer candidates’ course of the Vietnam National Army, which had been created by former Emperor Bảo Đại who had agreed to be the Chief of State of the State of Vietnam to fight against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam of the Việt Minh. … Read More
1951 28 Years Old In 1951, Thiệu married Nguyễn Thị Mai Anh, the daughter of a wealthy herbal medicine practitioner from the Mekong Delta. … Read More


1954 - 1957 4 More Events
1960 37 Years Old 1 More Event
…  In November 1960, he helped put down a coup attempt against President Ngô Đình Diệm. … Read More
1961 38 Years Old On 21 October 1961, Thiệu was transferred to command the 1st Division, based in Huế, the former imperial capital in central Vietnam.
1962 39 Years Old He remained in the post until 8 December 1962, when General Đỗ Cao Trí took over. … Read More


1963 40 Years Old Despite this, Thiệu agreed to join the coup against Diệm in November 1963 in the midst of the Buddhist crisis, leading the siege on Gia Long Palace. … Read More
1964 41 Years Old 1 More Event
In August 1964, the junta head, General Nguyễn Khánh, decided to increase his authority by declaring a state of emergency, increasing police powers, banning protests, tightening censorship and allowing the police arbitrary search and imprisonment powers. … Read More
1965 42 Years Old 1 More Event
…  There were claims that Thiệu ordered the military to capture and extrajudicially kill Colonel Phạm Ngọc Thảo, who died in 1965 after a series of coup attempts between various ARVN officers. … Read More
1966 43 Years Old In 1966, with Kỳ leading the way, Thi was sacked in a power struggle, provoking widespread civil unrest in his base in I Corps; Quang led Buddhist protests against Kỳ and Thiệu and many units in I Corps began disobeying orders, siding with Thi and the Buddhist movement. … Read More
1967 44 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1967, a transition to elected government was scheduled; and, after a power struggle within the military, Thiệu ran for the presidency with Kỳ as his running mate—both men had wanted the top job. … Read More
1968 45 Years Old During the Lunar New Year of 1968, the communists launched a massive attack on the cities of Vietnam in an attempt to topple Thiệu and reunify the country under their rule. … Read More
1971 48 Years Old 1 More Event
When Thiệu rose to become president, Minh blamed him for the assassinations. In 1971, Minh claimed that Thiệu had caused the deaths by hesitating and delaying the attack on Gia Long Palace, implying that if Diệm was captured there, junior officers could not have killed him while in a small group. … Read More


1973 50 Years Old He stretched his own forces thinly by launching offensives that regained most of the territory captured by PAVN forces during the 1973 campaign, and retook 15% of the total land area controlled by the communists at the time of the cease-fire. … Read More
1974 51 Years Old 1 More Event
This started between March and November 1974, when the communists attacked Quang Duc Province and Biên Hòa. … Read More
On 2 January 1975, Thiệu held an emergency meeting with General Dư Quốc Đống, who was in charge of the Phuoc Long situation, and other senior military figures. Đống presented a plan for the relief of Phuoc Long, but it was rejected because a lack of reserve forces of sufficient size available, a lack of airlift capability, and the belief that the besieged defenders could not hold out long enough for reinforcements. … Read More


1990 67 Years Old He settled in London, having obtained a visa there as his son was studying at Eton College. Thiệu kept a low profile, and in 1990 even the Foreign Office claimed to have no information on his whereabouts. … Read More
1992 69 Years Old Thiệu's aversion to public appearances was attributed to a fear of hostility from South Vietnamese who believed that he failed them. He acknowledged his compatriots’ low esteem of his administration in a 1992 interview, but said, “You say that you blame me for the fall of South Vietnam, you criticize me, everything. … Read More
1995 72 Years Old Thiệu continually predicted the demise of the Vietnamese Communist Party’s grip on power and warned against the United States establishing diplomatic relations with the communist regime; however, Bill Clinton did so in 1995. … Read More
2001 78 Years Old 1 More Event
He died in 2001, aged 78, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, after having collapsed from a stroke at his Foxborough home and having been put on a respirator. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted onễn_Văn_Thiệu.
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