South Vietnam, officially the Republic of Vietnam, was a state governing the southern half of Vietnam from 1955 to 1975. It received international recognition in 1949 as the "State of Vietnam" (1949–55), and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" (1955–75). Its capital was Saigon.
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- There were some in South Vietnam who wished to force Communist rule on their own people. But their progress was slight. Their hope of success was dim. Then, little more than six years ago, North Vietnam decided on conquest. And from that day to this, soldiers and supplies have moved from North to South in a swelling stream that is swallowing the remnants of revolution in aggression. As the assault mounted, our choice gradually became clear. We could leave, abandoning South Vietnam to its attackers and to certain conquest, or we could stay and fight beside the people of South Vietnam.
- I’m sure the ease with which bare-footed Vietcong marched into Saigon in 1975 now strengthens Pyongyang’s conviction that the “Yankee colony” will not last long after the colonisers pull out. In South Korea, meanwhile, conservatives are now loudly invoking the story of South Vietnam’s demise. They say, “There too you had a richer, freer state, and it fell only a few years after US troops pulled out. Let’s not make the same mistake”. They point worriedly to President Moon Jae-in’s own remark that he felt “delight” when predictions of US defeat in Vietnam came true.
- The deeply rooted religious divisions in South Vietnam were reflected in yesterday's military moves in Saigon against the Government of Premier Nguyen Khanh.
There were other factors, too — rivalry among generals and between civilian politicians and the military. But religious divisions have long been among the most troublesome in the war‐torn country.
They were sharpened in recent years under the rule of the late President Ngo Dinh Diem, when an essentially authoritarian regime became identified in the minds of many South Vietnamese as a Roman Catholic authoritarian regime.
About 10 per cent of the 14.5 million South Vietnamese are Catholics. Ten or 11 million consider themselves Buddhists, but only about half are Buddha worshipers. The rest are more likely to be ancestor‐worshipers.
- In the North, many Vietnamese Catholics led by their priests had fought during the war on the side of the French. Fearing retaliation by the Vietminh, they fled to the South when the war ended. In the South, the United States sought a leader for the new government who was both anti‐French and anti‐Communist. It selected Ngo Dinh Diem, who had an enviable record as a young civil servant.
- Mr. Diem was a devout Catholic. He returned to a shattered country, with little support outside of a political party operated by his own family. He was profoundly suspicious of many elements of the population.
In this situation, hundreds of thousands of Catholic refugees were a boon to him. He quickly resettled them—one of the foremost achievements of his regime—and he gave them special privileges. This special relationship was to sharpen feelings of religious discontent in the country. Mr. Diem, a Catholic from the central region, distrusted Vietnamese from the southern part of the country and was suspicious of Buddhists.
- The enemy had achieved in South Vietnam neither military nor psychological victory. For the South Vietnamese the Tet offensive served as a unifying catalyst, a Pearl Harbor. Had it been the same for the American people, had President Johnson discerned the same support behind him that Thieu did behind him, and had he acted with forcefulness, the enemy could have been induced to engage in serious and meaningful negotiations. Unfortunately, the enemy scored in the United States the psychological victory that eluded him in Vietnam, so influencing President Johnson and his civilian advisors that they ignored the maxim that when the enemy is hurting, you don't diminish the pressure, you increase it.
- General William Westmoreland, in his memoirs A Soldier Reports (1976), p. 334
- As any television viewer or newspaper reader could discern the end in South Vietnam, in April 1975, came with incredible suddenness, amid scenes of unmitigated misery and shame. Utter defeat, panic, and rout have produced similar demoralizing tableaux through the centuries; yet to those of us who had worked so hard and long to try to keep it from ending that way, who had been so markedly conscious of the deaths and wounds of thousands of Americans and the soldiers of other countries, who had so long stood in awe of the stamina of the South Vietnamese soldier and civilian under the mantle of hardship, it was depressingly sad that so much misery should be a part of it. So immense had been the sacrifices made through so many long years that the South Vietnamese deserved an end- if it had to come to that- with more dignity to it.
- General William Westmoreland, in his memoirs A Soldier Reports (1976), p. 396
- Forced in January 1973 by American pressure to to accept a cease-fire agreement that left well over 100,000 North Vietnamese troops inside South Vietnam and free access for tens of thousands more, South Vietnamese leaders surely had reason to believe that if their enemy seriously violated the agreement, the United States would interfere. Yet that was not to be. In the face of that grave psychological blow for the South Vietnamese, it required no military genius to assure South Vietnam's eventual military defeat.
- General William Westmoreland, in his memoirs A Soldier Reports (1976), p. 405-406
- Dating from the days of the Geneva Accords of 1954, the refugees always flowed south, not north, and even those Americans who long maintained that the refugees were not fleeing the enemy but American shelling and bombing would have to admit that even after American shelling and bombing stopped, the flow was still always southward. So it was until the final deplorable end. How could anyone genuinely believe that the South Vietnamese people had no desire to forestall the march of totalitarianism, to maintain their freedom- however imperfect- when for years upon years they bore incredible hardships and their soldiers fought with courage and determination to do just that? They carried on the fight under a government that many Americans labeled unrepresentative, repressive, and corrupt. No people could have pursued such a grim defensive fight for so long without a deep underlying yearning for freedom.
- General William Westmoreland, in his memoirs A Soldier Reports (1976), p. 409.
- Encyclopedic article on South Vietnam on Wikipedia