In 1960, with the electoral recount process underway in the disputed States of Texas and Illinois, Lieutenant Colonel Vuong Van Dong and Colonel Nguyen Chanh Thi of the Airborne Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam effected a more dramatic change of government by assassinating President Ngo Dinh Diem.
Change of GovernmentAfter the plotters had trapped the ruling Ngo Family inside the Independence Palace, Diem tried to stall the coup by holding negotiations and promising reforms, such as the inclusion of military officers in the administration. Opposition politicians then joined the fray, exploiting his position, but Diem was simply playing for time, unaware that the 5th and 7th Divisions of the ARVN were unable to lift the siege because the plotters had closed the roads leading into the capital Saigon1.
Whilst this drama played out, lame duck President Eisenhower and his two successor candidates Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy were also in limbo. Both candidates decided to seize the initiative by putting forthrightly their views on both the situation in Indochina, and also the case for US intervention to save the region falling like a domino to Communism.