Home > Modern History > International Studies in Peace and Conflict > Conflict in Indochina 1954-1979 > The players
Conflict in Indochina 1954–1979
The players: Cambodia
|General Lon Nol
||led the 1970 coup against Sihanouk and waged war against the KR. Prime Minister until 1975.
||former low ranking KR officer; Vietnamese supported leader of Cambodia until 1989; presently Prime Minister of Cambodia.
||Pol Pot's brother-in-law and "Brother Number Three" in the KR hierarchy; still at large in Cambodia.
||the theorist behind the KR; Foreign Minister under the KR government; the public and "acceptable" face of the KR.
|Kong Kek Ieu
||commandant of the infamous Tuol Sleng interrogation centre; recently captured by the government.
||the main player in Cambodian politics: appointed King
of Cambodia in 1941, but stepped down to become Prime
Minister until his overthrow in 1970. Cooperated with the
KR until they arrested him in 1976 and kept him under
house arrest. Later re-emerged as head-of-state.
||"Brother Number Two" in the KR hierarchy; still at large in Cambodia.
||the second main player in Cambodia in the period under study; leader of the Khmer Rouge; known as Brother Number One; died in 1999.
||non-military leader of Cambodia under Lon Nol; executed by the KR.
||first leader of the Vietnamese puppet regime in Cambodia.
The players: Vietnam
||the last Emperor of Vietnam (1911–99);
deposed in 1955 by Diem.
|Duong Van Minh
||known as "Big Minh"; one of the generals
who led the coup against the Diem
regime; head-of-state of South Vietnam in 1964;
surrendered to the North Vietnamese in April 1975.
|Ho Chi Minh
||(1890–1969) charismatic leader of the
Vietminh; founder of the Indochinese
Communist party; led North Vietnam until his death in
1969; embalmed in a mausoleum in Hanoi.
||chief Vietnamese negotiator at the Geneva Conference; extraordinary negotiator and shrewd politician.
|Le Duc Tho
||Ngo Dinh Diem: (1901–63)
Minister of the Interior under Bao Dai;
exiled in 1945; President of the US backed Republic of
Vietnam [South Vietnam]; Catholic leader in a Buddhist
country; assassinated by a CIA-supported coup in November
|Ngo Dinh Nhu
||corrupt and hated brother of Diem; extreme
anti-communist; assassinated along with his brother;
married to the notorious Madame Nhu who
described the immolation of Buddhist priests as
|Nguyen Van Thieu
||leader of the coup against Diem; President of South
||Prime Minister of South Vietnam in 1964.
|Nguyen Van Thieu
||President of South Vietnam 1967-75; brought
corruption and inefficiency to an art form.
|Pham Van Dong
||Ho Chi Minh's loyal deputy and long-term Prime
Minister of Vietnam after unification; died a day before
the 25th Anniversary of the North Vietnamese Victory in
|Thich Quan Duc
||(The Venerable) Buddhist monk from Hue who was the
first to self-immolate in protest against the excesses
and persecution of the Diem regime.
|Van Tien Dung
||North Vietnamese General who led the final offensive
against the South in 1975.
|Vo Nguyen Giap
||(1912– ): co-founder of the Vietminh; much
admired commander-in-chief of the Vietminh armed forces;
victor against the French at Dien Bien
Phu; defence minister in united Vietnam; living
in retirement in Hanoi.
|Vo Van Kiet
||Vietnamese Prime Minister who with Party boss
Doi Muoi oversaw Vietnam's move away
from doctrinaire communism under the policy of
doi moi in 1986; first Vietnamese Prime
Minister to visit Australia.
The players: America
|Calley, Lt William S.
||US army officer upon whom the
responsibility for the infamous My Lai
massacre was ultimately laid; served a
nine-month gaol sentence; lives quietly in
|Johnson, Lyndon Baines (1908–73)
||US President following the assassination of
President John F. Kennedy in November 1963; increased
US military involvement in Vietnam; refused to seek
re-election in 1969; regarded as the president most
responsible for the escalation of the Vietnam War.
|Kennedy, John Fitzgerald (1917–63)
||US President (Democrat) in January 1961; increased
military aid to Vietnam following US involvement under
President Eisenhower; assassinated 22 November
||US President Nixon's Special Negotiator at the Paris Peace talks 1969–73; Secretary of State until 1977.
||Secretary of Defense from 1961 until his
resignation in 1968; considered one of the strongest
"hawks" in the Vietnam War,
but later became a "dove";
regarded as an architect in committing US forces to
|Nixon, Richard Milhaus
||US Vice-President 1953–61; elected President
(Republican) in 1968; ordered the secret bombing of
Cambodia and stepped up bombing of North Vietnam while
trying to withdraw US forces under a policy of
"Peace with honour" and the
"Vietnamisation" of the war;
resigned as President following the so-called Watergate
|Westmoreland, General William
||US Military Commander in Vietnam (1964–68)
|Henry Cabot Lodge
||US Ambassador to Vietnam (1963–64)
|General Maxwell Taylor
||US Ambassador to Vietnam (1964–65)
|Henry Cabot Lodge
||US Ambassador to Vietnam (1965–67)
||US Ambassador to Vietnam (1967–73)
||US Ambassador to Vietnam (1973–75)
The players: Australia
||news cameraman whose images vividly
captured the war in Vietnam and Cambodia over a
ten-year period; filmed his own death in Bangkok; his
story is told in Frontline and the book
One Crowded Hour.
||Prime Minister 1968–71; Liberal; maintained the policy of Holt to Vietnam.
||Prime Minister 1966–67; Liberal; dramatically
increased the Australian Army presence in Vietnam,
including conscription into the army for young men
based on a lottery system; remembered for his famous
"All the way with LBJ" sycophantic comment;
drowned while swimming.
||Prime Minister 1971–72; Liberal; began the
withdrawal of Australian troops from Vietnam in order
to win an election, but lost the election.
||Prime Minister 1949–66; Liberal; made the
first commitment of Australian advisers to Vietnam,
based on a lie that Vietnam had asked Australia for
help, when in fact they did not want it.
||the first conscript to be killed in Vietnam.
||Prime Minister: 1972–75; ALP; secured the
total withdrawal of Australians from Vietnam and ended
conscription; only PM to be dismissed by the