Ngô Đình Diệm (January 1901 – 2 November 1963) was the first president of South Vietnam (1955–1963). In the wake of the French withdrawal from Indochina as a result of the 1954 Geneva Accords, Diệm led the effort to create the Republic of Vietnam. Accruing considerable U.S. support due to his staunch anti-Communism, he achieved victory in a 1955 plebiscite, which was fraudulent.
A Roman Catholic, Diệm pursued biased and religiously oppressive policies against the Republic's Montagnard natives and its Buddhist majority that were met with protests, epitomized in Malcolm Browne's Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of the self-immolation of Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức in 1963. Amid religious protests that garnered worldwide attention, Diệm lost the backing of his U.S. patrons and was assassinated, along with his brother, Ngô Đình Nhu by Nguyễn Văn Nhung, the aide of ARVN General Dương Văn Minh on 2 November 1963, during a coup d'état that deposed his government.