You are invited to attend a symposium on the political, military, and social administration of South Vietnam at Cornell University on June 11 and 12, 2012. In this symposium, we seek to bring together former leaders of the Republic of Vietnam (RVN, or South Vietnam) with scholars of the Vietnam War, providing researchers with an opportunity to collect data directly from RVN military and civilian leaders. This event breaks new ground by focusing on South Vietnamese history after 1963. Most scholarship thus far examines American or North Vietnamese experiences, while studies on South Vietnam have for the most part been limited to the First Republic (1954-1963). There is still no full-length study of the RVN after the fall of Ngô Định Diệm in 1963, a gap that critically limits our understanding of the Vietnam War. Several key developments occurred after 1963 including the introduction and withdrawal of American troops, the rise of the South Vietnamese military in domestic politics, electoral politics, agrarian reform, and transformations in international diplomacy. South Vietnamese were at the center of these developments, rewriting the country’s constitution, introducing electoral government, establishing legislative and judicial protocols, directing military campaigns, leading popular protest movements, participating in international diplomacy, and resisting or cooperating with the United States. Documenting the experiences of these Vietnamese is essential to understanding the Vietnam War. Our project represents one of the first efforts to link the academic community with former South Vietnamese officials, whose experiences have largely been overlooked in Vietnam War scholarship.
We invite you to submit particular questions, issues, or topics that you would like the presenters to address. For more information, please contact Keith Taylor.