The Memoir of Masayuki (Seiko) Yokoyama: Bảo Đại, Ngô Đình Diệm, Cường Để, and the mysteries of World War II in Vietnam

Masayuki (Seiko) Yokoyama was a career Japanese diplomat. During World War II he served as Minister for Economic Affairs of the Japanese diplomatic mission in Indochina and as Director of the Japanese Cultural Center in Saigon. After the March 1945 coup d’état — during which Japanese and Vietnamese deposed the Vichy French colonial state — … More The Memoir of Masayuki (Seiko) Yokoyama: Bảo Đại, Ngô Đình Diệm, Cường Để, and the mysteries of World War II in Vietnam

Soviet disinformation & Ngô Đình Diệm: How Diệm first came to be known as an American ‘puppet’

While recent coverage of Russian disinformation published by its state-sponsored organizations has cast it as a new phenomenon, it is certainly not. Indeed, some Soviet disinformation was ingrained in historical scholarship during the Cold War. One concept, in particular, is that South Vietnamese President Ngô Đình Diệm was an American ‘puppet’ hand-picked by Washington in … More Soviet disinformation & Ngô Đình Diệm: How Diệm first came to be known as an American ‘puppet’

Redefining the Origins of the Vietnamese Civil War (and the conflict between Phan Bội Châu and Hồ Chí Minh in the 1920s-30s)

The fifth death anniversary of the revolutionary Phan Bội Châu took place in October 1945. This was the height of the Vietnamese revolution, a moment that conventional histories trace back to Phan Bội Chau’s assertive nationalism. It’s leaders – figures like Hồ Chí Minh, Võ Nguyên Giáp, and Trường Chinh — we are told were … More Redefining the Origins of the Vietnamese Civil War (and the conflict between Phan Bội Châu and Hồ Chí Minh in the 1920s-30s)

Law of the Jungle: Nguyễn Khắc Viện and the appeal of dictatorship in Nazi Germany

  Nguyễn Khắc Viện (1913-1997) was a doctor, writer, and propagandist for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and, after 1976, for the unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam. In the West, Viện is often described in simplistic and kind terms that belie the complexity of his life and ideological positions. Like many of his contemporaries, he … More Law of the Jungle: Nguyễn Khắc Viện and the appeal of dictatorship in Nazi Germany

Gambling and Globalization in Old Saigon: A Brief History of Số Đề in Vietnam

Please see my article in the Saigoneer on the longer history of globalization in Vietnamese and Saigonese life. It does this by examining the meaning and origin of ‘số đề’ [playing the numbers] a form of gambling in today’s Vietnam. This game can be traced back to the ‘Jeu des 36 bêtes’ in the colonial era, … More Gambling and Globalization in Old Saigon: A Brief History of Số Đề in Vietnam

Vũ Hồng Khanh’s history of the Vietnam Nationalist Party (Việt Nam Quốc dân Đảng)

As far as I know, Vũ Hồng Khanh’s self-published history of the Vietnam Nationalist Party (Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng or VNQDD) is not held by any libraries in the US, Europe, or Vietnam. It covers events from before the party’s founding to the aftermath of the 1930 Yên Bái uprising. Khanh was an early … More Vũ Hồng Khanh’s history of the Vietnam Nationalist Party (Việt Nam Quốc dân Đảng)

From Russia, With Love: Hồ Chí Minh’s Soviet Wife

Sometime in late 1927, France came into possession of a cache of Soviet documents. Earlier that year, the Kuomintang had begun a series of coups  –  violent purges of Chinese communists and their Soviet sponsors from the government. The ‘Canton Coup’ in present-day Guangzhou, would reveal something interesting.  Members of the French security services, the Sûreté, … More From Russia, With Love: Hồ Chí Minh’s Soviet Wife