Ngo Dinh Diem, the autocratic and corrupt leader of South Vietnam from 1955-1963. He was initially supported by the U.S., but not by the Vietnamese Buddhist majority. He was assassinated in 1963 during a U.S. approved coup.
Ngo Dinh Diem - After refusing Ho Chi Minh's invitation to join the Communist movement, Ngo Dinh Diem led South Vietnam from 1954 to 1963, when he was killed by his generals in a coup. His autocratic rule, exemplified by the imprisonment and execution of hundreds of Buddhists, and his refusal to institute land reforms, probably contributed to increasing popular support for Ho Chi Minh.