This article examines the Special Commissariat for Civic Action as an instrument for nation-building in the First Republic of Vietnam. Originally, the Special Commissariat was intended to serve as a means to fill the power vacuum in the countryside that emerged in the wake of the departure of the Việt Minh cadres relocated to the North, as required by the Geneva Accords. Over time, the Special Commissariat would become tied into Ngô Đình Diệm's larger nation-building agenda of creating a viable, noncommunist South Vietnam capable of standing independently among the nations of the so-called “free world.”
Hearts, Minds and Công Dân Vụ: The Special Commissariat for Civic Action and Nation-Building in Ngô Đình Diệm's Vietnam, 1955–1957
Geoffrey c. Stewart is Assistant Professor, Department of History, the University of Western Ontario. This article was originally included in a workshop entitled “Revisiting the First Republic of Vietnam: Nationalism, Nation-building and Modernization in Ngô Đình Diệm's South Vietnam, 1954–1963” at Harvard University in April 2010. The author would like to thank Ed Miller, Hue-Tam Ho Tai, Matt Masur, Nu-Anh Tran, Jessica Chapman, David Biggs, Phil Catton, Alexander Woodside, and the two anonymous readers at the Journal of Vietnamese Studies for their valuable comments and suggestions on earlier versions of this article. Any errors or omissions are entirely those of the author.
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Geoffrey C. Stewart; Hearts, Minds and Công Dân Vụ: The Special Commissariat for Civic Action and Nation-Building in Ngô Đình Diệm's Vietnam, 1955–1957. Journal of Vietnamese Studies 1 October 2011; 6 (3): 44–100. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/vs.2011.6.3.44
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