Not Logged in.
Book Jacket
Finding the Dragon Lady
"Deeply intriguing...one hell of a story." - Daily Beast
More about this book
Author Biography

Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

Created: 10/07/14

Replies: 16

Posted Oct. 07, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1335

Expert

Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

Madame Nhu seemed to feel both Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgment. Do you think that was the case? Why or why not?


Posted Oct. 27, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janeh

Join Date: 06/15/11

Posts: 158

Expert

RE: Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

From her perspective, it seems they took her advice a good deal of the time. From the account, it appears she had more of a feeling for what people on the street were thinking. She thought they didn't credit her with many of the successes they had, but I'm not sure if that was a skewed view of things. If they did rely on her judgement, they certainly didn't want it to appear they did. She seemed to have more of a vision for what her country could become than the two brothers did. I thought many of their decisions were just the lesser of two evils ---always just staying one step ahead of disaster, rather than exhibiting any sort of leadership to make things happen.


Posted Oct. 27, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BJ

Join Date: 06/11/14

Posts: 16

RE: Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

Well said, Janeh! The brothers seemed fairly incompetent and she comes off much more able to be a leader. I do think Diem and Nhu relied on her, whether they knew it consciously or not, admitted it to themselves or not.


Posted Oct. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cynthiaa

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 77

Expert

RE: Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

I think they relied on her. She could make a plan and I decision. They weren't as capable. Janeh said it well.


Posted Oct. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 392

Expert

RE: Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

I agree with janeh as well. The brothers did rely on her considerably and she seemed a little more capable of seeing the big picture than they were. I think she thought she was more important than she was and probably did not have any clue of all the thousands of details that make a country work that they dealt with but are not a part of the story which is basically about her and from her point of view.


Posted Oct. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 160

Expert

RE: Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

Janeh said it well. The brothers, particularly Diem, came across as weak. But we are seeing thing from Madame Nhu's point of view, and that has to be taken into account in considering how heavily the brothers relied on her.


Posted Oct. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lindah

Join Date: 04/17/14

Posts: 90

Expert

RE: Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

I don't think there is any doubt the brothers relied on her judgement and instincts. Other accounts I have read about her confirm her domineering, implacable attitude. In the traditional role of housewife, she would have held responsiblity for family finance and direction, as defacto "First Lady of Vietnam" served as hostess for all official functions for her brother-in-law president who seemed more interested in religion than political service. She was also a powerful member of parliament and a member of an influential diplomatic family.


Posted Oct. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
meredithk

Join Date: 06/10/13

Posts: 27

RE: Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

Madam Nhu wasn't just a pretty face and a good hostess which both brothers thought she was. She was an intelligent women who's determination and wry kept their family adrift when all around them chaos was going on. The original coup attempt on Nov 11tth 1960 was derailed because of her quick,clear thinking.

Do you think that it was just a coincidence that the coup attempt on Nov 11th 1960 happened because of John Kennedy being elected just a few days earlier president of the United States?


Posted Oct. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
debrals

Join Date: 11/28/11

Posts: 35

RE: Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

I agree with Janeh. She was a woman that the brothers might have listened to but never given credit for any of her thoughts or ideas. The story was her perspective, and she really needed to believe that the brothers relied on her.


Posted Oct. 29, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alycet

Join Date: 04/23/12

Posts: 77

Expert

RE: Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

I mostly agree with Janeh. She was a survivor. Maybe from being fostered on her grandparents early on and being from a privileged family, she did feel predestined.


Posted Oct. 29, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
deeh

Join Date: 03/03/12

Posts: 158

Expert

RE: Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

I agree with janeh for the most part. I think Madame Nhu's feelings of being undervalued and rejected as a child prompted a lot of her need for power in adulthood. So, whether the brothers listened to her or not, she was intent on making her opinions known to them. It appears that they frequently acted on her advice without giving her any credit.


Posted Nov. 01, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 279

Expert

RE: Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

I think Diem definitely needed assistance. He seemed more religiously minded and less of a leader. I'm not sure about Nhu, though. He seemed like a pretty violent character. Do you think there's any chance Madame Nhu softened his approach at all?


Posted Nov. 01, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 160

Expert

RE: Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

Kimk, that is an interesting thought that Madame Nhu might have softened Nhu's approach, but I'm not sure. She had some violent tendencies herself, as expressed in the "barbecued monks" remarks. But maybe Nhu would have been even worse without her. Diem was definitely weak and not an effective leader.


Posted Nov. 01, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mal

Join Date: 09/09/13

Posts: 155

Expert

RE: Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

I'm sure they relied in her judgment far more than they let on. No doubt every solicited or unsolicited advice Madame provided was filed away, most likely used or at least heavily considered at some point.


Posted Nov. 02, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mariannes

Join Date: 12/17/12

Posts: 206

Expert

RE: Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

As I remember those times, men didn't take women's opinions seriously in the U.S. It seems even less likely that a woman in Asia would have been listened to. there are always exceptions, of course, but I think "relied heavily" is too strong a description of her influence.


Posted Nov. 04, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marys

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 32

RE: Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

I think both Lindah and Janeh have expressed execellent answers to this question. Few leaders acknowledge the influential people in their lives but that doesn't mean that everyone is in the dark about who wields the influence on the leader (think Bush-Cheney).


Posted Nov. 13, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 294

Expert

RE: Was Madame Nhu correct in thinking Diem and Nhu relied heavily on her judgement?

I believe that Madame Nhu was correct. It's almost the stereotypical case of "behind every powerful man is a woman," and certainly during her era, women were very much second-class citizens, directing, planting suggestions, and/or manipulating in the background


Reply

Please login to post a response.