Vietnam: A Television History (1983): S01E03 – America’s Mandarin (1954-1963)


Vietnam: A Television History (1983) is a 13-part American documentary and television mini-series about the Vietnam War (1955-1975) from the perspective of the United States.

It was produced for public television by WGBH-TV in Boston, and it was originally broadcast on PBS between 04 October and 20 December 1983.


After the division of Vietnam into North and South the North is seen as a Communist threat by the United States. South Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Ngo Dinh Diem, faced a 2-year deadline for a nationwide reunification vote and the US feared that Diem did might not win. Diem’s advisers had a dim view of the future as well, believing a Communist victory was inevitable. After the division of the country many Vietnamese Catholics, estimated at 900,000, fled the North. Diem and his brother, who headed the intelligence service, demolished their opponents in the South and created an air of mistrust that would continue far into the future. By the late 1950s Diem relied more and more on his family to help run the country. The Communist forces in the South, the Viet Cong, became a serious threat with rising opposition to Diem. The self-immolation of monk Thích Quảng Đức and ongoing protests led to the 1963 South Vietnamese coup on 02 November 1963 and the death of Diem just a few weeks prior to the assassination of JFK.

Vietnam: A Television History Series

You can find a full index and overview of Vietnam: A Television History here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 11 October 1983.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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