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November 2, 1963


Saigon, South Vietnam (JFK+50) Ngo Dinh Diem, President of South Vietnam since 1955, & his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, were killed this morning during a military coup that had begun yesterday.

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                      Ngo Dinh Diem

As a Catholic, Diem’s authoritarian rule was opposed by South Vietnam’s Buddhist majority.

The U.S. State Department has denied any involvement by the United States in the coup.

Reports indicate that the brothers had escaped the palace by underground tunnel & made it to a refuge in Cholon.

From Cholon, they went to a Catholic Church where they were taken prisoner just after 10 this morning local time.

St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church
where Diem & Nhu were arrested
Photo by Bui Thuy Dao Nguyen (2008)

Diem & Nhu were placed in the back of a personnel carrier where they were later beaten & shot to death.

Ngo Dinh Diem was 62 years old.  Ngo Dinh Nhu was 53.*

*According to General Maxwell Taylor, JFK learned of the deaths of Diem & Nhu at a cabinet meeting.  Taylor said:

“Kennedy leaped to his feet & rushed out of the room with a look of shock & dismay on his face….”

Assistant Secretary of State Averell Harriman said:

“It was a great shock to everybody they were killed.”

White House tapes released in 2003 show that the Kennedy Administration overestimated their ability to control the South Vietnamese generals who directed the coup.

The Church Committee found that there is no evidence to indicate JFK gave any consideration to killing Diem, but there is evidence of involvement by the administration & the CIA in the coup.**


“JFK & the Diem Coup” by John Prados 
The National Security Archive (2003)

November 2, 1962


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy, speaking on national television this evening from the White House, said:

“The Soviet missile bases in Cuba are being dismantled.  Their missiles & related equipment are being crated, & the fixed installations at these sites are being destroyed.”

JFK also said the United States will continue its naval quarantine of Cuba until “the threat to peace…..is gone.”

November 2, 1948


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Despite a premature Chicago Tribune headline to the contrary, President Harry S Truman has defeated Republican challenger Thomas E. Dewey in what will go down as the greatest upset in presidential election history.

Truman, who took office on the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 12, 1945, was even unpopular in his own party.

Unwilling to “dump” Truman at the 1948 Democratic Convention, some delegates wore buttons which read: “I’m Just Mild About Harry”.*

*a play on the popular song of the day “I’m Just Wild About Harry.”

President Truman, woefully behind in all the polls, went on a whistle stop campaign across the nation.

At many of his stops, speaking from a platform on the rear car of his train, Truman said:

“Any working man or farmer who votes against the Democratic party ought to have his head examined.”

Truman on Whistle-Stop Campaign
           Truman Library Photo

Apparently, many voters changed their minds in the voting booth.

The final totals are:

Electoral Votes:   Truman (D)     303
                                    Dewey (R)         189
                                    Thurmond*        39

Popular Votes:  Truman (D) 24,179,347
                                 Dewey (R)     21,991,292
                                 Thurmond*    1,175,930

*Strom Thurmond of South Carolina was the nominee of the Dixiecrats

TENNESSEE had 11 electoral votes for TRUMAN, 1 for Thurmond.*

*Most East Tennessee counties, traditionally Republican, went to Dewey. 

        Truman Holds Up Chicago Tribune
                   Truman Library Photo

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