SOUTH VIET NAM: Night of Despair

It was midnight in Saigon. The windows of Freedom Palace were open, and Premier Ngo Dinh Diem, in grey striped pajamas, was pacing his third-floor bedroom. Suddenly, through the sultry night, Diem heard the clatter of machine-gun fire, the cries of wounded men. In the next instant, half a dozen mortar shells exploded beneath Ngo Dinh Diem's open window. "We never believed they would dare attack us!" said one of Diem's aides, aghast. But on Diem's shabby desk in Freedom Palace lay the confirmation: "All South Viet Nam will be put to...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!