SOUTH VIET NAM: Courting the 800,000

In no small way, the fate of South Viet Nam has long hinged on the fortunes of the restless, landless peasants whose rebellion against an intolerable feudal way of life was one of the original causes of the war. In the 1950s, the Viet Cong cut a wide swath through the Vietnamese countryside by importing Ho Chi Minh's formula of routing the landlords and distributing "land to the tiller." Today, the leading advocate of Ho's thesis is none other than President Nguyen Van Thieu.

Two years after its belated inaugural, the Saigon government's...

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