Ngô Đình Diệm was a Vietnamese politician. He was the final prime minister of the State of Vietnam, and then served as President of South Vietnam from 1955 until he was captured and assassinated during the 1963 military coup.
Diệm was born into a prominent Catholic family, the son of a high-ranking civil servant, Ngô Đình Khả. He was educated at French-speaking schools and considered following his brother Ngô Đình Thục into the priesthood, but eventually chose to pursue a civil-service career. He progressed rapidly in the court of Emperor Bảo Đại, becoming governor of Bình Thuận Province in 1929 and interior minister in 1933. However, he resigned the latter position after three months and publicly denounced the emperor as a tool of France. Diệm came to support Vietnamese nationalism, promoting an anti-communist and anti-colonialist "third way" opposed to both Bảo Đại and communist leader Hồ Chí Minh. He established the Can Lao Party to support his political doctrine of Person Dignity Theory.
After several years in exile, Diệm returned home in July 1954 and was appointed prime minister by Bảo Đại, the head of the Western-backed State of Vietnam.