Dương Văn Minh

Feb 16, 1916 - Aug 6, 2001

Dương Văn Minh, popularly known as Big Minh, was a South Vietnamese politician and a senior general in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam and a politician during the presidency of Ngô Đình Diệm. In 1963, he became chief of a military junta after leading a coup in which Diệm was assassinated. Minh lasted only three months before being toppled by Nguyễn Khánh, but assumed power again as the fourth and last President of South Vietnam in April 1975, two days before surrendering to North Vietnamese forces. He earned his nickname "Big Minh", because at approximately 1.83 m tall and weighing 90 kg, he was much larger than the average Vietnamese.
Born in Tiền Giang Province in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam, Minh joined the French Army at the start of World War II, and was captured and tortured by the Imperial Japanese, who invaded and seized French Indochina. During this time, Minh's teeth were plucked out, leaving him with his distinctive smile. After his release, he joined the French-backed Vietnamese National Army and was imprisoned by the communist-dominated Viet Minh before breaking out.
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