in 1945 but later fought for the French colonial regime against the Viet Minh. Communist gains in South Vietnam’s northern provinces early in 1975 prompted Thieu to recall troops to defend the capital city, Saigon (now ).

In 1954 he was put in charge of the Vietnamese National Military Academy and, after 1956, continued to serve under the regime of . He continued to consolidate his power after the peace agreements of 1973 (in which his government was a somewhat reluctant participant) and the withdrawal of U. Badly managed, the retreat turned into a rout, allowing communist forces to surround the capital.

In 1967 he was elected president under a new constitution promulgated in that year. Thieu’s emergence coincided with the beginning of major U. After resisting for several days, Thieu was persuaded that his resignation might permit a negotiated settlement of the war.

On April 21, 1975, in a speech denouncing the United States, he resigned in favour of his vice president, Tran Van Huong, and shortly afterward left the country.

On April 2, the Vietnamese National Assembly swore in ex-public security minister and police general Tran Dai Quang as president.

In the swearing-in ceremony, Quang pledged absolute loyalty to the party, state, and the people.

An overwhelming majority in the national assembly – 436-29 to be exact – voted Quang in.