Khanh steps down - HISTORY
Year
1964

Khanh steps down

Nguyen Khanh steps down as president of South Vietnam and Xuan Oanh, former professor at Trinity College in Connecticut, is named prime minister. Khanh had been a major player in the instability that followed the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem in November 1963. This period was marked by ten successive governments in Saigon within 18 months. A military junta headed by General Duong Van Minh as chief of state assumed control of the government upon Diem’s death. On January 30, 1964, Khanh, a 37-year-old Major General, led a bloodless coup against Minh, but allowed him to stay on as titular head of state. What followed was a series of governments, none of which was able to govern; one Johnson administration official suggested that the coat of arms of the South Vietnamese government should be a turnstile.

With the passing of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution earlier in August, General Khanh sought to take advantage of the new situation. He promoted himself to the presidency, hastily issued a new constitution, and dismissed former figurehead chief of state Minh. These moves were answered by protests when students and Buddhist took to the streets demonstrating against Khanh’s new government and the continuing influence of Catholics in the government. Khanh spoke with some of the demonstrators but said he would have to discuss their complaints with U.S. ambassador Maxwell Taylor. Two days later, he resigned. The Military Revolutionary Council made up of top South Vietnamese generals met to choose a new head of state. They chose a triumvirate of Generals Khanh, Minh, and Tran Thien Kheim as an interim government to restore order. Xuan Oanh was chosen prime minister of the new government, but Khanh retained the premiership. However, he was ousted in February 1965 by Generals Nguyen Cao Ky and Nguyen Van Thieu. Khanh then went to the United States and settled in Palm Beach, Florida. Washington had watched the political instability in South Vietnam with great alarm and hoped that Ky and Thieu could establish a viable government that would fight the communists.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Michael Jackson is born

Pop sensation Michael Jackson is born on this day in Gary, Indiana.Jackson began performing with his four brothers in the pop group the Jackson 5 when he was a child. The group scored its first No. 1 single in 1969, with “I Want You Back.” By age 11, Jackson was appearing on TV, ...read more

Pizarro Executes Last Inca Emperor

Atahuallpa, the 13th and last emperor of the Incas, dies by strangulation at the hands of Francisco Pizarro’s Spanish conquistadors. The execution of Atahuallpa, the last free reigning emperor, marked the end of 300 years of Inca civilization.High in the Andes Mountains of Peru, ...read more

Soviets explode atomic bomb

At a remote test site at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan, the USSR successfully detonates its first atomic bomb, code name “First Lightning.” In order to measure the effects of the blast, the Soviet scientists constructed buildings, bridges, and other civilian structures in the ...read more

Humphrey nominated in Chicago

In Chicago, the Democratic National Convention nominates Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey for the presidency, bringing to a close the most violent political convention in U.S. history.In the days preceding the convention, thousands of antiwar demonstrators descended on Chicago’s ...read more

Eamon de Valera dies

Eamon de Valera, the most dominant Irish political figure of the 20th century, dies at the age of 92.Eamon de Valera was born in New York City in 1882, the son of a Spanish father and Irish mother. When his father died two years later, he was sent to live with his mother’s family ...read more

Hurricane Katrina slams into Gulf Coast

Hurricane Katrina makes landfall near New Orleans, Louisiana, as a Category 4 hurricane on this day in 2005. Despite being only the third most powerful storm of the 2005 hurricane season, Katrina was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. After briefly ...read more

Marathoner assaulted at Olympics

On this day in 2004, Brazilian distance runner Vanderlei de Lima is attacked by a spectator while running the marathon, the final event of the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. At the time of the incident, De Lima had a 30-second lead in the race with four miles to go.De Lima, ...read more

Ishi discovered in California

Ishi, described as the last surviving Stone Age Indian in the contiguous United States, is discovered in California.By the first decade of the 20th century, Euro-Americans had so overwhelmed the North American continent that scarcely any Native Americans remained who had not been ...read more

Actress Ingrid Bergman dies on her birthday

On this day in 1982, the Swedish-born actress and three-time Academy Award winner Ingrid Bergman dies of cancer in London on her 67th birthday. Bergman, who was best known for her role as Ilsa Lund in Casablanca, created an international scandal in 1950 when she had a son with ...read more

Hurricane Katrina wreaks havoc on Gulf Coast

On this day in 2005, Hurricane Katrina, the most destructive hurricane ever to hit the United States, makes landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast, near New Orleans, Louisiana. Katrina, which formed over the Bahamas on August 23, was the third major hurricane of a particularly severe ...read more

Hurricane Donna is born

On this day in 1960, the storm that would become Hurricane Donna forms near Cape Verde off the African coast. It would go on to cause 150 deaths from Puerto Rico to New England over the next two weeks.On August 31, Donna attained hurricane status and headed west toward the ...read more