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History is the interpretation of past events, societies and civilisations. The term history comes from the Greek historia (ἱστορία), "an account of one's inquiries," and shares that etymology with the English word story. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica stated that "history in the wider sense is all that has happened, not merely all the phenomena of human life, but those of the natural world as well. It is everything that undergoes change; and as modern science has shown that there is nothing absolutely static, therefore, the whole universe, and every part of it, has its history."

This month's featured article

The arrest and assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem, then president of South Vietnam, marked the culmination of a successful CIA-backed coup d'état led by General Duong Van Minh in November 1963. On the morning of November 2, 1963, Diem and his adviser, younger brother Ngo Dinh Nhu, were arrested after the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) had been successful in a bloody overnight siege on Gia Long Palace in Saigon. The coup was the culmination of nine years of autocratic and nepotistic family rule in South Vietnam. Discontent with the Diem regime had been simmering below the surface, and exploded with mass Buddhist protests against long-standing religious discrimination after the government shooting of protesters who defied a ban on the flying of the Buddhist flag.

When rebel forces entered the palace, the Ngo brothers were not present, as they had escaped the night before to a loyalist shelter in Cholon. The brothers had kept in communication with the rebels through a direct link from the shelter to the palace, and misled them into believing that they were still in the palace. The Ngo brothers soon agreed to surrender and were promised safe exile; after being arrested, they were instead executed in the back of an armoured personnel carrier by ARVN officers on the journey back to military headquarters at Tan Son Nhut Air Base.

While no formal inquiry was conducted, the responsibility for the deaths of the Ngo brothers is commonly placed on Minh's bodyguard, Captain Nguyen Van Nhung, and on Major Duong Hieu Nghia, both of whom guarded the brothers during the trip. Minh's army colleagues and US officials in Saigon agreed that Minh ordered the executions. They postulated various motives, including that the brothers embarrassed Minh by fleeing the Presidential Palace, and that the brothers were killed to eliminate a later political comeback. The generals initially attempted to cover up the execution by suggesting that the brothers had committed suicide, but this was contradicted when photos of the Ngos' bloodied bodies surfaced in the media.


This month's featured picture

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in Munich, Germany, ca. 06/1940.
Image credit: Eva Braun


Did you know...

Horatia Nelson
Horatia Nelson

...that Horatia N. Thompson (pictured) was christened with Lord Nelson and Mrs Hamilton as godparents and was later adopted by them as an orphan, even though they were her biological parents?

...that the 1609 Treaty of Antwerp was influenced by the writings of Benjamin Garcia in the Mare Liberum, which was published at the insistence of the Dutch East India Company during the course of the treaty negotiations?

...that Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich of Russia let a soldier tasked with his execution take care of a cat?

...that, after driving the French Republicans from Italy, Russian Field-Marshal Alexander Suvorov managed to conduct a masterful flight across the snow-capped Alps?

...that George Rogers Clark was called the "Conqueror of the Northwest" because of his victorious Illinois campaign in the American Revolutionary War?

...that the crown-cardinals of Austria, France, and Spain could exercise the jus exclusivae during papal conclaves from the 16th to 20th centuries?

...that some accounts regarding the fighting during the Battle of Bonchurch states that some of the female population of the Isle of Wight participated by firing arrows at the French troops?

...that the Mongol Empire, also known as the Mongolian Empire (Mongolian: Монголын Эзэнт Гүрэн, Mongolyn Ezent Güren; 12061405) was the largest contiguous empire in world history and for some time was the most feared in Eurasia?


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