Nguyen Ngoc Bich

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Nguyễn Ngọc Bích
Born 18 May 1911
Ben Tre, Vietnam
Died 4 Dec 1966
Thu Duc, Vietnam
Occupation *Engineer
  • Resistance fighter
  • Medical doctor
  • Politician
Title Doctor (medical)
Known for Resistance war, politics

Nguyễn Ngọc Bích (1911–1966) was an engineer, a hero in the Vietnamese resistance against the French colonists,[1][2] a medical doctor, an intellectual and politician, who proposed an alternative viewpoint to avoid the high-casualty, high-cost war between North Vietnam and South Vietnam.[3]

The Nguyen-Ngoc-Bich street in the city of Cần Thơ, Vietnam, was named after him to honor and commemorate his feats (of sabotaging bridges to slow down the colonial French-army advances) and heroism (being on the French most-wanted list,[4] imprisoned, subjected to an "intensive and unpleasant interrogation"[4] that left a mark on his forehead,Template:Efn and exiled) during the First Indochina War.

Nguyen Ngoc Bich, circa 1933, student at École polytechnique.

Upon graduating from the École polytechnique (engineering military school under the French Ministry of Armed Forces) and then from the École nationale des ponts et chaussées (civil engineering) in France in 1935,Template:Sfn Dr. Bich returned to Vietnam to work for the French colonial government. After World War II, in 1945, he joined the Viet-Minh, and became a senior commander in the Vietnamese resistance movement, and insisted on fighting for Vietnam's independence, not for communism.

SuspectingTemplate:Efn of being betrayed by the Communist factionTemplate:Efn of the Viet-Minh and apprehended by the French forces, he was saved from execution by a campaign for amnesty by his École polytechnique classmates based in Vietnam, mostly high-level officers of the French army,Template:Sfn and was subsequently exiled to France, where he founded with friends and managed the Vietnamese publishing house Minh Tan (in Paris), which published many important works for the Vietnamese literature.Template:Efn In parallel, he studied medicine and became a medical doctor. He was highly regarded in Vietnamese politics, and was suggested by the French in 1954 as an alternative to Ngo Dinh Diem as the sixth prime minister of the State of Vietnam under the former Emperor Bao Dai as Head of State,Template:Efn who selected Ngo Dinh Diem as prime minister. While Bich's candidature for the 1961 presidential election in opposition to Diem was, however, declared invalid by the Saigon authorities at the last moment for "technical reasons",Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn, he was "regarded by many as a possible successor to President Ngo Dinh Diem".Template:SfnTemplate:EfnTemplate:Efn

A large majority of the information in this article came from the master document Nguyen Ngoc Bich (1911–1966): A Biography,Template:Sfn which contains even more information, including primary-source evidence and photos, than presented here.

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  1. Buttinger, 1967b.
  2. See the quotations from Vietnam history books by renowned scholars in Section Resistance.
  3. Nguyen-Ngoc-Bich, 1962.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Cooper, 1970, p=122.
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