The Independence Palace Saigon

The Independence Palace Saigon. During the Vietnam War, the Independence Palace functioned as South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu's house and office. It was declared a historical monument for witnessing important changes in Saigon's history while retaining the essence of Eastern culture.

The Independence Palace Saigon Information:

Address: No 135, Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

The Independence Palace Saigon. In 1858, French naval troops launched an invasion of Vietnam by opening fire on Da Nang. By 1867, the French had taken over six provinces in the South (Bien Hoa, Gia Dinh, Dinh Tuong, Vinh Long, An Giang, and Ha Tien). The next year, French officials chose a spot in the heart of Saigon (the current site of the Independence Palace) for the Governor-General of Indochina to live. Norodom Palace was the name of the palace.

The Construction began on February 23, 1868, with the first stone set by Governor-General La Grandière, and was finished in 1871. Between 1871 and 1887, it served as the Governor-General's mansion in Indochina. Many French Governors-General utilized it as both a house and a working location from 1887 to 1945.

On March 9, 1945, Japanese soldiers deposed the French and seized complete control of Indochina. Norodom Palace became the Japanese headquarters in Vietnam.

With the fall of the Japanese in World War II, the French returned to capture southern Vietnam in September 1945. Norodom Palace was once again designated as the French regime's headquarters in Vietnam.

The French were beaten in Dien Bien Phu on May 7, 1954, and were forced to sign the Geneva Accords and withdraw from Vietnam. The United States entered the fight in an attempt to occupy the South. As a result, Vietnam was briefly divided into two regions: the North, led by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and the South, led by the State of Vietnam.

On September 7, 1954, France's envoy, General Paul Ely, handed over Norodom Palace to the Saigon regime's representative, Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem. Diem renamed the site the Independence Palace. Diem toppled the head of state, Bao Dai, establishing the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), and taking the president a year later, on October 26, 1955.

The Independence Palace became Ngo Dinh Diem's family home and witnessed many political events. Ngo Dinh Diem maintained a family-led dictatorship, confining the population to key hamlets and enforcing Law 10/59. This sparked public outrage as well as disagreement inside the Saigon Cabinet.

The Independence Palace Saigon

On February 27, 1962, two army pilots from the Republic of Vietnam, Nguyen Van Cu and Pham Phu Quoc, attacked the Independence Palace as part of a coup attempt. Despite failing, the effort caused major damage to the Palace's left portion. Unsalvageable, Ngo Dinh Diem ordered the construction of a new Palace based on the design of famed architect Ngo Viet Thu, the first Vietnamese to win the coveted Grand Prix de Rome.

On July 1, 1962, construction began. President Ngo Dinh Diem lived in Gia Long Palace (now the Ho Chi Minh City Museum) throughout construction until his assassination on November 2, 1963. Generals Nguyen Van Thieu and Nguyen Cao Ky, as heads of the Republic of Vietnam Government (RVN), presided at the Palace's opening ceremony on October 31, 1966. President Thieu, as President of the Second Republic of Vietnam, made the Independence Palace his house and workplace from 1967 until 1975.

According to the historic Ho Chi Minh Campaign, the Vietnamese Liberation Army's final aim was the Independence Palace, the RVN Government's headquarters. Tank 843, led by Lieutenant Bui Quang Than, broke through the Palace's auxiliary gate at 10:45 a.m. on April 30, 1975. Shortly after, Tank 390, led by Lieutenant Vu Dang Toan, crushed the front gate and advanced towards the Palace. Lieutenant Bui Quang Than raced to the roof at 11:30 a.m., dropped the flag of the Republic of South Vietnam, and hoisted the standard of the National Liberation Front (NLF), bringing the thirty-year conflict to an end.

At that time, RVN President Duong Van Minh declared unconditional surrender and handed over control to the Provisional Revolutionary Government over Saigon Radio. Following the spring triumph of 1975, a consultative meeting for national reunification was held. The meeting took place at the Independence Palace.

The Independence Palace Saigon

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