July 15 1965 the Prime Minister of South Vietnam, Air Vice- Marshall Nguyen Cao Ky said he admired most of all people Adolf Hitler. This surprised American combat commanders who were chomping at the bit to proceed with assaults upon VC assets in the South. They realized that this was a guy they were willing to fight and die for, or worse, send other American to their deaths of injuries trying to battle Communism. President Ngo Dinh Diem was not unlike a current America autocrat, firmly placed in opowerr and guaranteeing that his family, his brother in particular could use the power of his office to garner wealth. Ngo Dinh Thue, his oldest brother, was a Catholic Priest who made millions in real estate and his younger brother Ngo Dinh Can ran a smuggling operation.
The South Vietnamese government was corrupt through and through.
Ngo Dinh Nhu was married to a woman called “Madame Nhu” by the press. She made public appearances in glamorous, stylish fashion. She and her husband turnerd South Vietnam into their own kingdoms. Also known Dragon Lady and Queen of Saigon. They arrested people and meted out their own punishments and even banned card playing.
Diem was assassinated in 1963 and it took a few failed regimes before the US found a partner it could fight and die for: Nguyen Van Thieu. Still, the theatre of riches in the Capitalist South and the determined will of the Communist North was a story playing out in international theatre.
Of course the VC were winning no real friends either. They would come into town and publically torture a suspect US sympathizer and then leave.
The poor Vietnamese were in between these two powers fighting a proxy war.