President John F. Kennedy was America's first Catholic president, and while the conflict in Southeast Asia had been brewing for years before he came to power, he was the first to commit U.S. troops in Vietnam. The man supported by Kennedy to become president of South Vietnam was a rabid Roman Catholic named Ngo Dunh Diem.
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"Kennedy, as senator, was part of the Catholic lobby which pushed for the installation of a Catholic president in South Vietnam....When Kennedy became President, he rapidly escalated the U.S. military involvement in support of Diem's
Catholic regime. Later when Diem's persecution of the Buddhists began to draw fire from world opinion, Kennedy had to choose between supporting his church's effort or promoting his own political career."
"Twenty days after the assassination of Diem, the first Catholic president of South Vietnam, the first Catholic president of the U.S., John F. Kennedy, was himself
assassinated in Dallas, Texas."
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